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

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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Take the Stage Kids visit the Houston Ballet!

Our How-to Series is at the center of our mission which is  to make the arts more accessible for kids.  So, in this “how-to” series, we bring the viewer on a journey to local arts organizations where they learn step-by-step instruction from professionals right alongside the kids on the show!

We filmed the first of our How-to series at the Houston Ballet.  The Ballet was such a wonderful  collaborator for our first series.  Namely, Andrew Murphy, Jennifer Sommers and Lauren Anderson truly made it all come together.   They are real superstars!

And we’re so happy that Patrick Beverley from the Houston Rockets and Chester Pitts from the Original Houston Texans eagerly joined in to dance with us.  They were an absolute blast to have on set and added some humor to the videos.  While I was directing, I turned around and they were giving the kids piggy back rides around the ballet! 🙂


Take the Stage online

Gordon Education’s Spring 2015 College Internship Program complete!


CUNY’s New York City College of Technology interns, from left to right:
Dimple Mirpuri, Tamanda Msosa, Lindelle Anglin, Daiane Bushey, Professor Adam Wilson.

This Spring 2015 marks our first college Internship program associated with Gordon Education’s Take the Stage. Two colleges in NYC participated in our internship program: CUNY’s NYC College of Technology in Brooklyn and The School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. In Fall 2014, I spoke with college professors at both institutions who facilitated in  putting this internship program into motion.  Professor Adam Wilson at CUNY City Tech and Professor Kat Llewellyn at School of Visual Arts.  Kat Llewellyn actually did some of the backgrounds and animation on the actual episode as well.  Both are super creative and knowledgeable in their fields.

INTERNSHIP PROJECT #1 – “BE A MAESTRO” – A game to  teach kids music theory

In the fall 2014, I pitched a few different game ideas to the class that have to do with the performing arts.  The music game got the largest response, so we ran with that.  The concept is for kids to practice identifying pitch and learn musical notation.  Eventually, the game will have different levels of difficulty and another function for kids to compose their very own songs.

A LOT goes into building a computer game from scratch.  It’s pretty amazing to watch these coders hard at work problem solving, writing code and matching their code to each other’s work.  Every detail has to be coded: like when when you push x, what happens to y.  I sat in on a few coding sessions to learn all that went into it, though it would probably take me a few years to get a decent grasp on all of it.

The graphic designers actually created a ton more amazing graphics and images than we ended up using for our prototype.  They used SVG(Scalable Vector Graphics) for the images and actually created a video tutorial.  We hope to use their great designs when we complete the full version of the game.

Check out the final prototype of the game below where we used Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”:

Be a Maestro

This prototype may be  a little challenging for young people, but one  can understand the concept.

Be a  Maestro Internship team:

CUNY’s New York City College of Technology
Lindelle Anglin, Software Engineer
Daiane Bushey, Software Engineer
Dimple Mirpuri, Software Engineer
Tamanda Msosa, Software Engineer

School of Visual Arts
Megan Dobkin, Graphic Designer
Angelica Mercado, Graphic Designer

INTERNSHIP PROJECT #2 – “Gabby’s Pizza Pie Palace”  – An educational video that teaches fractions through  visual arts

As part of our educational initiative, we create educational videos that teach the academics through the arts in a fun and interactive way.  In this video, you see we are teaching fractions (halves, quarters, eighths) while the students can participate in a visual arts/crafts activity.  Video comes with worksheet below:

Our sole intern on this project, Kaitlyn, created multiple backgrounds for this game until we decided on this exact one in the video.  She also did the animations and time-lapse video.

Pizza Fractions (Color Master 2)

School of Visual Arts, ’15
Kaitlyn Carroll, Graphic Design and Animation Intern
“Gabby’s Pizza Pie Palace”


HELLO!  We’re set to air on May 30th, 2015 @ 9:30am on Houston Public Media, 8.2!


If you’re in Houston, tune in and tell your friends, family, neighbors, and of course, tell the  kids.  🙂

This is a “soft launch” as we are not doing massive publicity, for this initial episode will be used for research and testing and just making the show more awesome-er for the first season.

This episode airs on station 8.2 on Houston Public Media.

HOUSTON – (May 14, 2015)Take the Stage  is a brand new TV show for kids debuting on  Houston Public Media TV 8.2, on Saturday, May 30 at 9:30 a.m.

Set in an afterschool performing arts program in Houston, nine kids between 7-11 years old confront personal challenges and comical situations as they take the stage as young performers.

In the opening episode, “Dreams So Real,” Kylie, a painfully shy girl, tries to fit in and make new friends while goofy boys, high-fashion girls and two encouraging coaches try to keep everyone together. When they meet the world-renowned DJ Reborn, Kylie discovers what it truly means to take the stage with confidence.

Not only do the kids on this television show experience the performing arts, but the viewers at home learn right alongside them.  With step- by-step instruction, and the appearance of celebrity artists, each show takes you on a new and exciting adventure into the world of the performing arts.

The young stars are mostly Houston-based actors, though the cast also hails from Dallas and San Antonio.  The Take the Stage   kids are Nishta Boys, Paulet Del Castillo, Payne Houck, Camryn Jones, Dieter Kingwergs, Jeslyn Luu, Sriram Madhusudan, Iyanni Pradia, and Maceo Smedley.

Rounding out the cast are the performing arts coaches, starring Rita Ochoa and Dan Gordon.  Special guest appearances include DJ Reborn and Len Taylor.

Gordon Education is collaborating with the Houston Independent School District and Harris County Department of Education to bring arts-related videos and in-class activities to teach the core academics though in-class arts-based activities.

Funding for Gordon Education’s Take the Stage is generously provided by The Brown Foundation Inc. of Houston, The Baxter Trust and Greggory & Patrick Burk.

For more information on this new television program and its educational initiatives, please visit  and learn how you can become involved.


Gordon Education:  713.906.3638