WHO-HD Channel 13 takes pride in its educational and informational programs for children. We keep a detailed file of our children’s programming in our public inspection file, available during business hours, at our studios:

WHO-HD Channel 13
1801 Grand Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50309

Hours:
Monday – Friday
8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

The More You Know Learning Series in Collaboration with NBC News has created a free eBook for Parents, Teachers, & Kids

Growing Up Online

This free, downloadable Internet safety eBook,Growing Up Online, is a unique learning tool that provides parents and teachers with important information to help initiate conversation with children about online safety. With half of all kids under the age of eight using Internet connected devices, and one in three children cyber-bullied, it is more critical than ever to educate kids on using technology safely. Growing Up Online is a media-rich eBook that provides easy-to-use content on navigating the digital world in an engaging way. It includes safety tips, discussion questions and key takeaways, as well as entertaining video comic books for kids focused on real situations that may arise when they go online. Growing Up Online is available as a free download for a variety of tablet devices in both English and Spanish.

 Here are upcoming changes to WHO-HD’s regularly scheduled children’s programming lineup:

Program Regularly Scheduled Rescheduled Time
Earth to Luna! Saturday 8/29  11:30A Saturday 8/29  7:30A
Poppy Cat Saturday 8/29  12:00P Sunday 8/30  11:00A
Tree Fu Tom Saturday 8/29  12:30P Sunday 9/6  11:00A
Tree Fu Tom Saturday 9/5  12:30P Sunday 9/6  11:30A
Earth to Luna! Saturday 9/12  11:30A Saturday 9/12  7:30A
Poppy Cat Saturday 9/12  12:00P Sunday 9/13  11:00A
Tree Fu Tom Saturday 9/12  12:30P Sunday 9/20  11:30A
Lazytown Saturday 9/19  11:00A Saturday 9/19  7:30A
Earth to Luna! Saturday 9/19  11:30A Saturday 9/19  7:00A
Poppy Cat Saturday 9/19  12:00P Sunday 9/20  12:00P
Tree Fu Tom Saturday 9/19  12:30P Sunday 9/20  12:30P
Lazytown Saturday 9/26  11:00A Saturday 9/26  7:30A
Earth to Luna! Saturday 9/26  11:30A Saturday 9/26  7:00A
Poppy Cat Saturday 9/26  12:00P TBA
Tree Fu Tom Saturday 9/26  12:30P TBA
Lazytown Saturday 10/3  11:30A Saturday 10/3  7:30A
Poppy Cat Saturday 10/3  12:00P TBA
Tree Fu Tom Saturday 10/3  12:30P TBA

 WHO-HD Channel 13.1 Regularly scheduled programming that is Educational and Information for children 4 to 8 years old:

In compliance with the Children’s Television Act regulations that became effective January 2, 1997, the NBC Kids programming block features an on-air icon (E/I) indicating that each program is “educational and informational” for children.  This icon is displayed throughout each program.  Also, in compliance with the regulations, the following document, which includes “early educational and informational” objectives of NBC Kids, must be placed in your public file.

The NBC Kids programming block also meets the requirements for video described content, as established by the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, effective October 8, 2010.  Full-power affiliates of NBC that are located in the 25 television markets with the largest number of television households must provide video-described content at any time they are providing children’s programming.  Each episode of content can be aired no more than twice in the calendar year.

Each of the programs listed below, which make up the three hour NBC Kids programming block, is specifically designed to serve the early educational and informational needs of children ages 2-5.  All of the programs have educational objectives and messages that are core to the content and appropriate for the program genre.

