Greetings from The Paley Center for Media’s Education Department!
Welcome to the latest installment of “What We’re Watching,” a weekly Paley Education@Home guide. During this unprecedented time, we thought we would reach out to our community with some tips and ideas for consuming media with your kids! We know that screen time has increased so we’re here to help! Each week we are highlighting a different theme that connects to two selected programs, one for younger kids and one for older students, each with related activities.

Consuming media with your kids is a perfect jumping-off point to making media literacy a part of your everyday lives. Familiarizing yourself with the basics is a great first step. In case you missed it, you can view our first edition about media literacy best practices. We also recommend the National Association for Media Literacy Education’s Parents Guide—it’s a terrific introduction!
Weekly Zoom Meet-ups
Fridays, 1:00 to 1:30 pm ET
Students Grades 3+ can join us for a weekly Zoom Meet-up, Fridays from 1:00 to 1:30 pm ET, to chat about the week’s theme and engage in some hands-on learning led by a Paley Educator. Parents and teachers are welcome to join as well!

For connection details, please RSVP to
What We're Watching: New York City
This week we’re in an Empire State of mind and are recommending programs that take place in the country’s biggest and most vibrant city, the Big Apple. The technology for and experimentation with television was developed globally in the 1930s. However, most people saw it for the first time broadcasting from the RCA Pavilion at the 1939 World’s Fair in NYC’s Flushing Meadow Park. Since its American debut, New York City has been the backdrop for countless television and radio programs both fiction and nonfiction. We hope you love the city as much as we do. Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York.
This Week's Recommendation for Younger Kids: Sesame Street
Sesame Street, Episode 1 (1969)
Recommended for Grades PK+
Available to stream on HBO Max

Sesame Street, the most iconic children’s television show of all time, has been educating and entertaining young people for over fifty years with Muppets, animation, and a diverse human cast. Set on a familiar city block, the show makes learning numbers and letters fun, in addition to teaching kids about self-expression, empathy, and how to be a good person in the world. In the first episode of the show, Gordon introduces a new girl named Sally to Sesame Street, and the people and furry creatures that live there.
Listening Questions
  • Describe Sesame Street. What does it look like?
  • Who are the people you meet, and what are they like?
  • What different Muppets/puppets do you remember? Who did you like best and why?
  • What letters and numbers did the episode focus on?
  • What kinds of things were animated? (letters, counting, vocabulary, etc.)
  • What else did you learn about during the episode? (washing and cleaning, milk, knitting, etc).

Extension Activity: Make a Puppet!

Additional Resources

Listen to the Album, Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting on Spotify
This Week's Recommendation for Older Students: Hip-Hop Evolution: The Foundation
Hip-Hop Evolution: The Foundation
Recommended for Grades 10+
Available to stream on Netflix

The birth of hip-hop is rooted in the history of New York City. This documentary series traces its evolution from humble beginnings in the South Bronx to a global culture that has changed music, fashion, dancing, language, art, and politics. The first episode of this series explores its inception, starting in the 1970s where DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, and the first rhythmic rappers laid the foundation.

Viewing Questions:
  • What was different about New York City in the 1970s? What was it like for people living in the South Bronx at the time? 
  • What was the dominant form of music in New York back then?
  • What was unique about hip-hop music? How did the music develop? What are the instruments of the genre?
  • How do people describe the first hip-hop parties?
  • What was different about emceeing in the early days? How did rapping over music evolve over time?
  • Who were the founding fathers of hip-hop? What did each of them contribute?
  • How did hip-hop transform the community? What positive impact did it have?

Extension Activity

Additional Resources

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang

Beat Street (1984)
Beats, Rhymes, & Life: Travels of A Tribe Called Quest (2011)
Krush Groove (1985)
Radio that Changed Lives (2015)
Rubble Kings (2010)
Scratch (2001)
Wild Style (1982)
Young Game Designers: New for You!
We are thrilled to offer our online student community two exciting opportunities to learn game design through our partnership with the Urban Arts Partnership’s School of Interactive Arts (SIA).

SIA: Summer Coding Camp: Apply now for a six-week (July 13 to August 2, 2020) virtual coding camp where you will learn the foundations of game design and be introduced to C# programming language on the Unity game engine.

The Ghost School: Interactive Video Game That Teaches Computer Thinking: Create your avatar then make your way through the levels of the haunted schools as you learn programming logic and syntax, computational thinking, and more.
Paley Online Classes
Explore these rich, full online classes, with complete thematic descriptions, clips from the Paley Archive, pre- and post-viewing questions, associated vocabulary, further online resources, and more.

As always, if you have any questions, thoughts, or ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at

Happy viewing,
Rebekah Fisk, Director of Education
Caroline Quigley, Senior Manager of School & Family Programs

Photos—Sesame Street: Children’s Television Workshop; Hip Hop Evolution: Netflix
Support The Paley Center for Media

We hope this inspires you to watch and learn together in a new way at home! The Paley Center is here for you and, now more than ever before, we would deeply appreciate your support. Please consider making a donation: