Project-Based Media Literacy With Student Reporting Labs

Eighty percent of middle schoolers can’t tell the difference between sponsored content and objective journalism, according to a recent Stanford University study on youth media literacy. In light of the ongoing conversation about the impact of misinformation and propaganda in our politics, teachers in Wisconsin and around the nation face steep challenges and high stakes as they work to help students think critically about the media they consume.

Luckily, PBS NewsHour offers the Student Reporting Labs (SRL) initiative— a framework of curricula, project ideas and mentoring relationships with local PBS stations that puts students behind the camera to get them thinking – and working – like professional journalists. SRL students learn about sourcing, bias, fact-checking, and the nuts-and-bolts of videography and editing. And they do it all as creators rather than consumers. Continue reading Project-Based Media Literacy With Student Reporting Labs

Victorious Blog, Episode 7: Season Finale


“Who is the greatest chicken killer in Shakespeare?” “Macbeth, because he did murder most foul.”

This is the seventh post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Well, folks: It’s the end of an era. The glorious reign of Victoria on Masterpiece is over …  for now.

Our Sunday evenings will no longer include these lovable new pals – from Queen Victoria to Prince Ernest. Over the course of the season, even the characters we initially cursed under our breath warmed our hearts eventually (I’m looking at you, uncle Leopold!).

At this point, it feels like it’s been years since we gazed upon Lord M. Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 7: Season Finale

Polka! – Meet Mollie B.!

Polka! host Mollie B. poses with her squeezeboxWisconsin Public Television’s all-new film Polka!premiering 7 p.m. tonight, March 6! –  goes inside Wisconsin’s vibrant polka culture to see why so many people love this lively dance.

Who better to host this warm tribute than internationally known polka star Mollie Busta, also known as Mollie B.? Ahead of the premiere, WPT’s Erik Ernst caught up with Mollie to talk about how polka has shaped her life and why Wisconsin is such a great polka state.

Continue reading Polka! – Meet Mollie B.!

Quiz: Polka in Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, polka is tied to our identity like beer, brats and cheese! But, how much do you actually know about the music and dance?

Test your knowledge with this 10-question quiz!

And tune in Monday at 7 p.m. for Polka! with musician and host Mollie Busta — better known as Mollie B. — as she explores the history and culture surrounding the often misunderstood dance, the memories it conjures, the people who enjoy it … and the fun it invokes across Wisconsin. Watch the preview and read our interview with Mollie B.

Ready to get out your dancing shoes? Find polka across Wisconsin by exploring this map that lists venues with weekly music and annual festivals.

Funding for Polka! is provided in part by the Stanley J. Cottrill Fund, International Polka Association, Wisconsin Dells Polka Fest, and Friends of Wisconsin Public Television.

Enter the Masterpiece 2017 Sweepstakes!

Do you dream of stepping into the worlds of Victoria and Downton Abbey? (I know I do!) Well, here’s your chance: Enter the 2017 Masterpiece Sweepstakes! The grand prize is incredible: A tour of Downton Abbey’s famous Highclere Castle, a visit to Sherlock filming locations in London, and a chance to explore Victoria sites in Yorkshire.

In addition to the amazing grand prize, you can also win awesome PBS merchandise. BUT, time is running out to enter: The deadline is March 15, 2017. Enter daily at pbs.org/sweepstakes

Masterpiece is offering even more chances to win through Twitter! It’s as easy as this: After you enter, click on the Twitter icon below the words “Invite Your Friends” on the “Thanks for your entry” page. Once you share the sweepstakes via Twitter, you will get another entry (up to 5 additional entries) in the Sweepstakes for each friend that enters. 

Details on the Grand Prize From Masterpiece

“With an itinerary arranged by VisitBritain, Great Britain’s national tourism agency, this trip features a visit to world-famous Highclere Castle, tours of historic estates in Yorkshire filmed for Victoria, and a private tour of the Tower of London, used in Sherlock.