Ruff Ruff Tweet & Dave
Saturday’s 10:00 AM
Ruff Ruff, Tweet, and Dave [RRTD] is a preschool adventure/activity show where the lead characters travel to faraway lands to have adventures with their guide, a hamster named Hatty.  Ruff Ruff, the dog, is the most playful of the three; Tweet is a little bird who loves to fly and get creative with her suggestions; and Dave the Panda has a thing for bananas.  RRTD might go to the beach, or the mountains, or to strange lands with pillows everywhere; just the sort of place where imagination and logic come together.  The settings are always brightly colored and beautiful.  And their transport vehicles are Roly-pods, artful go-carts that fit on a spiral ramp that folds in and out of the Spin-Again, a colorful round spinning top with special compartments designed to anchor each vehicle right on the outside rim during the journey

This animated show puts an emphasis on logical thinking and use of language through fun problem solving adventures.  The trio, RRTD, is guided by Hatty, an erudite hamster who wears a hat full of questions.  The three characters agree that they would like to take a particular adventure and rev up their Roly-pods, enter the Spin-Again transport vehicle and arrive at their destination.  Once there, Hatty challenges them to make decisions and choose options that will lead to success or failure with their quest.  Once their mission is complete, they review their effort, assemble the Roly-Pods and head home.  Their adventures are varied.  They might go climb a mountain, design their own fairy tale, or build a sand castle.

Astroblast
Saturday’s 10:30 AM
Astroblast!, based on the book series “Astroblast!” by author and illustrator Bob Kolar, is set on a space station in an unknown solar system.  The station is populated by five animal characters and one 3-eyed octopus of unknown derivation.  Each episode begins with an everyday conversation or incident that grows into a predicament of some sort needing a solution.  While these predicaments take place on a space station populated by animal characters and aliens from different galaxies, the issues and resolutions resonate for a preschool audience.  Through comedy and zippy action, our target audience sees how the characters learn lessons for practical living such as how to:  keep track of things that belong to you, practice good habits, clean up a space when you’ve made a mess,  rebound from a failure or embarrassing incident, or resist the urge to blame others for your mistakes.

Lazytown
Saturday’s 11 AM
Lazy Town is a show that is all about health, fitness, and being good friends. Set in a fantasy world known as Lazy Town, which is populated by inactive residents, we see a visitor named Stephanie determined to coax her friends and relatives to begin healthful, active living. She wins over her new friends, Ziggy, Stingy, Trixie and Pixel, to leave their gaming consoles and candy stashes at home so they can go outside and play. She gets her Uncle, the Mayor and his friend Ms. Busy Body to support her efforts. But all of them are constantly foiled by Robbie Rotten, who lives underground and is determined to send Lazy Town back to inactivity and quiet. Coming to the rescue is the athlete Sportacus who lives in a spaceship and receives signals from the kids or the Mayor whenever they need help. Sportacus has two goals, to keep the peace and to promote healthful, positive living. When Robbie Rotten is discovered and contained through comic pratfalls, he goes back to his underground lair and all is well in Lazy Town, until another day and another time when Robbie will rise again.

Earth to Luna
Saturday’s 11:30 AM

This Brazilian animated series us specifically aimed at teaching 2-5 year old children how to ask questions about nature and science and vigorously pursue the answers.  The show encourages curiosity, research, and critical thinking.  Each episode of the show is focused on a particular creature, object, or phenomenon that would be of interest to the target audience.  For example, Luna might wonder how she can grow a plant without a seed and finds the answer through her inquiry process. The characters, Luna, Jupiter (her brother), and Clive (their pet ferret) embark on a research effort that takes the audience through each step that answers their overarching question.  The show uses recurring features, signature phrases, and songs to cue the audience when they need to do research, when they transition to the adventure, and when they have reached the ending to review all they’ve learned.

Poppycat
Saturday’s 12:00 PM
Poppy Cat, based on the book series by Lara Jones, models the use of imagination and storytelling to encourage creative thinking in viewers.  Each episode features the narrator Lara, reading a story about Poppy Cat, to her own cat (who is also named Poppy).  She weaves an exciting tale following her imagination, which leads her to distant lands reached by boat, plane, hot air balloon or train.  Each story features Poppy Cat, as the leader of a group of animal friends, a resident bully Egbert the badger, and other occasionally recurring characters.  A prevailing message emerges within each episode to be nice to your friends and always work together.  There remains an overarching implicit message within every episode as well: think creatively and exercise your mind through reading and storytelling – for these activities always lead to enjoyment and adventure.

