WNET

Colonial House

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In an experiment to experience the realities of life in colonial America, seventeen people in 2004 participated in a reenactment to build a settlement on the New England coast in a similar scenario to settlers of the year 1628.  In this video segment from Colonial House, modern day colonists struggle to build homes, grow crops and fight frequent illness caused by exhaustion and exposure to cold.  They also have to establish relationships with the native Passamaquoddy people in order to gain the seed needed to plant a corn crop.  There are fears exhibited by both sides when the colonists and the Passamaquoddy people first meet.

 

Ethics and Laws

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Learn how Louis Dershowitz, grandfather of attorney Alan Dershowitz, helped relatives escape from Nazi persecution in this video from Finding Your Roots. As the Nazis spread their anti-Semitic policies in Europe, many Jews wanted to escape to safety. Immigration quotas enacted in the 1920s made it difficult for immigrants to enter the United States, so Louis Dershowitz submitted false documents to help his relatives enter the country. Use the “Teaching about Ethics and Laws” guide in the Support Materials section to help students understand ethical choices and how they relate to laws. 

The Voyage of Zheng He I | 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America?

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In 2002, retired submarine commander Gavin Menzies presented a lecture in which he claimed a Chinese fleet under Admiral Zheng He began a series of voyages in 1421 that would ultimately discover the North American continent. Menzies’s theory threatened the previously held belief that Columbus was the first explorer to travel to North America in 1492. Menzies believed European explorers like Columbus had maps prior to their expeditions. He concluded that only China had the resources to create such maps, build sea worthy ships and undertake an exploration of that scope. In this video segment adapted from 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America? learn how Menzies came to these conclusions. For more about Chinese exploration, see “The Voyage of Zheng He - II.”

Cultural Revolution in China: Purge of the Impure

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Follow chef Ming Tsai’s grandfather through World War II, the Chinese Civil War, and the Cultural Revolution in this episode of Finding Your Roots. Learn about the traumatic experiences he faced as he fled from communist control in search of freedom and safety. Using video, text, text-dependent discussion questions, and teaching tips students will learn about the Cultural Revolution with English Language Arts and Literacy-based activities. 

What was the Harlem Renaissance? | A Walk Through Harlem

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This video segment from A Walk Through Harlem takes a look at the Harlem Renaissance, a large social and cultural movement of the early 1900s -1930s stemming from the “Great Migration" of African Americans from the rural South to cities of the urban North of the United States. In New York City, they found their voices in a politically, socially and culturally vibrant Harlem. Harlem spawned writers and poets like Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston,  whose writing encouraged African Americans to take on an independent, enlightened approach to education, culture and politics.

Sapelo Island Culture

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This video segment from Egg: the arts show presents the Gullah/Geechee community of Sapelo Island, a barrier island located off the coast of Georgia. The original Gullah/Geechee people were enslaved there but when slavery was abolished, the island was abandoned to the former slaves. Sapelo Island's valuable land is now threatened as it is the only Gullah/Geechee community to successfully resist real estate development. Each year, in order to preserve and educate people outside Sapelo, island residents hold a festival bringing people to the island to teach them about Gullah/Geechee life and culture.

Hutchinson’s Rebellion | The African Americans

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In this video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross, examine Hutchinson’s rebellion (also known as the Stono rebellion), a slave revolt that started outside Charleston, SC, but ultimately failed.

Who, What, Where

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A good story includes who the story is about (the characters), what it is about (the plot) and where it takes place (the setting). A storyteller can create any story with these building blocks. As readers, when we can identify these elements in a story, we can better interpret, understand and respond to it. Additionally, it's entertaining when we can tell it in different ways, such as through the rhyming style of rap. In this video segment from JAKERS!, a storyteller tells a story in the form of a rap and incorporates the story elements of who, what and where.

Heroes

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From this video segment from, Jakers!, we learn that every story has a hero. “Heroes” features Ping, a young hero who proves himself worthy to be the emperor of China by being honest and brave. When the emperor fools all of the other children by giving them boiled seeds to grow, the children dishonestly bring the emperor flowers they imply were grown from the worthless seeds. Although Ping is afraid to face the emperor with his flowerpot that has no flower in it, the emperor rewards him with praise for being forthright and tells him he alone is worthy of being emperor.

The New Negro

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Arturo Schomburg, a historian, writer and collector of artifacts of African culture and history, was an important figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Today, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is a national research library that collects, preserves and provides access to resources documenting the history and experiences of peoples of African descent. This video segment from A Walk Through Harlem discusses Schomburg's life and talks about some of the important writers and poets of the Harlem Renaissance.

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