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The Electric Company is back! Read more


Winning a spelling bee was never one of my accomplishments. Reading didn’t come naturally.  Writing stopped me from getting straight A’s. Nouns, adjectives, prepositions, past, present, and future tenses, adverbs--all of them seemed like gibberish to me. I felt like I was taking a foreign language. I’m sure all my teachers and friends were very surprised when I told them I wanted to write books. It was never a shock to me, because although I wasn’t the best at these subjects, I’ve always enjoyed them and I was a great story teller. I had an imagination that could turn any simple journey into an unforgettable expedition, and books are the fuel that keeps my fire burning. 
I remember begging my mom to sign me up for a book club that would send me books in the mail every month. It was something I looked forward to every month.
When I arrived to college, my reading, writing, and language arts skills were still lacking. If you could have seen any of my written work, you would have thought paper could bleed; I had so many red marks on them. I did have one teacher who saw past all the grammatical mistakes and that could actually understand my writing, though. At the end of my junior semester at Penn State University, that special teacher told me that I should think about becoming a writer because all of my reflection papers were extremely detailed and he thought I had a gift. So I guess you could say that’s when the thought of becoming an author first entered my mind. 

In 2002, I was blessed with triplets, two boys and one girl. In 2005, a thought crept into my head, “Why don’t you write a book about your triplets?” I could accomplish several things through one task. I would create a book for my children giving them something they can look back on later in life, and I could target parents and caregivers giving them several of my pleasurable appealing games. Everyone has their own method of teaching, but I have found it easier to teach kids when you
make it fun.

Here are a few activities I’m sure children will fall in love with and not realize the subtle learning
that is hidden within. I have used these activities to encourage my own children to read and write stressing the importance of literacy.   

Phonemic Awareness -  Alphabet Sound Book

Phonics - Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

Fluency - Family T.V. Time, Musical Reading, Little Lunch Letters

Vocabulary Development - Word of the Day (or week), Descriptive Words, From Words to Sentences, Dictionary Fun

Reading Comprehension - Breaking News, Create a Card Catalog, Family Book Club

Fun Writing Activities - Shopping for Words, My Menu of Choice, Writing Wabbits

Paperless Activities – Concentration, Road Words

To see a complete description and other activities please visit my website.

As you will see, most of these activities are hands-on and interactive. We even make our book club interactive. We read a book of choice, answer questions about the story, and then finally we connect the story with an activity. I think it is very important that kids physically engage in learning. And so I try to teach my children to read a book before they turn on the television. However, I have found some interactive exciting shows like The Electric Company. This thought provoking, interactive, mystery-filled show will keep the attention of kids of all ages.

As an advocate for literacy, I believe literacy is the key to success. No matter what you want to be when you grow up, you must learn to read and write. Without that it will be a difficult task to follow direction or instructions, and I can’t think anything that doesn't have instructions. Literacy will bring about its own independence that we all need. And although literacy has been my weakest attribute, it never stopped me from pursuing my dream.

Writing not only has allowed me to leave my children with something special, but has also allowed me to touch the lives of so many families. If I could leave kids today with any encouraging words I would say, “Just because you’re not good at something doesn’t mean you should stop trying.”  Remember the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away?” Well, I believe if students read each day it will help their knowledge stay. Keep reading and writing with your students, and you never know, I may be reading one of their books to my grandchildren one day.

KLRN is giving away an autographed copy of Helen Darling’s book, Hide-n-Seek Monday. To enter, send an email with your complete name, school, and daytime phone number to Deadline to enter is Jan. 16, 2009. Winner will be notified the
week of Jan. 19.

Comments on the Spotlight? E-mail us at

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DVT Channel

The Electric Company
Airs Fridays at 5:00 p.m. beginning Jan. 23, 2009 on KLRN Channel 9 / KLRN-DT 9.1 HD

Television’s iconic series, The Electric Company, delivers a jolt of literacy and charges a new generation when it launches on KLRN on Mon., Jan 19, 2009 with a special two-hour sneak peek marathon from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., before it settles into its regular weekly timeslot on Fridays at 5:00 p.m. (beginning January 23). Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, powers up this new version of one of television’s most beloved children’s series.
The Electric Company
is a multimedia literacy campaign charged with reducing the literacy gap between low and middle income families and advancing the idea that “reading is cool.”
The show will be supplemented with a richly interactive online environment at and community-
based outreach activities.

Martha Speaks
Airs weekdays at 3:30 p.m. on KLRN Channel 9 / KLRN-DT 9.1 HD

Based on the children's book series by Susan Meddaugh and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, this animated series stars Martha, a beloved family dog who is accidentally fed alphabet soup—giving her the power of speech and the chance to speak her mind to anyone that will listen. Aimed at young viewers ages 4-7, Martha’s educational goal is to teach children new words. With two stories in each episode, kids will get to know Martha as an outspoken, honest, smart, confident dog who loves to eat (and talk!). They will also meet the rest of Martha's family and friends, including ten-year-old Helen, who is Martha's best friend. Martha encourages the shy, artistic Helen to be more outgoing and brave. Helen acts as the voice of reason for Martha, and it's a relationship any dog, or pet-lover, can appreciate. The series is supported by an educational outreach campaign that includes a cross-age reading buddy program. The show is closed captioned and described for the visually impaired.
It's produced by WGBH Boston and Vancouver's Studio B Productions.  

Word Girl
Airs weekdays at 4:30 p.m. on KLRN Channel 9 / KLRN-DT 9.1 HD

WordGirl is a new animated series that follows the every day life and superhero adventures of “WordGirl” as she fights crime and enriches vocabulary usage, all in a day’s work. Disguised as mild-mannered fifth-grader, Becky Botsford, WordGirl arrived on planet Earth when she and her monkey sidekick, Captain Huggy Face, crashed their spaceship. In classic superhero form, WordGirl possesses superhero strength with the added benefit of a colossal vocabulary. WordGirl has a family and friends who have no idea of her secret identity. As WordGirl, she battles and prevails over evil (albeit ridiculous and comical) villains. Each episode introduces four new vocabulary words and will reinforce their meaning in a variety of fun and interesting contexts throughout the episode. WordGirl enriches young audiences’ vocabulary, closes the gap for those who don’t grow up in language-rich environments, instills a love of language, and fosters better reading comprehension.


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PBS TeacherLine of Texas

PBS TeacherLine of Texas

Have you thought about taking an online course, but wondered if online learning is right for you?
PBS TeacherLine of Texas offers a FREE Orientation Course, "Practice Learning Online with TeacherLine" to prepare for online learning.

At the end of this course, you will be familiar with:

  • The importance of time management and the self-discipline required to be a successful
    online learner.
  • Skills for navigating course content quickly and efficiently.
  • Strategies to improve the quality of your participation in an online learning community.
  • Where to go for help.
  • Resources available through PBS TeacherLine.

*In order to take the course, you must first join PBS TeacherLine. Click to Join for free.

PBS interviews Directors of Instructional Technology, Bruce Ellis (Dallas Independent School District) and Miguel Guhlin (San Antonio Independent School District) about the PBS TeacherLine programs they've implemented in their districts.

PBS TeacherLine courses are approved by the Texas State Board for Educator Certification (SBEC) and count towards required CPE hours.

District course licensing and ELL/ESL courses are now available!
For more information:, 512-232-9406.

Special station pricing is available for individual course registrations. Call Malinda McCormick at
210-270-9000 ext. 2251 or e-mail, to register for your course at lower rates than nationally advertised!

PBS TeacherLine Courses

If you’ve never taken an online course, now is the time! PBS TeacherLine's high quality, standards-based graduate-level courses offer teachers the professional development opportunities in an accessible online format that makes learning fun, flexible and collaborative. Earn training or graduate credit while gaining strategies and resources to bring directly to your classroom.
Fall Term courses are open for enrollment, so browse our catalog to choose the one that's right
for you! Below are two favorites:

Teacher Favorite = Teacher Favorite
Classroom Link = Classroom Link

RDLA125 Children's Authors on the Web: Online Sites that Motivate Students to Write Teacher Favorite
Subjects: Reading/Language Arts, Instructional Technology, Instructional Strategies
Grades: Kindergarten-6th
Hours: 30

Discover the power of author studies to motivate students to read and write. This course uses a problem-based approach to teach the techniques of conducting an author study integrating technology and the Internet. Explore author and other Web sites to collect resources that will introduce your students to many genres.

RDLA220 Teaching Writing in the Content Areas
Subjects: Mathematics, Science, Reading/Language Arts
Grades: 6th-12th
Hours: 30

You can bring writing into your classroom in all content areas with a practical plan developed in this course. Covering the research basis for writing across the curriculum, the course will help you teach students effective writing processes, including finding the time to write. You'll learn sound techniques for evaluating writing skills and discover proven ways to promote writing to students.

PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection

Get Connected!
In the drive to improve teaching practice and student achievement, many schools and districts are turning to instructional coaches to support school-wide improvement and enhance classroom
practice. Coaches require high level resources and professional development so they can lead the way in reform initiatives and deliver on specific district instructional and student performance goals.
At PBS TeacherLine, we support professional development from the classroom forward. Our new
PBS TeacherLine Peer Connection service will help you build a customized, practical professional development program for your teachers by providing sustained and targeted support for coaches.

PBS Teachers

Lesson Plans and other resources for the classroom

Are You a PBS Teacher? Join PBS Teachers Connect!
You are if you use digital media to teach! Sign up and join thousands of classroom teachers, home educators, media specialists and professional development providers who use PBS and public media resources to engage students. When you register, you will receive:

  • Access to select PBS resources
  • A personalized page with resources aligned to your subject & grade
  • A customized local station program schedule
  • A 10% discount coupon for PBS Shop for Teachers

Sign up now at:
Look at what educators are talking about in Language Arts in PBS Teachers Connect:

Join Today


KLRN Connect

KLRN Connect

Click and Engage
Log-in to KLRN Connect and start using these great classroom resources today! (In order to view you must be logged in to KLRN Connect)
Not a subscriber of KLRN Connect? Click here


Ensure Your Teachers are Associated with the Correct School
Do you have teachers that moved to a new school within your district over the summer months? 
How do you ensure their KLRN Connect usernames and passwords are assigned to the correct schools? One way is to shuffle them from one school to another. In the past, this required someone with administrative access, but that is not the case anymore!  Teachers can
shuffle themselves from one school to another - in five easy steps. They are as follows: 

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the Passcode Login tab 
  3. Enter the new school's passcode  (get the passcode from your school’s
    admin or email
  4. Enter in your existing DE streaming username/password 
  5. Click the login box

PowerPoint link that walks you through the steps above - screenshot by screenshot.
Want to Get More Involved with Your Use of KLRN Connect in the Classroom?
Click here to go to the KLRN Connect page or click on the links below. Login required.

Getting Started: Step-by-Step is a new site that provides easy to follow instructions for new users to help them log-in, learn the functionality of DE streaming and/or DE Science, and encourage them to use it frequently.  With videos, training resources, integration ideas and professional development opportunities, Getting Started was built and packaged for you to pass right along to your teachers.

Get more involved with your use of KLRN Connect in the classroom with these fantastic Language Arts teaching tips from Discovery Education streaming.

 Are you new to KLRN Connect or do you need a refresher? Try the online Getting Started Guide

Click here to go to the page in KLRN Connect or click on the links below. Login required.

Prewriting: A Visit to the Fire Station
A segment of Discovering Language Arts: Writing (Grades K-2)

Singular and Plural Nouns, Regular and Irregular Nouns
A segment of Pendemonium: The Ink on the Sphinx (Grades 3-5)

Discovery Educator Network Webinar Series

The Discovery Educator Network (DEN) is a global community of educators passionate about teaching with digital media, sharing resources, collaborating, and networking. With over 25,000 members providing professional development to over 250,000 educators worldwide, the DEN connects teachers both on-line and in-person. Discovery Educators have exclusive access to a wide range of resources, professional development activities, networking opportunities, exclusive Discovery Educator events and more!

Voted the best professional development website in 2007 by the Association of Educational Publishers, this website is a place to connect to other educators across the globe. Here, all users can read the blogs and discussion boards. Discovery Educators (any educator that has a Discovery account) have the ability to comment on the blogs, post to the discussion boards, and register for Discovery Educator Network events.

***NEW Webinars Series from PBS Teachers in the New Year!***
PBS Teachers Live! brought to you by KLRN, PBS Teachers and Elluminate

 Are you looking for ways to incorporate digital media into your teaching? PBS Teachers is introducing a series of free monthly webinars that provide information about integrating online instructional resources in the classroom to engage students in curriculum lessons. The PBS Teachers Live! webinar series features presentations by leading education experts, authors, or producers of PBS programs who will share their knowledge and ideas on using digital media to
create rich learning experiences for students.

Join us on Jan. 28 at [7 p.m. CST] for “Changing Views of History, Changing Views of Race,” with our speaker, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. In this discussion, you’ll learn how Americans' understanding of and attitudes toward Lincoln, African American history, and culture continue to evolve, and ways to approach this topic with your students. Dr. Gates’ latest documentary Looking for Lincoln, which premieres in February, addresses many of the controversies surrounding Lincoln about race, equality, religion, politics, and depression by carefully interpreting the evidence from those who knew him and those who study him today. Dr. Gates, who has earned numerous academic and social action awards, is the Alphonase Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

 Mark your calendars for:

What: Changing Views of History, Changing Views of Race

Who: Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

When: Jan. 28, 2009 at 7 p.m. CST

Where: Online. Login information will be emailed to you prior to the webinar.

How: FREE! Sign up to become a PBS Teacher and enjoy access to PBS Teachers Live! webinars and more.

 Click here for more information and to register. Registration entitles you to free membership in PBS Teachers and access to all its services, including PBS Teachers Connect, an online learning community where preK-12 educators can collaborate with their peers, discuss digital media use, and “save” online instructional resources. PBS Teachers members also receive discounts to ShopPBS for Teachers.

Media Infusion

From the Archives of Media Infusion

PBS KIDS IslandLet the Games Begin: Promoting Early Reading Skills with PBS KIDS Island by Gina Montefusco
Learning to read can be scary – for both kids and parents. Kids have to contend with letters, sounds, and words, while their parents are handed terms like “phonemic awareness” and “alliteration.” It isn’t easy for anyone to make sense of all the new information. But reading doesn’t – and shouldn’t – have to be an intimidating process that turns off all but the most gifted students. With online games, kids are introduced to new skills in a light-hearted, silly way, allowing them to learn at their own speed and stay engaged. Everything from the alphabet to phonemes can be fun. Really. We promise. Continue reading is a weblog that explores how new technology and Internet culture affect how educators teach and children learn. It will offer a continuing look at how new technology such as wikis, blogs, vlogs, RSS, podcasts, social networking sites, and the always-on culture of the Internet are impacting teacher and students' lives both inside and out of the classroom. also wants to hear from you, and welcomes your participation on the site and your feedback.

Looking for more? Try PBS Teachers Advanced Search

1. Enter Your Search Term


2. Choose Types of Resources

Select the types of resources you are interested in finding.

  • Lesson Plans
  • Offline Activity/Project
  • Online Interactive/Activity
  • Audio/Video Clips
  • Shop PBS Products (cannot refine by subject or grade)
  • Recommended Non-PBS Links (cannot refine by grade)
  • Recommended Non-PBS Books

3. Refine by Subject and Grade

The resources I see should match the following concepts where applicable.

