KERA At-Home Learning Toolkit: Fall 2020

At-Home Learning
With thousands of North Texas students learning at home due to COVID-19 — while thousands more are attending schools — KERA is providing educational content and resources to help teachers and parents keep kids active and learning, whether lessons are presented in-person or online.

We are also providing large collections of enriching activities and information on child development to help children and parents stay engaged and learning at any time. There are links to services and resources to help with emotional, mental health, financial and other personal needs to assist with family discussions about important issues in the community, including race relations and COVID-19.

TOOLKIT SECTIONS


▸ DISTANCE TEACHING & LEARNING

Teachers and parents who are educating North Texas students outside of a traditional classroom face many challenges as they work to create lessons that are rigorous, engaging and relevant. KERA is here to help. Find lessons and resources in all subject areas for young learners and older students — whether taught at home, over a computer monitor or in a classroom — as well as links to virtual training, advice from other teachers and more.

For Teachers (And Parents Who Are Teaching)

So many teaching resources: PBS LearningMedia

PBS LearningMedia is a FREE collection of more than 30,000 videos, lessons, activities, games, background reading, discussion questions and other resources to enrich lessons and challenge students to dig deeper on assigned topics. Resources are available in all subjects for all grades, PreK-12. Many materials come from great PBS shows like NOVA, Nature, American Experience, Sesame Street and Arthur, to name just a few. Resources are aligned to the Texas PK Guidelines and the TEKS teaching standards.

You can get acquainted with LearningMedia content areas by clicking on “Subjects” in the bright blue bar at the top of the page. Examples include:

▸ Earth and Space Science and Life Science
▸ U.S. History and World History
▸ K-8 Math and High School Algebra
▸ ELA Writing and Literature

NEW! 8-week lesson planning kits from PBS LearningMedia

PBS’s new Teacher Planning Kits for New School Routines are loaded with resources for creating lessons online and in person and are packaged for planning eight weeks out. The result is a downloadable, 21-page trove of ideas and materials for elementary or secondary grades. Lessons often pair PBS educational videos and/or live TV shows with online activities, discussion questions, etc., that teach the same theme. The kits are part of LearningMedia’s PreK-12 Resources for New School Routines.

PBS will release five planning kits through the school year, about every eight weeks. Each will have a bonus section on a specific theme – it’s Elections and Civic Engagement in the first kit. It has dozens of videos, lesson plans, interactives and more for all grade levels on civic engagement and elections. One highlight is the very fun interactive PBS Electoral Decoder, which teaches about the Electoral College and lets students track results of prior elections and predict the outcome for 2020.
You can also bring in lesson plans and other materials, including information on voting in Texas, from KERA’s Elections Toolkit.

How to use PBS LearningMedia like a pro:

▸ LearningMedia has created several short tutorials with tips for using this great resource. Give them a try! They will have you searching for content by grade level, language and subject area and then organizing your favorite resources into folders to assign to students or share with other teachers or parents.

▸ Anyone who creates lessons or completes assignments can create an account. This gives you quick access to free TEKS, tools for organizing content, a Google Classroom interface and more.

Be sure to check out these PBS LearningMedia gems, too

▸ LearningMedia also has created a collection of at-home learning resources called PreK-12 Resources for New School Routines that includes videos, lessons, activities and other resources along with professional learning supports, lesson planning kits and more. The collection will be updated through the fall.

▸ There’s also a collection of at-home learning resources in Spanish!

▸ Check out the recording of “Tips for Distance Learning with PBS LearningMedia” for tips on virtual learning technologies, tools and hacks to teach virtually with confidence.

▸ LearningMedia also has lots of pages to download and print. Check out this instruction sheet (PDF) to learn how to search the repository for printables like a pro.

▸ PBS also has recordings of several FREE virtual webinars with an emphasis on fun, engaging and free tools for classrooms. The sessions cover topics ranging from social-emotional skills to finding student voices to teaching the Civil War. The collection includes the recent series “Tools for Anti-Racist Teaching,” in case you missed it.

