Educators attending an event hosted by Retro Report and Frontline last week learned how to use short documentary videos and accompanying resources to teach students about critical issues.
The event, at Retro Report’s Midtown Manhattan newsroom, started off with a Q&A session with Muklian Muthukumar and Sonja Aibel from YVote and Brianna Cea from Generation Vote. Both organizations educate students about civic engagement and voting rights.
One attendee, Sade Afolabi, said she appreciated learning about the “importance of getting the younger generation involved in the politics and policy decisions” and “the essentials of pre-registration for exercising civic rights.”
“It was great to gain so much historical context on voting rights laws in the U.S.,” said Hannah Bein, a K-12 History Content Design Specialist at Success Academy Charter Schools. “I was also quite surprised to learn some of the statistics about how low voting rates are among young people, and the different barriers to voting which persist to this day.”
Retro Report’s Director of Education, David Olson, shared voting-related Retro Report videos. One explores the history of poll watchers and voter intimidation. Another introduces the concept of gerrymandering and effects of redistricting.
Both Retro Report videos come with free online classroom materials that fit easily into lesson plans.
“Teaching voting rights has been a constant in my Government class,” said Devin Barbee, a social studies teacher at Middle School 358 in Queens. “The videos will help give more clarification on the difficult history of voting rights.”
Teachers learned about Frontline Short Docs, a new YouTube series with personal stories and experiences of young adults that relate to issues shaping the world today. Topics include climate change, voting rights and global politics.
One of the films, “The Fight Against Voter Suppression: A Brief History,” examines the roots of voter suppression in post-Civil War America, and what’s happening now.
The videos “are the right length and will be useful to streamline some of the activities I already do,” said Lynn Tiede a Global History Teacher at Columbia Secondary School in Morningside Heights.
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