Tree Fu Tom
Saturday’s 12:30 PM
In each episode, Tom (live-acted) comes out of his house’s back door, puts on a power belt, and runs across his lawn into a woodland. In there is the tree with Treetopolis on, protected by a magic shield. Using the power belt he jumps up, shrinks to insect size as he flies into the tree, and enters the world of Treetopolis, where he has adventures. He is skilled in that world’s magic, and often gets characters out of scrapes. The tree’s sap is shown as a glowing orange magic liquid. Sometimes he has to call on “the big world” for magical help: he tells the audience to make particular magical moves and then say particular words to “send the magic to me”. The magic is shown as orange stuff appearing from around the camera and flying at Tom, who collects it in his arms in a ball, and uses it for whatever he needs it for. The movements which the audience are called on to make, are particularly beneficial for the development of children with dyspraxia.

The scenario includes magical “hoverboards” (called “leafboards”).  At the end he flies up, and out of the tree’s magic field, reverts to full human boy size, lands, runs out of the wood and across his back lawn, jumping over a bicycle lying on the lawn, and in through his back door.

The series was developed in conjunction with the Dyspraxia Foundation with the aim of promoting movement. Foundation specialists Sally Payne and Dr Lydia Foulder-Hughes worked with the series creators to develop the movements Tree Fu Tom uses to create magic. Five percent of children have dyspraxia, and these movements are similar to those used by occupational therapists to help child development. It is also hoped that the spells will help get exercise into the lives of young children.

 Regularly scheduled programming through WHO-HD Channel 13.2 (Iowa’s Weather Channel) that is Educational and Informational for children 13 – 16 years old:

Animal Rescue
Saturday’s 7AM
Animal Rescue is a weekly half-hour reality series showcasing spectacular rescues of all types of animals. The series focuses on the dedicated people around the world who help sick injured or abused animals. The program also instructs children on the proper care of animals and provides safety tips on how to care for all kinds of creatures in the animal kingdom. The show is aimed at children and families who want to learn about animal treatment, care and protection.

Dog Tales
Saturday 7:30 AM
Dog Tales showcases dogs and dog lovers of all types, providing valuable information about canine health, training, grooming and overall dog care as well as lessons on the responsibility of owning a dog. The show also provides informative segments on various dog breeds and show cases various veterinary experts explaining different issues affecting canines. The series also includes recommended reading lists about dogs, and promotes children’s writing and creative skills with essay and art contests.

Pets.TV
Saturday’s 8AM
Pets. TV is a television program that provides educational and informational segments exposing the target audience of young viewers to everything Pets. The upbeat contemporary presentation relates pets to their lives and interests. Pets from everyday to the unique are showcased with educational information that shares how they evolved to become pets and their geographic origins. Professionals share personal experiences of featured animals and/or related products. In these segments the excitement and love of working with pets is expressed. The motivational and inspirational message of each guest empowers audiences of all ages to pursue more information and education about everything pets.

Missing
Saturday’s 8:30AM
Missing is a weekly half-hour reality series featuring actual cases of missing individuals, both adult and juvenile, from across the United States. Assisted by local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, each episode includes interviews with friends, family and investigators involved with the case. We visit the missing individual’s last known whereabouts and provide viewers with all the relevant facts to increase public awareness in hopes of locating the missing person. The program includes tips and information to keep children safe.

Biz Kid$
Saturday’s 9 AM
Biz Kid$ is a weekly half-hour series focusing on financial literacy and entrepreneurship for teens, targeting 13 to 16-year-olds. Using a mix of strong financial education tools, dynamic sketch comedy, and inspiring true stories of young entrepreneurs, Biz Kid$ provides important information for future success. Each episode features math, language arts, and social studies as well as teaching teens about money and business.

The Real Winning Edge
Saturday’s 9:30AM
The Real Winning Edge is a weekly half-hour television series that meets the educational and informational objectives of the FCC’s Children’s Programming requirements for children ages 13-16. The program highlights adolescents and young adults making the right choices when faced with tough decisions and significant challenges. Recognizing that 13 to 16-year-olds are likely to be influenced by celebrities, the series features role models from the professional sports and the entertainment industries. Each episode is engaging, entertaining and educational in structure, presenting a powerful and positive message.

 

Regularly scheduled programming through WHO-HD Channel 13.3 (Antenna TV) that is Educational and Informational for children 9 – 14 years old:

Safari Tracks
Saturday’s 8 & 8:30 AM
Safari Tracks is a program with content grounded in the natural world and delivered using an approach that, while entertaining to a young audience, highlights the informational and educational aspects of the animal kingdom in the given environment of Africa. There is no question that an audience of young people would gain worthwhile information and concepts delivered with an enlightened attitude toward nature and the environment. Viewers receive topic points that help build the ethical decision-making necessary to becoming a citizen of the planet.

The data delivered in the episode reviewed, “The Need for Speed,” includes the groundspeeds attained by more than ten species and other information about predation and survival patterns in the wild. The information about specific species is not delivered in isolation but in the context of the ecosystem of the habitat. This is recognized as an important frame for information by virtually all recommended educational strategies.

The program consists of an engaging host, appropriately African, who offers an easygoing, natural look at animals that are exotic outside of the African continent. From the start, the host references terms in his native African language, a valuable acknowledgement of the multicultural world in which today’s children must live. The language level for the narration is at a sheltered middle school level. It presumes a vocabulary that is not beyond advanced upper elementary students. The program’s references to and explanation of the predator-prey relationship, the endangerment of natural habitat and species by human activity, and the relatively low survival rate of some animals, are an educational frame for the subject matter of individual animal characteristics. There is no inappropriate personification of the animals—too often a temptation when presenting material for young people—which keeps the material appealing to middle school and above. There is no comedic exploitation of animals in the footage. Neither is there oversimplification of any key concepts. The references, tone, and presentation all hold true to a line that serves its categorization as educational. The series lends itself to respect for the natural world and initiates discussion of issues relating to that world and encourages drawing of conclusions based upon information presented.

The program basic content consists of animal footage taken in the wild, a narration, and a score that features engaging regional musical. Musical accents are from more traditional genres but are effective in holding attention to the fast moving video clips. The program is edited with attention to the visual demands of today’s young media viewers. There are fast paced segments, attention-supplementing music tracks, and arresting video content, such as a man in an open vehicle fending off an angry ostrich charging at 45 miles per hour.

The program includes a final segment in a sardonic tone that serves as reinforcement and review of the material covered in the program.

Example:
Question: When you see a giraffe, should you grab its leg?
Answer: No, as we told you, a giraffe with a single kick can even kill a lion.

These questions and review are a commendable component of the program design. It would be particularly effective for parents watching the program with their children. It lends itself to interaction between the parents, the program content, and the student-aged viewer. Programs that reinforce meaningful television viewing among family members are commendable for broadcast.

Summary:
Target audience for tone, program content, and learning concepts:

  • Middle and high school (ages 13-16)
  • Not inappropriate for upper elementary grades
  • Content, including predation discussions, might be too strong for primary aged students, although it would not require particular screening or advisories. The footage does not require traditional flagging.

General Category of Learning:  Life Science

Underlying Science Content Standards addressed:

  • Functions in ecosystems
  • Environment and adaptive characteristics
  • Data and comparison of characteristics across species
  • Adaptation of structure and function for survival

Secondary-specific science content standards addressed (examples drawn from the California State Science Content Standards, Biology/Life Sciences – Grades Nine Through Twelve):

  • Ecology: Stability in an ecosystem is a balance between competing effects. Students know biodiversity is the sum total of different kinds of organisms and is affected by alterations of habitats.
  • Students know how fluctuations in population size in an ecosystem are determined by the relative rates of birth, immigration, emigration, and death.
  • Students know how to distinguish between the accommodation of an individual organism to its environment and the gradual adaptation of a lineage of organisms through genetic change.
  • Students know why natural selection acts on the phenotype (physical organism) rather than the genotype (genetic code) of an organism.
  • Students know variation within a species increases the likelihood that at least some members of a species will survive under changed environmental conditions.
  • Students know how natural selection determines the differential survival of groups of organisms.
  • Students know a great diversity of species increases the chance that at least some organisms survive major changes in the environment.
  • Students know reproductive or geographic isolation affects speciation.

