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March 19, 2013

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Sesame Workshop Partners with IICF to Support Literacy

By Graydon Gordian


Literacy. It’s been at the heart of Sesame Workshop’s mission since Sesame Street began airing in 1969. We’re continually spreading our message of laughter and learning to new countries and utilizing emerging technological platforms to educate American preschool children. All the while, literacy remains a central element of Sesame Worskhop’s curriculum, no matter where or how a child is seeing our educational material.

That’s why we’re excited to partner with the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation whose National Early Childhood Education Initiative focuses on literacy for young children, particularly those in underserved communities around the U.S. The partnership will develop a program that provides children, parents, caregivers, and facilitators with tools to support young children’s development of essential literacy skills around rich conversations, reading, and writing. This program will provide rich and engaging opportunities for IICF Volunteers. Read More

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March 06, 2013

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Reaching Out to the Families Who Need Sesame Most: A History

By Susan Tofte


Fire Safety, disaster recover, serious illness, healthy eating habits, and divorce. All of these topics have been covered as part of Sesame Street’s long and diverse history of outreach initiatives. When Sesame Street first aired in 1969, there were significant obstacles to Sesame Street reaching children in poor communities – the very children the show most wanted to reach. Meeting this challenge became the Workshop’s first outreach program. Read More

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February 25, 2013

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The History of Academy Award Winners on Sesame Street

By Joe Hennes


Over 43 seasons, Sesame Street has featured hundreds and hundreds of famous actors.  Due to the law of averages, a certain percent of those actors will have gone on to receive a coveted Academy Award statuette.  And it seems that those averages are correct, because a lot of Sesame’s famous friends have an Oscar on their mantle.

Just last night, at the 85th annual Academy Awards, Anne Hathaway won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance of Fantine in Les Miserables. Hathaway stopped by Sesame Street a few years ago to sing “I Want a Snuffy for Christmas” with her pal Big Bird. Now you can add her to the long list of Oscar winners who count Big Bird and the rest of the Sesame Streetgang among their friends. Read More

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February 22, 2013

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2005 Doesn’t Seem Like That Long Ago…

By Jason Milligan


Jason Milligan is the Creative Director of Sesame Workshop’s Innovation Lab.

“Kids won’t know what that is!”

It wasn’t the first time I heard Sesame Workshop Curriculum Specialist Sue Scheiner say that, but this time it threw me a bit. We were reviewing Elmo’s World episodes to include in Season 2 of Kinect Sesame Street TV. Sue was referring to a camera. The camera was an old fashioned black box with a huge flashbulb attached. And one old fashioned camera in Mr. Noodle’s hands wouldn’t have mattered so much if any of the cameras in the piece looked and worked like current cameras do. But they didn’t. They were clunky film cameras and video cameras with tapes. There was a scene in which a kid takes film to a store to have it “developed.”

Not one person in the entire episode took a picture with a phone, or was able to immediately show Elmo his image on the back. The way today’s kids experience digital photography (often on smart phones) is completely, utterly, totally different than it was only a few years ago, apparently when this episode of Elmo’s World was made in 2005. Seriously. I checked the air date. It freaked me out a little. The same way it freaked me out when my niece pointed to a phone booth in a video and asked my sister what it was. Or when I explained to my kids how television used to show programs at certain times of day and you couldn’t pause or rewind or even decide which show you wanted to watch right now. Sue is right. Kids don’t know what those things are. Some Sesame content will always be relevant. Ernie will always be able to sing about the joys of bathing with his Duckie. C will always be for Cookie. But not this.

We couldn’t use Elmo’s World: Cameras. It was simply out of date.

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February 21, 2013

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Thank You, Mrs. Obama

By Big Bird


Big Bird is an 8’2″ tall resident of Sesame Street. He wrote the letter, below.

 

Dear Mrs. Obama,

Wow! What a great time I had visiting you at The White House! Thanks for showing me around. I especially liked when we snuck into the White House kitchen for a healthy snack! (Most people think I eat a lot, but really I eat like a bird!).  But my favorite part of our visit was getting to exercise by running and jumping and dancing around – right there in the White House!

Maybe next time you can come visit me at my home on Sesame Street again. My nest doesn’t have a West Wing, but I do have two wings that can’t wait to give you a big hug when I see you again!

