A Storyteller Shares His Tools

Submitted By:
Stephanie Lipkowitz, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque, NM

The indispensable Ken Burns has a new initiative: A one-stop online resource for teachers by Valerie Strauss
Washington Post, November 19, 2019 

To make using his documentary films in classrooms quick and easy, Ken Burns has created a comprehensive online resource specifically for teachers. In this interview in the Washington Post, Burns describes his vision for the site. Teachers across disciplines, but particularly in English and history, can use short clips from his various films to add emotional resonance and actual footage to their lessons, to demonstrate to students how to use primary sources, and to model for students how to use story-telling as a tool to hook audiences to engage more powerfully with content. The site is not only searchable by historical era or particular film, but also by keyword and topic. Burns and PBS collaborated directly with classroom teachers in order to ensure that the site will meet educators' needs in new and important ways. Burns also describes some of his future projects, which teachers will welcome, on the Holocaust, Ernest Hemingway, and a variety of other topics. In an era where close reading of film and image is as vital as ever, Burns is providing a free resource for educators that fills an important gap.

Teaching Practice