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Ken Burns Educational Resources

Dec 02, 2019 2019-12-02

Digital Learning • Learning Support

Online Destination for Exploring Documentaries by Ken Burns

Ken Burns, who has used archival footage and photographs to tell uniquely American stories, has launched a new site for educators called Ken Burns in the Classroom on PBS LearningMedia. The site is an online destination for free teaching and learning resources inspired by his documentaries—The Civil War; Baseball; Jazz; The War; The National Parks: America’s Best Idea; Prohibition; The Roosevelts; The Vietnam War; and most recently Country Music. Created for educators at grades 6–12, this new destination houses a full library of classroom-ready content—aligned to state and national standards—about historical events and issues that Burns has highlighted in his films. The website includes hundreds of video clips, lesson plans, activity suggestions, discussion questions, handouts, and interactives to help educators across subject areas, and with different needs and experiences, integrate the films into their classroom instruction. The collection of resources for Country Music, for example, broadly explores American history and culture through song. It includes video clips, activity sets, and lessons plans for music, social studies, and English language arts classrooms from fifth through twelfth grade. The materials explore musical style, lyrical analysis, songwriting, and the ways American society, over time, affected how country music was made. For example, social studies and music teachers can use an activity about African American roots and influences in country music to connect to current events topics and help students better understand the role of race and inclusion in country music narratives.

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