Archive for the 'Education' Category

App Lets Users Rage against Bad Food and Learn Good Nutrition

Monday, April 30th, 2012

SmashYourFood_app.JPGWith great gross-out that kids thoroughly enjoy, “Smash Your Food” won First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Apps for Healthy Kids” contest. The iPad application from Octave Media International, LLC, can be downloaded from iTunes. KIDS FIRST! youth film critic Brianna Beaton (age 12) shares why making a mess with food is so educational – and what other advantages it offers to parents.

Smash Your Food
App reviewed by Brianna Beaton

“Smash Your Food” is an educational app that teaches you about healthy food habits. I really don’t know how much sugar, salt and oil there is in the everyday foods we eat, but “Smash Your Food” teaches you.

This app displays a particular food and then you guess how much sugar, salt and oil there is in it. After you guess how much it has, then you can SMASH it. It then tells you the actual amount. It is so real with the videos and sound effects (squishing, popping).

It is definitely an eye-opener as you will learn what not to eat, and it helps with your nutrition. “Smash Your Food” is a fun way for kids to learn about foods, such as sweets that add to your calorie consumption. It has about 40 foods that you can SMASH, from doughnuts, junk food and soda to entire full meals. It is high-definition Video – and real food is used.

I’m not sure if it tells you your daily allotted dose, but I would like to see that.BriannaBeaton.jpg

This app is good for ages about four to teens. Adults will also enjoy it because they may not know how much [of the nutritional elements] is in a food. It has different levels and sends parents e-mails on how well their child is doing with the app.

I really enjoy this app and get to learn at the same time. I give this app 5 out of 5 stars

Photo: “Smash Your Food” (top), Brianna Beaton (bottom)

You, Too, Can Be a KIDS FIRST! Juror – Easy, Fun and So Worthwhile

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

KF_FilmCritics_218x225.jpgAre you concerned about what your kids are watching on TV, in the movies, on videogames or even phone or iPad apps? Did you know that the average American child will spend more time watching TV and playing videogames than he or she will spend in school?

At KIDS FIRST!, we work with adults and kids all over the country to increase awareness and help them become more media savvy. One way we do this is through our Juror Training Course and Junior Film Critic Clubs. Adults are trained to evaluate media for KIDS FIRST! and to work with a group of kids to do the same. KDIS FIRST! rates and reviews DVDs, feature films, audio CDs, videogames and apps.

Sound fun? Then we have just the class for you to become a KIDS FIRST! juror – interactive, live, two-session webinars or a recorded version that lets you do the training on your own time. Becoming a juror has always been easy – but it just got even easier! If you are one of the first 20 people to sign up for training, we will waive our standard $10 administrative fee. Plus, everyone who completes a registration form will automatically be enrolled in this month’s KIDS FIRST! sweepstakes to win cool, new DVDs.

In order to get the free training, you must sign up by March 15 and complete the course by May 31.

There’s NO TIME COMMITMENT required of you as a KIDS FIRST! juror and you get to keep all of the products we send you to evaluate! You can build up your personal media library or donate these products to your school, community center or any children’s organization you choose. You will be offered opportunities once or twice a month to evaluate a children’s product, and you pick as many or as few as appeal to you.

As an official KIDS FIRST! juror, you can start your own Junior Film Critics Club and become part of a nationwide nucleus of more than 200 adults and 3,000 kids that make up the KIDS FIRST! volunteer evaluators. Jurors help children learn to view media critically, express their opinions verbally or in written form and assist other families in their media viewing decisions. 

For more information about the KIDS FIRST! jury, or for dates of our upcoming live webinars, visit us online.

KIDS FIRST! Goes to NASA

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

SamConnan_KennedySpaceCenter.JPGDisney/Pixar’s spring release of Mars Needs Moms had space authorities from NASA involved in its production! Looking to get insights into NASA’s role in the movie, KIDS FIRST! arranged for KF film critic Sam Connan to visit the Kennedy Space Center. Sam got a chance to explore some of what the movie’s young hero Milo goes through while learning what lies behind NASA’s interest in working with filmmakers.

Sam Connan at Kennedy Space Center

Hi. I’m Sam Connan, reporting from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, for KIDS FIRST!. The Kennedy Space Center is a wonderful way to spend the day if you want to get away from the amusement parks and get some science into your visit to Florida. I went there on business, but ended up having a wonderful time.

