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
Thursdays, 3:00 to 3:30 pm ET
Students Grades 3+ can join us for a weekly Zoom Meet-up, Thursdays from 3:00 to 3:30 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 eduny@paleycenter.org.
What We're Watching: Animation
This week we’re getting animated! We think the art form of animation lends itself really well to at-home learning. On the surface, consuming animated TV and movies seems like just an opportunity for entertainment, but scratch the surface a bit and students will find that it connects deeply to STEAM learning and skills. While we are recommending two different programs for younger and older students respectively, these would actually work well in tandem for viewers of (almost) all ages. Ultimately, animation is a place for fantasy, creativity, and innovation—all things the world needs a lot of right now!
This Week's Recommendation for Younger Kids: The Plausible Impossible
The Plausible Impossible (1956)
Recommended for Grades 3+
Available to stream on Disney+

As it appears on Disney+, The Plausible Impossible looks like a stand-alone short film. In actuality, it’s an episode of “Disneyland,” a program that’s part of the long-running anthology series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. In this episode, Walt Disney himself walks viewers through the unique type of storytelling that is possible through the wonder of animation, highlighting that animated stories have a style and language apart from their live-action counterparts. It’s a great introduction to visual storytelling for young viewers and a fun piece of nostalgia for parents watching along.
Viewing Questions
  • What does the phrase “the plausible impossible” mean? What are some examples?
  • How has the plausible impossible been used throughout history in terms of art and mythology?
  • What effect does the plausible impossible have on visual storytelling?
  • How does the plausible impossible relate to fantasy? What do you expect from a story that uses fantastical elements?
  • How does sound influence the story? Sound effects? Music?
  • Notice everything you can about how characters move.
  • Notice everything you can about the characters’ emotions. How do these characters feel and how do you know?
  • Notice everything you can about how the characters and setting relate to each other.
  • Notice everything you can about the problems characters face and their solutions.

Extension Activity: Make a Flipbook!
A flipbook is one of the simplest forms of animation a person can make on their own with basic tools you can find around the house. Using this YouTube tutorial and a few office supplies (if you don’t have index cards and a binder clip, try a Post-It pad), kids can easily make a flipbook of their own creation.

Take it a step further and use a current events or news story as inspiration. Here are some that would make great prompts for a creative project like a flipbook.

Film your flipbook with a smartphone using free stop-motion software to make an extremely short piece of animation with iMotion or an app you prefer that has a manual capture option. Here are two simple tutorials on using iMotion.
Even though the YouTubers are animating paper objects in their movies, you can capture each page of your flipbook in the very same way!

Additional Resources:
Learn more about Walt Disney on PBS’s American Experience website.
This Week's Recommendation for Older Students: Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)
Recommended for Grades 5+
Available on Netflix

"Einstein said time was relative, right? Maybe I'm not late. Maybe you guys are early." —Miles Morales

We’re guessing you’ve probably already heard of Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, the Oscar-winning smash hit, but maybe it’s time for a rewatch? The story follows Brooklyn teen Miles Morales as he navigates school, friends, family, brand new superpowers, and the existence of a multiverse! While the story is terrific—funny, touching, and action-packed—the stunning animation style is truly groundbreaking and deserves a second look.

Viewing Questions
  • Notice everything you can about the main character Miles Morales. How does he look, how does he behave, what does he care about?
  • Notice everything you can about the setting. Where does the film take place? How do you know? What changes over time?
  • Notice everything you can about the villains. What do they want? How do they go about getting it?
  • How does the animation feel different from other animated films? What scene stands out to you the most?
  • Why do comic books as source material lend themselves so well to animation?

Read
Comics and Sequential Art by Will Eisner
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
Unflattening by Nick Sousanis


Marvel Unlimited is offering free digital access to their classic collection of comics including Spider-Man through the first week of June.



The physics behind Spider-Man’s abilities and his webs

Watch
Listen to the excellent 1967 Spider-Man theme song.

Draw
Learn to draw these characters:
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 eduny@paleycenter.org.

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

Photo Credits—Disney: Walt Disney Archives ©Disney; Spider-Man: Sony Pictures Animation
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:
THE PALEY CENTER FOR MEDIA