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January 1&15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Watch and Learn
Culled from video reviews over the past two years (from the September 1, 2009, issue of Booklist through the June 2011 Booklist Online Video Review newsletter) is this list of 25 recommended titles that fit into various areas of the curriculum. The wide-ranging topics include civil rights history, cyber bullying, drugs, freshwater biomes, Shakespearean characters, and much more. Titles are arranged under the headings Younger (PreS–Grade 3), Middle (Grades 4–8), and Older (Grades 9–12). See the grade level following each title for specific grade suggestions.
Animals Rock with Lucas Miller! Monarchs, Metamorphosis, and More! 2009. 42min. Victory, DVD, $18.95. PreS–Grade 2.
“Singing Zoologist” Lucas Miller entertains an audience of children in this upbeat production that blends live-action shots, animation, a minimovie, a music video, and performance footage to introduce the monarch butterfly.
Drawing Media. 2009. 24min. Getting to Know, DVD, $29.95. K–Grade 4.
In this animated offering, with voice-over by youthful narrators, budding artists are introduced to basic drawing materials and techniques. This classroom resource manages to cover fairly sophisticated skills in a kid-friendly fashion.
Earth Day. 2010. 12min. Schlessinger, DVD, $29.95 (9781417109456). Grades 1–4.
First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is still a call to action and also serves to promote green practices, including recycling, planting trees, and practicing conservation. This Holidays for Children series title offers concrete suggestions for contributing to the day.
Explore Coral Reefs. 2011. 45min. Dive into Your Imagination, DVD, $19.95. PreS–Grade 4.
This latest Dive into Your Imagination series entry introduces coral reefs. High-definition footage from international locations features close-ups of dolphins playing, razor fish swimming upside down, cuttlefish laying eggs in a shell, and other activities near a coral reef.
Families of Afghanistan. 2010. 25min. Master Communications, DVD, $29.95 (9781604801118). Grades 1–4.
This latest video, part of the ongoing Families of the World series (other titles spotlighting families in Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, and Mexico, among other countries, are recommended as well), visits two families in Afghanistan.
Number Beats. 2010. 101min. TV Teacher, DVD, $24.95. PreS–Grade 1.
“TV teacher” Miss Marnie demonstrates how to write numbers in this upbeat instructional in which convenient chapter selections allow viewers to focus on one digit at a time before moving to more complex topics, including compound numbers.
Sing and Learn English. 2010. 27min. Master Communications, DVD, $29.95 (9781604800944). PreS–Grade 4.
This program teaches English by pairing onscreen words and multicultural songs to footage of children in familiar settings. Kids visit parks, stores, and other sites as they demonstrate common actions and situations.
Steps4Kids to Write Modern Manuscript. 2010. 1.5hr. Steps4Kids, DVD, $24.95. K–Grade 2.
For schools where handwriting is taught, this excellent instructional shows kids how to write modern manuscript letters and help transition to cursive letters.
Dropping In on Renaissance Artists. 2011. 20min. Crystal, DVD, $29.95 (9781562906573). Grades 4–6.
Reporter Puffer drops in on an art student in Florence, Italy, where the two explore Renaissance artists Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Blending humor with solid art history, this animated program, like other series titles, including Dropping In on Andy Warhol, Dropping In on Grandma Moses, and Dropping In on Grant Wood, introduces art in a kid-friendly way.
Edgar Degas. 2010. 22min. Getting to Know, DVD, $29.95 (9780984366835). Grades 4–6.
This colorful and engaging animated biography of painter-sculptor Degas is narrated by a cartoon version of the artist himself. Shown painting on a stage among dancers preparing for a performance, Degas tells his life story, including information on his influences, travels, education, and friendships with other artists. Other titles in this popular Getting to Know series introduce Andy Warhol, among other artists.
Exploring Freshwater Biomes. 2009. 14min. Visual Learning, DVD, $79.95 (9781592344338). Grades 3–6.
A nicely shot instructional that begins with a definition and explanation of the importance of freshwater biomes. Expressive voice-over narration, excellent nature shots, and captions augment the coverage. Additional titles ($79.95 each) introduce other biomes, including desert and forest.
If the World Were a Village. 2010. 25min. Master Communications, DVD, $29.95 (9781604800821). Grades 3–6.
Based on David J. Smith’s book (2009) of the same name, this educational DVD asks children to imagine the world population as a village of 100 people. Voice-over narration invites viewers into a colorful animated village and offers statistics about ages, religion, nationality, and other demographics.