The 7-day, 6-night trip includes economy class round-trip travel to London Heathrow Airport on British Airways from any British Airways operated U.S. gateway city at the time of travel, and includes a connecting one-way flight to Leeds Bradford Airport in Leeds. Accommodations are four-star, including The Royal York Hotel and London’s Edwardian Hotel.

The Grand Prize winner will also receive Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and Victoria merchandise, including the Downton Abbey Complete Limited Edition Collector’s Set DVD, Sherlock Seasons 1, 2, and 3 on DVD, a Sherlock action figure, and Victoria Season 1 on DVD, all from shopPBS.org.”

Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

WPT producer Mik Derks has worked with Jerry Apps since 2012. Photo credit: James Gill.

“[Jerry Apps] gave permission to his audiences to remember their childhoods fondly.” -Mik Derks

Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain premieres 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 on WPT

Over the past five years, WPT producer Mik Derks has been sharing the stories of beloved Wisconsin author, historian and storyteller Jerry Apps with television audiences. This month, the tradition continues with a new documentary: Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain. Reflecting on water’s importance throughout his life, Apps shares why his father told him, “Jerry, never curse the rain.” Continue reading Behind the Scenes – “Jerry Apps: Never Curse the Rain”

Video Games & Learning: Teachers & Developers Write the Future Together

When I taught high school English, I had a mailbox in the staff lounge in a wall full of identical little rectangular mailboxes. About twice a year, I would find something useful in my mailbox. But the other 178 school days, I only found mountains of junk mail — flyers for expensive digital subscription services or glossy magazines brimming with overpriced textbooks that would be obsolete before they arrived. Soon, the junk mail felt as identical as the rows of little rectangular mailboxes. Continue reading Video Games & Learning: Teachers & Developers Write the Future Together

Victorious Blog, Episode 6: “The Engine of Change”

“Don’t talk railway at me.” -Victoria

This is the sixth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

What’s more relaxing than enjoying a private concert with your closest companions and frenemies? Well, probably a lot of things, considering how uncomfortable those chairs looked. But that’s not Victoria’s world.

“The Engine of Change” follows Victoria through her early, nausea-filled stages of her pregnancy, explores Albert’s continued quest for independence, and generally showcases that the times are a-changin’ – and if the royals are going to keep up, they’re going to have to change, too.  Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 6: “The Engine of Change”

Victorious Blog, Episode 5: “The Queen’s Husband”

“Never mind, Duchess; not all of your arrows miss their target.” – Prince Ernest

This is the fifth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Whew – what an episode! Notably, this was the first episode without Melbourne. (Why have you forsaken us, Lord M?!) But the storyline was solid, and I made it through the episode without too much heartache.

“The Queen’s Husband” covered Victoria and Albert’s blossoming relationship and Albert’s quest for a bit of independence. This was my second favorite episode so far – so much excitement packed into the hour. (Missed the episode? Watch online now.Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 5: “The Queen’s Husband”

Victorious Blog, Episode 4: “An Ordinary Woman”

“But you are not an ordinary woman; you are a queen.”

This is the fourth post of the Victorious Blog series. Click here to read the series.

Upon recovering from learning that my colleague has ACTUALLY MET RUFUS SEWELL – with a picture to prove it! – I’m ready to talk about Victoria on Masterpiece: “An Ordinary Woman.”

[Editor’s note: Jonna is lying, literally and figuratively; after the excitement of a royal wedding, she has taken to her fainting couch with a case of the vapours. Feel better!]

How do you tell a familiar story without making it appear stale? Therein lay the challenge for Daisy Goodwin when writing this episode.  (Yeah, yeah, we know there’s a wedding …)

But Goodwin’s got some magic up her Victorian-era sleeve. Episode Four begins with familial gloating, peaks with gratuitous brooding, and ends with – excuse me, without the need for Madeira.

Continue reading Victorious Blog, Episode 4: “An Ordinary Woman”