There’s a guided tour that you can take, and I highly recommend it. You get to see the real mission control for the Apollo mission, and a real Saturn Five rocket, as well as the launch pad itself. I personally didn’t get to see the launch pad because they were fueling up the shuttle Atlantis for the last flight in the manned space flight program. To find the guided tour, just go through the main building and go right. There’s usually a long line in front of a big tour bus.

Now I know that some young, aspiring astronauts are really bummed out because that’s the last manned rocket launch, but it isn’t. I talked to someone in the Exploration Space exhibit (an exhibit about the past and future of space exploration), and he assured me that NASA is going to initiate a new manned space program and they hope to have people on Mars by 2030. To find Exploration Space, just go straight past the main building to the picnic benches and then go to your left and there’s a big sign.

There is a shuttle launch simulator, which is very cool. They kind of scare you in the “Mission Briefing,” saying that it’s like you’re in a tin can that can be squished at any moment, and that the rocket’s going to tip forwards, and that it feels like an elephant is sitting on you because of the G-force, etc., but it’s not that bad. It’s actually fun. However, you do go directly vertical, so if you do have any of the conditions that they mention in the warnings, you’ll want to pay attention to that. To find the shuttle launch simulator, just look for a big building with a bunch of ramps on the side next to a life-sized space shuttle.

NASA will sometimes get involved with movies. Now I know what you’re thinking: “What could the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have to do with making movies?” Well, they can do one of two things: First, if someone is making a space movie and wants to work on the space center, or second, the people making the movie just want to be as realistic as possible, so they’ll ask NASA some questions about whatever it is they need to know about. NASA worked on the recent Disney/Pixar film “Mars Needs Moms,” and I expect that they did the second thing — helped to make the movie as realistic as possible.

There is also the Rocket Garden, a large courtyard with about twenty rockets and capsules. To find it, just go in the main entrance and go all the way to the left; it’s hard to miss.

As a completing factor of your Space Center experience, you’ll want to check out the I-Max theater, where there are two informational movies continuously playing every day.

All in all, I loved my experience at the Kennedy Space Center, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to have an informational but fun time.

Photo: KIDS FIRST! film critic Sam Connan turns astronaut at Kennedy Space Center.

KIDS FIRST! July 2010 News

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Last Chance to Sign up for the LA and NY Boot Camps

Janet DavidsonAct quickly if you haven’t already. You have until July 1, 2010, to sign up for an exciting week of hands-on media evaluation projects in either New York or Los Angeles. Janet Davidson shares some ideas of what parents can expect for their children during the week. First of all, expect a lot of fun. Davidson knows the ins and outs of filmmaking from her experiences as an actor and director in Hollywood. She is looking forward to merging her film experiences and her teaching experiences (she has taught acting classes in Santa Fe as well as Drama and Film Studies) to make film come alive for day campers.

Davidson feels that parents of children attending the Boot Camp might appreciate the fact that it will give children material to use and build on in the future. It could give them a motivation towards a career. No matter what career choice a child has, it’s important to be analytical about anything in life, and that’s what this camp is about.. it will help children analyze material and come forward with their beliefs. With increased verbal skills, the children learn to have the courage to talk to adults and share their opinions. It encourages curiosity.

During the course of the camp, children will learn to interview actors and directors one on one and for a red carpet experience. They will learn why it’s important to judge films, and learn about all the components involved in making a good film from directing to acting to lighting and storytelling. The kids will learn about teamwork as they experience a mock film set and make their own movies. This will teach them firsthand what it’s like to be an actor and producer. They will come to understand the process and realize that all the pieces work together, and they can pull apart, or mesh to create a powerful film. At the end of the day, they will critique their own work. Campers will also have the opportunity to visit a real filmmaking or animation studio.

To make sure your children don’t miss out on this fabulous opportunity, check out the KIDS FIRST! Boot Camp webpage and sign up. But act soon because the July 1 deadline is just around the corner.

 


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KIDS FIRST! has a Facebook Fan page where you can share information about children’s media. To participate, go to the KIDS FIRST! Facebook Page and click on “Like.”

Goodnight Moon Comes to DVD With American Sign Language as an Integral Part of the Story

Good Night Moon & More Great Bedtime Stories – the American Sign Language version from New Video is a fantastic DVD on so many levels. Good Night Moon takes a classic, simple story and makes it come alive through gentle animation. As the story is read aloud, the words to the story show up on the screen, encouraging children to read. While it’s read, a woman signs the story using American Sign Language (ASL).

This title makes it fun to learn to read and to sign at the same time. It’s perfect for children with Down’s Syndrome or children who are hearing impaired, and can encourage other children to learn ASL so they can communicate with children who sign. It can promote discussion on different means of communication.

Bonus Features include an area where children can take a quiz to see what they remember about the story. Another feature is a quiz section that has children testing their knowledge of sign language and signing letters. If you have Internet access, a third Bonus Feature allows you to download activities related to ASL and the story. KIDS FIRST! Child Juror Comments: Kids liked copying the signs. They liked seeing one of their favorite books on the screen. They enjoyed the rhyming. They thought their friends would like it because they do sign language even though they aren’t good yet. Find this wonderful title in stores beginning on July 27th, or pre-order the title on Amazon.

Are You a Winner? These DVDs Want to be Yours

Enter our July sweepstakes chance to win a free copy of one of the following fantastic KIDS FIRST! titles: Veggie Tales; Sweetpea Beauty, Goodnight Moon, To Save a Life, The 13 Ghosts of Schooby-Doo, Sesame Street: 20 Years and Still Counting and Jackie Chan’s The Spy Next Door (with one special copy autographed by Jackie Chan).

Congratulations to our May winners: Chris, Melissa, Sheila, Christina, Gilda, Shana, Cindy, Leslie, Michelle, Nancy, MaryGrace, Charice, Peter, Cathy, Marilyn, Denise, Eddy, Elizabeth, Erica, Christina, Dania, Bonnie, James , Valerie and Pat.

 


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KIDS FIRST! Mid June 2010 News

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief – A KIDS FIRST! DVD Review

Celebrate Father’s Day in Santa Fe, New Mexico by watching “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” at Warehouse 21 at 1 p.m.This is one of many exciting activities. Read more about the Father’s Day Fiesta on the Reel Fathers website.

“Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” is a film our family of KIDS FIRST! jurors unanimously voted to keep in our own personal DVD library. It was too good to watch just one time. The ancient gods meet the modern world as Zeus accuses a young demi-god of stealing his lightning bolt. Never knowing he was part god, Poseidon’s son, Percy, is suddenly thrust into another world where he has exceptional powers, and must enter the depths of Hades to prevent a war among the gods. This film was particularly appealing because it clues a viewer in to the inner workings of Greek mythology, yet ties the mythology into the modern world.

Not only is the story and imagery captivating, but it also promotes a strong sense of family bonds in a very realistic way. Percy feels like his father abandoned him, and we see the relationship develop between father and son as the plot-line develops and Percy discovers that his father never abandoned him. Although gods couldn’t be with their children after birth, the father was always in Percy’s mind, helping him when he needed help. There is a poignant scene near the end where father and son come face-to-face and have a realistic confrontation.

The cinematography is so crisp, smooth and detailed that some of the evil characters were almost too scary for young viewers. Hades, in his god-form, is particularly scary, and the snakes that surrounded Medusa’s head seem incredibly lifelike. While this might make the film inappropriate for younger viewers, these aspects are part of what made the film such a success with the teen and tween audience.

The adventurous story shows how a common, somewhat dorky boy, can find something special within himself. It took his dyslexic and ADHD tendencies, and turned them into powerful weapons against the enemy. It’s a good message for viewers, seeing how things that can be perceived as negative attributes can be really be used as strengths. Viewers who watch this film might become inspired to learn more about Greek mythology.

KIDS FIRST! Child Jurors who watched it were recalling stories they knew from childhood even as the credits rolled. They began discussing what it would be like, and how they would act, if they were the young heroes in the film. A 17-year-old girl viewing the film was excited about the reminder of the stories she loved in her youth. The 10- and 13-year-old boys loved the sword fighting and special effects.

