Bringing The Course to Teachers and Schools

Now available: Teacher training materials for presenting The Course in middle school, as part of a licensing bundle.


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After I designed and taught The Black Experience in America: The Course last summer, I wanted to share its impact. What began as an effort to give my sons a deeper sense of identity, history and culture had turned into something more significant. They and the other kids who went through the material brought their knowledge into their classrooms, on vacations and into family discussions of current events. How could I make the experience available to more people?

Over the last several months, I’ve been working to expand the impact in several ways. I’ve built out interactive lessons at classes.forttmedia.com so that anyone can access the material. I’ve worked with my alma mater, DePauw University, to make lessons available to the campus community and alumni. And I’ve been working closely with educators on a project that I hope will make The Course available to even more students, by empowering teachers.

For the past several months, I’ve been meeting with experienced social studies teachers. The goal: to prepare training materials that will help other teachers present The Course. Identity, history and culture are challenging subjects in a classroom, especially during times like these. I wanted to provide teachers with some support from veteran peers who can help them make the material relevant to students. I’m now making those materials available to schools that are looking to license The Course.

So far, I’ve workshopped four lessons: Lesson 1, The Souls of Black Folk; Lesson 6, Secret Identities; Lesson 14, