Retro Report is an incredible classroom resource. I love using the video How Watergate and Citizens United Shaped Campaign Finance Law in my Civics classes, as well as The Mommy Wars and Online All the Time? Researchers Predicted It in my AP Psychology classes. They are generally 8 to 12 minutes, which means there is time to set them up with course context or tie them to previous learning, watch the video and have a discussion or writing assignment, all in one class period. I recommend Retro Report resources to all high school teachers I know.
Now with guest speakers available, it’s even better. Retro Report’s award-winning filmmakers are available for free virtual classroom visits with your students. (To request a visit, fill out this form, then take a look at this helpful lesson plan and activity.) During the media literacy portion of our political socialization unit, Erik German, the producer and narrator of Future of Fact, joined us. He introduced students to new ways of thinking about news consumption and was interactive and mindful about crossing the Zoom barrier. It felt like a true conversation, and the feedback from my students was positive.
I’ll let them speak for themselves.
“I think it was a good experience hearing from an actual journalist giving good advice for how to properly research and find good news sources.”
“Interesting how his points were all very positive, not a cynical guy, but also not toxic optimism.”
“After learning more about journalists and journalism, they have more of my respect.”
“I liked when he referenced news to food – how Facebook is like Cheetos and you need more work to find more reliable news.”
“I really liked the way he explained things simply and in a non-biased way. He’s trusting of the news, but also skeptical, which is a good way to be.”
“I know he said he didn’t know when virtual reality will become better. But I want to know.”
“I really like how he talked about things I didn’t even know.”
Next time you find a Retro Report video that fits and enhances your curriculum (there are so many options, I’ll bet there’s something there for you), consider hosting a producer. Your students will thank you.
Request a virtual producer visit here.
RACHEL HEILMAN is a social studies teacher based in Issaquah, Wash.