A Simple Question: The Story of STRAW. 2010. 35min. Filmmakers Collaborative SF, DVD, $29.95. Grades 4–8.
After a fourth-grade class watched a film on threatened species and a student asked how their class could help, STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed) was born. This inspiring program showcases classroom efforts in which students planted trees and helped restore a creek-side habitat.
StarShine Workshop: Internet Safety. 2011. 13min. Rising Star Education, DVD, $39.95 (9781936086948). Grades 3–6.
The Internet is a place where kids need to practice safety, and this brief program, covering Internet safety essentials in an upbeat, age-appropriate manner, is a good discussion-prompter in classrooms and homes.
We’re Just around the Corner. 2011. 15min. MarshMedia, DVD, $79.95 (9781559426046). Grades 5–6.
This revision of an earlier title of the same name introduces youngsters to puberty and reproduction in a careful, reassuring manner.
The Wild, Wild Web: A Student’s Guide to Preventing Cyber Bullying. 2010. 26min. Intermedia, DVD, $89. Grades 5–8.
Classroom scenes, advice from experts, and kid-friendly music and dance are an integral part of this informative, entertaining, and timely program that introduces and analyzes cyber bullying, highlighting the anonymity of the aggressor and vulnerability of the victim while offering strategies to prevent abuse.
The Characters of Shakespeare. 2009. 23min. Schlessinger, DVD, $39.95 (9781417109395). Grades 7–12.
Introduces specific information about Shakespeare’s dynamic characters and stimulates thinking about character development as a literary device through short clips, hosts’ commentary, and frequent captioned quotations. Other series titles ($39.95) acquaint viewers with language and key passages in the bard’s plays.
Coming Out: What Every Teen (Gay and Straight) Needs to Know. 2011. 23min. Human Relations Media, DVD, $139.95 (9781555488758). Grades 8–12.
That homophobic bullying is sexual harassment and illegal is emphasized in this well-produced program that introduces teens who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Two experts offer information and definitions of relevant terms, including sexual orientation and coming out.
English Composition: Research, Drafting, and Citing. 2009. 16min. Cerebellum, DVD, $49.98 (1-58565-3-1-2). Grades 8–12.
Sampled from a six-part series that “lays the foundation in analyzing, outlining, and composing,” this program teaches students how to research topics, draft a composition, and cite sources, concluding with information on writing and revising.
Let Freedom Ring: Moments from the Civil Rights Movement, 1954–1965. 2009. 100min. Films Media, DVD, $169.95 (9781608259946). Grades 9–12.
Television news anchor Lester Holt hosts this compilation of NBC news footage and interviews that highlights key events in the civil rights movement, beginning with the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Interviews with key players pair with personal recollections.
Straightlaced: How Gender’s Got Us All Tied Up. 2010. 67min. New Day, $100. Grades 8–12.
In this thought-provoking program, 50 teens representing varied high schools and ethnic groups speak out on body image, sexuality, and stereotypes. There are stories of support and stories of harassment, and teen viewers will spot themselves or their friends in these frank portrayals.
Stopping the Pain: Teenage Self-Injury. 2009. 20min. Human Relations Media, $139.95 (9781555488123). Grades 7–12.
A sensitive and informative program featuring four teens discussing their experiences, sharing feelings, and telling how they recovered from addictive forms of self-injury, including cutting, burning, and head banging. Includes suggestions on replacing self-injury with healthy coping skills.
Tales from the Prom: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. 2009. Human Relations Media, DVD, $139.95 (9781555488147). Grades 9–12.
Chapter selections, including “Peer Pressure,” “Sexual Assault,” and “Alcohol Poisoning,” allow students to access topics in this “honest look at the risks and rewards of prom night.” Conversations with teens touch upon potential prom-night situations.
The Truth about Drugs. 2009. 1.5hr. Bridge, DVD, $20 (9781403174291). Grades 8–12.
Eleven drugs are examined in brief, fact-filled segments in this hard-hitting program that introduces the consequences of drug use. Young adults (mostly in their twenties) bluntly describe their drug experiences and adverse consequences and subsequent addictions.
You Are Not Alone. 2010. 28min. MarshMedia, DVD, $89.95 (9781559425872). Grades 6–10.
Offering reassurance and practice advice to middle- and high-school students with learning disabilities and other challenges, this straightforward program includes interview segments interspersed with footage of ethnically diverse youngsters interacting with peers. Includes advice about social cues, friendship-making skills, self-confidence, and more.
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