The videos star nine-year-old Noah, who is staying with his grandmother in a community where everyone speaks Spanish. A series of misunderstandings launch comic misadventures for Noah, as he tries to communicate with others who don’t speak English. In Noah’s new adventures, language misunderstandings take him to the Arctic in a madcap search for a mama polar bear, to a dude ranch, where he lands on the back of a bucking bronco, and to the circus, where he finds himself part of a daring trapeze act. Somehow Noah always manages to solve the problems he’s created, learning Spanish in the process. Kids - and their parents - laugh and learn along with him.
Releases of new interactive videos will begin on May 3, 2012. In each of the short episodes, kids have the opportunity to move their cursors over objects on the screen to hear the names in Spanish and play a series of arcade-style games that reinforce learning. Additionally, the Oh Noah! website will feature two new exciting and robust character-driven games that encourage replay and retention. The May 3 launch will feature "Curtain Up!," an open-ended introduction to digital storytelling in which the player creates a whimsical stage narrative by choosing sets, props, actors, music, and a title. "Noah’s Adventure," which uses board game conventions as a springboard for a journey to places Noah visits in the videos, will debut later in May, along with another new interactive video. Games and videos will continue rolling out in June and throughout fall 2012. Online games featured already on the site will be refreshed with new sets of thematically linked vocabulary words associated with each new video. "Match It," "You Catch It," and "Word Race," incorporate leveling and racing against the clock to encourage replay and repeated vocabulary exposure. "How Do You Say...?" helps kids learn common expressions in Spanish by matching illustrations to the appropriate phrase.
"Research shows that learning a second language can have significant cognitive benefits, so we are excited to offer new content from Oh Noah! to help kids learn Spanish," said Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President, Children’s Media, PBS. "With web-originals like Oh Noah!, as well as an array of diverse content on-air, online, on mobile, and beyond, PBS continues to offer engaging and educational media for children across all platforms."
"Noah serves as a charming online ’amigo’ for children, introducing them to Spanish with humor and spunk," said Sandra Sheppard, Executive Producer and Director of Children’s and Educational Programming for THIRTEEN. "The delightful new games and videos will spark kids’ imaginations and offer multiple avenues for learning."
Each new Oh Noah! installment will offer dynamic hands-on activities for parents/caregivers and lesson plans for teachers that further explore the vocabulary introduced in the videos and games, and extend the learning. Printables connected to the activities will be downloadable on the website.
In addition to immersing children in the Spanish-speaking community of Noah’s world, Oh Noah! introduces kids to collections of vocabulary words and common phrases that are accessible and of interest to the target age group. The pedagogical approach that serves as the foundation to Oh Noah! is based on the idea that kids learn language best in context. Although kids - like Noah - may not understand all the Spanish dialogue, they can comprehend the story told through rich visual storytelling.
"A goal of Oh Noah! is to help young children benefit from learning more than one language at an early age," says Mariana Swick, bilingual educator and advisor to Oh Noah!. According to the Center for Applied Linguistics, the benefits include improving a child’s understanding of his or her native language, having a positive effect on intellectual growth, enriching and enhancing a child’s mental development, and promoting more flexibility in thinking, greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening.
The bilingual dialogue of Oh Noah! introduces Spanish to English speakers and also offers English language learning support to Spanish speakers. Changing demographics in the United States make clear the importance of learning Spanish. According to the 2009 United States Census, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home by over 48.4 million people age five or older. The United States is the world’s second-largest Spanish-speaking community, second only to Mexico.
Among U.S.-born Hispanics, more than half are English dominant. Recent studies confirm the importance of bilingualism to the growing Hispanic population in the U.S. In a survey of Latinos by the Pew Hispanic Center, 95% of respondents said it is important for future generations to continue to embrace Spanish. Also, nearly nine out of ten respondents said it is important for immigrant Hispanics to learn English in order to succeed in the U.S. According to the Nielsen report "The State of the Hispanic Consumer," nine out of ten Hispanic parents and parents-to-be want their children to be able to speak Spanish, even though they also want them to become fluent in English.
Oh Noah! is produced by THIRTEEN in association with WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media organizations, and funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Sandra Sheppard, director of THIRTEEN’S Children’s and Educational Media, and Jill Peters, director of creative development, serve as executive producers of Oh Noah!. Michelle Chen is producer, Marj Kleinman is senior web producer, and Corey Nascenzi is outreach manager. David Matthew Feldman and Louise Gikow are the series writers. Mariana Swick is the educational advisor. Renegade Animation produces the Oh Noah! animation and Bluemarker LLC is the website and game developer.
New Oh Noah! interactive webisodes include:
Hop, Look, and Listen
Noah is learning how to be a magician. His initial attempt to pull a rabbit out of a hat is unsuccessful, so Coco urges him to speak Spanish, and attempts to help him translate. When Coco misunderstands Noah’s pantomimes, a series of hopping creatures magically appear - but none is a rabbit, until Noah learns that its Spanish name is "conejo."
I Say Tomato
Abuela asks Noah for a newspaper ("un periodico"), gesturing toward someone reading the latest edition on a nearby park bench. But Noah thinks she is focusing on the photo of a giant tomato featured on the front page. He tracks down the prize-winning farmer, who agrees to sell him the tomato. Now, how can he get it back to Abuela? Hint: It won’t fit on the bus.
Daring Young Man
When Noah takes Coco to the circus, she wants some popcorn ("palomitas de maiz"). But when Noah attempts to buy Coco her favorite snack, he gets lost backstage and inadvertently ends up as part of a trapeze act. Can Noah perform the routine without going splat...and losing Coco’s popcorn?
Breaking the Ice
Abuela is throwing a party and she indicates she needs more ice ("hielo"). But Noah misunderstands, thinking she’s showing him the polar bear on the empty ice bag-and he heads off to the Arctic to invite a polar bear to the festivities.
Cowboys and Librarians
Coco’s library book about cowboys is overdue, and Noah offers to return it for her. But when he gets in a cab and says "library" in English while pointing to the book cover, the Spanish-speaking cabdriver misunderstands-and takes him to a ranch. His initial attempts to mount a horse are unsuccessful until his lasso catches the tail of a plane, which pulls him into the saddle. Noah gallops off into the sunset, and gets to the library just before closing time.
SOURCE WNET [May 4, 2012]
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