Math matters for all grades

Find activities, games, interactive lessons, videos and other resources to reinforce key math skills for Kindergarten – Algebra I. We curated the resources to support math lessons that aired on KERA Channel 13 in summer 2020 in a unique partnership between KERA and the Dallas Independent School District. Dallas teachers created the lessons from home to make sure students did not fall behind after schools were closed due to coronavirus in the spring. We’ve saved the resource page so students can keep fine tuning their math mastery through the school year!

Also check out Math Can Take You Places, a curriculum resource created by KERA using videos, lesson plans and activities to teach key math concepts. You’ll find many references to Texas icons like the Dallas Mavericks and Six Flags. Most materials are in English and Spanish. It’s for grades 3-6 and is aligned to the TEKS.

Even more teaching resources

The PBS Teachers’ Lounge blog posts new essays each week on trending topics, written by teachers for teachers.

KQED Teach has a wide range of free, hands-on professional learning sessions for teachers focused on Digital Media. You can take individual courses or work toward a PBS Media Literacy Educator Certification that many districts recognize for training credit. KQED is the NPR and PBS member station in Northern California.

Common Sense Education has ratings for educators and parents on digital educational tools and children’s media. There’s also a page called WideOpenSchool with distance learning tools and tips for five grade bands between Pre-K and grade 12. Content in English and Spanish.

▸ The KERA Learn newsletter delivers resources, ideas and links directly to educators’ inboxes. You can sign up right here.

For Littlest Learners (PK-Grade 3)

PBS Kids Television

Education for kids ages 2-8 begins with high-quality PBS Kids TV shows aligned to curriculum goals – from science and math, to literacy and life lessons. This downloadable PDF tells the learning goals for each show.

You can watch PBS Kids several ways on KERA:

▸ From 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. over the air on KERA Channel 13.1. Find the schedule at kids.kera.org.
▸ Our 24/7 schedule, which is available over-the-air on Channel 13.2 or by streaming on any device on KERA Kids.

Online activities, games and videos for learning

▸ PBS chooses two shows each week on the 24/7 channel (KERA 13.2) for parents to watch with children and discuss a learning spotlight. You can see a guide to those spotlights for each week in October right here (PDF).

▸ PBS also makes printable Learn Along Bingo activity sets available that align to the theme of each week’s learning spotlight. Find those sets here. The sets come in English and Spanish.

▸ You can also find activities, games, videos and more fun linked to each show on KERA Kids so kids can practice skills they learn on the shows. Once you are on the site, click on or touch the Channel 13 or Channel 13.2 Watch schedule, then touch the titles of your favorite shows to get the extra resources.

Research has shown that children learn more deeply if they learn a skill through several experiences, from lessons to videos to activities and games. Many activities can be downloaded and printed, too.

PBS Kids apps

PBS Kids also has dozens of free educational apps (PDF en español) that teach math, reading, social-emotional learning, science and more while kids have fun playing engaging games. There’s also a page with all PBS Kids apps that you can search by skills taught, TV shows and child’s age.

Resources based on favorite shows

PBS LearningMedia also has great teaching and learning resources for early grades – always free and aligned to Texas teaching standards. Look for content from popular PBS shows like Sesame Street and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood for social-emotional learning and literacy, Peg+Cat and Cyberchase for math, Hero Elementary and Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That for science, Wild Kratts for nature and science, Molly of Denali about using informational texts and many, many more.

For Older Students (Upper Elementary, Middle & High School)


▸ PBS LearningMedia also has great content for middle and high school. Check out collections of videos, lesson plans, activities, discussion questions and more from such sources as Ken Burns documentaries, NOVA, Nature and It’s Okay to be Smart for science, American Experience for U.S. history, Frontline for current events documentaries, Masterpiece, Shakespeare Uncovered and American Masters for literature. Plus, you will find special resource collections like Math at the Core: Middle School for math in all domains.

