Teaching Tolerance with ARTHUR

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Here’s a great feature at the Southern Poverty Law Center on teaching tolerance with our new ARTHUR AIM project.

The AIM Buddy Project is a supplemental social and emotional learning curriculum that uses interactive media, the characters from ARTHUR, and cross-grade buddy pairs. Students partner with a buddy to work on interactive comics and games that focus on five important topics –empathy, honesty, forgiveness, generosity, and learning from others.

As buddy pairs engage with the ARTHUR characters they talk about and reflect on things like feelings, perspective-taking, and problem-solving.

To discover the ARTHUR AIM project for yourself, go to PBS LearningMedia.

 

Moral Education!

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Our very own Gentry and Cyrisse, along with Lacey Hilliard from the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University, showed off our latest collaborative work for ARTHUR at the 42nd Association for Moral Education Annual Conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

This presentation showed the creation, implementation, and evaluation of a supplemental elementary school curriculum designed to promote character and civic engagement through interactive media and cross-age buddy pairs.

The project has five interactive games and comics based on characters and storylines from the television series Arthur and focused on promoting empathy, honesty, forgiveness, generosity, and learning from others, validated with an evaluation in a nine-school comparative and longitudinal research study.

The content will be published very soon at PBS LearningMedia and is led at GBH by Mary Haggerty, Director of Media Engagement.

Arthur Hits 20

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Arthur’s Top 20 celebrates 20 years of ARTHUR being on the air.

This collection of minigames reaches deep into the vaults of ARTHUR lore. Henry Skreever books! The lucky pencil! Thelma the singing bass! Not to mention, Yamlet! (Ah, we knew you well…) These and many other classic items are featured in a variety of simple-yet-challenging games to test a player’s reflexes, logic — and nostalgia.

The first eight minigames are up, with six more launching next Friday, and six more the following Friday, for a total of — you guessed it — 20 mini games.

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So visit the site, play the game, test your skills (with games featuring the green potato chip, Sharky, Wally, and more) and enjoy saying, “Oh, yeah, I remember that!” 

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Fabulous work from Gentry, Jeff and Jolin.

Huzzah for the Aardvark!

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Fresh from his time in the Internet’s headlights as a meme, Arthur has been recognized by Parents’ Choice for his website which this year went through an awesome redesign and added some great new games.

The award review:

Everyone’s favorite aardvark, Arthur, has a website that is just as fun and quirky as he is! The PBS Kids Arthur website is filled to the brim with entertaining and educational games, activities, and printables designed for preschoolers. And, because the material changes periodically, users could, literally, spend hours on the website and always find things to do.

During our review period, my son became a Treehouse Designer as he helped various characters design the inside and outside of their treehouse based on key adjectives; for example, Binky wanted an “artsy” treehouse, so my son got to pick and choose the furniture and accessories that he believed met that description. This gave us an opportunity to discuss adjectives and how they are used. He also used the Lunch-o-Matic with the Brain as he selected items to complete healthy lunches for his friends. This was a great way to talk about not just which foods are good choices, but why. The game taught him about vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and more – much more than the standard “What are the food groups?”

Beyond the game-style activities, children can also create comic strips, write poems, and send letters to Arthur and his friends. All of these activities offer opportunities to practice early reading and writing skills in a fun and safe venue. Another activity, which we particularly enjoyed was Family History Fun in which he created and conducted an interview about how I grew up, what my family was like, what my favorite items were, and so forth. He then added a picture, designed the layout and printed his work.

In addition to the website’s long-term play and learning values, we greatly appreciate that the instructions for nearly all the games and activities on the website are narrated and/or illustrated. This allows children to navigate the site with minimal parental assistance (not minimal parental involvement, mind you). This, in turn, increases a child’s sense of independence, self-efficacy, and self-confidence, all of which are critical developmental skills for social and academic success.

The website also features several types of printables including coloring pages, trading cards, and bookmarks, extending the many screen-based activities to plenty of screen-free fun.

Congrats to the site’s longtime senior producer, Gentry and his terrific team.