PBS Edcamp for Early Childhood Educators

KLRU and Child Inc. partnered together to hold our first ever PBS Edcamp for Early Childhood Educators, Saturday, February 17th from 10am to 2pm. We were thrilled that 125 registrants participated when we had planned for 80!

This free “unconference” provided educators who work with children in child care centers, homes, head start classrooms, and school districts with a space to share, collaborate and learn from each other while fostering a sense of community.

Participants proposed topics they wanted to discuss or learn more about, built the agenda and then chose sessions to attend based on their interests and experiences. PBS Education and Edcamp staff were on hand to guide the participants through the process.

Participants were able to connect with colleagues facing similar challenges, learn new tips, share ideas, and in some cases, relate emotional experiences.

One participant said, “I thought this Edcamp was really valuable. When I came, my expectation was to get more ideas or listen to the facilitator or the presenter … but I got most of my ideas and things that I’m going to take back to my program from listening to the professionals that were right there in the room with me…This is the first time that I have ever been to a workshop like this — where they listen to US!”

KLRU and PBS will be offering a “lite” Edcamp during SXSWedu on March 6th from noon-5pm! Contact Mary Alice Appleman, 512-475-9051 for more information.

KLRU & BGCAA: Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp

KLRU and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area joined forces to offer a fun 4-day Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp for 10 kids ages 5-8 at Meadowbrook Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) club. The children learned about science through hands-on projects, digital games, and videos that revolve around one of our favorite PBS KIDS characters, Ruff Ruffman. The kids learned to think like scientists as they engaged in the engineering design process which focuses on identifying real-world problems and designing solutions.

It’s great to be able to listen to the children’s perspective on their camp experience. Brittany Gant, the Boys & Girls Clubs STEM Coordinator, came up with the idea of having the kids vlog.  She wanted them to be comfortable when talking about what they learned. Brittany explains that she “allowed club members to be in their element, technology based social media, and integrate it with what they were learning at the Ruff Ruffman camp so that they could connect it to their lives in a meaningful way.”

We asked three 8 year old girls about their science camp experience. Meet Karlee, Ferrah, and Brooklyn! Watch the video above to hear them talking about the camp!

Both Ferrah and Brooklyn mentioned that the camp reinforced their strong work ethic and helped them learn the value of persistence, two important life skills that will serve them into adulthood. Ferrah later shared with KLRU that she learned to plan before creating something new.  Karlee valued the opportunity to work in small groups to collaborate and problem-solve as a team.

In a moment of self-awareness, Ferrah acknowledged her inquisitive nature and her ability to use her imagination to be innovative.  Brooklyn revealed her aptitude for resolving investigations.

The camp revolves around the PBS KIDS character, Ruff Ruffman, and as Ferrah excitedly shared, “he is a great scientist!” Brooklyn points out that he is very knowledgeable. It’s wonderful that these kids now have a role model. Perhaps they will be inspired to follow in his footsteps and become scientists themselves!

As the KLRU Project Director for Ready to Learn, I was present at the camp and was particularly impressed by Ferrah. I asked Lauren Jarvis, the Club Director, to tell me more about her.  Lauren shared that Ferrah “really likes doing new things” and “likes everything science and technology.” Even though she is only 8 years old, Ferrah participates in Google’s CS First, a computer science program designed for 9 to 14 year old children.  Lauren has observed that she completes the lessons and understands the material and the processes being used. Ferrah also participates in Hour of Code alongside her friends, Karlee and Brooklyn. Ferrah is also very creative and artistic. Lauren thinks that “she is very special and has a bright future ahead of her.”  Here at KLRU, we couldn’t agree more! It is our hope to continue to support children like Ferrah to be successful in school and life.

The Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Camp is part of the Ready to Learn (RTL) initiative funded by the Department of Education and administered by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.  Our Community Collaborative for Early Learning and Media (CC-ELM) project brings RTL science and literacy content to children ages 2 to 8 from low-income households.  KLRU partners with local community organizations to host camps and workshops at their sites. Our partners are Thinkery, Communities In Schools of Central Texas, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area.

Please visit the PBS Learning Media Ready to Learn portal to learn more about this initiative and to access resources for families and educators.