Also, Above the Noise videos discuss current topics – from COVID-19 to arts — in terms that resonate with teens. (Tip for using LearningMedia: Always check the Support Materials tab. This is often where you will find lesson plans, discussion questions, teaching tips, activities and more resources to deepen students’ learning.)

KERA has created toolkits and lesson plans with resources to help you teach about a range of topics, from personal finance to figures in the arts. You might start with the 2020 elections, using our lessons and resource on the Electoral College, debates, political parties, voter registration and more!

iCivics is a rich site of free, creative interactive games and lesson plans to help students learn about government and civic life. iCivics is a nonprofit founded by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to teach about American government.

The PBS NewsHour has created a distance learning site of lesson plans and other resources to help you bring current events into your lessons.

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▸ FAMILY & COMMUNITY LEARNING

This section has enriching activities and connections to community resources to help children and parents stay engaged, learning and connected to their community. There’s also a section on parenting and child development to help parents with younger children.

Be My Neighbor Day 2020

KERA’s popular Be My Neighbor Day is back this year – in a virtual format that includes a Tigerrrrific challenge for kids to show what it means to be a good neighbor by submitting their artwork or family videos. View details here about entry deadlines and to learn about plans for a full afternoon of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood episodes in October!

Family viewing night!

Make weekend evenings Family Viewing Nights with special lineups of favorite PBS Kids shows. Each week, PBS presents a new lineup to run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, at 6-9 pm. Watch on KERA Kids 24/7, which is available over-the-air on Channel 13.2 or by streaming on any device at kerakids.org. Check schedules through January (PDF).

PBS Kids Learn At Home

PBS Kids for Parents has added a fun new Learn at Home stockpile full of educational activities — like crafts, printables, articles and games — for children ages 2-5 and ages 6-8. Each collection explores a different theme and the themes will change each month. For October, they will include Let’s Build, Being Kind, Celebrating Fall and Let’s Vote!

One fun feature is downloadable, printable Learn Along Bingo sets that include a bingo card and activities for kids to complete and mark off squares on the card. You can find a bingo set right here for each age group within each theme. Available in English and Spanish.

PBS Kids For Parents


Learn At Home is just one collection of curated resources available on PBS Kids for Parents. It’s an extensive website with tips, articles, printable pages, activities and much more for learning at home with young children, including occasional special virtual events.

▸ Keep your child engaged and learning with monthly printable calendars of fun things to do at home each day. Tap here for the October lineup of activities. Calendars will be updated each month.

▸ Sign up for the PBS Kids for Parents newsletter to get weekly updates on curated resources, including video content, digital games, DIY activities and parent-directed information to support in-home learning.

Join KERA parents on Facebook

Join us in the Summer Learning Challenge group on Facebook!

Every summer, KERA’s Summer Learning Challenge provides a wonderworld of activities, events, reading recommendations and other adventures to help children continue learning and growing while school is out. But the fun doesn’t end in August — KERA’s Community Engagement team keeps the conversation, activities, information and ideas going throughout the year in the Facebook group.

Even if your family hasn’t done the Challenge before, you’re invited to join!

Fun at home with the Perot

The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is sharing videos and activities from its fun “Amaze Your Brain at Home” collection. Tap here to start learning about critters, plants, space science, engineering, fossils and more!

Librarian-recommended reading

Each month, the Dallas Public Library and KERA team up to create virtual carousels of books the library staff recommends on chosen themes, such as heroism, mystery & museums, anti-racism, school experiences and more. The books for October explore Halloween, with a bonus section on elections and voting.

We will update the carousels periodically, so check back for new reading suggestions.

Parenting & child development

The Learn & Grow feature on the PBS Kids for Parents site is a great resource for parents and caregivers of children ages 2-8. You’ll find descriptions of development levels in seven key areas — emotions & self-awareness, social skills, character, literacy, math, science and arts — along with activities and tips to help children grow in each of those areas.

