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TV Smarts

November 23, 2000

Some broadcast and cable programs contain material included in the public school curriculum and on standardized examinations. Here are home-viewing tips:

* Today--"Celebrating Our Roots" (CNBC 7-8 p.m.) In this Thanksgiving special, prominent Americans, including Colin Powell, Sen. John McCain, Maria Shriver and Al Roker speak candidly about their influences growing up, their families and extraordinary events in their lives.

* Friday--"Queen Mother" (A&E 8-9 p.m.) Covers a century of history--1900-2000--through the life of the mother of England's Queen Elizabeth II. The 100-year-old Queen Mum, as she is affectionately called, has seen her family through world wars and personal scandal.

* Saturday--"BookTV: Children's Books" (C-SPAN2 9-10 a.m.) Children's book author Deborah Fink reads from her book, "It's a Family Thanksgiving: A Celebration of an American Tradition for Children and Their Families," and leads children in song and celebration. Also, "Hunger Heroes" (KLCS 8-9 p.m.) Explores the problem of hunger in America today, focusing on individuals involved in efforts to solve it. Also, "How Did They Build That?" (HIST 9-11:30 p.m.) Marathon broadcast of half-hour documentaries about the science of engineering in Europe from medieval stone citadels and rope suspension bridges to iron structures, such as the Eiffel Tower and the Channel Tunnel.

* Sunday--"BookTV: History/Science" (C-SPAN2 5-6 p.m.) David Bodanis, author of "E=MC2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation," explains how Einstein developed his theory in 1905 and looks at other scientists who contributed. Also, "National Geographic Explorer" (CNBC 8-9 p.m.) Report by actor William Shatner, titled "America's Lost Mustangs," describes efforts to preserve the original strain of horses brought to America by the Spaniards 500 years ago; also looks at efforts to protect black bears in New England and Pennsylvania.

* Monday--"Founding Fathers" (HIST 9-10 p.m.) First of four documentaries about the personalities of the men and women who were swept into committing treason against England, resulting in the American War of Independence. Tonight, "Rebels With a Cause"; Tuesday, "Taking Liberties"; Wednesday, "You Say You Want a Revolution"; and Thursday, "Healthy Constitution."

* Tuesday--"Future Cuts" (TLC 9-10 p.m.) Covers advances in medical technology, including tiny endoscopic cameras and powerful imaging systems that allow painless, scarless surgery.

* Wednesday--"Busby Berkeley: Going Through the Roof" (TCM 4-5 p.m.) The history of dance, now covered in the California arts curriculum, often includes reference to the high-energy work of the Hollywood choreographer shown in this documentary.


Compiled by Richard Kahlenberg in consultation with Crystal J. Gips, dean of the School of Education, College of St. Rose, Albany, N.Y. Columns available at

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