News from KLRN Education

Some rights reserved by Sean MacEntee

The Gift of Education without Limits
Sandi Wolff
Vice President of Education

My parents set educational expectations for me early. For as long as I can remember, I knew after high school I would go to a four-year college and graduate, period. They showed me how to apply for college, took me to visit some, and made sure I knew the importance of good grades and SAT scores. There was little talk of how to pay for school, but I had worked from the moment I turned 16 and my parents told me I could work my way through college.

I walked into St. Mary’s University on my first day of college wanting to be a High School art teacher. I had adored mine (and grew up watching Bob Ross on PBS) and thought it would be great to paint all day! Then, halfway through college I started working as an advertising director’s assistant and embraced computers, desktop publishing, and technology. My focus quickly changed to marketing and both my parents (who were educators themselves) encouraged me to earn a business degree. They told me I could always get a teaching degree and certification later, if I still wanted to.

I soon discovered I was good at school. After starting a family, I quickly earned a Master’s in Education and then immediately moved on to a Ph.D. in Education, concentrating in organizational leadership. I earned my Texas Teaching Certification and worked as a high school technology teacher and administrator before coming to KLRN. How did I do this financially? Well, I worked while I was in school and leveraged financial aid. I applied for scholarships and grants with my undergrad while still working about 30 hours a week. With my Master’s, I worked for a school that paid 80% of my degree. When I started the PhD program, I didn’t have any school loans, which is unusual but definitely possible.

Looking back, I think the best gift my parents gave me was the plan – even if it wasn’t mine at the beginning. The simple expectation – go to college - was clear and simple. As a young adult, I needed someone to tell me what to do. I gradually became to forge my own path and develop my education into what was right for me.

Earlier this year, I attended a San Antonio Area Foundation luncheon that featured Geoffrey Canada as the keynote speaker. Canada is a dynamic and humorous speaker, and the developer of the Promise Neighborhoods and helped cities all over the United States educate kids from “cradle through college.” He speaks of having the same expectations for all children that we would have for our own. He laughingly tells people to “think like a rich person,” when it comes to our children’s education. This statement allows us to reach without concern of economic status, which I believe is supremely important. Our place in society does not dictate who we are or what we can become.

What do you want for your kids? I think most parents want them to be happy, healthy, and educated. Education allows our kids to have choices. Can everyone afford to go to college? I believe so – we are fortunate to live in a society where we not only have options for places to receive a higher education, we also have ways that help us finance it. Some of my favorite people work in the financial aid office of the universities I have attended. Financial aid can be a college student’s best friend. Get to know the people who work in the financial aid office! They know so much and can help you focus on funding that works for you whether it is grants, scholarships, work study, or loans. Meet them prior to applying to college. Financial aid is truly there to help, independent of your personal situation.

Now it’s my turn. My daughter is now a sophomore in high school and my husband and I are planning for her future. We started telling her in middle school that we expected her to go to college. We also told her that her job was to work hard in school – academically and holistically. Our goal is that she has choices for college, without limits of location or economics, like me. We often tell her, “Wherever you get in, we’ll figure out how to get you there.” We set the expectations, show her the plan, get her involved, and help her make it happen. Isn’t that the plan for all successful ventures? If so, then we need to apply it to our kids and their education.

Resources from KLRN

KLRN PBS Learning Media Resources to use:

Elwood City Map! (PreK-2)
Learn where your favorite "Arthur" characters live and play by exploring this interactive map of Arthur's hometown. Click on character faces and stars to read more about each location.

Brainstorming Ideas (Grades K-5) 
Generate ideas for an original story about Arthur and complete a chart that outlines the setting, characters, problems and solutions that you will use in your story.

Get Up Close and Personal (Grades 6-12)
Examine how writing developed by studying the shapes used in ancient scripts and consider how writing can be incorporated with the visual arts. Create a sketchbook or journal of daily life using rubbings and make a layered collage.

News from KLRN Education

KLRN: A "Gold Gem" In Our Community
Elisa Resendiz
Former KLRN Manager of Community Engagement

Do you recall what you were doing in September 1962? Or were you even born? This is when your local PBS television station signed on as KLRN. This year KLRN continues to celebrate its 50th anniversary along with the accomplishments and services they have been providing the San Antonio community throughout the years. KLRN’s mission is to “use the power of telecommunications to provide quality programs and services which advance education, culture and community, to enrich the lives of people throughout South Central Texas.” This mission statement is what has guided the station and education department as we serve our community and surrounding areas, all the way to Laredo, Texas.

Twenty years ago when I stepped foot in KLRN, the station was housed at the Institute of Texan Cultures building on the second floor. Back then the education department was a staff of one person. As the years passed by the department grew to two staff members and then three and now the team consists of 10 and is housed in our current building located on Broadway. The education team is comprised of either past educators or individuals who have a passion working with families and children. KLRN provides workshops for parents, grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins, childcare teachers, school teachers, administrators or anyone that has an interest in helping a child become successful in their formal school careers. The workshops inform the families on the importance of being the child’s first teacher and their home being their first classrooms. KLRN empowers families with early childhood knowledge, learning activities, and materials for them to start working with the child at home. KLRN also provides workshops for teachers and administrators on how they can utilize PBS programming in their classrooms and lesson plans.

For the past 50 years KLRN has provided our community with educational programming and grassroots services. KLRN is considered a “gold gem” in our community to some people and this slogan is well fitting as the symbol for a 50th anniversary is gold. KLRN has touched past generations, present generations, and will reach future generations as well as continue to serve our community and surrounding areas for another 50 years.

Resources from KLRN

KLRN PBS Learning Media clips to use:

Dinosaurs Have Feathers! (Grade PreK-1)
This clip highlights a few different types of dinosaurs that had feathers and shows that each of their feathers were different!

How a Dinosaur Became a Fossil (Grades 3-8)
In this interactive resource adapted from the University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology, see an animation about how organisms, such as dinosaurs, become part of the fossil record.

Dinosaurs Were Not Special, Just Lucky (Grades 7-12+)
Columbia University paleontologist Steve Brusatte thinks dinosaurs might have been 'just lucky' to have ruled Earth for so long

The Smithsonian Dinosaur Site (Grades K-12+)
Listen to a teacher explain why he thinks the Smithsonian Web site is a good resource.

News from KLRN Education

Photo Credit: Britt Reints

Parents Are a Child's First Teacher
Valerie Rios
Education Activities Coordinator, KLRN

As summer comes to an end, I look back to the quality time spent with my 10-year-old daughter, Naomi. As we prepared for a new school year, I was excited and looking forward to my daughter continuing her educational journey. But I must say she had quite a few jitters, as she just started 5th grade at a new school. Her jittery feelings of going to a new school meant not only a new campus, but also new teachers, and new friends.

Some of her concerns were, “What if I can’t make friends?” “What if I get lost on campus?” There's been a lot of “What if?” conversations around my house lately. I reassured her that everything would be OK by letting her know she would do great, she has such as sweet personality, and that she would have no problems making friends. We attended a “Meet the Teacher” night. I also took her to walk around the campus the evening prior to the first day so she could get a feel for the school.

I know that as a mother, I want my child to receive the best education she can get, to be around other students her age, and have a teacher who she learns from. I also know that as a parent it is my job to guide and direct her in the right path, sit down with her in the evenings to do homework, and talk about what she learned each day. 

I want my daughter to become a leader and to share her knowledge and wisdom that she obtains during her years in school. I want her to be able to give back to the community.

We continually remind our families at KLRN that we are the first teacher in our child’s life. We should remember that we, the parents, are the role models and setting examples are more important than just words. I like to encourage our families that attend our workshops and to read to their children every day, spend time with them, and that learning time is anytime.

Resources from KLRN

KLRN PBS Learning Media clips to use:

Ice Cream (Grade K-5)
In this video, watch as children experiment with a recipe that makes homemade ice-cream

3D-Cube (Grade 2-6)
Interactive game that helps students name concrete objects and pictures of three-dimensional solids (cones, spheres and cubes)

Mission US: For the Crown and Colony (Grade 6-8)
This interactive adventure games put players in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a 14-year-old printers apprentice in 1770 Boston.

Documenting Glacial Change (Grade 3-12)
This collection of comparative glacier images adapted from the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows substantial changes in five Alaskan glacier positions over periods of 60 to 100 years.

News from KLRN Education

We Are Always Learning
Yvonne Yates
Director of School Services, KLRN

Summer is nearly upon us and as the last tests are taken and students are saying their goodbyes, KLRN encourages teachers, students and parents to remember that learning does not stop during the summer months.

There are many opportunities around San Antonio to continue the thirst for knowledge. Check out a few of these this summer and let us know about what you learned.
Have a wonderful summer! Enjoy the fun in the sun, and see you all in August!

Resources for KLRN Education

KLRN PBS Learning Media Clips to use:

Summer Is Fun in Alaska (Grade K-2)
This video segment from Between the Lions features kids from Alaska who show their favorite summer games and activities.

Summer Treat Wave (Grade 1-5)
It’s a sweltering hot day, so the Lunch Lab gang makes a summer treat that is full of calcium. Professor Fizzy explains how dairy products are good sources of calcium and great for growing bones.