Sesame Street in Communities is a big, remarkable collection of tools to help parents enrich the lives of children during their first six years, a time of critical brain development. The resources deal with topics ranging from early math and literacy to fitness and nutrition to serious topics such as divorce and food insecurity. Particularly relevant now are the resources on health emergencies, health & hygiene, offering comfort, resilience, self-care, traumatic experiences and community violence. In English and Spanish.

▸ Also check out Sesame Street‘s Caring for Each Other toolkit. It contains resources specially chosen by your friends on the Street to help families play, learn and breathe deeply together during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parenting Minutes are short and helpful videos for parents about early childhood and raising kids. Topics include healthy eating, sharing emotions, parenting strategies, setting routines and more. You’ll also find parenting tips and links to more free resources and information — available in English and Spanish.

Start Smart Texas is a free early learning program that sends texts (in English or Spanish) to parents and caregivers on child development, literacy, math, family health and more for children from birth to age 8. You can sign up by texting LEARN to 274448 or using this form.

▸ The Road to Readiness tool provides colorful “roadmaps” for the top 10 skills children need to start school successfully in Pre-K 4, Kindergarten and grades 1, 2 and 3. Skills include early literacy and math, social-emotional development, motion and coordination, health and hygiene and more.

Road to Readiness also links to resources for food, financial help and other needs. The tool is from our partners at Best Place for Kids in Fort Worth.

▸ The KERA Full STEAM Ahead newsletter delivers educational resources and inspiration to parents’ inboxes. Sign up here.

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▸ COMMUNITY WELL-BEING

2020 has been a hard year for families across North Texas with the COVID-19 pandemic, protests over racism and racial justice and economic losses. These resources will link you to help with mental and emotional health, financial relief and conversations on race with children, as well as unbiased news reporting on developments with the pandemic.

Well-Beings

The new national Well-Beings multimedia project provides a forum for teens to discuss needs and issues around mental health using storytelling and informational posts. This rich and growing site shares stories, insights and information from people around the country and invites participation through social media posts.

Alliance For Child & Family Solutions

Alliance for Child and Family Solutions, or AFCS Texas, provides mental health counseling services to individuals, couples, families, siblings, children, adults, seniors and anyone in need. AFCS can connect patients with local providers or with counselors who use teletherapy. Free telehealth services are available to people who are struggling financially due to COVID-19. The website is in English and Spanish.

KERA’s Emotional & Mental Health Toolkit

Browse KERA’s Emotional & Mental Health Resources toolkit, specially curated to help parents and caregivers explain worrisome events to children and teens. There are also guides for how to help kids de-stress and build resilience and empathy.

KERA Helps

The KERA Helps tool lets you search for nonprofits, agencies and organizations that are working to help people in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. From public support to food pantries to educational resources to health services, the searchable tool links you to providers across North Texas. In English and Spanish.

KERA’s Protests, Race & African American History Toolkit

This Toolkit For Conversations On Protests, Race And African American History contains resources curated by KERA to help parents, teachers, students and others reflect on issues related to race, racism and America’s racial history — and hold informed conversations to advance understanding in North Texas communities.

KERA News’ COVID-19 coverage

Stay informed about COVID-19 with ongoing, trusted reporting by KERA News and NPR on the pandemic’s impact in North Texas, the state and the country.

For quick-hit updates, follow the newsroom’s COVID-19 blog.

NPR’s Life Kit

Life Kit is a podcast from NPR designed to help parents and other adults keep daily life on track with advice from experts. The long list of topics includes getting enough sleep, saving money and parenting. Several recent podcasts have addressed ways to cope during the pandemic, too.

Talking To Young Children About Race & Racism conversation kit from PBS

The Talking to Young Children About Race and Racism conversation kit is a valuable collection of tips and resources that PBS is building for parents and children around this complex, crucial topic. The content includes articles, book recommendations, videos such as “Arthur on Racism: Talk, Listen, and Act” and links. New content will be added throughout the fall.

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More At-Home Learning Resources

Check out our lineup of materials from the last half of the spring 2020 semester here.