NEW YORK–April 10, 2007–Spike Lee and HBO´s epic documentary, "When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts," is the centerpiece of a new curriculum package that will be available this fall for high school, college and community educators. The documentary, for which Lee and Sam Pollard recently won the 2006 George Polk Award for Documentary Television, will be accompanied by a multi-disciplinary curriculum guide, "Teaching The Levees: A Curriculum for Democratic Dialogue and Civic Engagement to Accompany the HBO Documentary Film Event," published and distributed by Teachers College Press.
Available free to educators, thanks to a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, the curriculum package, which includes a complete version of the documentary in a two-disk DVD set and a complementary curriculum guide, can be requested at www.teachingthelevees.com
Lee´s documentary, which debuted on HBO in August 2006, chronicles the experiences of people from diverse backgrounds and socio-economic conditions who endured the harrowing ordeal of living in New Orleans during and after the levees were breached. Through eyewitness accounts and expert commentary, the four-part documentary tells the saga of one of the greatest natural disasters experienced by any region of the country and the failure at all levels of government to respond adequately to the tragedy.
The curriculum was developed by faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University.
"Our schools, colleges and communities often avoid discussions of the complex societal issues of race and class that are raised in Spike Lee´s landmark documentary," said Margaret Smith Crocco, "Teaching The Levees" project leader and professor of social studies and education at Teachers College. "Now, through this groundbreaking documentary and the supporting curriculum guide, educators can stimulate dialogue about these tough issues and help students answer such questions as: ?What kind of a country are we? What kind of a country do we want to be?´"
The curriculum includes individual chapters on history, media literacy, civics, economics and geography. In addition, the guide provides resources, such as a detailed timeline of the unfolding of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, as well as a map of the New Orleans levee system. Each lesson includes thought-provoking discussion questions connected to the stories in the documentary that will help students explore "why" and "how" this tragedy happened, and examine their reactions to the devastating chain of events.
The lessons are aimed at three audiences: high school social studies students, college students in history-related courses, and adult learners in civic, religious and community groups. The documentary, "When the Levees Broke," was rated TV-14 when it was aired by HBO; the curriculum is intended for 11th and 12th grade high school students, college students and adults.
The content of the curriculum can be used in ways that are consistent with national high school social studies standards and can be easily integrated into existing curricula. In addition, resources to support the use of the curriculum–including media content, supplementary educational materials, venues for community sharing and online professional development materials–are available to educators, students and community leaders from the "Teaching The Levees" Web site (www.teachingthelevees.com
"Teaching The Levees" is a collaboration of Teachers College, Columbia University, the Rockefeller Foundation and HBO Documentary Films.
About Teachers College
Teachers College is dedicated to promoting equity in education and overcoming the gap in educational access and achievement between the most and least advantaged groups in this country. Through scholarly programs of teaching, research, and service, the College draws upon the expertise of a diverse community of faculty in education, psychology and health, as well as students and staff from across the country and around the world. For more information about the College, please visit www.tc.columbia.edu
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation was established in 1913 by John D. Rockefeller, Sr., to "promote the well-being" of humanity by addressing the root causes of serious problems. With assets of more than $3.5 billion, it is one of the nation´s largest private foundations. The Foundation works internationally to expand opportunities for poor and vulnerable people and to help ensure that the benefits of globalization are shared more widely. For more information about the Rockefeller Foundation, contact Associate Communications Director Michael N. Cowan at 212-852-8412 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Home Box Office, Inc.
Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., providing two 24-hour premium television services, HBO and Cinemax. Together, both networks reach approximately 40 million subscribers in the United States via cable and satellite delivery. Home Box Office´s international joint ventures bring HBO branded services to more than 50 countries around the globe.
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