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Teacher's Guides & Teacher's Kits

Pre-Broadcast Materials | Posters | Teacher's Guides & Teacher's Kits
Targeted Materials

Teacher's guides and lesson plans are what most people think of when they hear "educational outreach." A teacher's guide is usually made up of one or more lesson plans designed to help teachers use a program or series in the classroom. Some teacher's guides also provide content that expands upon themes or topics treated in your broadcast program (see the "Huck Finn in Context" material discussed in the Culture Shock case study).

The better the materials are aligned with state or national educational standards, the more likely they are to be used in classrooms. The goal is to make the program you've created and the educational materials that support that program an important part of a teacher's curriculum.

Teacher's Guides

Evolution teacher's guide
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Download Evolution teacher's guide (PDF)

The format and content of a teacher's guide varies from project to project, but it is always important to develop both with input from advisors and/or partners. There are, however, some common elements to teacher's guides:

  • Background Information
    Think about whether your guide is for the teacher or the student (as a reproducible), and write accordingly. Include background information only if it's really going to be useful to your audience. Through an evaluation of one such guide, the editors discovered that the 300-500 words of basic background were not enough to adequately explain the subject.

  • Viewing Strategies
    Include suggestions for how to break up your program's viewing, since most films are too long for typical class periods. Describe opening and closing shots of each segment, estimated time, and provide a brief description of content covered.

  • Lesson Objectives
    Articulating the objectives of a lesson will help both your writer and advisors ensure that all the elements are on track. It will also help teachers decide whether a lesson fits into their curriculum. Include estimated time for the lesson, if possible.

  • Pre-viewing Discussion and/or Activities
    Pre-viewing activities for students prepares them to get the most out of classroom viewing. This can ensure that students have enough background information to understand what they're going to watch. You might ask students to predict, hypothesize, and articulate their pre-viewing opinions. Or you can assign roles for viewing (i.e., one group keeps track of one theme or collects a particular type of information; another focuses on another aspect of the program).

  • Post-viewing Discussion and/or Activities
    These should tie into pre-viewing activities and then build further. Activities should work for a variety of learning styles and model different teaching and learning approaches, such as cooperative learning or the Five E's. Some teachers will want a completely outlined activity, while others just need a germ of an idea. It's most efficient to provide three to five strong, well-articulated activities or discussion questions.

  • Standards
    Articulating the national and/or local educational standards your activities align with can help teachers justify using your materials and decide how best to incorporate them in the classroom.

  • Resources
    Consider including separate resource and reading lists for teachers and students, if appropriate. These can support educators teaching and students doing activities related to your topic.

Teacher's Kits

Teacher's kits include guides and/or lesson plans, as well as a variety of classroom materials, such as videos, classroom supplies to do activities, books, etc. Needless to say, these are expensive, but they can make your material stand out in a world where even Hollywood studios provide teacher's guides.

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