 Animal Atlas
Saturday’s 9, 9:30AM, & 11:30AM
The Common Core State Standards Initiative, an attempt to set national curriculum that would bridge standards cross the states, was recently released by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State Officers. Both organizations would be happy to find Animal Atlas playing on a family‟s television set. Many of the goals for students in the targeted ages of 13-16 are underpinnings for this series, which delivers content as an entertaining, humorous, and fascinating look at the animal kingdom.

Family Matters, like all the reviewed Animal Atlas episodes, matches the pace and attention style of its target audience. More than 23 examples of cats are shown in little more than a minute of as the narrator runs through the characteristics of the animal family Felidae (cats). More than 21 different members of the dog family, Canidae, grab viewers in the same period of time. It is just enough time to get pulled into the topic. The episode goes on to do an excellent job of unveiling taxonomic animal families with a vibrant blend of animal faces, unusual physical characteristics, and diet. The episode gives the view much more than the familiar lions, tigers, pandas and giraffes. There are rock hyraxes, Maine wolves, okapi, spectacle bears, unusual foxes, red pandas, babyrousas, and thumb-sized bats. These are not just fascinating animal faces: there is content here.

Contrasting the characteristics of dog and cat families is done with visual punch, appropriate terminology, and surprising revelations. For example, the link between form and function in the biological life of these animal families is done with humor, clever visuals, and a sense of whimsical awe. The narrator, Eric Schwartz, does a tremendous job maintaining a tone of total fun. But beneath it all is age-appropriate vocabulary building with terms like digitigrades, carniform carnivores, hominids, and many others engagingly explained in the simple way that only great images can do. Each revelation builds upon the last, and the viewer is pulled along with the strategy of a successful video game.

The After the Dinosaurs episode confirms the tone and pace of the series. It is built around the fascinating revelation that all animals today had family ancestors that coexisted with dinosaurs—people, no, but mammals yes. Brought in as evidence are Komodo dragons, emus, gavials, naked moles, tamarins, and many more fascinating faces. The use of split screen is both clever and convincing when the series makes its points. The nicely done matching of animal shots makes comparisons simple—and dramatic. The framing of the cassowary as a dinosaur descendent is wonderful piece of eye and mind candy—and a perfect example of how Animal Atlas is both entertaining and educational. It makes masterful use of the narration and the visual. Along the way, as the episode makes its points, we learn the number of bird species (10,000+), mammal species (4,000+), the largest North American mammal (bison), and the importance of going beyond looks in placing animals in the right family (e.g., pinnipeds). The series, for all its great visuals, makes it clear that what a viewer sees in the animal world must be compared and contrasted to find a deeper level of fascination and fun. Learning along the way is inescapable.

Finally, there are two common series elements that have been established as favorites. The interstitial quizzes build critical thinking, not simple recall. And they keep you there during breaks. Last in each episode are cleverly engineered “out takes” from the animal footage. They are fast and laugh-out-loud funny. Animal Atlas retains its remarkable ability to entertain without condescension.

Summary:
Target audience for tone, program content, and learning concepts:

  • Middle and high school (ages 13-16)

General Category of Learning:

  • Life Sciences
  • Biological sciences
  • Thinking skills

Content Standards Applicable in the Animal Atlas series:

Content standards were pulled from the Common Core State Standards Initiative for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and technical Subjects (http://www.corestandards.org/), published in June 2010 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6–12 (condensed):

  • Key Ideas and Details> Determine the central ideas or conclusions; provide an accurate summary distinct from prior knowledge or opinions. Grades 6-8
  • Key Ideas and Details> Cite evidence to support analysis of science explanations> Determine the central ideas or conclusions; summarize complex concepts, processes, or information presented by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms. Grades 9-10, 11-12
  • Craft and Structure> Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context. Grades 9-10
  • Craft and Structure > Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas. Grades 11-12
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas> Translate quantitative or technical information expressed in words into visual form. Grades 9-10
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas> Distinguish among facts, reasoned judgment based on research findings, and speculation. Grades 6-8
  • Integration of Knowledge and Ideas> Compare and contrast the information gained from experiments, simulations, video, or multimedia sources with that gained from reading a text on the same topic. Grades 6-8

The Coolest Places on Earth
Saturday’s 10AM
“The Coolest Places on Earth” is an exploration of cities (both modern and ancient), natural wonders, and cultural history, heavy with engaging content, fast-paced editing, and the accessible, conversational narration we have come to expect from Bellum Entertainment. The series’ tone, information, and rich factual content reaches and serves the target 13-16-year-olds with a style that informs, supports, and encourages the kind of engaged thinking that have emerged from the Common Core State Standards. These standards, now adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia recognize the importance of engaging, relevant information about the world young people live in. This series’ episode also touches key points in the National Geography standards.

