On-site Classes

Using programs from the Paley Archive as a means of illustration and investigation, Paley Center Educators lead sessions on a wide range of subjects such as advertising, the documentary form, and the civil rights movement. Inquiry-based classes are ninety minutes in length. They seek to build analytical thinking, viewing, and listening skills and attempt to provide insight into the roles television and radio play in our culture. All classes are aligned with and support the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy, and the New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies, English Language Arts, and Visual Arts. Supporting educational materials for classroom use are available for most classes. On-site classes are available in New York City.

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Grades 1-5

Think Green

As students watch a selection of short programs about the environment, they will be asked to think about ways to nurture and protect the world that surrounds them.

Grades K-3

Muppets and Puppets

Students will discuss what they see in clips from Jim Henson's television work and will discover just how the Muppets come to life by viewing behind-the-scenes footage and making their own puppets.

Grades 2–4

Fractured Fairy Tales

What happens when you take a classic fairy tale, mix up the storytelling elements, and throw in a little imagination and creativity? Students will review the basic elements of storytelling.

Grades 2–5

We All Have Tales: Legends, Fables & Folktales from Around the World

Explore the significance of legends, fables, and folktales from around the globe. Watch a selection of tales adapted for television and interpret the symbolism, meaning, and moral of the stories. 

Grades 3–5

Around the World

Explore the ways people live, work, and play around the world. By viewing and discussing international programs, students will compare their own lives to those of children elsewhere and consider how the natural environment and local customs shape and influence people's lives.

Grades 3–6

Superheroes, Crime Fighters & Villains

What draws us to the stories of superheroes and villains? In this class, students explore the characteristics that make these popular characters so unique and compelling.

Grades 4–7

Tooned In to Animation

Experience the magic of animation and learn about the process behind one of television's most creative forms. Students will watch a series of clips and have the chance to create their own flip books.

Grades 4–8

Faster Than a Speeding Bullet: Superheroes on Radio

As preparation for presenting a short radio play about superheroes, you will listen to old-time radio clips, learn to use antique sound effects, and develop vocal techniques to maximize dramatic effect.

Grades 4–8

Telling a Story with Sound

By listening to a selection of radio clips, participants will learn to identify and analyze where and how sound is used to advance a story line or to create character. Then they will bring to life a story by using their voices creatively and adding sound effects and music.

Grades 5–12

The Fine Art of Persuasion: Television and Advertising

Through careful analysis, students will discover the persuasive techniques developed to capture a viewer's attention in order to promote a product or idea.

Grades 7–12

Girls, Body Image, and the Media

This class will look critically at television programs targeted at girls which send messages, both positive and negative, about their body image and concerns.

Grades 7–12

Hitchcock: Master of Suspense

Students will analyze director Alfred Hitchcock's use of the ordinary to create exciting, even frightening, television drama.

Grades 8–12

Going Green

By examining the arguments and ideas put forth in a selection of environmentally focused documentaries and short films, students will discuss current environmental problems, their causes and consequences, and possible solutions to these problems.

Grades 8–12

Portrayals of Women on Television

Students will examine how portrayals of women on television have evolved from the 1950s to the present. This class encourages participants to think about women they admire and to compare them to these fictional portrayals.

Grades 9–12

The Thirty-Second Candidate: Political Advertising on Television

View political advertisements from the past fifty years. Students will focus on techniques of political advertising, target audience and demographics, how advertising conveys leadership, and the role of policy in campaign ads.

Grades 9-12

Media, Activism, and Social Change

This workshop, designed to support the NYCDOE’s Civics for All initiative, will focus on the role media has played as participant and observer in social movements including the Civil Rights Movement, women’s liberation, and LBGTQ rights. 

Grades 9–12

Mirror, Mirror: Science Fiction as Metaphor

Using clips from radio and television—e.g. War of the WorldsStar TrekThe Outer Limits, and The Twilight Zone—this workshop will explore how science fiction uses metaphor to discuss controversial political and social issues both historical and current. 

Grades 9–12

Get Up! Stand Up! The Civil Rights Movement and Television

The rise of the Civil Rights Movement paralleled the growing use of television in the United States. Students will analyze clips from the Paley Archive to learn about the Civil Rights Movement.

Grades 10–12

America through the Lens: The Art of the Television Documentary

By examining, comparing, and contrasting documentaries from the Paley Archive, students will explore the documentary form to learn how different techniques best serve individual visions and stories.

Grades 10–12

Red Scare: The Cold War & Television

During the 1950s television emerged as the most powerful mass medium since the invention of the printing press. At this time, America was gripped with fear and anxiety about the possibilities of war and nuclear threat, and television reflected this paranoia.

Grades 10–12

The Living Room War: Television & Vietnam

Television played an unprecedented role in shaping American perceptions of the Vietnam War. Students will analyze documentaries, news, and fictional programming that depict the Vietnam War period from multiple perspectives.


What We Watched: Seminal Moments from Television’s History

Students view and discuss clips from seminal moments in television’s history and learn what made them significant. Examples include the moon landing, Nixon’s resignation, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and The Miracle on Ice