TV and radioRobin Buss's pick of the week
C4 Tuesdays and Wednesdays, to June 16, 4.30-4.50am
Two 10-minute series on poetry, running consecutively in the middle of the night: Roger McGough's Off With McGough introduces seven to nine-year-olds to various poetic themes, with an emphasis on performance and fun for budding bards with slurps and burps, frolicsome families, creepy crawlies and ghastly ghosts. In the second 10 minutes, Michael Rosen's Poetry Attic illustrates the techniques of poetry: rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, assonance and word play - slightly more serious stuff for nine to 11-year-olds. Both series are available on video (pound;14.99 each), and there are teachers' notes (pound;3.95) and an activity book (pound;6.95) all from 4Learning, PO Box 400, Wetherby, LS23 7LG.
English Express: Soaps
BBC2 Tuesdays, June 8 and 15, 10.50-11.10am
English Express has told its nine to 11-year-old audience about grammar and parts of speech; it concludes this term with a two-parter on soap operas and how to write them.
This week, Les Dennis looks at the basic elements of the soap: place, people and plot; next Tuesday, Lesley Davis helps to construct a soap opera called Suds, with Les Dennis playing all the parts. It sounds like a cut-price version of Eldorado, but should help to improve writing skills and critical understanding.
Life Stuff: A-Z of Drugs
C4 Tuesday-Thursday, June 8-10, 9.30-9.55am
Designed for 14 to 19-year-olds, this three-part Life Stuff series includes information about hard and soft drugs, as well as personal stories and evidence from health professionals. It adopts an alphabetical format, taking us in Part One from alcohol to ecstasy, via cannabis, crack and cocaine. It deals with drugs legislation, the role of the peer group and issues of experimentation, concluding with testimony from former users reflecting on their addiction. This could be an important aid in guiding young people on drug use, but Channel 4 warns that teachers intending to use the programmes should be familiar with the general guidelines on education in this area, and with their institution's policies.
BBC2 Tuesday, June 8, 1-2.30am
This six-part short language course, set in Bologna and the coastal hills around Viareggio, is meant to give beginners in the language the basics that they will need for a visit to Italy, including everyday greetings, ordering food and drinks, talking about themselves and booking a room in a hotel. It is followed later in the night by Italy Inside Out, with reports from various parts of the country, the final stage of Jeremy Clarkson's journey across Europe, and Sister Wendy's 10-minute early-morning tour of the Uffizi. Remember: chi dorme non piglia pesce (the early bird catches the worm).