Interactive Arts Media for Kids on PBS LearningMedia. Created by Dan J. Gordon

HAP Conference

We attended the Houston Arts Partners conference last weekend.  We actually only signed up for it a week before and through some sort of luck, we got it together in time, made 500 brochures, a sign, and decked out our station.  Houston Public Media donated their booth to us (thanks HPM!) But, the fun of this was chatting with teachers who are interested in using Take the Stage.

Organizing this is no small task when you have hundreds of people, keynote speakers, and everything else involved.  Troy Scheid brought all of these forces together which is pretty amazing.

From the HAP website,
“The Houston Arts Partners collaboration was created in response to a specific request from Houston area education administrators for a more efficient and effective method to access arts educational resources in Houston. Young Audiences of Houston convened fine arts administrators and arts organization administrators to collectively tackle broad arts education issues. These founding partners of Houston Arts Partners were mobilized into collaborative working committees, and by creating a unique partnership that would provide the level of service educators and administrators of Houston were requesting.”


Take the Stage launches on PBS LearningMedia

Over this past year, Take the Stage launched on PBS LearningMedia which is a truly awesome online destination for teachers that offers free access to thousands of classroom-ready resources.   What is particularly helpful for teachers that use this online PBS platform is that each video and lesson plan is automatically aligned with the national and state curriculum standards so every Take the Stage lesson can easily be incorporated a teacher lesson plan.

Adding to its accessibility and ease-of-use, this platform is compatible with the tools teachers use most, such as Google Classroom, and contextualized with supporting materials.

Since we launched Take the Stage on PBS LearningMedia in February, our analytics reports that thousands of teachers and students from all over the country have been benefiting from using Take the Stage and there’s been growing use internationally as well.

A school in California e-mailed us the other day and they were telling us that they were so inspired by Take the Stage videos that they suggested that their performing arts students and other interested students, use our videos as examples for creating their own “Take the Stage” lessons.   When we can inspire other students to create, we can see we have fulfilled our mission.

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New Addition to the Take the Stage Family: Carol-Lynn Parente

Texas says “Yes”. You in?

The event was such a success!

thank you card

We had a really wonderful event on April 7th!  The kids stole the show with their charming personalities, as per usual, but they were definitely rivaled this time by our truly amazing co-hosts, Lauren Anderson and Chester Pitts.

If y’all don’t know,  we’re lucky these two stars joined us and support Take the Stage!

Lauren Anderson is  the  first African American ballerina to become a principal for a major dance company.  She danced around the world and with the Houston Ballet from 1983-2006, and well, she even performed this year in 2016 in Sleeping Beauty.  In 2007, Ms. Anderson assumed her new role of outreach associate in Houston Ballet’s education department where she teaches ballet classes at Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy, conducts master classes at area schools, and lectures to students on dance and her historic career as one of America’s most distinguished African-American ballerinas.   She is  charismatic, fun and a beyond  talented  artist who is just wonderful with children.  More here.

And, Chester Pitts, as you may have seen, was in our “how-to saute” video with Andrew Murphy and Patrick Beverley.   You may now see him frequently on the news as a sportscaster for KPRC.  Chester Pitts was drafted by the newly formed Houston Texans in the 2nd round of the 2002 NFL Draft, becoming an original member of the Texans franchise. During his time with the Texans he started every game he played – the first player in the team’s history to accomplish this.  Like Lauren, Chester is also now very devoted to giving back to the community helping youth and promoting the arts.   More here.

And, here are a couple moments from the evening:



Y’know, just doing some promo.

Tomorrow we have a big Red Carpet Public Screening, and today a few of the Take the Stage Kids and I did some promo for Channel 2 at the Children’s Museum!  They are so awesome.


Enough with production. Let’s hear from the kids!

We had our first live Take the Stage event at Discovery Green on March 16th, 2016 and it was really cool to be there with the audience and see them experience our TV program! And, the nicest part was that we had the opportunity to interview the audience about the show!

Unlike producing theatre, I  don’t always have the opportunity to interact with the audience when producing TV.  When I ran a theatre company, I’d mingle with the audience during intermission, chat with the audience after the performance and discuss ideas expressed in the play.  It was very personal and I got to know audience members by name as many would keep returning for all of our shows.   So, this Discovery Green event was very special in that I, for the first time with Take the Stage, got to watch an audience who I’ve never met  watch Take the Stage.   It felt like I did when I produced theatre as I was there experiencing with an audience.  It was interactive.  And, being that our TV show content is interactive, I’d like to continue connecting with our audience as much as we can in the future.

Though I was nervous during the Discovery Green event because of technical issues and wondering  if the parents would even like it, upon reflection, the most gratifying part was seeing it truly effect the kids.  That’s really why we’re doing this and it’s what makes me happy.   When I see I child connect with a character on the show or get inspired to create something of their own, I feel inspired as well.

Through Take the Stage, I want the arts to feel very accessible for every child and dreams to feel achievable.  I know that we can make a positive impact in the lives of kids and families.


Take the Stage Media!

Click the image to download the The Take the Stage Pizza Video to use in your school!

Subject: Fractions (Halves,Quarters,Eighths)
TEKS Connection: 111.4
Art Integration: Visual Art/Comic Book
Supplies: Crayons, Scissors, Print out
Estimated Activity Time: 30-Minutes

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