From Screen to Classroom: Creating Digital Curriculum for Documentary Films is a new report focusing on best practices, costs, partnerships and strategies to help documentary films increase their use and impact in classrooms across North America.
I helped develop the report in my role as Web & Engagement Director for Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein’s upcoming book / documentary / outreach project, The Message. We created it as part of our development research, and decided to release a version of it publicly for other documentary producers who were in the same boat. From my introduction:
The main goal of this work is to help documentary producers better understand what teachers want and need when integrating documentary content into their classrooms. In the following pages, you’ll find a selection of examples of some of the best study guide materials available online today, paired with descriptions of what makes them ‘work’ for teachers. We’ve also included a list of key characteristics of high-quality lesson plans, suggestions on how outreach partnerships can enhance the salience and impact of your curriculum, and a list of the key questions documentary producers should ask themselves and their teams during the development of their educational plan.
The report is filled with practical advice and great curriculum examples from across the web, including my favourite, Teaching A People’s History (pictured below), based on Howard Zinn’s alternative U.S. history (later made into a documentary), with curriculum materials by Rethinking Schools.
The report was prepared by Simone Bloom Nathan, a veteran of documentary curriculum development, with design and layout by the awesome Toronto talent Kate Hudson.
You can download a copy here.