Capital Building in Summer (Grade 6-12)
This Building Block video shows trees and building lining the edge of a reflecting pool. The camera pans right to reveals the Capital Building and the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial around which distant tourists wander under dark skies.

News from KLRN Education

Fiesta Gives Back
Yvonne Yates
Director of School Services, KLRN

This month has flown by and as I look at my calendar, I notice downtown bustling with Fiesta spirit. Looking out the window of our building on Broadway and McCullough, I see Fiesta signs up and the assembly of the parade bleachers. I can taste the chicken on a stick and the oyster shots.
Last year I gave you a brief history of Fiesta San Antonio but did you know that many of the 100 Fiesta member organizations give scholarships? My alma mater, St. Mary’s University, holds the annual Fiesta Oyster Bake, which opens Fiesta, as a way to raise funds for scholarships. The University of the Incarnate Word's Cutting Edge Fiesta Fashion Show is another example of a Fiesta event hard at work to help students receive a higher education.

Other organizations involved with Fiesta give back in different ways. For example, the Alamo Exhibition Bird Club takes exotic birds to schools for a Rainforest Education program. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, Alamo Couriers Chapter (Children’s Texas History Forum) sponsors free living history programs for San Antonio-area schools.

These are just a few of the many charitable contributions that organizations in our fair city do during Fiesta. With the STARR on the horizon for many and the school year coming to a close in less than two months, take some time to have fun and challenge your students to research other organizations and see what ideas they have to give back to our city during this 11-day celebration. As I wrote you last month, in 2010 Fiesta San Antonio started to make strides to make Fiesta GREEN. What a great way to talk about Earth Day and Fiesta San Antonio.

"Be the change you want to see in the world" -- Mahatma Gandhi

Visit to see a list of organizations that are giving back.

Resources for KLRN Education

KLRN PBS Learning Media Clips to use:

Kid Musician: Mexico Guitar Town (Grade K-5)
Visit with Andres during fiesta time at Paracho Michoacán, Mexico’s “guitar town.”

Water Conservation: Mexico (Grades 3-12)
This video segment adapted from Last Oasis shows the challenges Mexico City faces in providing enough water for its growing population. As a result of over pumping of its ground water, some parts of the city are sinking 12 inches a year.

We are the Music: Mexicans (Grade 3-4)
In this “We are the Music” segment, learn about the 700-year history of the Mexican culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

News from KLRN Education

Water, our planet and us
Yvonne Yates
Director of School Services, KLRN

There are about 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water that can be found on our planet. This water evaporates from the ocean, travels through the air, rains down and then flows back to the ocean. About 70 percent of the planet is covered with oceans.

According to an article from How Stuff Works, ninety-eight percent of the water on the planet is in the oceans, and therefore is unable to be used for drinking because of the salt. About 2 percent of Earth’s water is fresh, but 1.6 percent of the planet's water is locked up in the polar ice caps and glaciers. Another 0.36 percent is found underground in aquifers and wells. Only about 0.036 percent of the planet's total water supply is found in lakes and rivers. That's still thousands of trillions of gallons, but it's a very small amount compared to all the water available.

It is a chilling thought to think about the amount of drinkable water that makes up our earth. Benjamin Franklin said that “when the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”

As spring approaches, my mind drifts to thoughts of lunch by the river, Earth Day (April 22nd), and Fiesta San Antonio (April 19-29th). All three of my day dreams have a link to the conservation of water and natural resources. In 2010 Fiesta San Antonio starting to make strides to make Fiesta GREEN. Our wonderful Riverwalk expanded, and went through a growth spurt in 2011 to extend to The Pearl. Talk to your students about the importance of water and what they can do to help conserve water. It is up the educators of our community to not only teach the core subject but also civic and social awareness to students. Visit SAWS Education Website and check out the resources that PBS has to offer. Don’t forget to get your free KLRN Connect account today, too.

Resources for KLRN Education

KLRN PBS Learning Media Clips to use:

Same Old Water (Grades K-2)
Conduct an experiment to investigate different techniques to clean water. Create reminders to reduce water consumption.

The Water Cycle (Grades 3-5)
Discover how water is created in nature and the path it takes to reach our rivers, streams and taps. Conduct an experiment that simulates the water cycle.

The State of the Planet (Grades 6-8)
Research water issues, the threat of food shortages, human population growth and global warming. Examine how these issues are likely to have a significant impact on the future well-being of Earth's environment. 

