When I was a young, there was nothing quite like a Saturday morning. No school, no responsibilities, and a full lineup of Saturday morning cartoons. Ahh... the GenX nostalgia for a time when cartoons weren't available on demand, 24/7 — and they definitely didn't have a dedicated channel. I had nowhere to go, but my mom would wake me up early to snuggle up in the living room and watch some of what I consider classics.
I loved Schoolhouse Rock! It was a vibe for me. And for those of us who grew up in the 1970s, 1980s or 1990s, we may have learned almost as much from these catchy little tunes as we did in school. Fast forward to the early 2000s, and you'd find me using the same media that taught me about the Preamble of the United States Constitution, how a bill becomes a law and the three-ring circus that is our government in my high school social studies classroom as a teaching tool.
And you know what? It worked! The learning stayed with my students long after the lesson. Even to this day, I am still tagged in posts just like this one to let me know how much my kids remember — and how much they enjoyed these lessons.
And sometimes it's a few well placed lessons like these — the ones that stick — that can make the difference between youth who are active and engaged in making the world a better place and those who are not.
I'm not in front of students every day anymore, but I still believe media plays an important role in the classroom. Whether it was Schoolhouse Rock!, the endless episodes of Sesame Street I watched as a child, historical dramas, biographies, or simply the nightly news, educational media made an enormous impact on my life as a learner and as a teacher.
Media can be used to teach our young people so much — both inside and outside the classroom. At a time when media is often underfunded, under attack and lacking public trust, it would do us all good to remember this.
Happy 50th Anniversary, Schoolhouse Rock! And thanks for the memories ...
Lisa Hollenbach is Senior Digital Manager for Education Post. Prior to joining Education Post, Lisa developed digital and content strategy for Teaching Channel. She served on the Bill and Melinda Gates Teacher Advisory Council from 2014-2017 and was active in the planning and execution of several Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teachers and Teaching (ECET2) convenings at both the regional and ...