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: Page To Screen
There are countless children’s books that have been made into movies and television series for the screen— Harry Potter, Pretty Little Liars, The Series of Unfortunate Events, and Arthur just to name a few. This week we are promoting our love for reading by highlighting programs that have been adapted from books into television series. We’d love to hear about what book-to-screen adaptation is your favorite!
This Week's Recommendation for Younger Kids: The Baby-Sitters Club
The Baby-Sitters Club: “Kristy’s Great Idea” (2020)

Recommended for Grades 4+
Available to stream on Netflix

This highly enjoyable updated adaptation is based on the beloved book series by Ann M. Martin, which follows a group of middle school girls as they start a baby-sitting club in Stonybrook, Connecticut. In the first episode, Kristy gets the idea to start the business when her mother cannot find childcare for her younger brother David Michael. She then convinces her friends to join her, and their adventures begin!
Listening Questions
  • How would you describe Kristy? Why does she get in trouble at school and have to write an essay on “decorum”? What does that tell the viewer about her from the start?
  • How does she get the idea to start the Baby-sitters Club? 
  • What role does each girl in the business take on and how does each job play to their personal strengths? What is their business plan?
  • What is going on at home with Kristy and her family? How does her mother’s engagement impact her mood and the start of their first job?
  • What else makes her upset during the episode and how does she overcome her negative feelings?
  • Which main character is your favorite in the first episode and why?
  • If you have read the books, compare them to the television show. What kinds of things are the same and different? Which do you like better and why?

Additional Resources

The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

Adventures in Babysitting (1987) Grades 7+
Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991) Grades 7+

This Week's Recommendation for Older Students: His Dark Materials
His Dark Materials: "Lyra’s Jordan"
Recommended for Grades 8+
Available to stream on HBO

Based on the Philip Pullman book series of the same name, this first season follows the narrative of the first book, The Golden Compass. In the first episode, we are introduced to our strong-willed protagonist, Lyra Belacqua, who lives in a parallel world to ours in which human souls take the form of animal companions called daemons. Dark forces are at work in her world, and we learn that many children have been kidnapped by beings known as Gobblers. When her best friend Roger goes missing, Lyra vows to save him.

Viewing Questions:
  • Describe Jordan College. How does Lyra fit in there? What is she like as a character?
  • What kind of things are different from our world in this fantastical universe? What did the first episode get right in portraying this world that the book describes?
  • What are daemons and what do you think they symbolize? How are humans different from daemons? Why do you think daemons are the opposite sex from their human companions?
  • What tone is set in the first episode of the show? How does the episode tell us who or what is good and who or what is evil?
  • What did you think of Lord Asriel’s behavior? What significance might dust have?
  • Why does Lyra leave Jordan College and what do you think will happen to her and Pan next?

Additional Resources

A Wrinkle in Time Trilogy by Madeleine L’Engle
The Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander

Harry Potter movies
The Lord of the Rings trilogy
Tales from Earthsea (2006)
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— The Baby-Sitters Club : Netflix; His Dark Materials : BBC One
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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: