Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Middle (X) - WNET (X)

Average Practice Time

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In this video segment from TV 411, world champion figure skaters, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, are interviewed. They demonstrate some of their routines and talk about their practice schedule. Then they help a fan figure out the average number of hours they practice each day.

Frankie Quimby of Sapelo Island | EGG: The Arts Show

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This video segment from Egg: The Arts Show presents a glimpse of the last island-based Gullah/Geechee community located on Sapelo Island. The original Gullah/Geechee were slaves. When slavery was abolished, the lands on the island were abandoned to the slaves. Frankie Quimby of the Georgia Sea Island Singers speaks of her pride for the island community and the importance of preserving the Gullah/Geechee culture. She also tells how the songs of the slaves also served as escape songs. For more about Sapelo Island, see “Ben Hall of Sapelo Island” and “Ronald Johnson of Sapelo Island.”

Building Video Literacy: Response

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The meaning of a film is not only in the mind of the filmmaker, but also in how each shot affects the viewer. Sometimes a shot evokes a very strong response in the viewer, and sometimes it evokes several more subtle responses all at once – and sometimes the response changes if the film is viewed more than once. The specific response evoked in a viewer may be very individual, but the way the shot is composed provides clues about what the filmmaker might have intended.

Building Video Literacy: Purpose

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The basis for a filmmaker’s decision regarding how a shot is framed, what sound to include or add and what movement to show has to do with the purpose of the shot. Those decisions hinge on what the shot is designed to accomplish in order to create the overall meaning of the film.

Building Video Literacy: Movement

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In this activity developed by EDC's Center for Children and Technology, student explore the different ways movement can occur within a shot. Some movement is due to the action taking place inside the frame, some is made by the camera, and some by the way the filmmaker edits or cuts the shots and puts them together.

Chalk Sculpture | Art in the 21st Century: Paradox

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Artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla often begin a project by asking the question, "What are the meanings connoted by the use of certain materials?" For them, chalk is both an “ideological tool,” as something used in a classroom, and a geological substance found in the earth. Because of the nature of chalk, the artists decided to create a chalk sculpture in a public square. In this video segment from Art in the 21st Century: Paradox, see what happened when people in Peru were given the opportunity to write or create images with giant pieces of chalk in a public place and how this event addressed the topic of freedom of speech.

Picturing America - Dorothea Lange

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In this video from Picturing America on Screen, cinematographer Dyanna Taylor shares her earliest childhood influence: her grandmother, the renowned photographer Dorothea Lange. Taylor travels to the Library of Congress to see her grandmother's collection of photographs, including Migrant Mother, an iconic image of the 1930s. The photograph shows a poverty-stricken mother with her children and is best known for its emotional imagery and symbolic representation of Depression-era America.

Picturing America - Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Winslow Homer

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Learn about the Civil War through the art of Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Winslow Homer in this video from Picturing America on Screen.  Saint-Gaudens's Robert Shaw Memorial in Boston Common depicts a resonant, courageous act of the Civil War, in which the first regiment of African American soldiers recruited in the North for the Union Army fought a doomed battle on a South Carolina fortress.

The Winslow Homer image of a soldier returning to his farm after the Civil War in The Veteran in a New Field refers to both the desolation of war and the country’s hope for the future. While the farmer’s scythe called to mind the bloodiest battles fought—and lives lost—in fields of grain, the bountiful crop of golden wheat could also be seen as a Christian symbol of salvation.

Symbolism, Setting, and Post-World War Urbanization: Edward Hopper's House by the Railroad

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Edward Hopper’s famous painting House by the Railroad is featured in this video from Picturing America Onscreen. As the railroad tracks rattle by a once-grand Victorian home, so intersect the themes of modern progress and historical continuity. Students explore the period of urbanization and growing feelings of isolation in America after World War I, make ELA connections in studying the significance of symbolism and setting, write an ad to sell the house in the painting, and enrich the study of the play Our Town in the accompanying discussion questions and classroom activities.

Picturing America - The Chrysler Building

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The competitive climate of 1920s Manhattan drove the creation of the Chrysler building, which ultimately surpassed even the Eiffel Tower in height. William Van Alen made it distinctive through inventively applied Art Deco design, using machine-age motifs such as hubcaps and radiator caps, and American eagle heads in place of traditional gargoyles.

Maya Lin

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In this video segment from New York Voices, renowned architect Maya Lin talks about her work and identity as an American of Chinese descent. Lin has made valuable contributions to American architecture, one of the most popular and perhaps most controversial being the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Some protested her appointment as architect of the memorial because of her Asian heritage. Lin's parents immigrated to America from China to escape communism, but Maya Lin was born in Ohio. In this segment, Lin talks about a museum she is designing and how it will represent a timeline of the Chinese American experience. The museum aims to break down stereotypes of Chinese people and show their legacy of contributions as Americans.

Picturing America - Quilts

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A thrifty way to make use of leftover fabric at a time when fabric could be scarce and expensive, quilts soon took on aesthetic and social dimensions in the hands of their makers in every region of America. Ingenuity, abstract invention, and the traces of changing American technology are revealed in the quilts handed down through families and displayed in museums today.

The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow | Who Was Jim Crow?

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Prior to the Civil War, in the early part of the 19th century, a white performer created the dancing and singing simpleton character "Jim Crow." The character mocked black people while entertaining white audiences by playing on white bigotry and racism. Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, after four million blacks became free, a racial apartheid occurred in the United States. The name "Jim Crow" became synonymous with this period in American history.

The Gilded Age: Architecture for the Elite | Treasures of New York: "Stanford White"

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This series of videos from Treasures of New York: Stanford White presents the Gilded Age, an era of great wealth and remarkable architecture. Through video, discussion questions, and classroom activities, students explore how architecture, literature, and art reflect the issues and concerns of the time period, and how the era still resonates today.

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You | Race and Representation on Television: Norman Lear’s Good Times and The Jeffersons

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Student examine issues of race and representation on television in this media gallery from the American Masters documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You. Students learn about the history of the 1970s shows Good Times and The Jeffersons, the Black Panthers, and how the Civil Rights Movement continues to influence media today. Social Studies and ELA connections push students to think about how stereotypes are present in television shows and to analyze their own experience watching TV.

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