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Especially for Teachers

Documentaries shown on Independent Lens relate a wide range of topics, and many are well-suited for classroom discussions on current events and contemporary issues. Community Classroom offers teaching materials that are paired with specially edited video segments taken from Independent Lens programs for classroom use. The teaching materials include lesson plans, web projects, and online activities. All the lesson plans on the site incorporate the national standards, teaching strategies, worksheets, and extension ideas. KET has aligned many of the Community Classroom lessons to Kentucky standards so they are easier to incorporate into the classroom.

Lesson Plans


Can You Own a Sound?

This lesson covers the basic foundations of copyright law and how the music industry began to respond legally to sampling as hip-hop grew in popularity in the 1990s.
Kentucky Aligned Standards–pdf format


Crime and Punishment: You Decide

This lesson teaches students about some of the laws related to immigrants convicted of crimes and encourages students to form opinions about the legal system and policies related to convicted immigrants.
Kentucky Aligned Standards–pdf format


Democracy Around the World

This lesson takes a global look at the range of democratic governments in different countries, from new and transitional democratic systems to more established ones.
Kentucky Aligned Standards–pdf format


Digital Media as a Civic Engagement Tool

In this lesson, students analyze how digital media tools work in less developed nations or areas where media access is limited. In addition, they evaluate the savvy, resources, skills, and support needed to develop effective media outreach. Students will also explore social networking and video as empowerment tools—and then create their own. Kentucky Aligned Standards–pdf format


Dissent in Democracy

This lesson takes a look at how dissent is manifested in American democracy and gives students an opportunity to share their own voices on controversial issues.
Kentucky Aligned Standards–pdf format


Facing Deportation: Two Cambodian Refugees

In this lesson students learn about the history of the Khmer people and the conflicts that brought them to America as refugees. They learn about changes to U.S. laws governing refugees and why some now face deportation back to their homeland. Students also study how other countries around the world address refugee issues as part of a research project. Kentucky Aligned Standards–pdf format


From Roots to Branches: The Interconnectedness of Environment, Culture and Social Justice

In this lesson, students examine how Kenya’s history as a colonized nation has contributed to its challenges with deforestation. Students first identify how this environmental degradation is related to other social, political and economic problems that affect the country’s marginalized citizens and then research and interview local environmental champions. Kentucky Aligned Standards–pdf format


Hip–Hop Sampling: Theft or Tribute?

This module introduces students to the musical legacies of Clyde Stubblefield and George Clinton, two of the most heavily sampled musicians in hip-hop music.
Kentucky Aligned Standards–pdf format


Hip–Hop and the Birth of Sampling

This lesson explores what sampling is and how it came to be widely used in the early days of hip-hop music. It also explores the socio-economic conditions that gave rise to hip-hop as a form of cultural expression, and introduces the seminal work of the rap group Public Enemy.
Kentucky Aligned Standards–pdf format