This is an unusually long entry, but I didn't want to diminish the significance of the message I received. The PBS website has much more information about the P.O.V. program, including learning objectives; an outline of the relevant national standards met by the plans; a list of necessary tools and materials; a notation regarding the total time needed to complete the individual lessons; a teaching strategy; assessment recommendations; and extension ideas. Additionally, the documentaries may be used up to a year after the original air date.
Curriculum-based Lesson Plans and Discussion Guides for Films from P.O.V.’s Collection Promote the Use of Independent Media in Classrooms
“You will never hear a moan of boredom when a P.O.V. film is shown in my classroom. It has everyone’s attention.”
— Carol Powell, Curriculum Assistant at RHAM High School, Hebron, CT
For over 20 years, P.O.V. has pioneered models for civic engagement using independent documentary films by some of the most powerful and acclaimed storytellers of our time. To support the development of young people as actively engaged citizens, P.O.V.’s Community Engagement and Education Department provides access to media resources and reach out to youth by partnering with hundreds of schools and community-based organizations such as public libraries, public television stations, youth serving organizations and social service agencies.
Partnerships consist of screenings and discussions around contemporary social issues. “P.O.V. wants to involve as many people as possible in community building and educational programming,” explains Eliza Licht, Director of the Community Engagement and Education department. “Recognizing the power of independent documentary to transform people’s understanding of their world, we lend P.O.V. films to educators and community leaders so they can incorporate independent media into their existing programs and tailor events to the needs and interests of their constituencies,” Licht adds.
To support secondary school educators in using media in the classroom, P.O.V. provides lesson plans for grades 6-12 that have been designed to meet national standards, enhance critical thinking skills and address a broad range of academic subjects such as geography, math, science, language arts and social studies. The latest lesson plans range from ”Waging a Living” which challenges students to research and calculate the living wage in their own communities to “The Chances of the World Changing” where students are asked to create a model of an ecosystem with everyday classroom objects to “Made in L.A.” which compares current garment industry conditions with those at the turn of the century.
Lesson plans are available online here. Additional companion resource materials can also be downloaded from the website, such as discussion guides and “Delve Deepers”, multimedia resources lists. These are produced with nationally recognized media educator Dr. Faith Rogow, issue-area experts, skilled facilitators and the American Library Association.
When educators are ready to use P.O.V. films in the classroom, they can apply to borrow films through P.O.V.’s Community Events Planner here. Signing-up online as a screening partner will also keep members updated on P.O.V. broadcasts, local events, downloadable materials and other partnership opportunities.
Increasingly, educators and nonprofit organizations across the United States look to P.O.V. as an integral resource for fostering community dialogue and participation. P.O.V. staff have served on the PBS Teacher Advisory Board and presented workshops on using media in the classroom at the National Educational Telecommunications Alliance and The Celebration of Teaching and Learning at Thirteen/WNET – New York.
P.O.V.’s television series is broadcast on PBS nationally on Tuesdays at 10 pm from June through October (check your local listings). For more information on P.O.V. programs and to get involved, visit their website.
P.O.V., produced by American Documentary, Inc. and celebrating its 20th season on PBS in 2007, the award-winning P.O.V. series is the longest-running showcase on television to feature the work of America's best contemporary-issue independent filmmakers. Airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m., June through September, with primetime specials during the year, P.O.V. has brought more than 250 award-winning documentaries to millions nationwide, and now has a Webby Award-winning online series, P.O.V.'s Borders. Since 1988, P.O.V. has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today's most pressing social issues. P.O.V. is a project of American Documentary, Inc., a nonprofit media arts organization. More information about P.O.V. is available at www.pbs.org/pov.