WNET

Who, What, Where

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In this video segment from Jakers!, we learn that it is fun to create stories to share with others. A good story includes who the story is about (the character), 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, as an extra way to make a story entertaining, we can tell it in different ways, such as through a rap.

Debate Begins

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This video segment adapted from Independent Lens documents the first school government election allowed in Wuhan, the most populous city in central China.  It was an experiment that was conducted with a class of third grade students who had no experience with elections or the democratic process of voting for a class monitor. In the first part of the video, Cheng Cheng and Xu Xiaofei debate their strengths and weaknesses, followed by a second debate between Luo Li and Cheng Cheng in front of their classmates. To learn more about this election, see the second segment, "Final Speeches," where the race for class monitor continues.  

The Stonecutter

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This video segment from Weston Woods presents a Japanese folktale (a story that is part of a culture’s oral tradition). In the folktale, Tasaku, the stonecutter wished only to work all day and please the mountain spirit. One day, though, he meets a prince and is envious of him. Tasaku wishes for wealth. The mountain spirit hears him and changes Tasaku into a prince. This makes Tasaku happy but only for a little while until he becomes envious of the sun, then a cloud, then a mountain. In the end, Tasaku is a powerful mountain. Yet, deep inside, he trembles.

A Decision is Made

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This video segment from Nature/National Geographic describes the life of Flora Salonik, who moved from the city of Arusha to her husband's remote village called Kijungu. After 11 years, Flora travels back to the city to modern conveniences and her family. But soon after she arrives she discovers she prefers her life in Kijungu and decides to return. It is hard for her family in Arusha to understand why Flora chooses a life so different from their own, but Flora has found happiness among the Dorobo people. Learn more about Flora's story in the three-part video series that includes "Flora's Motivation" and "A Hard and Lonely Life."

Literary Elements and Techniques: Imagery

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Explore the literary technique of imagery to see how sensory language contributes to the meaning and feeling of a poem in this animated video from WNET. Discussion questions below help students to further apply their understanding before analyzing a text.

The Voyage of Zheng He II

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In this video segment adapted from 1421: The Year the Chinese Discovered America? Gavin Menzies claims the Chinese during the Ming Dynasty successfully made global naval expeditions around the world and discovered the North American continent prior to Columbus. How did they do it? According to Chinese scholars, China, under the command of Admiral Zheng He, had the naval capabilities, labor, motivation, and daring to build a fleet of 300 vessels to mount seven epic voyages. To learn more about Gavin Menzies’s theory, Zheng He and Chinese expeditions around the globe, see the video segment entitled “The Voyage of Zheng He - I.”

Literary Elements and Techniques: Symbolism

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Explore how authors use symbolism to add a deeper level of meaning to their work in this short animated video from WNET. Discussion questions below help students to further apply their understanding before analyzing a text.

The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis

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During World War II, the South Pacific Philippine Sea was not only the site of many battles but also where the United States had many ships stationed.  One of the ships was the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which sank after being torpedoed by an enemy submarine. This History Detectives video segment chronicles that attack from the perspective of one survivor, L.D. Cox.  While being interviewed about his memories of a fellow sailor, Cox describes the sinking from the instant the boat was hit to the moment he heard the engines of the rescue planes.  He illustrates his furious swim away from the sinking vessel, surviving extreme dehydration and floating for days in shark-infested waters. 

Literary Elements and Techniques: Tone and Mood

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Explore the difference between tone and mood in this animated video from WNET through definitions and examples from poetry and prose. Discussion questions below help students to further apply their understanding before analyzing a text.

St. Domingue | The African Americans

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Learn about the slave revolt in St. Domingue (now Haiti) that led to the world’s first black republic in this video from The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.

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