Educational Resources That Are On the Money

  • Apr 08, 2016

Would it surprise you to learn that, as of right now, only 20 states require that high school students study economics? And according to a report by CNBC, that’s actually 2 less than the number that required it in 2014.

It certainly surprised me, considering the important role that money plays in the quality of our lives, especially with regard to smart stewardship.

With that in mind, we’d like to call your attention to, a free resource from the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission established (as it says on the website) “to strengthen financial capability and increase access to financial services for all Americans.”

The site features a section devoted exclusively to teachers and educators, featuring curricula, lesson plans, tip sheets, guidance, and helpful tools for teaching financial capability. The topic range is wide, covering everything from savings and investment to taxes and student aid, and there are materials available for students PreK-12, much of it standards-aligned.

Check it out for yourself. Visit today.

And to help us keep you informed about other great free educational programs and resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

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Grammar School

  • Mar 03, 2016


“Avoid commas, that are unnecessary.”
                                                 —William Safire

If you get the joke, chances are you’ll see the value of No Nonsense Grammar, a series of downloadable videos and lesson plans available free of charge from PBS LearningMedia for Students.

The materials, which are aimed at elementary and middle-school students, are divided into five categories: Punctuation; Capitalization & Spelling; Verb Tense, Mood & Voice; Usage; and Sentence Structure. The videos are humorous and engaging (see screen grabs, below), and the accompanying materials—which include standards-based lesson plans, activities, and handouts—are well organized and easily digestible. All in all, it’s yet another fine educational offering from the good folks at PBS.

Check out the collection for yourself. Visit No Nonsese Grammar today.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio


Collective Noun

K-12 STEM Resources from PBS

  • Feb 11, 2016


If you follow education topics on social media you have no doubt come across the word “makers” quite often of  late.

It’s a handy distillation of what amounts to a growing movement toward applied sciences. That is to say, people, especially young people, making stuff—or improving stuff, or figuring out new and better ways to do stuff. And at the center of it all you find STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), an important 21st-Century emphasis in education that recognizes both where we are headed, and just how much untapped potential there is available in our classrooms to get us there.

And this is all good news, of course. So good, in fact, that more and more entities and organizations are doing what they can to help.

Which brings us to PBS Learning Media and the Makers initiative, a web-based, one-stop shop of STEM and digital making resources that focus on the problem, technology, or process behind object creation. On the Makers website you’ll find something for every student K through 12, and it’s all available free of charge!

The material is multi-media, accompanied by standards-based lesson plans, and presented in 5 categories: Arts and Crafts, Design, Engineering, How To (DIY), and Robotics.

And in keeping with the idea that Makers is really all about students doing things themselves, the collection was designed and curated by a high school student working toward a career in technology. Nice touch.

Check it out for yourself. Visit Makers today.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

He Named Me Malala DVD Giveaway Program!

  • Feb 02, 2016


“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” — Malala Yousafzai

Like people all over the world, we’ve followed with admiration and excitement the ongoing story of Malala Yousafzai, who was just 15 years-old when she was targeted by for assassination by the Taliban for speaking out on girls’ education. Having survived that attempt on her life, Malala has since taken her campaign global, becoming the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate and winning millions of supporters along the way.

Her story was beautifully captured in the award-winning documentary He Named Me Malala, and now, the Students Stand #withMalala campaign—a collaboration between Participant Media and the Malala Fund—is providing free DVD copies of the film (and licensing fees) to teachers and educators who would like to bring Malala’s story into their schools and communities.

And in addition to the film there are supplementary learning resources available for download, including a curriculum guide and discussion guide created by Journeys Into Film, as well as a toolkit to help turn your students into activists.

So, would you like to stand #withMalala? Sign-up for your free DVD right here.

Note: To qualify for a free DVD and education license, screenings must be for educational purposes and admission may not be charged. If you have questions, please contact:

And to find out about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow us on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Inspiration Station

  • Nov 24, 2015


It’s a sad fact that in schools where space or funding are an issue, arts education suffers. Fortunately, though, there’s always plenty of room for arts ed on Ovation TV’s web site, and money’s not an issue because it’s always free of charge!

From music and theater to fine art and design, Ovation’s Arts Ed Toolkit offers free, curated content for your high school classroom. Each unit is comprised of a streaming video presentation culled from the network’s high-quality library of series and documentaries, and accompanied by a downloadable lesson plan supporting National Core Arts Standards.

Featured resources available right now include The Art Of: Photography; Raiders of the Lost Art: Leonardo da Vinci, a lesson in art history built around the theft of the Mona Lisa, and a look at music and songwriting with recording artist Sheryl Crow.

And that’s really just the beginning of what’s available. Check out the Arts Ed Toolkit and see for yourself.

And to learn about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

Note: Ovation TV is channel 274 in your DIRECTV SCHOOL CHOICE programming package.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio


Watch and Learn

  • Nov 18, 2015


Currently airing on National Geographic Channel, Breakthrough is a landmark series of six documentary films that explore new realms of scientific research in a variety of fields. And as a gift to educators, the series is accompanied by a web-based learning module that allows you to bring that cutting-edge science into K-12 classrooms!

With an eye toward the future, especially as it concerns passionate innovation and the evolving relationship between people and technology, each hour-long episode of Breakthrough is directed by a well-known Hollywood personality who approaches the material as a passion project:

Episode 1: Fighting Pandemics (Peter Berg)
Episode 2: More Than Human (Paul Giamatti)
Episode 3: Decoding the Brain (Brett Ratner)
Episode 4: The Age of Aging (Ron Howard)
Episode 5: Energy on the Edge (Akiva Goldsman)
Episode 6: Water Apocalypse (Angela Bassett)

Says Angela Bassett, whose Water Apocalypse deals with efforts to ensure that people everywhere have access to clean drinking water, “I would most like this film to be an impetus for inspiring young, creative minds, and even mature minds, to come up with innovative ideas that help solve our water problem. First, we have to think about it. We have to be concerned about it. We have to know that there is a problem.”