Each program features a minimum of three different locations, each separate geographically and historically. In the reviewed episode, which covered more than six locations, including contemporary New Zealand, historical Savannah, Georgia, and Sassi di Matera, Italy. The range of context in the episode’s highlights is focused and diverse, allowing fascinating history and culture—pirates, ghosts, caves, and ice hotels in the reviewed episode–and striking contemporary visuals that put the information in context. For 13-16-year-olds, this matches neatly with the National Geography Standards (Geography for Life). The standards want to equip young people with knowledge, perspectives and information to engage in “Earth’s diverse cultures and natural environments.” This program does that nicely while supplying stories to hold the mind of the viewer. The “coolest places on earth” are defined by history and culture, not just by the striking visuals that accompany every segment. Beyond geography, it covers food, art, architecture, music, and cultural events like festivals.

This is not just a sightseeing program. The visit to the Savannah graveyard is given a historical context. The growth of piracy off North American waters is given economic perspective as well as intriguing details. The trip to New Zealand is not just delivered for the beauty of the islands, it’s given the story of the jet boat system that makes for such exciting motor speed. Unfamiliar locations in Italy, Canada, and Finland are fascinating but shown within the meaningful context of temperature (the ice hotel), human habitation (the caves), and economy (a luxury accommodation in a grounded 747 in the Costa Rican jungle). The rapid pace of the episode segments makes the program very sticky—hard to pull away from.

This is exactly the desire of the National Geography Standards whose topical goals are “Asking and Answering Questions About the World” and “Knowing About the World: Geographic Content Knowledge”. If the episodes of “The Coolest Places on Earth” make these standards seem fascinating, it’s because geography is fascinating. It just needs a context to prove it, and that is what makes good television such an impressive tool in reaching older students. And any program tapping the richness of the world’s geography, history and culture will also reach and engage adult audiences.

It rare to find a show as visually engaging and rich in content as “The Coolest Place on Earth.” It touches interesting topics such as pirates and the supernatural without pandering and brings context to the planets most arresting geography. Bellum continues to earn its reputation as a producer of enriching, engaging content for 13-16-year olds.

Education Summary
Target audience for tone, program content, and learning concepts:

  • Middle and high school (ages 13-16)

General Category of Learning:

  • Geography
  • Common Core State Standards (grades 8-12)*
  • History-Social Science (grades 8-12) *

*There is no Common Core State Standard specifically for history, social science, or geography, however this series addresses Common Core State Standards Initiative for English Language arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies for grades 9-12. The specific History/Social Science standards are drawn from the History-Social Science Content Standards for the state of California. They are representative of most general history social science standards.

Content Standards Applicable in the Coolest Places on Earth series:
Common Core

Research, Evidence, and Point of View

  • Students frame questions that can be answered by historical study and research.
  • Students distinguish fact from opinion in historical narratives and stories.
  • Students assess the credibility of primary and secondary sources and draw sound conclusions from them.
  • Students detect the different historical points of view on historical events and determine the context in which the historical statements were made (the questions asked, sources)

Historical Interpretation (grade 8, California State History-Social Science Content Standards)

  • Students explain the central issues and problems from the past, placing people and events in a matrix of time and place.

Historical Research, Evidence, and Point of View (grade 9-12, grade 8, California State History-Social Science Content Standards)

  • Students distinguish valid arguments from fallacious arguments in historical interpretations.

Historical Interpretation (grades 9-12)

  • Students show the connections, causal and otherwise, between particular historical events and larger social, economic, and political trends and developments.
  • Students interpret past events and issues within the context in which an event unfolded rather than solely in terms of present-day norms and values.