  • All Subjects
  • --OR--
  • The Arts
  • Reading & Language Arts
  • Health & Fitness
  • Math
  • Science & Technology
  • Social Studies
  • All Grades
  • --OR--
  • PreK
  • K-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-8
  • 9-12

More Resources

Poetry Everywhere
WGBH and David Grubin Productions, in association with the Poetry Foundation, undertook this project in order to expose a diverse audience to a broad spectrum of poetic voices, build an appreciation and an audience for poetry, and increase the presence of poets and poetry within the two most ubiquitous media in American popular culture–the Web and TV. Featuring: Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and many more, Poetry Everywhere is designed to take a fresh look at poetry using a variety of production approaches.

Resource Provides First-of-its-Kind 21st Century Skills Classroom Example

The National Council of Teachers of English and the Partnership for 21st  Century Skills have released the 21st  Century Skills and English Map, which provides educators with teacher-created models of how 21st  century skills can be infused into English classes.

The map - which demonstrates how the integration of 21st century skills into English curriculum supports teaching and learning and prepares students to become effective and productive citizens in the 21st century - highlights the critical connections between English and 21st century skills.
By providing lesson examples that combine core skills like critical thinking, creativity and innovation with interdisciplinary themes (civic, economic and entrepreneurial literacy and global awareness),
the map provides concrete examples of how to align teaching and learning to the demands of the
21st century. For more information and to access the map, visit

Wings Over the Alamo

The Wings Over the Alamo Educator’s Guide— Teachers interested in San Antonio History
in their lessons on Texas history will find the Wings Over the Alamo documentary
produced by KLRN to be packed with a lot of great information surrounding San Antonio’s
long history in military aviation.

Visit the Wings Over the Alamo website!

Want to be a member (of the Facebook PBS & KLRN fan pages)?

PBS is on Facebook

KLRN is on Facebook


Early ON Family Event
Meet Sesame Street’s “Walk Around Grover” and share in fun family activities with Early ON’s free educational event on Sat., Feb. 7, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at South Park Mall, 2310 SW Military Dr. Families can enjoy literacy-based learning activities, music, and lots of give aways. This event is free and open to the public. Visit or contact Elisa Resendiz at 210.270.9000, ext. 2246 or for more information.

Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest

It’s almost time for your students to get their pencils sharpened and their crayons ready!
KLRN’s 15th Annual Reading Rainbow Young Writers and Illustrators Contest runs from
Jan. 12, 2009 to April 3, 2009.

The Contest provides the perfect opportunity to encourage young writers in kindergarten through third grade to create and illustrate their own stories. Official entry forms (required) and complete contest rules will be available at local H-E-B stores and online beginning Jan. 12. All participants will be invited to the Celebration of Writers, where they will receive a certificate and fun give-aways.
Prizes for the top three finishers in each grade category (Kinder – Third) include Dell Laptop Computers (first place), LeapFrog Learning Systems (second place), and Reading Rainbow Gift Packs (third place). Questions? Contact Lisa McGrath at 210.270.9000, ext. 2254.

Rick Bayless: One Plate at a Time Food Drive
Did you know that nearly one out of every four children and one out of every five adults in Texas lives in poverty and has difficulty meeting basic nutritional needs?

 That’s why KLRN is holding the Rick Bayless: One Plate at a Time Food Drive in conjunction with Broadway Bank. We hope that your school will consider supporting our effort by conducting a food drive at your campus this February. The San Antonio Food Bank reports that the number of families they help with services has doubled from last year.  Food donations are down with decreases from local and national donors. This is your chance to help local families struggling to place food on
the table. 

 Collection containers and a toolkit are available to assist you in planning and conducting your drive. All participating schools will be recognized on our Food Drive’s website. Additionally, the top elementary, middle, and high school that bring in the most pounds of food per student will receive a $250 PBS Gift Certificate for their libraries (courtesy of Broadway Bank). To register your campus as an official food drive site, please complete a participation form (available online at or call 210.270.9000, ext. 2251. The deadline to register your campus is January 23. 2009.

Remember that together, we can all make a difference.

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Article written by: Helen Darling

Read her biography!

Would you like to write an upcoming Spotlight article? Contact:
Malinda McCormick
Director of School Services