Virtual Professional Learning

Teaching the Civil War Through a New Lens

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This professional learning series will explore an age-old topic, the American Civil War, through a new lens. Instead of the traditional view, this series will consider art, technology, and historical myths in an effort to make the crucial, lasting lessons from the era more relevant to today’s learners. The series kicks off with a live Q&A with Dr. Henry Louis Gates, exclusive for teachers.

Each session offers you a chance to share your thoughts, ideas and strategies with peers from across the country.


Live Q&A With Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. 

January 29 @ 7pm ET

Teachers, you’re invited to an exclusive live conversation with Dr. Henry Louis Gates! This one-hour conversation will explore topics on the lasting impact of the American Civil War, the following period of Reconstruction and the ways in which these historical events continue to impact our nation’s psyche. How can we look past the required curriculum to teach the history of this country? How can we incorporate current events into lessons from the past? You will have the opportunity to ask Dr. Gates questions, so come prepared for a rich, deep and honest conversation that will help you connect to your students, and help make yesterday’s lessons relevant today.

This event was rescheduled from January 15.

Download your certificate of attendance here. 


Teaching the Civil War Through a New Lens: Focus on Technology

February 6 @ 7pm ET

The American Civil War has been referred to as "Lincoln's War," the "War between the States," and the "War of the Rebellion." But many historians also call it the "first modern war" due to the technological and medical innovations of the time. This episode of our four-part series, “Teaching the Civil War Through a New Lens” focuses on technology: we’ll explore how these innovations shaped the war and the world, and will provide strategies and resources so educators can help their students understand and frame the importance of these innovations.

PBS Digital Innovator All-Stars Mike Lang, Sebastian Byers and David Olson will be joined by Dr. Christopher Hamner, Associate Professor at George Mason University, and author of Enduring Battle: American Soldiers in Three Wars. You’ll also meet other teachers to discuss how educators can help students build bridges from the innovations of yesterday to our modern world.

Download your certificate of attendance here


Teaching the Civil War Through a New Lens: Focus on the Arts

February 13 @ 7pm ET

In the second episode of our Virtual Professional Learning Series, Teaching the Civil War Through a New Lens, art will take center stage. Using the story of ‘Li’l Dan the Drummer Boy: A Civil War Story by Romare Bearden’ this one-hour conversation will explore how to increase the inclusion of different perspectives in teaching the American Civil War. How can we use the arts, then and now, to help students explore the experiences, memories, and impressions of enslaved Americans? Why did artists like Romare Bearden attempt to recast how we view slavery, the Civil War and reconstruction? How can teachers move past curriculum coverage to teach a more impressionable and reflective history of this country?

PBS Digital Innovator All-Stars Sebastian Byers, Mike Lang and David Olson will be joined by Darcy-Tell Morales from the education department at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to discuss Bearden’s story, and to consider hands-on art activities to help students express themselves and better connect to the American Civil War, Reconstruction and lasting lessons of the period.

Download your certificate of attendance here


Teaching the Civil War Through a New Lens: Confronting Myths

February 20 @ 7pm ET

Most educators agree that it is essential to teach students about the American Civil War. But doing so can be a difficult task, particularly given that existing narratives are steeped in misinformation and myth. In the last of our four-part series, “Teaching the Civil War through a New Lens” we’ll confront these myths head on with reporter Nikita Stewart and Kate Shuster. Nikita is the author of the New York Times’ 1619 Project essay, We are committing educational malpractice: Why slavery is mistaught — and worse — in American schools. Kate is an education researcher, author and project director for Teaching Tolerance’s Teaching Hard History initiative.

Together with PBS Digital Innovator All-Stars David Olson Mike Lang and Sebastian Byers we’ll wade through myths and mistruths, and explore resources to help students analyze this conflict and its fundamental lessons.

Download your certificate of attendance here

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