A 16-year-old boy summed it up: The visuals were stunning, and the music was fit for the story. I loved the models and animation with the monsters like the Hydra. It actually looked realistic. The only thing I didn’t like about this movie is that the story was extremely predictable (a point the younger children disagreed with). I was able to call out what was going to happen dozens of minutes before it happened, such as needing the 4th pearl to bring his mother and his friends back (the other kids did notice this, also, but it added to the drama for them and made them feel smart). I was also able to predict who would stay in Hades. This movie is great for a wide spectrum of age groups; probably between 7-16. Adults would like it, too.  Overall I think this movie was pretty good. I’d give it an  8/10.

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KIDS FIRST! has a Facebook Fan page where you can share information about children’s media. To participate, go to the KIDS FIRST! Facebook Page and click on “Like.”

Raven Tales Comes to the Smithsonian Channel in July

If you’re ready for a good story, then turn on your television in July of 2010 to catch the KIDS FIRST! Palmer Vision Award-winning title, “Raven Tales,” on The Smithsonian Channel. The animated series,  geared for 5 to 12-year-olds, is drawn from Native American folklore. Chris Keintz, co-author and executive producer of the series is a master of the art of narrative, the technique to telling stories.

The series tells the tales of Raven, the mythical legend supposedly responsible for the creation of the world. The stories highlight the wild and funny adventures of Raven, the most powerful, and one might add, trickiest troublemaker of First Nations Folklore. He is joined by his steadfast brother, Eagle, and the mysterious Frog. The trickster myths of the Northwest Coast form the backbone to “Raven Tales,” the first animated film to be done by an all Canadian aboriginal team.

Chris Kientz (Cherokee) is an American/Canadian animator, television producer and director. His goal of keeping the tales authentic has opened the door to a resurgence of interest in Native American legends. The characters in “Raven Tales” look like those found in Northwest Coast wood carvings, and the stories echo from antiquity. The music is hauntingly beautiful.

Keintz’s work has appeared at the Smithsonian Institution as well as animation festivals worldwide. Currently he continues this work on behalf of the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University where he is the Director of Technology Innovation. He currently serves on the New Mexico Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries to advise on digital media and tax incentives for media production and post production. He is also a consultant on animation for the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University. In addition he is a senior consultant for National Geographic Media Arts.

Look for “Raven Tales” on The Smithsonian Channel in July, and check out the “Raven Tales” website for more details on the series.

Are You a Winner? These DVDs Want to be Yours

Enter our June sweepstakes for a chance to win a free copy of one of the following fantastic KIDS FIRST! titles: Barney or Thomas On-The-Go-Pack, Jim Henson’s Dog City: The Movie, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Hidden Treasures of Wompkee World Plus a Wompkee Finger Puppet and Jackie Chan’s The Spy Next Door.

Congratulations to our May winners: Chris, Melissa, Sheila, Christina, Gilda, Shana, Cindy, Leslie, Michelle, Nancy, MaryGrace, Charice, Peter, Cathy, Marilyn, Denise, Eddy, Elizabeth, Erica, Christina, Dania, Bonnie, James , Valerie and Pat.

Granny Ranny’s Coming Attractions

Toy Story 3 – Funny, Clever and Full of Adventure
After 11 years, the wait is finally over for fans of Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story franchise with the release of Toy Story 3.  It… – Read More!

PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest
A panel of America’s foremost children’s authors, illustrators and content experts will serve as final judges in the PBS KIDS GO! Writers Contest, a national-local contest designed to promote the advancement of children’s reading skills through hands-on, active learning … Read More!

Ann’s Marketing Memes

From WorldKids in Mumbai, Three Films to Captivate You
From our wonderful film partners at WorldKids in Mumbai, India come three extraordinary tales of everyday life. I am captivated by the … – Read More!

Lauren’s Critics’ Corner

3 Reasons to Become a KIDS FIRST! Juror Now
1. The training is still FREE
2. Summer’s coming and you’ll need some indoor air-conditioned activities
3. You can provide a fun summer … – Read More!

ABOUT CQCM AND KIDS FIRST!

The Coalition for Quality Children’s Media is a national, nonprofit organization founded in 1991 whose mission is to teach children critical viewing skills and to increase the visibility and availability of quality children’s media. The Coalition is a voluntary collaboration comprising more than 10,000 media professionals, lobbyists, policymakers, child advocates, educators, parents and families nationwide. More.

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