A r c h i v e d  I n f o r m a t i o n

Learning Partners

Let's Use TV!

Television can be a very powerful learning tool. It is being used more and more in the classroom to inform students and stimulate discussion. Teachers often assign students to watch an educational television show as homework. Television can be used to add to what is being studied at school. As a parent, you can also use television to teach ideas and values that are important to you.

Here are some things you can do at home:

TV Activities

Spin Off!

for young children (K--2nd grade)

Plan a project using TV. Try some of these ideas that spin off a TV program and teach geography.

  1. Watch a program that takes place in another country, for example, "Shalome Sesame" (Israel), "Madeline" (France), "Are You Being Served?" (England), and "Carmen Sandiego" (the world).

  2. Find the country on a map.

  3. Read a story from the country.

  4. Cook food from the country.

TV Math

for beginning students (1st--2nd grade)

Explain math using television.

  1. Ask your child how hou find a channel (channels are numbered). How would you punch in channel 32 on the remote control? Use this opportunity to explain the tens and ones columns in numbers.

  2. Have your child look for numbers on television, in titles of programs or in commercials, for example.

  3. Help your child develop an understanding of how long a period of time is by comparing it to the length of television shows (1/2 hour, 1 hour, 2 hours).

  4. Do simple math problems based on time. If you watch a two-hour mini- series for 3 nights, how many hours in all would you watch TV? If there are 6 commercials and each is 30 seconds, how many minutes of commercials will you watch in all?

Get the Scoop

for more advanced students (3rd--6th grade)

Help your child understand that television is just one way to get information and that there are different ways to present the same information . This will help your child become a critical TV watcher and reader.

  1. Watch the television news together.

  2. Pick a news item to discuss.

  3. Watch the same story on different channels. Talk about how different channels handle the story.

  4. Find an article in the newspaper on the same topic and compare it to the television version. Is the newspaper story longer or shorter? Why?

Resources: Ideas for this "Learning Partner" were taken fromStrong Families, Strong Schools, "TV Viewing and Parental Guidance," and the Helping Your Child series of books for parents. For more information, please contact the National Library of Education, 555 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20208, telephone 1-800-424-1616. Other materials from the Family Involvement Partnership for Learning--for families, schools, employers, and community groups--can be obtained by calling 1-800-USA-LEARN.

Richard W. Riley

Office of Educational Research and Improvement
Sharon P. Robinson
Assistant Secretary

National Institute on Student Achievement, Curriculum, and Assessment

National Institute on the Education of At-Risk Students

Please feel free to reproduce this information


[Let's Succeed in School! [Learning Partners Index] [Let's Write!]