California Educator

February/March 2020

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What is the strongest bone in the human body? How many bones are in the human skull? What is the difference between PEMDAS and GEMA? U E S T I O N S L I K E T H E S E are the focus of Hom ew ork Hotline, a live TV show in Humboldt County where stu- dents query teachers and receive instant, detailed answers. (You can find the answers at the end of this article.) Filmed in the KEET TV station in Eureka, an affiliate of PBS, the half-hour show airs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 4:30 p.m. during the school year. e broadcast reaches viewers throughout rural Humboldt and Del Norte counties. Today 's hosts are Amy Taylor, who teaches m a t h a t S u n n y B r a e Mi d d l e S c h o o l a n d belongs to the Arcata Elementar y Teachers Association, and Pam Halstead, who was Tay- lor's favorite teacher at Fortuna High School back in 1994. Halstead, a former member of the Fortuna Union High School Teachers Association, retired two years ago, except for TV appearances. (This year, there are six to eight retired and current educators who will take turns hosting, including Alysha Simoni , a member of Eureka Teachers Association.) Q Taylor and Halstead have been hosts since the show began 15 years ago. ey banter about science and math with ease and share a strong on-screen chemistry that has built them a loyal following. Nearly 800 episodes of Homework Hotline have been filmed, says producer Sam Greene, and the show is very popular. It even has local sponsors. "I'm not sure of the viewership because we don't sub- scribe to a rating service since we're public television, but viewers like it," says Greene, who produced a similar show in Colorado before pitching the concept to KEET TV. "I attribute that to these teachers, who always make the show interesting. They bring in lots of experiments, animals and guests, includ- ing former students." Today's guest is not a former student. It's Mr. Bones, a skeleton with glowing eyes who provides great visuals for ques- tions and answers about bones and the human body. Making it easy to answer questions is the set's whiteboard, which the hosts use frequently to illustrate a point. Not all of those asking questions are among the intended audience of K-12 stu- dents; some are adults who want answers to something they've always been curious about. Taylor was only stump ed once on th e air, w h en Humboldt County educators take on science and math in TV show By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Kim Sanford THE STARS OF Homework Hotline " It's a great feeling to help students when they are stuck, and it's amazing to be able to reach so many people beyond my own classroom." — Amy Taylor, Arcata Elementary Teachers Association 20 Spotlight

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