Common Sense Review
Updated September 2012

SesameStreet.org

Everything you love about the TV show, customizable and on demand
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Common Sense Rating 4
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • The homepage shows what the site offers and the features a playlist of assembled videos and games designed to expand kids’ vocabulary.
  • A selection of game offerings includes those designed to teach about animals, self-care, math, emotions, and letters.
  • Watch as Count Dracula adds and subtracts bats, then watch more counting videos and play counting games.
  • An emotions game has kids click on the face showing a particular emotion (in this case, scared).
  • A print out worksheet combines cross-cultural themes with teaching about numbers and gives suggestions for conversation.
Pros
This is a wonderful way to access Sesame Street’s high-quality video clips.
Cons
The site is somewhat cumbersome and has limited interactive elements.
Bottom Line
In an online version of the TV show, Sesamestreet.org offers on-demand and personalized access to its marvelous video content.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Researcher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Kids will certainly find something that engages them among Sesame Street's vast collection of videos and games, especially if they already have favorite characters.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Videos are brimming with opportunities to learn, and some games are more successful than others in carrying that learning over to an interactive experience. The site lacks any kind of tracking or progress recording.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

Adults can take advantage of a multitude of suggestions for extending learning beyond the screen, including printable worksheets. However, the site’s presentation can be a bit confusing, which might overwhelm kids.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers can pick and choose clips and games based on the needs of their students: Learning about the letter B? Watch videos and play games that explore B in many different ways. Sesamestreet.org also offers a nice way to introduce topics that are not explicitly “academic,” such as cooperation, respecting others, culture and diversity, or self-care. However, kids will likely need a lot of oversight when using the site so they don't get overwhelmed by the large amount of content and the many places to click (the Muppet wheel and the filmstrip are particularly distracting). Offline, teachers can also take advantage of the many printable worksheets, craft ideas, child-friendly recipes, and other suggestions for non-digital games and guided interactions that expand learning and reinforce concepts.

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What's It Like?

For more than four decades, Sesame Street has offered well-designed, fully researched, and field-tested programming on an extensive variety of topics. Sesamestreet.org is an online catalog for that content, making it searchable and giving users the freedom to choose what they want to see, when, and how many times.

This massive database includes video clips from the popular TV show with the addition of some interactive games. Teachers and kids can search by type (games or videos), topic (animals, letters and words, math, science and discovery), age range (under 2 through 5+), Muppet, or playlist. Playlists are pre-grouped video clips and games that all center on a particular theme, such as addition and subtraction, being healthy, and learning letters. Each week, the site features a different playlist, but users can access all playlists through a search option.

By creating a username and a password (no email address required), teachers can save their favorite games and videos in the MyStreet section.

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Is It Good For Learning?

The strength and focus of sesamestreet.org is the quality and variety of its video clips. With multiple ways to search, kids and teachers will certainly find something for any topic that interests them, from academic topics like letters, vocabulary, math, socio-emotional cooperation, diversity, feelings, personal care, daily routine, healthy habits, and safety. Some games let students interact with learning content or their favorite muppets, sometimes even allowing them to personalize the experience. For example, in "Elmo the Musical: Cowboy," kids pick an outfit, cowboy avatar, color, and scenery, then help Elmo get to the dude ranch through counting and matching tasks. Other games aren't as well-designed and feel like afterthoughts.

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See how teachers are using SesameStreet.org

Lesson Plans

  • Sink or Float?
    discussion
    Grade K
    Laura M.
    Central Boulevard Elementary School
    Bethpage, NY
    5 steps
    April 13, 2016