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Candy Advertisement

Lesson: Media Awareness: Helping a Product Cross the Finish Line
Students will complete their advertisements, adding in details (such as color and symbols) and background/foreground space on the picture plane.
Popular Culture, Television

Game Advertisement

Lesson: Media Awareness: Key Concepts in Advertising
In this second of three lessons, students will continue their exploration of concepts in advertising.
Popular Culture, Television

Toy Advertisement

Lesson: Media Awareness: The Basics of Advertising
In the first of these three lessons, students will develop a general understanding of marketing and its influence.
Popular Culture, Television

Portrait of American artist Andy Warhol

Lesson: Making the Ordinary Pop
Pop art examines the distinction between "high art" and popular culture, and questions the role of the artist
Popular Culture, Visual Arts

Hand on turntable

Video Series: DJ 101: The Basics
In this podcast series, DJ Kuttin Kandi shows students the basics of Turntablism, how to scratch records as a DJ, and the differences between Vinyl and Digital DJing.
Hip-Hop, Popular Culture

Roald Dahl

Arts Days: September 13, 1913: What a Dahl
It may come as no surprise to learn that one of young Roald Dahl’s schools was situated near a chocolate factory, and some lucky students got to take part in candy-bar tasting. Yes, the popular children’s writer who authored Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and dreamed up its chocolate bars wrapped in golden tickets clearly drew some of his fantastically inventive tales from his own life experiences.

Dahl also wrote plenty of books and short stories for adults, but his children’s works stand out for their dark humor, startling plot twists, and outrageous characters like greedy Augustus Gloop in Charlie and mean Miss Trunchbull in Matilda—characters who almost always get their come-uppance in the end.
Literature, Popular Culture

Lockers

Arts Days: August 20, 1989: School Daze
Intentionally aimed at a teen audience that might be outgrowing cartoons, Saved by the Bell was filled with appealing actors like Mark-Paul Gosselaar (who played Zack) and Lark Voorhies (Lisa). This pioneer teen show ran for years during prime television-watching hours for kids—Saturday morning.

While critics panned it, pre-teens loved it. The show’s producers introduced topical teen themes and moral lessons, such as how the Bayside High gang coped with bullies and learned about the dangers of drinking and driving. Executives also came up with the idea of reuniting the cast for TV specials and spin-off series like Saved by the Bell: The College Years.
Television, Popular Culture

MAD magazine

Arts Days: August 12, 1952: It’s a MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD World
Funny, the debut issue of MAD magazine—which was really a comic book back then—came out in August with a cover date of October/November. A man named Harvey Kurtzman wrote almost the entire issue himself, also providing some of the drawings. When MAD later flipped to its magazine format, that’s when its brand of irreverent humor started making fun of all aspects of our culture: movies, politicians, advertising, and celebrity itself.

It spoofed Sports Illustrated as Sports Ill-Stated. It turned Star Wars into Star Roars. It was said you knew a book, movie, or TV show was a success if MAD parodied it. The scathing wit of its illustrators and writers would later influence everybody from the Monty Python gang to today’s satirical news source, The Onion.
Comedy, Popular Culture

KISS

Arts Days: August 11, 1999: KISS and Makeup
Famous for their elaborate stage makeup and six-inch platform boots, KISS is even better known for their rock music and hits like “Rock and Roll All Nite” and “Beth.” With highly theatrical stage shows featuring fireworks, “thunder and lightning,” and spurts of fake blood, KISS concerts have sold out worldwide since the 1970s.

Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, and the rest of the band have sold over 80 million records, making them truly worthy of a coveted star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Popular Culture, Rock & Roll

Birthday cake

Arts Days: March 04, 1924: A Song is Born
You’ve probably sung the most popular song in the English language more times than you can count. It’s said that the melody of the tune is borrowed from a song called “Good Morning to All,” written in 1893 by Patty and Mildred Hill, sisters and kindergarten teachers from Kentucky.

All they wanted to do was create a song easy for five-year-olds to sing. They never copyrighted the song, meaning they never registered it as their work. But an editor named Robert Coleman published the song in a book, adding a second verse to the “Good Morning to All” tune that features the words we all know. And from then on, “Happy Birthday” has stuck in a big way.
Music, Popular Culture

Girl Playing with Barbies

Arts Days: March 09, 1959: All Dolled Up
As a fashion icon for generations of little girls, Barbie—all eleven-and-a-half inches of her—is without an equal. She was invented by a woman named Ruth Handler, one of the founders of the Mattel Toy Company and mother of a daughter named Barbara (no joke, that’s Barbie’s namesake). Handler was inspired by a German doll named “Bild Lili,” a spin-off of a comic strip. Early Barbies, with their accompanying tagline “teenage fashion model,” were made in Japan and available as blondes or brunettes.

