SCROLL DOWN TO READ THE POST
Teaching with Ken Burns in the Classroom
For more than 40 years, we’ve been privileged to tour history through the rich and creative lens of Ken Burns and his collaborators. The renowned documentarian now presents new ways to incorporate his body of work into learning experiences in our classrooms and libraries.
Ken Burns describes the importance of the UNUM project:
UNUM is this huge library of moments from all of our flims. I can take a molecule of this particular story and add it to a molecule of this story and they can can together and we can understand something a bit better about leadership or about race or about innovation or about art. We can connect the dots. And that’s what UNUM does. It permits us to have intelligent, thoughtful, civil conversations with each other. And that’s what UNUM is about.
Within Ken Burns on UNUM you’ll find the new Ken Burns in the Classroom. This instructional hub connects the wide array of primary sources in the form of documents, images, and archival video footage with state and national standards-aligned lesson plans that include: overviews, learning objectives, time allotments, step-by-step procedures, and support materials including handouts and links to media content. With a free account, educators may easily share these instructional resources on Google Classroom, assign them to a class or share them by email or on social media.
The Ken Burns in the Classroom collection can be searched by film title, by era, and by keyword. The growing list of films currently includes the following:
- The Central Park Five
- The Civil War
- College Behind Bars
- Country Music
- The Dust Bowl
- Lewis and Clark
- Jackie Robinson
- The Roosevelts
- The Vietnam War
- The War (World War II)
- The West
Here’s a sample of the instructional content relating to The Vietnam War:
In his explanation of the naming of the UNUM project, Ken Burns also explains the value of having the components of documentaries available in clips designed for instruction making it newly possible for learners to analyze them individually and consider the connections across them:
E pluribus unum was chosen as the motto of the United States in 1782. It means “out of many, one” which captures the very soul of this project. It’s all one story. It always has been.
Though the subjects of my documentaries have differed, their themes have remained interwoven, and eternally related to one another. The lines of connection have always been there. It’s up to you to find them
The project is made possible by a gift from David Rubenstein in partnership with the Better Angels Society.
For much more standards-aligned videos, lesson plans and interactives check out PBS Learning Media.
Filed under: technology
About Joyce Valenza
Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza
SLJ Blog Network