For more on the series, watch the trailer below. And for ideas on how to bring this important material to life in your classroom, be sure to check out Breakthrough‘s Innovation Lab, an online interactive education hub that offers engaging ways for K-12 students to learn more about the topics covered.

Breakthrough airs Sunday nights at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT on National Geographic Channel (DIRECTV channel 276).
Complete episodes are also archived for viewing on the Breakthrough web site.

To find out about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Celebrate National Energy Star Day with a Live Virtual Event in Your Classroom!

  • Oct 06, 2015


DIRECTV has partnered with Discovery Education to bring you and your students a live virtual discussion on the global importance of energy efficiency with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The event will come your way LIVE from Washington, DC on October 27th at 1pm EST, and is recommended for students in grades 6 through 8.

There will be downloadable classroom activities available to prepare your class for the discussion, and your students may even submit questions for Administrator McCarthy in advance!

Virtual field trips and events like this are a fun and easy way enhance your students’ educational experience. There’s no cost to participate, and the technical requirements are minimal—all you need is an internet-connected computer and a way to share with students (for example, a projector and speakers).

To learn more, and to register your class, visit the event’s official web site.

And to find out about other great free educational resources and programs, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio


An Egg-cellent Opportunity for Learning

  • Sep 24, 2015

Egg Farm 1

Note: If you missed this LIVE virtual field trip, you’ll be happy to know it’s been archived online along with all related classroom materials. You’ll find it here.

Virtual field trips are a growing trend these days, offering tech-savvy teachers a hassle-free way to show students the world outside their classrooms. In fact, so popular are these on-screen excursions that more and more organizations have been stepping-up to make them available, often at no cost.

For example, on October 15th, 2015, Discovery Education and the Good Egg Project will present a LIVE virtual field trip to Creighton Brothers Farms in Warsaw, Indiana for an on-site lesson in nutrition, sustainability, and the farm-to-table process, as well as the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem, and the importance of high-quality animal husbandry.

The technical requirements for this trip are simple, and there are downloadable lesson plans and teacher guides available for grades K-8!

To learn more, and to register your class, visit The Good Egg Project Education Station.

And to find out about other great free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio

Egg Farm 2

Introducing Digital You

  • Aug 19, 2015


Editor’s note: In late July, AT&T and DIRECTV closed a landmark deal to combine companies. DIRECTV is now part of the AT&T family.

Ask any parent what their primary concern is as they watch kids venture out to explore new horizons—whether it’s crossing the street, or enjoying their first smart phone—and chances are you’ll hear the word “safety.”

Safety is paramount, and the more our lives are lived online the more important it becomes to learn safe practices.

Enter AT&T’s comprehensive new educational program, Digital You.

Launched this summer, Digital You is a free online resource for Internet users of all ages and levels of experience created in collaboration with Common Sense. At you’ll find a robust collection of tools, tips, apps, guidance and community education events that is well put-together and really quite easy to navigate—whether you are a newcomer to the digital environment, or a veteran just looking for smarter, safer ways to do things.

Educators and parents alike will be particularly interested in Digital Compass, the fun, interactive game developed by Common Sense that teaches 6th through 9th graders about the real-world impact of their online decisions. You can play for free online or download the free Digital Compass app for IOS or Android, and reference this handy Educator Guide for lessons in digital literacy & citizenship. Digital Compass is available for complimentary use thanks to AT&T.

Learn more by visiting Digital You today.

And to stay abreast of other great opportunities and free educational resources, be sure to bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio


The Civil War Restored

  • Jul 23, 2015

Civil War

UPDATE: If you missed the recent broadcast of Ken Burns’ The Civil War, the entire series is still available for streaming via PBS Video! Learn more.

This September, on the 25th anniversary of its original broadcast, Ken Burns’ landmark documentary series The Civil War will return to PBS—only this time, for the first time—in glorious high definition, accompanied by free, standards-based lesson plans and classroom activities for grades 5-12.

What’s more, educators are invited to record the 5-part series and archive it for classroom use for up to one year from broadcast.

Twenty-five years ago, The Civil War captured America’s attention like no other television documentary had in decades. Scholarly, yet as riveting as a well-crafted drama, it attracted nearly 40 million viewers and made a brand of documentarian Ken Burns (Baseball; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea).

“When The Civil War first appeared on PBS in the fall of 1990, no one—myself included—was at all prepared for the overwhelming national response that followed,” says Burns (pictured below [r.], with the late historian and author Shelby Foote, one of the The Civil War‘s commentators). “The film was then, as it is now, a timely reminder of the frightful cost our ancestors paid to make this nation a truly United States. It is a chronicle of making permanent that which was promised, but not delivered, in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”

While the educational value of a film like this is self-evident, PBS has gone the extra mile by creating a variety of free lesson plans, activities, and other resources, including ideas from teachers who’ve used the program in their classrooms.

“The series can’t replace the teacher or the classroom, but in conjunction with what you as the teacher do, it can make the era come alive in a way never before possible,” says Burns.

The Civil War in high-definition will air over the course of five nights, September 7-11, on PBS (check local listings).

For more information and educational resources visit the official Civil War web site, and look for the “classroom” tab.

And to find out about other great educational shows and resources, simply bookmark this site and follow DIRECTV Goes to School on Twitter.

—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio