Start Small and Win Big
It's hard to find room in the school year to finish the curriculum. That's why we're sharing this list of low-risk, high-yield ideas for using The American Promise in your classroom.


1. Start small.

Show one segment only. That's only three to eight minutes of class time. Which segment should you show? If your students are vocal about their rights try showing the Teen Court segment, where students sit in judgment of their peers. If graffiti is an issue in your community, take a look at the Anti-Graffiti Network story in the "Freedom" act.


2. Gather a group.

Show two or three segments that are linked thematically. You might even show a single act. Try Act 2, "Responsibility." If you're starting a service learning unit, show them segments in which students are changing their communities. Look at YES, for instance, Monday Club, Teen Court, and WARN.


3. Go for a sure-fire win.

Here are a few ways that almost any segment in The American Promise can wake up the classroom.

Watch closely! Each minute of television or video is packed with buried information about place, character, conflict, as well as the producer's point of view. Choose any one segment of The American Promise and watch it very closely. Your students will be amazed at how much information they can extract.

Follow up by doing the same to a segment from the national television news. Follow the story. Each segment in the series is a tale of people taking the opportunity to make their lives worthwhile. Is there any topic more germane to American history or citizenship education? Debate. Most segments in The American Promise examine conflict or difference of opinion. Ask students to debate the issue at stake, using as supporting evidence the case in the video segment.


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