TV Shows and Movies
We believe in using every available tool to teach our children, and that includes the much debated TV. TV watching relieve stress, act as a reinforcer, and help compliment your teaching. Here are some questions to keep in mind when evaluating a TV show. 1. Does it have a lot of background clutter? When Evy was very small, I watched him enjoying a Sesame Street episode. Bright red Elmo was singing and gesticulating madly in the foreground. Far in the background, some children were going up and down a slide. As I walked through the room, I heard Evy saying, "Wheee! Wheee!" He wasn't paying attention to Elmo (e.g. the important, educational thing). He was watching the kids in the background. If your learner can't focus on what's important, the learning will NOT take place. This could have been solved by making Elmo more interesting to Evy (e.g. Use a doll in play). But we didn't bother. 2. Does it have a point? For our learners, a point could be providing motivation for pretend play, building a knowledge base for conversation, or teaching specific skills like numbers, letters, or opposites. So while you are guiding your learner's TV watching, be sure of your goals so you can have confidence that you aren't abusing your TV. Our favorite programs are seen in the US on Nickolodeon, Noggin and PBS. Check your local TV provider for scheduling.
Our favorite educational TV shows are listed below.
Blue's CluesWonderful educational programming designed to teach specific skills. Each episode lists the specific skills it teaches (listed on the back of the video covers. A can't miss.
Dora the ExplorerA big hit with both sexes, this show has computerized arrows that help highlight the important learning cues. The scripts are simple and repetitive and each episode lends itself to building sequencing foundations.
VeggieTales and 3,2,1 PenguinsEach episode helps build moral foundation and character. A fantastic parent tool, and chock full of catchy music. A great parent help to teach things like sharing, honesty, waiting turns, etc.
OobiBefore Oobi became a regular show on Noggin, we used to tape the video shorts between shows and play them for the boys. Each video short taught a specific concept and were extremely easy to attend to (little background, just a hand puppet). A fantastic show.
Pokemon, Digimon, Yu-Gi-Oh and TransformersI watched, fascinated as my boys watched these shows with their older brother and the neighborhood kids. The NT kids began saying things like, "I'm that one." Soon, my little ASD kids were fighting over which action figure they were going to "Be." This has translated nicely into some good pretend play skills with facilitation. It also gives us a foundation to build social relationships and conversation.
Word World and Super WhyThese shows are both on PBS and are highly recommended by parents. Says one parent, "I can really see a difference from my twins who are 4 watching these shows."
Little EinsteinsAnother parent favorite.
My Parents are AliensModels social skills.
The Bicentenary ManFor more advanced Learners
Signing TimeGood for visual learners
Do you have a favorite TV show that promotes learning? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.