Your feathered friend,

Big Bird

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February 19, 2013

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Have Questions About Divorce?: Ask Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby!

By Graydon Gordian


When going through a divorce or separation, parents and children have a lot of questions. Young children are often confused and parents are often uncertain of how to explain such a challenging transition. On top of that, if parents and children have questions, it’s not always clear where they should look for answers.

Luckily Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby and her friend Rocio Galarza, Senior Director of Outreach and Content Design for Sesame Workshop, are here to help. On Wednesday, February 20, Abby and Rocio will be taking questions about divorce and separation from parents, children, friends and anyone who has questions about staying resilient while navigating a divorce or separation.

Email us at divorce@sesame.org and Abby and Rocio will record an answer to your question in a video segment that will be posted online next week. In addition to your question, please include your name, age (if you wish) and your hometown so we can give say hello if your question is picked. We will also write you back directly if Abby and Rocio have the opportunity to answer your question.

Let your friends, family and colleagues know too! Everyone is welcome to send in a question. We can’t wait to hear from you.

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February 15, 2013

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Cookie Monster or Grover: Who Spoofed it Better?

By Dan Lewis


In October of 2010, everyone’s favorite, lovable, adorable, furry pal Grover took to YouTube to explain the word “on.” His adventure began in a shower, took him to a boat, and ended up on a horse cow.

And last year, Cookie Monster, the vociferous cookievore himself, showed us that everything — even eating cookies! — is better when you share.

Cookie Monster or Grover.

Call Me Maybe or the Old Spice Guy.

Who did it better?

You decide:

online poll by Opinion Stage

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February 13, 2013

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‘The Story of J’: Sesame Street’s First Animation

By Susan Tofte


Susan Tofte is Sesame Workshop’s Archivist.

It is hard to imagine Sesame Street without the delightful animations that teach things like letters, numbers, emotions and problem solving. Animations have been a part of the show since the pilot episodes. But back in 1969, the idea of using a series of short animations to act like “commercials” for letters and numbers was a true innovation.

When Joan Ganz Cooney created her proposal for an educational television show, she envisioned borrowing the techniques used in making TV commercials to help teach counting and literacy. Joan and the producers knew that kids were attracted to commercials on TV. What they didn’t know was whether they could successfully create short commercial-like segments for the show that would actually teach to the curriculum. Read More

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February 07, 2013

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Sesame Street’s Science Books Come to Life in the Classroom

By Graydon Gordian


Teaching children about science, technology, engineering and mathematics, known as the STEM subjects, is an imperative we here at Sesame Street take seriously.  STEM is not just a major part of the television show’s curriculum; Sesame Workshop makes print books, e-books, and mobile apps aimed at teaching young children about STEM.

Teaching STEM is a passion of ours, which is why we approached Ridgefield Academy in Connecticut to see if any of their teachers wanted to use our book Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends, published by Dover Publications, in the classroom. That’s when we were introduced to Jerry Nash, a science teacher a Ridgefield who saw a way to take this teaching opportunity a step further.

He had his eighth grade students at Ridgefield Academy film the first graders who conducted the experiments. Then he had a group of third and fifth graders do a voice-over for an instructional science video he made. We were blown away by the time and effort Mr. Nash put into bringing Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends to life. We wanted to feature a few clips from the video (see above) in the hopes that teachers and parents might be inspired to think about new ways they can make science fun and relevant for young children.

If you would like to learn more about Ridgefield Academy and the great educational work they do, click here. If you want to get a copy of Simple Science Experiments with Elmo and Friends, click here. And Mr. Nash wanted to let you know if you have any questions about his approach to teaching science, you can reach him here.

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February 05, 2013

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Tackling Divorce: Dr. Joanne Pedro-Carroll on Sesame’s Little Children, Big Challenges Initiative

By Dr. Joanne Pedro-Carroll


JoAnne Pedro-Carroll is a clinical and research psychologist and author of the award-winning book, “Putting Children First:  Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce.” She serves as a lead advisor to Sesame Street for Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce

Today, there’s an important conversation taking place at Sesame Streetanother important conversation in a thoughtful and penetrating series that has taken place behind the scenes here over the past several years. Those conversations culminated in Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce. Read More

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