When KET asked a group of classroom teachers, historians, and school administrators to tell us about their needs in the way of teaching Kentucky history, they said with unanimity, “Show us what the times were like.” We hope Kentucky’s Story does just that. Each program is a slice of life from a given time period from the common person’s point of view. Rather than reiterating dates, battles, and names of famous people, we let television do what it does best: Show us places, people, and time periods that we would not otherwise see. The programs are designed to transmit the hopes, fears, frustrations, and joys of everyday life—to give us a sense of what life was like in another time.
Kentucky’s Story, therefore, is largely visual; we see how people dressed, cooked, played, spoke, and worked. The programs are not meant to convey a great many facts or detailed information, but to give you a feel for the times and the issues and emotions that were at work during each period. Of necessity, each program focuses on a very narrow aspect of everyday life.
This guide is intended to help you use the programs more effectively as well as to help meet some of your other teaching needs. Included for each program are a set of program goals, a brief summary of the program, a list of suggested classroom activities, a bibliography for further reading by the teacher (not student texts), a list of free or inexpensive information and materials, and a short review of the major historical events of the time period. The review is intended to provide historical background to help explain the situation in which each program occurs. By combining the factual material found in this guide with the personal and emotional experiences portrayed in each program, we hope to give students a better feel for the events of Kentucky’s history. The follow-up activities are designed to extend, enhance, and apply the students’ new awareness to their own everyday lives.