FREE PBS Edcamp for Early Childhood Educators

Pre-K and Kindergarten teachers are invited to the first PBS Edcamp for Early Childhood Educators! Join us Saturday, February 17, 2018 from 10am-2pm at the Child Inc. offices for their chance to be on the cutting edge of professional development practices at this “un-conference”.

​PBS and Edcamp are partnering to create an opportunity for early childhood educators in Austin to engage in peer-to-peer learning. PBS  Edcamp will give your EC teachers an opportunity to share and discuss best practices for fostering early childhood development and kindergarten readiness with other early childhood educators.

  • Four professional development hours will be awarded
  • Lakeshore doorprizes and fun swag!
  • Light breakfast and full lunch provided
  • Opportunity to network with other Early Childhood educators

REGISTER online easily to save a spot! Any questions, contact Mary Alice Appleman,
512-475-9051 or maappleman@klru.org.

KLRU and Community Partners host Family Creative Learning workshops

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a robot chef that could make you a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? You would have to program it by giving it very specific instructions.

That is how children and their parents start learning about coding in the Family Creative Learning (FCL) PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. workshops.  The families learn to animate their favorite PBS KIDS characters using the PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. app on Playtime Pads, a tablet that they get to keep at the end of the workshop.

KLRU and our local children’s museum, Thinkery, hosted a fun FCL PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. workshop in October. Nine young children and their parents learned concepts of coding by  reading books and participating in fun movement activities. They built paper airplanes to practice using the design engineering process (imagine, plan, build, test, repeat).

The children and their parents created animation projects together.  Parents learned from their kids as much as the kids learned from their parents. You could see a lot of smiles in the room.

One child was very excited when he shared: “Now my mom knows technology & can do it with me!”

We hope that all families feel just as empowered that they can now create their own animations.

KLRU also partners with Communities In Schools (CIS) to host workshops. This month, 8 families that are part of their ASPIRE family literacy program are currently participating in a Family Creative Learning PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. workshop.  Those families are just as excited and are having a blast learning how to code.

Click here if you would like to use the FCL Scratch Jr. workshop materials to help your own child learn how to code: https://klru.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/pbs-kids-family-creative-learning/

Also, this month 8 additional families are participating in the new Ruff Ruffman Sensational Science Family Creative Learning workshop at Thinkery. The Ruff Ruffman FCL workshop will help children learn science by playing with mixtures, investigating material science, exploring force and motion, and creating structures.

They will also learn about those topics by watching short Ruff Ruffman videos and playing digital games on Playtime Pads (tablets that they will get to keep).

The Ruff Ruffman science activities, videos, and games can be found here:  https://klru.pbslearningmedia.


FCL workshops are part of the Ready to Learn (RTL) initiative funded by the Department of Education and administered by the Corporation of Public Broadcasting and PBS.  Our Community Collaborative for Early Learning and Media (CC-ELM) project brings RTL science and literacy content to children ages 2 to 8 from low-income households as well as their families and educators.  KLRU partners with local community organizations to host workshops at their sites for the children that they serve.  Our partners are Thinkery, Communities In Schools of Central Texas, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area.


Things get Odd with our Oddtober Halloween Programs

There’s a ton of spooky fun coming to PBS KIDS this October! In addition to the October 23rd premiere of Arthur and the Haunted Tree House on television and streaming devices, there are new Halloween episodes from Odd Squad, Splash and Bubbles, Sesame Street, and Cyberchase. There will also be the return of the hit specials: The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Halloween! and Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest.
KLRU airs Arthur and the Haunted Tree House movie at 6:30 am and 2pm on the 23rd on KLRU; 7 am and 8pm Oct. 23rd on KLRU PBS KIDS 24/7 and KLRU Q.
Word World: A Kooky Spooky Halloween | Sheep’s Halloween Costume — Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 12:30 pm
Ready Jet Go! Jet’s First Halloween — Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 1 pm
Splash and Bubbles: Yuck or Treat — Monday, Oct. 16 at 9:30 am
Odd Squad: Haunt Squad — Monday, Oct. 16 at 3:30 pm
SuperWhy! The Ghost Who Was Afraid of Halloween — Friday, Oct. 20 at 11:30 am
Cyberchase: The Halloween Howl — Friday, Oct. 20 at 8:30 pm
Peg + Cat: The Parade Problem | The Halloween Problem — Friday, Oct. 20 at 12 pm
Curious George: A Halloween Boo Fest — Monday, Oct. 23 at 7:30 am
Cyberchase: Watts of Halloween Trouble — Monday, Oct. 23 at 6am
Sesame Street Halloween — Monday, Oct 23 at 10:30 am
Clifford’s Puppy Days: The Halloween Bandit | An Honest Spin — Sunday, Oct. 29 at 9:30 am
Fun Activities!
  • Carve out some time with your little one and create a PBS KIDS jack o’ lantern. We’ve made it easy for you with these pumpkin carving templates.
  • Do you have your Halloween costumes yet? PBS KIDS for Parents has all kinds of DIY costume suggestions including some from your favorite PBS KIDS shows!
  • Arthur and the Haunted Tree House features a sleepover. If your kids are excited about the idea of having a sleepover, but aren’t quite ready, Arthur has a daytime activity you can use to practice before you try the real thing.
  • Grab a flashlight and your favorite monster stories! PBS KIDS for Parents has some monstrously good book suggestions you can use for your very own Halloween sleepover.

This fall, PBS will also offer PreK-12 teachers an easy way to integrate Halloween themes into their instruction with a range of curriculum-aligned videos, lesson plans and games. Teachers can use these resources to enhance homework assignments or kick-start classroom discussions. These free resources are available to teachers nationwide on pbslearningmedia.org. Examples include Peg + Cat’s Tiger Trick or Treat, PBS LearningMedia’s All About the Holidays: Halloween, PBS Digital Studios’ Frankenstein, M.D. and more.

KLRU visits Back To School Fairs

Young boy and yellow school bus

KLRU will be participating in two Back To School Fairs to launch the 2017-2018 school year!

Please look for our booth at the following events for great information to help you and your children have a jump on being school ready. We will have great information on our 24/7 Kids channel, free app information, activity sheets, frisbees and books to distribute.

If you miss these two events, you can catch us at:

Solar Eclipse Resources for Families & Educators

The solar eclipse on August 21st is fast approaching.  You can watch it live on KLRU Q starting at 1:30 pm.
Follow the links to explore ways to engage kids as they learn about the solar eclipse. And by all means, do NOT let them look directly at the eclipse when it occurs without special protection!

In addition to the above resources, NOVA will be airing a special episode called Eclipse Over America on Monday, August 21 at 8:00 pm on 18-1 KLRU. It will air 2 days later on Wednesday, August 23rd at 7:00 pm on 18-1 KLRU.

For younger students, you may want to show the kids the 13 minute Ready Jet Go! Total Eclipse of the Sunspot episode that teaches kids about the solar eclipse and how to create a pinhole box viewer to be able to see the eclipse without hurting their eyes. Airtimes

  • Tuesday, August 15th at 1:00 pm on 18-1 KLRU
  • Tuesday, August 15th at 5:30 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Friday, August 18th at 7:00 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Saturday, August 19th at 7:00 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Sunday, August 20th at 7:00 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Thursday, August 31st at 5:30 pm on 18-4 PBS KIDS
  • Monday, September 25th at 1:00 pm on 18-1 KLRU

Here is the Pinhole Eclipse Projector activity sheet from Ready Jet Go:

We hope you’ll be able to guide your students in their discoveries about the solar eclipse!

KLRU Kids Writers – more stories every day!

We are receiving stories in the mail every day and are publishing them as fast as we can! Check every day for the next week to see our collections grow! Click here.

¡Estamos recibiendo nuevos cuentos en el correo cada día y los estamos publicando tan rápido como podamos! Chequea cada día esta semana para ver crecer la colección. Haz clic aquí.


KLRU hosts National PBS KIDS Ready to Learn Advisors Meeting

On February 2 and 3, 2017, KLRU hosted the Ready to Learn National Advisors Meeting.  The annual meeting is typically held in Washington D.C.; this was their first-ever relocation to a community implementing Ready to Learn-funded activities.  Over 50 advisors from higher education, media production, and public-serving agencies gathered to provide direction to the project, in order to discuss the content and curriculum being produced, its dissemination to communities in need, and to give input on how to best evaluate the project’s efficacy.