Got Water? (Grades 9-12)
Discover what delivering clean, fresh water to citizens around the world involves. Consider how water relates to politics, economics, technology and international relations, and explore the issues regarding Turkey's dams.

News From KLRN Education

And the Award Goes To ...
Yvonne Yates
Director of School Services, KLRN

I have often told people that I work in my dream job. Not only do I get to work with teachers, students and community partners but I work for PBS. When people realize that I work for KLRN they often tell me their favorite children’s program and what PBS has meant in their lives. The sparkle in their eye when talking about PBS programs always brings a smile to my heart.

February is a month when many things are celebrated, including Presidents Day, Valentine’s Day, Responsible Pet Owners' Month, and, of course, Oscar Night. I have always had a love of film and Academy Award Night is like my Super Bowl. Tis the season of awards and I wanted to shed light on all the honors that PBS has received. With such a wide range of programs for all ages, it's no wonder that the PBS family has over 130 awards and nominations in the 2011-2012 awards season.

Here is just a snapshot:
- 12 Daytime Emmy Awards, including eight for Sesame Street and The Electric Company who received three awards, including Outstanding Children’s Series.
- 14 Primetime Emmy Awards including six for Masterpiece Classic “Downton Abbey,” three for American Experience "Freedom Riders" and two each for American Masters and Great Performances.
- 1 Golden Globe Award for Masterpiece Classic “Downton Abbey."
- 3 Academy Award nominations for Independent Lens “Hell and Back Again,” POV "If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front" and POV "The Barber Of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement."

These are just a few of the awards and nominations that PBS has received, for the full list, visit

My task for you this month is to explore the PBS content and find a new award-winning show to share in your classroom.

Can you guess what I will be doing February 26th?

Resources for KLRN Education

KLRN PBS Learning Media Clips to use:

Film Festival (Grades K-2)
Create a paper filmstrip of a favorite story by illustrating several scenes and taping the pictures together in a continuous strip. Retell the story as you pull the “filmstrip” through a cardboard box “viewing screen”.

Film Shoot: Day 2 (Grades 3-6)
In this video segment from Cyberchase, the CyberSquad is shooting a film and they have a limited number of snelfus to spend on food, film stock and the crew. As they work, they make a budget for each day of filming.

Billy Wilder: Film Noir Inventor and Genius (Grades 6-12)
Learn the influences of Billy Wilder as a means to deconstruct film as an art forlm, understanding the underlying social and moral messages of film and analyze stereotypes in media.

Film Scoring: Living a Creative Life (Grades 9-12)
Learn how music is used in film and advertising to influence our perceptions and emotions

News from KLRN Education

Let's Write in 2012
Yvonne Yates
Director of School Services, KLRN

William Wordsworth said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” Every New Year’s Eve many of us make a list of our goals, plans and resolutions for the new year. We write them down and post them somewhere around the house and if you are anything like me by March they are nowhere to be found. This process of writing down our ideas and forgetting about it is much like the dozens of stories that students begin to write and then forget about. Many times these wonderful ideas start in a draft but are not taken through the full writing process.

In the last few decades, the written word has been lost to some extending with the coming of age of text messaging and emails. Laugh out loud is LOL and back in five has been shortened to BI5. My last year in the classroom this change in our use of language became apparent when a student wrote “BION I BIOMN.” My curiosity got the best of me and I called the student over and asked her what this meant. She said in a very matter a fact voice, “Duh, Ms. Yates. It’s “Believe it or not I blow it out my nose.” This made sense as she was talking about drinking milk while her sister told her a joke. I explained to the student that we needed to write out all the words. She did not like that she would have to take an extra few seconds to write out every word. I drove home that day with a smile on my face as I thought of how unhip I was at 31.
Writing has been the word on the street here at KLRN because at the start of the year we kicked off the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest. This contest is open to students in kindergarten to third grade. We're on the lookout for stories written and illustrated by kids in these grade levels. Everyone who enters receives a certificate with top place finishers in each grade eligible for great prizes such as laptop computers, digital cameras, and e-readers!
The contest began January 1 and ends on April 2, 2012. Look for complete rules, including entry forms and more information at
Get those students writing and start sending in your stories. Can’t wait to read them all!

Resources from KLRN Education

KLRN PBS Learning Media Clips to use:

Reasons to Write (Grades PreK-2) This video segment from Between the
features a motivating, kid-friendly song that celebrates the reasons
to write in everyday life.

Advice for Aspiring Writers (Grades K-8) Grace Lin shares her advice
for becoming a children’s book author.

Knowing Poe Interactive Timeline (Grades 6-12) Examine
turning points that shaped Edgar Allen Poe’s life and literature with this
interactive timeline.