PBS Rocks

In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • Jan
  • 17
  • 2006

As I mentioned before, I watch PBS whenever I can and I’m always seeing shows that could be perfect for classroom use: discussion, debate, writing, expansion, etc. Videos are not a common occurrence in my classroom, but I think videos can be effective in a way that written text cannot with today’s generation (maybe this has always been the case, that video has a greater impact than the written word). While I’m on a roll and thinking about it, I’ll mention a few PBS shows I’ve caught that I can see being used in the classroom, if for no other reason than to remind myself of the good things I’ve seen over the past several months.

Raising Cain
I know I mentioned this already, but trust me when I write that it’s worth a second mention because it’s that good.
My Shakespeare
An English actor takes on directing a production of Romeo and Juliet with a group of Londoners who society would stereotype as being unable to perform such a play. They come from a very poor part of town and are thought to have a negative attitude toward education. He has director Baz Luhrmann as a virtual mentor (they video conference online) and this is a powerful depiction of a group of people making a 400-year-old text relevant.
Girl Trouble
I haven’t seen this (it airs tonight at 11:00pm, at which time I hope to be asleep since I haven’t slept more than a few hours in the past 48), but I swear I’ve seen something like it in the past year or so. This could be an interesting companion to Raising Cain.
Secret History of the Credit Card
I often think that if my students leave my classroom a bit skeptical and even a touch cynical about the world and what others offer them, I’ve done my job. This would be a good video to watch for just that reason.
The Merchants of Cool
See above. That and this also works toward any media literacy standards.

I’d like to keep this list growing; more shows to use in the classroom have aired, I must have simply forgotten them. Even if it’s not from PBS, if you’ve watched a show that would be useful in the classroom, leave the details in a comment here. If it warrants itself, I’ll cull all comments into a new posting.


Another cool way for students to submit work done for school to the world outside of high school (authentic assessment) stammered across my path while I was doing this. KQED has a photo of the day section on their site and there are submission guidelines along with a submission form (maximum file size is 1 MB, so plan accordingly). There are two photo galleries to submit work for: the Photo of the Day gallery is exactly what it sounds like, just cool shots of someplace around the bay area; the Bay Area Bites gallery is full of food-related photos. Just thought this would be useful to someone.

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