Teaching Kids to Draw Better, and Improving their English Too!

One of my favorite shows to watch growing up was called The Secret City staring Commander Mark, basically a Bob Ross for children with a sci-fi theme. Every week I would tune into PBS, which we were fortunate enough to pick up in Canada, and learn how to draw shapes, spaceships, and cityscapes in 3D. The show starred Mark Kistler, an American artist whom I was aghast to learn was not a real commander, but who was awarded a well-deserved Emmy in 2010 for his work teaching children to draw better.

Then along comes Super Simple TV last year with this amazing new series that also teaches children to draw. They’re all things kids are likely to draw: animals, flowered, trains, and of course dinosaurs. What I really like about these videos for the purposes of teaching English is that they use a wide variety of language as they describe how to do the actual drawing. It’s super listening practice and I’ve got my students doing this whenever they have a few spare minutes.

The animation is beautiful and the pacing is perfect, although some of my students took issue with the T-Rex episode, insisting that it looked more like a dragon or Godzilla. I’m no Alan Grant but I found myself convinced by their somewhat emotional arguments.

“It’s definitely Godzilla.”

Here are a few lessons to see for yourself:

The best part about the series is (and I imagine the powers that be in Seattle have already considered this) but there really is no reason they have to end it. There is an endless number of things to teach children how to draw which could potentially make this the premier art channel for young children, if it isn’t already.

Good stuff, keep it up.

Carl’s Car Wash – A Bold Move by Super Simple Learning to Give Disney and Sesame Street a Run For Their Money.


So I’ve noticed something about Super Simple Learning lately. They’ve grown. Like, bigly. They used to be just a group of EFL teachers in Japan who happened to have come up with some really top-notch classroom music. They’ve since relocated to Seattle and, as far as I can tell, have assumed the mantle of Disney of ELT.

I came to this realization the other day while engaged in some serious binge watching of Carl’s Car Wash with my young learners. It’s just one of several of new series by Super Simple TV, a YouTube channel which provides short and punchy, high-quality cartoons for children.

You can watch all of the episodes below:

My students can’t get enough of the show and I’m happy to oblige them – especially seeing as the last episode in particular was sheer genius. Kudos to the animators for the tin hat joke that was obviously intended for adults like me.

And the kids really do learn from the show. It’s a hoot listening to them discuss whether one of the cars on the show is just messy or super duper messy.

“Teacher’s car is super duper messy. Go to the car wash!”

Egads, they’re right!