Lesson Guide for Ken Burns’ Vietnam War Series

The National Endowment for the Humanities’ EDSITEment project has launched an educational portal for Ken Burns’ 10-part Vietnam War documentary, which tells the story of one of the most consequential, divisive and controversial events in American history. The lessons are organized by the themes that cover the war’s key events and initiatives. Iconic music from the era, audio recordings from inside the Johnson and Nixon administrations, and interviews from those who lived the war draw students into the conflict and related controversies. The portal contains 29 lessons with video clips from the series, most of which can be completed in a classroom period or two. The lessons have been developed for grades 9-12 and can be easily adapted for other grades.

Black History Month, Presidents Day, Summer Programs

Check out upcoming summer programs and explore resources on the student free speech case Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), Black History Month and Presidents Day.

Learn About the Digital Public Library of America

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania highlights a great resource, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), in a blog post. The DPLA is a free, national digital library that gives you access to more than 20.6 million items from more than 2,900 libraries, archives and museums. The website includes Primary Sources Sets for educators and students in secondary and higher education that feature 120 topic-based “highlight reels” of primary source images, documents, and text excerpts, audio/video clips, and more. These sets feature interdisciplinary topics related to U.S. history, American literature, world history, history of science and technology, and art history. They will help your students contextualize literature, build their independent research skills and enhance critical thinking skills. To read the full blog post, go here.

1,000 Redesigned Constitutions Distributed to Teachers

ThoughtMatter, a New York-based branding and design firm, redesigned the Constitution with the goal of making it more modern, accessible and engaging to the public, especially younger people, through the use of color and dynamic images.

Judicial Branch: Classroom Resources for All Grades

The judicial branch doesn’t get as much attention as the legislative and executive branches of our federal government. And it is the only branch whose members are not elected by the people. However, the courts play a key role in the checks and balances system of our government. The courts interpret laws and determine their constitutionality. Many people will encounter the courts only at the local or state level, either as a party in a case or as a juror.¬†Find more than 270 classroom resources for all grades¬†here, from a kindergarten lesson about jury selection in the trial of Goldilocks vs. the Three Bears to a high school lesson plan about the judicial nomination process.

Play the Engaging Congress Game

The Indiana University Center on Representative Government has released its new civics app, Engaging Congress. The game uses primary source documents, photographs, cartoons, maps, and other items to explore the challenges of sustaining representative democracy in our complex and diverse nation. The game app was developed with support from the Library of Congress. It’s available on Google Play or the iTunes Store.

Homework Help Videos Are Here!

The Bill of Rights Institute has created a series of Homework Help videos for teachers and students. The three- to six-minute videos are designed to help you understand complex issues that have affected American history.

Students Participate in Naturalization Ceremonies

To celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day this year, federal courts around the country organized student participation at nearly 50 naturalization ceremonies in September. Students of all ages attended these living lessons on citizenship and sang the national anthem, led the Pledge of Allegiance, or read aloud poems and letters of welcome. One eighth grader wrote: “Your simple presence on this soil only adds to our wealth of diversity. You, as every human does, deserve to pursue your own life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Courts from Hawaii to New Hampshire and from Illinois to Texas involved their communities and local schools – from elementary grades to graduating law school classes. By inviting the students to take part in the ceremonies, the courts aimed to give them a better understanding of the process of becoming a citizen.