Ready to Learn Advisors in a panel discussion on the original Austin City Limits stage. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS Kids are leading the Ready to Learn: Community Collaboratives for Early Learning and Media project, funded by the Department of Education.  The five year grant ( 2015 – 2020) calls upon up to 40 PBS stations from all over the nation and their local community organizations to disseminate scientific inquiry and literacy content to low-income children ages 2 – 8 years old.

KLRU was one of the 11 pilot stations invited to test new resources in the field.  We partner with Thinkery, Communities In Schools of Central Texas, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin area.

From Left to Right: Ben Kramer, VP of Education at KLRU; Erica Gallardo-Taft, Vice President of Program Services at Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area; Eric Metcalf, Chief of Program Strategy at Communities In Schools of Central Texas; Robin Gose, Director of Education at Thinkery

Among other initiatives, we have held Odd Squad Summer Math Camps and Family Creative Learning (FCL) workshops at partner sites. At the FCL workshops, we guided parents to actively engage in their child’s learning using the free PBS KIDS Scratch Jr. app, which allows them to animate their favorite PBS characters.

In summer 2017, KLRU will pilot Odd Squad Summer Science Camp in which kids will solve problems to become Odd Squad agents.  Another project coming down the pipeline is a new collection of Ruff Ruffman science materials.

Thank you to Thinkery for hosting one day of the workshop and to the city of Austin for wowing the Ready to Learn Advisory group. We hope that they will return in 2018.

Ready to Learn: Community Collaboratives for Early Learning and Media is funded by the US Department of Education and administered by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

For immigrant children or children of immigrants / Para los niños inmigrantes o los hijos de inmigrantes

en español

Now is a difficult time to be a young child with immigrant parents in Central Texas. They may be hearing from adults, from the news, and in their schools about actions such as raids, deportations, and negative statements about immigrants. Even if they are not hearing such things directly, they may be feeling the stress of others in their homes.

KLRU Educational Services has the following advice and resources for families and educators:

1. Do NOT keep the TV or radio news on all the time when young people are present. Try to find ways to receive your news (via text message, social media, etc.) that can be silent and that will not keep your children nervous as they wait to hear what comes next. PBS KIDS offers safe, happy programs 24 hours a day through the PBS KIDS Video Viewer app and online at pbskids.org

2. Sesame Street’s Little Children, Big Challenges Community Guide (ages 3-5) This is a resource that can help you talk to children about the challenges you face and the people in your lives that can help.


Arthur Resilient Site (Ages 5-10)

3. Arthur Resilience Site (ages 5-10) This website from Arthur has a variety of activities that can take you step by step through conversations and activities with your child. It includes discussion guides, activities, and videos to help your child manage thoughts and feelings.

4. Apps – The FREE Sesame Street Breathe, Think, Do (Android / Apple ) helps children to calm themselves when they are stressed or agitated. And the new, FREE Daniel Tiger for Parents app can help you find songs and activities for a variety of difficult situations. It is also bilingual (Spanish & English) (Android / Apple)

Ahora es un periodo especialmente difícil para los jóvenes que tienen padres que son inmigrantes. Pueden escuchar cosas de adultos, de las noticias, y en sus escuelas sobre acciones como detenciones, deportaciones, y declaraciones negativas sobre los inmigrantes. Aunque no estén escuchando directamente tales cosas negativas, pueden sentir el estrés de los otros alrededor de ellos.

Los Servicios Educativos de KLRU tienen los siguientes consejos y recursos para familias y educadores:

1. NO PRENDAN la tele ni la radio todo el tiempo cuando niños están presentes. Traten de buscar otros medios (silenciosos) de recibir sus noticias (textos, medios sociales, etc.) PBS KIDS ya ofrece gratis programas disponsibles las 24 horas en su app PBS KIDS Video Viewer y en pbskids.org.

Guía de Niños Chiquitos, Desafios Grandes

2. De Plaza Sesamo, la Guía de Niños Chiquitos, Desafios Grandes (edades 3-5) Este recurso les puede ayudar a hablar con sus niños sobre sus sentimientos y preocupaciones.

3. Daniel Tiger for Parents – este app gratis les puede ayudar a buscar canciones y activades para momentos difíciles. Es bilingüe. (Android / Apple)

Daniel Tigers Neighborhood