Along with the dolls, Mattel marketed a breathtaking range of clothes sized just for Barbie as diverse as ball gowns to astronaut uniforms. It’s no surprise children still love to dress her up in these fancy outfits, or to find Barbie cruising along in her Jeep to a mall of her very own.
Fashion, Popular Culture

Nickelodeon studios

Arts Days: April 01, 1979: I Want My KidTV!
Originally airing only in Ohio, the first cable TV channel “just for kids” was named after old-fashioned movie theaters that showed short films all day long. “Nick” has become a worldwide phenomenon loved by kids of all ages. Whether it’s their gooey green slime or quirky characters including Sponge Bob Squarepants and Carly, Sam, and Freddie, Nickelodeon and its sister channels entertain its dedicated audience with educational programs, silly cartoons, teen shows, and classic TV series.

The Nickelodeon network brand has grown to include Nick Jr., NickToons, Nick at Night, and Noggin, plus you can enjoy the rides featuring Nick stars at theme parks in Europe, Australia, and here in the U.S. It’s Nick—all kids, all the time.
Television, Popular Culture

Hip-Hop: A Kennedy Center Guide

KC Connection: Hip-Hop: A Kennedy Center Guide
Whenever a generation starts to find its voice, people listen. And nothing today has gotten people’s attention like Hip-Hop. This cultural and artistic movement has emerged to express the hopes, fears, styles, and dreams of a generation.
Hip-Hop, Young Artists, Popular Culture

Kid audience

Article: Taking Kids to Their First Live Show
Family-friendly tips for preparing children for live performing arts events
Music Legends, Popular Culture, Music, Innovators & Pioneers

frog prince

Lesson: Finding Your Own Frog Prince
Students will use a traditional tale, “The Frog Prince,” and Jon Scieszka’s variation of it, The Frog Prince Continued, to create improvised scenes and then a book for a mini-musical.
Folklore, Musicals, Popular Culture

Hip-hop poet

Lesson: The Poetics of Hip-Hop
Students will analyze form in Shakespearean sonnets and hip-hop music
Hip-Hop, Poetry, Popular Culture

Shin Tanaka

Video: Shin Tanaka: Paper Toys
Shin Tanaka is a Japanese artist, graffiti writer, paper toy creator, designer who has worked with some of the biggest names in street fashion and designer toys.
Asia, Visual Arts, Japan, Popular Culture

Dan-One

Video: Dan-One: Alphabetical Engineer
Graffiti artist Danny ‘Dan-One’ Polonco, a self-described “Alphabetical Engineer,” talks about graffiti art form as a means for self-expression.
Hip-Hop, Popular Culture, Visual Arts

OK Go

Video Series: OK Go @ the Kennedy Center
The band rocks the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage
Music, Rock & Roll, Popular Culture, Young Artists

Swing dance

Video Series: Swing Dance
Get on the dance floor with dance instructors Nina and Bobby! Learn East Coast Swing, Charleston, and Lindy Hop in three instructional videos.
Dance, Music, Jazz, Popular Culture

Latin Dance

Video Series: Latin Dance Level 2
These five minute Level 2 video lessons will help you learn new moves for four Latin dances: the Merengue, Salsa, Bachata, and Cha Cha Cha. Learn some history of these styles and how to hold while turning.
Dance, Music, Popular Culture, Latin America

Tango Feet

Video Series: Latin Dance Level 1
These five minute video lessons will help you learn three Latin dances: the Merengue, Salsa and Bachata. Learn the history of these styles and how to be a good partner.
Dance, Music, Popular Culture, Latin America

Rokafella from Full Circle Productions

Video Series: Hip Hop To Da Head
Members of Full Circle Productions demonstrate different types of hip hop dance and music
Hip-Hop, Popular Culture, Dance, Young Artists

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Jim Morrison
"O great creator of being, grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives."
Music, Popular Culture, Rock & Roll

arts quote

Arts Quotes: Roy Lichtenstein
"Color is crucial in painting, but it is very hard to talk about."
America, Popular Culture, Visual Arts

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