WNET KIDS’ MEDIA & EDUCATION: HOMESCHOOLING NYC

VIRTUAL EDUCATION TO BEGIN MONDAY IN NYC

WNET’S KRISTINA KIRTLEY FROM KIDS’ MEDIA AND EDUCATION HAS TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS ON EDUCATING YOUR KIDS AMIDST SCHOOL CLOSURES

PBS AND WNET HAVE FREE RESOURCES TO SUPPORT PARENTS, TEACHERS, AND KIDS

PARENTS SHOULD “TEMPER EXPECTATIONS” AND ESTABLISH A DAILY ROUTINE

Starting Monday March 23rd, New York City classrooms are going virtual.

It is an unprecedented challenge for the country’s largest school system. Not just
for the teachers, but also for the untold number of parents who now find
themselves in the unfamiliar position of homeschooling their children.

Kristina Kirtley, Senior Producer of Content and Youth Engagement at WNET,
spoke to MetroFocus about what remote learning in NYC is likely to look like, and
about the free resources PBS stations, including WNET, are making available to
support this new educational paradigm.

Kirtley praised New York City teachers who have had 3 days to prepare for
remote learning. “Teachers have had to totally create a vision of what this is
going to look like. It’s amazing what they’ve done in 3 days”. Kirtley, a former
high school teacher herself, emphasized that while some teachers may be tech
savvy, for many others this will be a totally new experience.

As parents find themselves in the position of being both facilitators and teachers
to their children, PBS and WNET are making a number of free resources
available to support at-home learning. “Our team at WNET and PBS stations
across the country have been working around the clock to figure out how to best
support families and teachers”.

For younger kids, PBS Kids, in addition to their regular programming and games,
is offering a daily PBS Kids newsletter starting this week which will provide
activities and games for kids learning at home.

For students pre-k -12, PBS Learning Media is a platform with thousands of
online resources and materials for curriculum integration for all subjects.

To help parents and teachers rapidly adapt, PBS Learning Media, along with
WNET and other PBS stations across the country, have curated special
collections of free digital learning resources that can be used for TV broadcast
or on their own.

Kirtley, a parent of two, also shared some tips for families adjusting to at-home
learning. She advised parents to temper their expectations of what will be
possible, and also to try to establish a routine that works for the whole family. For
parents concerned about the amount of screen time their children might be
getting, she also emphasized the importance of letting go a little bit, while being
mindful of what they are watching,“it’s ok if your kids watch a little more TV than
usual.”

Kirtley shared these tips around TV time:

-Be choosy about the shows that you watch with your kids

-Do a research project about something that you watch

-Try to build co-viewing into your day. Even if it’s just 15 minutes

-Lean into your child’s interests

If your NYC public school student needs a device for remote learning, visit https://coronavirus.schools.nyc/RemoteLearningDevices

TIPS AND IDEAS FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS

WNET Education

PBS LearningMedia

Mission US

Sign-up for Daily PBSKids Newsletter

Bright By Text

Aired on March 20, 2020. 

TRANSCRIPT

WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I AM JACK FORD.

AS WITH MANY OF YOU IN OUR NEW REALITY HERE, WORKING FROM MY HOME.

BUT WITH SOME OF YOU, IN ADDITION TO WORKING FROM HOME, SOME OF YOU MIGHT FIND YOURSELVES WITH YOUR CHILDREN LEARNING FROM HOME.

IT'S AN ENORMOUS CHALLENGE FOR THE SCHOOLS, CERTAINLY FOR THE TEACHERS, FOR THE STUDENTS AND FOR THE PARENTS.

SO HOW DO YOU GET THROUGH ALL OF THAT?

WELL, OUR NEXT GUEST IS GOING TO GIVE US SOME IDEAS HOW TO GET THROUGH THAT, ALSO TALK WITH YOU A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT WNET AND PBS ARE DOING TO HELP PROVIDE SOME TOOLS.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE CHRISTINA TO TALK ABOUT ALL THAT.

WELCOME TO YOU.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

THESE ARE STRANGE TIMES.

THEY ARE STRANGE TIMES INDEED, WHICH IS WHY YOU AND I ARE TALKING TO EACH OTHER FROM OUR HOMES.

FOCUSING ON NEW YORK CITY IF WE CAN, THEY HAVE DECLARED THE SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED AND WE'LL BE SHIFTING OVER TO ONLINE LEARNING.

GIVE ME A QUICK DEFINITION.

WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY MEAN?

