McLuhan wrote, "Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either." In my school room, we have a rigorous, rambunctious, and at times, ransacked social studies classroom!
The school neighborhood has students of a wide variety of learning styles, cultural origins, and religions, but what they all share is zany, passionate teachers who tune into students.
Our students represent locales as far from our school as Uzbekistan, Ecuador, and China, to nearby Sheepshead Bay and Coney Island!
In late February 1968, CBS News' Walter Cronkite reported on the Tet Offensive and opined that the war in Vietnam was a quagmire in which the United States could really make no progress. In response to this report, President Lyndon Johnson mused "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost Middle America." A month later the president announced he would not seek the office again in the upcoming election.
The mass media -- particularly the evening news and popular music -- changed the everyday American's opinion on Vietnam and students need to see what the American of the late 60's saw.
This is why we are starting a History Video Library starting with the Vietnam War -- the Television War!
The library will include John Wayne's pro-War polemic The Green Berets (1968), the PBS Documentary Vietnam: A Television History (1983), the documentaries Hearts and Minds (1965) and Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam (1987) and the historical fiction films Platoon (1986) and Full Metal Jacket (1987). This will give the students a perspective of the war while it occurred and of the war a dozen or so years after it had ended. We are also requesting a DVD/VHS player so that we can watch the visual library!
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