This annual unofficial Star Wars holiday – May the 4th be with you! – gives us a great excuse to go back and look at one of our favorite moments from the legendary intergalactic franchise. That, of course, was the day that R2D2 and C-3PO visited Sesame Street!
Landing just before the release of The Empire Strikes Back, the second film in the still-growing series, the two iconic droids actually appeared on our favorite children’s program for two episodes in January 1980. And the highlights are still amazing.
First, the Sesame Street gang approach the friendly pair to see what brings them to town. Naturally R2D2 claims a secret mission has brought him to deliver a secret message, while C-3PO simply wants an oil change after traveling 50 parsecs.
Then, the two space friends join in the kind of impromptu musical fun – and learning – that can only happen on Sesame Street when they teach Big Bird how to count with their own personalized numbers ditty – “If it says one, I go ‘beep!’ If it says two, I go ‘beep beep!'” – and join in with Bob and friends on an almost avant-garde interpretation of the alphabet song!
And, of course, what would a visit to Sesame Street be without meeting a new friend? Before blasting off back to another galaxy, R2D2 even fell in love with an unexpected feature of almost every street!
Of course, this actual visit from real stars of the Star Wars cast isn’t the only time the films have found their way onto the beloved children’s series. In fact, just a few years ago, Star Wars was the focus of one of our favorite Sesame Street parodies, “Star S’mores.” Watch for Snuffleupagus as a Bantha, and stay for the meta in-joke of Grover as Yoda. And, May the 4th be with you!
Happy birthday, Daniel Tiger! Watch our favorite little tiger puppet make his April 5, 1954 TV debut on WQED’s “The Children’s Corner” in the video below.
According to The Fred Rogers’ Company, “Originally, a bird was supposed to come out of the clock that was drawn on the set wall. The night before, WQED Pittsburgh Station Manager Dorothy Daniel presented Fred Rogers with a tiger puppet as a gift at the program’s launch party. He decided to use the tiger puppet instead of the bird and named the puppet Daniel, after the person who gave him the gift.”
Since then, Daniel’s been helping educate, entertain and comfort generations of children on Wisconsin Public Television and PBS through Mister Rogers Neighborhood and now Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Ugga Mugga, Daniel. We love you!
Of course, Daniel Tiger and Mister Rogers are just part of the strong educational legacy of Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio. Join us all this year as we celebrate landmarks like this from our first 100 years. Explore our history and share your story of how public broadcasting has impacted your life online now at wpt.org/100.
Happy Birthday, Daniel Tiger!
On April 5th, 1954, Daniel Tiger appeared for the first time on the first episode of “The Children’s Corner.” Originally, a bird was supposed to come out of the clock that was drawn on the set wall. The night before, WQED Pittsburgh Station Manager Dorothy Daniel presented Fred Rogers with a tiger puppet as a gift at the program’s launch party. He decided to use the tiger puppet instead of the bird and named the puppet Daniel, after the person who gave him the gift.
This year’s Auction to benefit Wisconsin Public Television could feature you at the microphone!
WPT is holding auditions for volunteer auctioneers for our annual Auction, which will broadcast live on television May 31 through June 4. We’re looking for both adult and youth auctioneers!
Auditions will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the WPT studios on Tuesday, April 4 and Wednesday, April 5. To register for an auctioneer training and audition session, please complete the online form.
At Auction, the auctioneer’s job is to introduce items and encourage high bids by reading copy on-air and announcing winning bids. During the auditions, we will provide you with examples of auctioneers in action and give you the opportunity to practice reading scripts with help from our friendly, expert coaches. No advance preparation is required — just bring your enthusiasm for public broadcasting and your best speaking voice!
Wisconsin Public Television studios are located at 821 University Avenue in Vilas Hall, on the corner of Park Street, on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.
If auctioneering isn’t your forte, we can still use your help to make this year’s Auction a success. Visit our volunteer page for more information. And thank you!
For those of us with loved ones in various area codes, holiday travel is an inevitable part of the holiday experience. If you have some time to relax on your journey – or are simply looking for something to keep the children entertained on the road – WPT’s online video library has you covered!
Here are five online holiday favorites that run the gamut from music to craft to Wisconsin-made programs. All of the shows below are available to stream on video.wpt.org and on the PBS channel of your Roku or other digital device.
Trust us: this list is just the tip of PBS’ holiday programming iceberg! You can explore the full collection online, anytime.
Caregivers, take note: the PBS KIDS app and pbskids.org/video/ let you stream full episodes of PBS KIDS programs, including holiday favorites from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Peg + Cat and more!
Read inside for some of our favorites – and let us know what gems you find!
Eating healthy paid off in a big way for Wisconsin’s Raya Al Hajjar. The eight-year-old submitted a recipe to the 2016 Healthy Lunchtime Challenge and Kids’ “State Dinner” that was so good, it earned her a dinner with First Lady Michelle Obama last month.
The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge promotes cooking and healthy eating by asking kids ages 8-12 to prepare original recipes that are healthy, affordable and tasty. The recipes are judged, and winners from all 50 states are invited to a “State Dinner” at the White House.
Raya presented a Wisconsin cranberry chickpea salad that features parsley and lemon to give it a little twist. She was inspired by her family’s Palestinian background and the fact that her mom and grandma cook with chickpeas a lot.
Now that she has the First Lady’s attention, how else does Raya plan to promote healthy eating? For one, she’d like to bring more attention to food choices in schools. “The milk, for instance, has so much sugar in it — it makes the kids have too much energy and it makes it hard to concentrate.”
“I can attest to that,” says Raya’s guardian, Marcia Mihdawi. “I’m a teacher, and after lunch you can really tell which students have had proper nutrition.”
Raya says the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge had a significant impact on her, and she offers this advice to any kids thinking about entering the contest next year, “…You have to be interested in healthy eating, you have to do it all the time and you have to want to help other people.”
I’m not even sure I can pinpoint what this series is about, but I love it. It might be safe to say that it’s actually about everything. The hosts, Craig & Matt, explore a crazy diversity of topics, covering everything from wine tasting to warp drives. They’re funny, fun and generally seem like they would make nice neighbors. Dive in and learn something!
According to their site, this narrative project “is about people living in America as they navigate opportunity, meet obstacles, and pursue happiness in the 21st century.”
The is a huge collaboration between KCPT, Detroit Public TV, PBS SoCal, GPB, WETA and Thinkshift, and it amazes me completely. It’s digital and social. It’s beautifully shot and edited. It tells real, intimate stories. It shows how truly diverse our country is. Just go watch it. Now. Continue reading Streaming Favorites for May→
Is it because they like kids? Is it because they enjoyed school?
There is no one “correct” answer for why someone decides to teach, but there is a common thread—teachers teach because they care. As a former teacher and as someone who works with teachers, I daily see the passion in every teacher’s eyes.
Teacher Appreciation Week is May 2-6, 2016. While we appreciate our teachers every day, we wanted to take this week and reach out, thanking educators for all of their time, dedication, and extraordinary care while teaching our children.
Teachers care deeply about the work they do. They put in countless hours before and after school, as well as over weekends, prepping lessons and creating unique learning experiences for students.
They seek opportunities to better serve their students. These opportunities may take place at a state educational conference, with a teaching peer, or while watching a webinar late at night.
Teachers do all of this work because they care about providing our children with a high-quality education – an education that will help them become well-rounded individuals that are responsible, active members of society. (Holy cow! No pressure there…)
Teachers care profoundly for the students they teach. They take the time to learn about the students and their interests, tailoring lessons to meet the children’s specific learning needs.
This extends to educators outside the classroom, myself included. I’m WPT’s education specialist, and even though I don’t have a traditional classroom, I consider the children of our state my students.
Today, kids all across the state were learning about science through hands-on experiments, games and puzzles at the annual Wisconsin Science Festival. WPT joined the fun in Madison at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, hosting a booth with some lessons on UV rays and their effects. The Cat in the Hat helped teach all about our skin – what it’s made of, how it works and why we need it!