SO, YOU KNOW, REMOTE LEARNING, AS YOU MENTIONED, IT STARTS ON MONDAY.

AND OUR TEACHERS HAVE HAD THREE DAYS OF PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOT CAMP TO PREPARE FOR THIS MOVE TO TEACHING ONLINE.

YOU KNOW, A REAL SHOUT-OUT TO ALL OF OUR TEACHERS.

IT'S KIND OF AMAZING WHAT THEY'VE DONE IN THREE DAYS.

THEY'VE HAD TO TOTALLY, LIKE, CREATE A VISION OF WHAT THIS IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE.

AND AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, THERE ARE TEACHERS WHO ARE VERY TECH SAVVY, AND THERE ARE TEACHERS WHO THIS IS ALL NEW TO THEM.

THEY'VE ALL COME TOGETHER.

THEY'VE BANDED TOGETHER, AND IT'S INCREDIBLE WHAT THEY'VE TRIED TO DO IN THE LAST THREE DAYS.

YOU KNOW, AS A PARENT, I HAVE TWO KIDS.

I HAVE A SIXTH GRADER AND A THIRD GRADER.

I SHOULD MENTION YOU ARE ALSO A FORMER HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER.

SO YOU'RE AT BOTH ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM, TEACHER AND PARENT HERE.

I HAVE A KIND OF UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE BECAUSE I'VE BEEN IN A CLASSROOM.

I TAUGHT HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH IN THE BRONX FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS, AND I'M ALSO A PARENT.

SO I CAN DEFINITELY -- LIKE I FEEL I'M EXPERIENCED ON BOTH ENDS.

I CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT THE TEACHERS ARE GOING THROUGH, AND I CAN IMAGINE -- IT'S HARD BECAUSE ONE OF MY DAUGHTER'S TEACHERS WAS SENDING PICTURES OF HER EMPTY CLASSROOM AND TELLING THE STUDENTS HOW MUCH SHE MISSED THEM.

IT'S HEARTBREAKING FOR SO MANY.

LET ME ASK YOU AND WE'LL TAKE THOSE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES HERE FOR A MOMENT AND ASK YOU FOR SOME TIPS FOR US.

I'LL MENTION TO YOU WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT TEACHERS STRUGGLING, I TEACH A SEMINAR, AN UNDERGRADUATE SEMINAR AT YALE.

I HAVE FOR 14 YEARS NOW.

IN THE SPRING, IT'S ONE TIME A WEEK FOR 2 1/2 HOURS, AND STARTING NEXT WEEK, WE'RE ONLINE.

AND IT IS A STRUGGLE, AND THAT IS WITH A SELECT GROUP OF 18 STUDENTS.

I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW DIFFICULT IT IS FOR THE TEACHERS.

LET'S START OFF WITH SOME IDEAS FOR TEACHERS, ADVICE THAT YOU MIGHT OFFER TO THEM.

SURE, SURE.

YOU KNOW, OUR TEAM AT WNET -- I'M IN KIDS MEDIA AND EDUCATION AND PBS STATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE REALLY BEEN WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO BEST SUPPORT BOTH FAMILIES AND TEACHERS.

YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A LOT OF RESOURCES FOR EDUCATORS AND, YOU KNOW, WE'VE BEEN TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW CAN WE BEST SUPPORT THEM IN PROVIDING ACCESS TO OUR VAST TREASURE OF ONLINE RESOURCES.

SO OUR JEDUCATION WEBSITE IN NE YORK, WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF ACTIVITIES AND GAMES AND RESOURCES TO SUPPORT AT-HOME LEARNING FOR OUR TEACHERS AND FOR PARENTS AS WELL.

I MEAN I THINK THIS IDEA OF HOW WE'RE SUPPORTING TEACHERS, IT'S ALMOST LIKE AND SUPPORTING PARENTS AT THE SAME TIME BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE A LOT OF PARENTS ARE FINDING THEMSELVES IN THIS ROLE VERY SIMILAR TO THAT OF TEACHERS LOOKING FOR RESOURCES.

AND THERE'S A LOT OUT THERE TOO, SO IT CAN BE A LITTLE OVERWHELMING FOR BOTH TEACHERS AND PARENTS.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT SOME OF THE TOOLS, THE TYPES OF THINGS THAT WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE.

WE CAN TALK ABOUT FOR TEACHERS AND ALSO FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS.

SO THERE IS A LOT.

FOR YOUNGER KIDS, PBS KIDS, WHICH IS VERY FAMILIAR TO A LOT OF PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, THEY HAVE THEIR USUAL OFFERINGS, THEIR 24/7 CHANNEL, THEIR GAMES, THEIR APPS.

BUT THEY'RE ALSO CREATING A DAILY PBS KIDS NEWSLETTER STARTING THIS WEEK, WHICH WILL PROVIDE PARENTS AND TEACHERS ACTIVITIES AND TIPS TO KEEP KIDS LEARNING AT HOME.

WE HAVE A TEXTING PROGRAM CALLED BRIGHT BY TEXT, WHICH IT'S FOR PARENTS, BUT IT'S LIKE THEY CAN THEN SIGN UP BY SENDING HERO, HERO TO 27748.

THAT'S FOR OUR LITTLE ONES.

FOR PRE-K TO 12, WE HAVE PBS LEARNING MEDIA IS THE MAIN PLATFORM TO USE.

IT'S A FREE SITE FOR DISTANCE LEARNING.

THERE'S THOUSANDS OF RESOURCES THAT WILL INCLUDE A SHORT VIDEO AND SUPPORT MATERIALS FOR EASY CURRICULUM INTEGRATION.

YOU KNOW, TO HELP TEACHERS RAPIDLY ADAPT.

PBS LEARNING MEDIA AND WNET ALONG WITH PBS STATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY HAVE CURATED SPECIAL COLLECTIONS OF LEARNING SOURCES THAT CAN BE USED WITH TV BROADCASTS OR ON THEIR OWN.

YOU CAN GO TO THE SITE AND LOOK FOR ELA RESOURCES FOR THIRD GRADERS FOR INSTANCE AND FIND SOMETHING OR SOCIAL STUDIES CONTENT FOR EIGHT GRADERS.

IT'S FOR TEACHERS, PBS LEARNING MEDIA, THE AUDIENCE IS TEACHERS.

BUT LET'S BE HONEST A LOT OF PARENTS AT HOME FEEL LIKE THEY'RE LIKE TAEACHERS LOOKING FOR CONTENT.

SOME OF THE THINGS YOU FOCUS ON ARE THE NOTION OF ROUTINE.

YES.

AND EXPECTATIONS.

TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT BOTH OF THOSE ELEMENTS.

SURE.

I MEAN I THINK ONE THING THAT WE REALLY HAVE TO DO AS PARENTS AND TEACHERS IS JUST REALIZE AND TEMPER OUR EXPECTATIONS IS REALIZE THIS ISN'T GOING TO BE LIKE SCHOOL.

IT'S GOING TO BE A DIFFERENT ANIMAL.

BUT WE CAN STILL DO THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO ENGAGE OUR KIDS AND KEEP THEM LEARNING AT HOME.

I, MYSELF, SET UP SOME DAILY ROUTINES FOR MY KIDS, AND I THINK ALL OF US ARE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT HOW BEST TO MAKE THAT WORK, ESPECIALLY THOSE OF US WHO ARE ALSO TRYING TO WORK FROM HOME WHILE WE'RE ALSO TRYING TO MANAGE OUR KIDS' LEARNING.

AND WHILE NEXT WEEK THEY'LL HAVE THEIR TEACHER ON BOARD AS WELL TO HELP THEM WITH THAT PROCESS, WE KNOW AS PARENTS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO STEP IN AND HELP TO KIND OF MODEL THIS PROCESS.

AND I THINK ONE THING I THINK IS THAT, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PARENTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE AMOUNT OF SCREEN TIME THAT THEIR KIDS MIGHT HAVE DURING THIS TIME, YOU KNOW?

I THINK WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND THAT WHILE WE NEED TO BE MINDFUL OF WHAT OUR KIDS ARE WATCHING, WE NEED TO REALIZE IT'S OKAY IF THEY WATCH A LITTLE MORE TV THAN USUAL, OKAY?

THAT WE'RE ALL TRYING TO DO OUR BEST.

BUT WITH THAT SAID, TO KEEP A FEW THINGS IN MIND.

SOME TIPS THAT WE'VE DEVELOPED ARE THINGS LIKE BE CHOOSEY ABOUT THE SHOWS THAT YOU WATCH WITH YOUR CHILD OR THAT YOUR CHILD IS WATCHING.

BUT, YOU KNOW, PICK A SHOW AND THEN TURN THE TV OFF AFTER THE SHOW ENDS, YOU KNOW, INSTEAD OF HAVING IT ON ENDLESSLY.

BUILD A SPECIFIC SHOW INTO YOUR DAILY ROUTINE.

MAYBE YOUR KIDS LOVE DANA TIGER.

WATCH THAT SHOW EVERY DAY AND USE THAT EPISODE TO JUMP START OTHER ACTIVITIES AT HOME.

THEY CAN DO A RESEARCH PROJECT ON SOMETHING THEY WATCH AND JUST USE THAT MEDIA AS SORT OF A JUMPING OFF POINT TO OTHER THINGS THAT MAYBE ARE NOT ON A SCREEN.

SOMETHING ELSE I THINK IS REALLY IMPORTANT, IF YOU CAN, EVEN IF YOU'RE WORKING FROM HOME, TRY TO BUILD CO-VIEWING INTO YOUR DAY.

EVEN IF IT'S JUST 15 MINUTES THAT YOU WATCH TOGETHER, IMAGINE YOU'RE TAKING YOUR COFFEE BREAK.

INSTEAD OF GOING TO THE WATER COOLER, YOU'RE GOING TO SIT DOWN AND MAYBE WATCH SOMETHING WITH YOUR KIDS.

BEFORE YOU WATCH THE SHOW, YOU CAN KIND OF TALK WITH THEM.

YOU KNOW, WHAT IS THIS EPISODE GOING TO BE ABOUT?

WHAT ARE SOME THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT IT?

HAVE THEM WATCH AND MAYBE JOT DOWN NOTES.

AFTER THEY WATCH, HAVE THEM DISCUSS WHAT THEY LEARNED.

TODAY I HAD MY KIDS WATCH A NATURE SHOW CALLED 'WHALE DETECTIVES.'

THEY PICKED IT OUT.

I KNOW THAT ONE.

I'VE GOT A COUPLE OF GRANDSONS, 1 1/2 AND 1 1/2.

ONE LOVES DANIEL TIGER AS WE ALL DO.

SO I KNOW THE RANGE OF THEM OUT THERE.

I SAT DOWN WITH THEM AND I WATCHED FOR LIKE TEN MINUTES, YOU KNOW.

THEN I LEFT TO GO WORK, AND I HAVE THEM COME AND REPORT BACK TO ME SOME THINGS THAT THEY LEARNED, YOU KNOW?

I THINK RIGHT NOW IT'S IMPORTANT TO LEAN IN TO OUR CHILD'S INTERESTS.

AS A PARENT, IT'S LIKE IF YOUR KID IS REALLY INTO WHALES, YOU KNOW, ENCOURAGE THAT.

THERE'S A LOT THEY CAN DO AT HOME WITH PROJECT-BASED LEARNING.

MY DAUGHTER IS REALLY INTO HISTORY, AND SHE LIKES SHOWS LIKE 'FINDING YOUR ROOTS' WHERE SHE LEARNS ABOUT HISTORY OF SOMEONE'S FAMILY.

SO SHE DECIDED TO DO A PROJECT ON HER GREAT-GRANDPA, MY GRANDFATHER WHO SHE NEVER MET.

HE SERVED IN WORLD WAR II.

SO SHE'S BEEN CALLING FAMILY MEMBERS AND ASKING THEM QUESTIONS ABOUT MY GRANDFATHER.

AND THEN SHE, YOU KNOW, IS TRYING TO FIND -- OF COURSE SINCE I WORK FOR PBS, I'VE BEEN ENCOURAGING HER TO GO TO PBS LEARNING MEDIA AND LOOK FOR RESOURCES ON WORLD WAR II SO SHE CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT WAS GOING ON WHEN HE WAS THERE SERVING.

WELL, YOU MENTIONED SOMETHING BEFORE, AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO UNDERSCORE THAT.

YES.

AS WE'VE SAID, THIS IS A NEW REALITY FOR ALL OF US, AND WE'RE DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY, AND WE'RE TRYING TO IN MANY WAYS BENEFIT FROM THE DIFFERENT STRUCTURE TO OUR LIVES.

AND I KNOW TALKING WITH MY OWN DAUGHTER, WHO IS A CANCER SURGEON AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA HOSPITAL, BUT THEY ARE DRAMATICALLY REDUCED IN TERMS OF SURGERIES THEY'RE DOING.

SO SHE IS DOING A LOT FROM HOME ALSO.

YOU KNOW, SHE HAS MENTIONED THAT UNDERSTANDING THE BACKDROP OF THIS CRISIS, THERE'S SOME JOY TO BE FOUND HERE.

THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR CHILDREN EVEN, AS YOU SAID, IF YOU'RE WORKING WHILE YOU'RE DOING THAT, YES?

EXACTLY.

I MEAN, AGAIN, IT CAN BE LIKE TEN MINUTES.

YOU KNOW, THINK OF IT AS A BREAK IN YOUR WORKDAY.

I THINK ONE THING THAT JUST REALLY IS INCREDIBLE ABOUT WHAT PBS HAS TO OFFER IS IT'S ALMOST LIKE A -- YOU KNOW, PBS IS LIKE AMERICA'S CLASSROOM IN A WAY.

YOU KNOW, EDUCATION IS BUILT INTO THE DNA OF THE CONTENT THAT WE PRODUCE.

SO, YOU KNOW, THERE'S KIDS' CONTENT DURING THE DAY, BUT THERE'S ALSO PRIME TIME CONTENT FOR OLDER KIDS.

AND OLDER KIDS, THEY'RE ALSO LIKE LOOKING FOR ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW?

AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE CAN DO AS A TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, RIGHT?

THERE'S A LOT THAT WE CAN OFFER FOR FREE.

I THINK, YOU KNOW, WE HAVE A LOT OF ONLINE RESOURCES OF COURSE.

WE ALSO HAVE A LOT OF EDUCATIONAL GAMES THAT STUDENTS CAN PLAY, MATH GAMES, CYBER CHASE HAS A LOT OF MATH GAMES.

WE HAVE AN ONLINE IMMERSIVE HISTORY SERIES WHERE STUDENTS ARE PLACED IN THE SHOES OF FIGURES FROM THE PAST.

AND THEY'RE PUT IN THESE IMPORTANT MOMENTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY LIKE THE BOSTON MASSACRE AND THE GREAT DEPRESSION.

IT ALLOWS THEM TO DO THESE SORT OF ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES AT HOME THAT THEY MIGHT NOT NORMALLY GET TO DO IN THE CLASSROOM.

YOU KNOW, WE ALSO HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO HAVE INTERNET ACCESS.

YOU MIGHT HAVE INTERNET ACCESS AND ONLY ONE LAPTOP AND THREE KIDS, SO WHAT DO YOU DO?

ONE THING THAT'S KIND OF EXCITING TO ANNOUNCE IS STARTING ON MONDAY, THE PBS WORLD CHANNEL IS ACTUALLY GOING TO CHANGE THEIR WHOLE BROADCAST SCHEDULE FROM 12:00 TO 5:00, AND THEY'RE GOING TO BE OFFERING MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL CONTENT.

FROM 12:00 TO 5:00, THEY'RE GOING TO OFFER CONTENT.

THEY'RE GOING TO AIR PROGRAMS, LIKE OLDER PROGRAMS FROM OUR ARCHIVES, THINGS THAT MAYBE YOU'VE SEEN A COUPLE YEARS AGO.

RECYCLE THOSE FOR THE PURPOSES NOW THAT ARE SO NECESSARY.

YEAH, AND THEY'LL MAKE SURE THAT THOSE PROGRAMS ALSO HAVE MATERIAL ON PBS LEARNING MEDIA.

SO TEACHERS CAN USE IT.

THEY COULD ASSIGN SOMETHING TO WATCH OR, YOU KNOW, PARENTS CAN ALSO DO THE SAME.

AND THEN THE FOLLOWING WEEK, WLIW, OUR STATION ON LONG ISLAND, IS GOING TO OFFER A REVISED SCHEDULE TO PROMOTE AT HOME LEARNING FOR THIRD THROUGH SIXTH GRADERS.

AS YOU SAID, THERE'S A LOT THAT CAN BE DONE.

WE ARE CERTAINLY THANKFUL TO WNET, WLIW, THE PBS STATIONS FOR THEM JUMPING IN AND ALL THE THINGS THAT YOU MENTIONED TO US THAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO TO HELP EVERYBODY GET THROUGH THIS.

AND, CHRISTINA, WE'RE CERTAINLY THANKFUL TO YOU ALSO FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH US AND FOR SHARING YOUR THOUGHTS AND ADVICE AND YOUR TIPS ON ALL OF THIS.

SO WE HOPE THAT YOUR JOURNEY WITH YOUR KIDS, BOTH WORKING AND TEACHING, GOES SMOOTHLY AND ENJOYABLY FOR YOU.

CHRISTINA, THANKS SO MUCH.

WE'LL TALK WITH YOU AGAIN SOON.

YOU BE WELL.

THANK YOU.

YOU TOO.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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