On the Spot
Saturday’s 10:30 AM
The opening sequence from On The Spot boldly lays claim to a wide range of education and information topics: Transportation, Geography, Technology, Culture, Environment, Government, Money, Sports, Food, Art, History, Music, Science, Math, Health, and Language. Then, in the thirty-minute program that follows, it delivers the goods. It succeeds in making a program that is essentially information-based engaging to the targeted 13-18 year-old audience. It succeeds through the strategy of an extremely fast-paced presentation linked with eye-catching visuals, a pounding soundtrack, and an amazing array of information glued together by a genial, self-amused narration. It is a perfect match for the 21st Century learner. The information comes at the viewer like potato chips—you can’t seem to take just one and it is impossible to put down the remote.

The visuals cuts are a fast, visually arresting 2-3 seconds long yet the narrative is not rushed. It pulls the viewer in with information reasonably covered at the secondary school level (and therefore accessible to the general public), but is a long way from the didactic presentation in a textbook. Try pulling away from questions like these: Can smiling cause happiness? Can someone detect a smile during a cellphone call? What is the loudest animal? What are the happiest professions—and the unhappiest? Or turning away from facts like these: There are ten million desert locusts in a swarm, 19 billion chickens on earth, and a running cheetah is faster than a racing sailfish in the sea.

Despite the enormous amount of information, the tone is never salacious or sarcastic but maintains a sense of basic wry astonishment at the workings of the world. For the target audience, this is important. Too often shows appealing for attention from this group outside school rely on snarky attitudes or comfortable stereotyping. On The Spot keeps a good distance from either of those approaches.

Education Summary:
Information is the beginning of knowledge creation and the episodes in On The Spot manage to deliver a great deal of information very quickly in an interesting way. Mainly, the show is entertaining and it is not hard to imagine that this program and the popcorn nature of its fast moving content would be equally appealing to adults. The mood, tone, and open quality of the program makes viewing it as much fun as watching a good game show. But it moves faster than a game show—perfect for young viewers in the mid-21st Century.

Target audience (13-18 year-olds) for tone, program content, and learning concepts:

  • Middle and high school (ages 13-18)

General Category of Learning:

  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Economics
  • Physical Education
  • Music
  • Language
  • Health

Content Standards Applicable for On The Spot

Common Core
The Common Core Content Standards (adopted by all but four states) at the current date are outlined for English Language arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and technical Subjects (http://www.corestandards.org/ published in June 2010 by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.) They address core learning standards but not yet all specific subject areas. A comparison of the Common Core elements “Key Points” below make the educational and information value of On The Spot clear.

Key Points in English Language Arts:

  • Speaking and Listening: The standards require that students gain, evaluate, and present increasingly complex information, ideas, and evidence through listening and speaking as well as through media.
  • Language: The standards expect that students will grow their vocabularies through a mix of conversations, direct instruction, and reading. The standards will help students determine word meanings, appreciate the nuances of words, and steadily expand their repertoire of words and phrases.

Key Points in Mathematics

  • The standards stress not only procedural skill but also conceptual understanding.
  • The high school standards call on students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real world issues and challenges; they prepare students to think and reason mathematically.
  • The high school standards emphasize mathematical modeling, the use of mathematics and statistics to analyze empirical situations, understand them better… Quantities and their relationships in physical, economic, public policy, social and everyday situations can be modeled using mathematical and statistical methods

Research and media skills blended into the Standards as a whole

  • To be ready for college, workforce training, and life in a technological society, students need the ability to gather, comprehend, evaluate, synthesize, and report on information and ideas, …and to analyze and create a high volume and extensive range of print and non-print texts in media forms old and new. The need to conduct research and to produce and consume media is embedded into every aspect of today’s curriculum.

Reading Standards for Information Text 6-12

  • Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Speaking and Listening Standards for 6-12

  • Interpret information presented in diverse media and formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively, orally) and explain how it contributes to a topic, text, or issue under study.

Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6-12

  • Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media
  • (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem. Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Family Style with Chef Jeff
Saturday’s 11 AM
Family Style with Chef Jeff does not lay out its learning objectives and it doesn’t have to–it has them throughout the program. Bellum has taken an engaging cooking program for adults and given it several layers that work for delivering real information for teens in the 13-16-year-old audience.

The first layer is a series of informational graphics that appear frequently throughout the episode. When an alligator steals a catch alongside the Chef’s small boat, we are reminded of the nature, weight, and length of the predatory reptile. When a local catch, a black drum fish, is brought in for the meal we are given its protein and fat percentages. Understandably, this information would be of equal interest to informed adult eaters.

The second layer is the meaningful inclusion of a target audience peer in the food preparation. From the grocery store to the stove, the teen is involved. The teen delivers information but also asked questions—frequently questions viewers of any age would have—for example, what exactly is “Swiss” chard? This is a great device to clarify information the host takes for granted.

The third education and information layer is the choice of the host, Chef Jeff. It is difficult to find an adult genuinely excited about his field who can speak to a 13-16 year-old audience without being condescending or pedantic. Chef Jeff plays the role of knowledgeable friend more than the role of teacher—less Mr. Wizard and more Dr. Who. The young person in the kitchen immediately becomes an honorary chef, and is so addressed by the host. He pours the olive oil, slices the beets, added the clam juice. While Chef Jeff does the heavy lifting in meal preparation, his instructions benefits both the co-host and the adults among us who could also a little help in preparing meals. Those valuable information graphics give the viewer exact information about temperature and time, spices, and the history that makes the meal more exciting. In the end, it is the teen that gives the ingredient summary.

Education and Information Summary
In both tone and content, Family Style with Chef Jeff leaves target audience viewers with critical information about health and health literacy and models for food preparers, food preparation, and the food itself. It is an episode that proves a cooking program can be a genuine asset for education and information.

Education Summary:
Target audience for tone, program content, and learning concepts: • Middle and high school (ages 13-16) General Category of Learning: • Health Literacy • Health • Life Sciences Content Standards Applicable in the Family Style series: Model State Standards The majority of states are moving state educational standards into a uniform Common Core State Standards model. But because there is no Common Core standard for health, the recently revised “Health Framework for Schools Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve” will be used. It is from and published by the state department of education in California, where the program Family Style with Chef Jeff is produced. The following goals and expectations are judged shared by the program Family Style with Chef Jeff.

Health and Health Literacy Standards Supported by the Program

From Content Area Preface:
“Good health is not simply a matter of luck or accident; it involves taking responsibility and making deliberate choices.”

“To be ready to learn and to achieve their fullest potential, children need to have …an adequate supply of healthy foods and the knowledge and skills required to make wise food choices.“

“We need to teach youngsters that they must take charge of their health—all of their lives…. And we must do more than teach; we must set an example… “ (quoting—C. Everett Koop, M.D. )

From Resources for Health Education, Standards met by Family Style with Chef Jeff:
“…augment classroom activities and assist teachers with the integration of nutrition- or food-related activities [including]:

  • Providing assistance with mathematical calculations of the nutritional values of foods
  • Developing consumer education skills, such as reading labels
  • Increasing respect for other cultures and the foods of those cultures”

 

High School Subject area (selections)

Grade-level concepts and content and expectations

  • Making healthy food choices in a variety of settings
  • Establishing and maintaining healthy eating practices
  • Analyzing how food choices are influenced, including how a busy schedule influences food choices
  • Students will understand and demonstrate how to play a positive, active role in promoting the health of their families
  • As high school students become more skilled consumers, they need to be able to understand the factors that influence the cost, quality, availability, and variety of food in the marketplace locally…To be skilled consumers, students also need … nutrition information
  • Adapting recipes to make them more healthy by lowering the amount of fat, salt, or sugar and increasing the amount of fiber

From Middle School Expectations (age 13)

  • Use valid nutrition information to make healthy food choices
  • Develop basic food-preparation skills, including sanitary food preparation and storage
  • Use critical-thinking skills to distinguish facts from fallacies concerning the nutritional value of foods
  • Adapt recipes to make them more healthy by lowering fat, salt, or sugar and increasing fiber.
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