With their eyes on the past tumultuous year of interrupted learning, the Arkansas Department of Education identified key concepts and skills that may have been shorted during the pandemic and reached out to Arkansas PBS to form a partnership fighting learning loss for Arkansas students in grades K-5. The plan? To provide more than 100 hours of instruction for Arkansas students across the state featuring national PBS KIDS programming, locally produced video lessons with Arkansas teachers of the year, educational interstitials and field trips featuring community organizations across the state, as well as accompanying Power Packets, dual-language workbooks containing lessons in math, science, literacy, and social studies in both English and Spanish that extended the learning of the broadcast.
To begin, the education team hand-selected PBS KIDS national programming that would tap into the selected learning targets for each grade band for the six weeks Rise and Shine would air, and a programming schedule was created. The team then coordinated many working parts to deliver the academically robust and engaging content. Six recent Arkansas Teachers of the year specially designed mini lessons in literacy, math, science, and social studies to be taught through engaging on-air broadcast and provided via livestream as well as on multiple streaming platforms. To rev up kids’ vocabulary, the education team made a list of high-frequency reading and writing words found in the PBS KIDS shows and coordinated with scriptwriters and content producers to include the words in the locally produced video lessons, interstitials, and printed Power Packets.
Production then started on a range of original content to boost learning—video lessons in math, science, literacy, and social studies, a series of 6 28-page Power Packet workbooks in two languages and the distribution of accompanying learning materials, fifteen original songs, including 11 animated music videos featuring literacy learning objectives, and five series of original digital shorts that explored such topics as nutrition, physical movement, and the solar system. In addition, Rise and Shine took its students on 32 virtual field trips to interesting locations throughout Arkansas, including the Little Rock Zoo, the Museum of Discovery, Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, Museum of Native American History, Central Arkansas Library System, Mid-America Science Museum, Scott Family Amazeum, the Arkansas Travelers, and more!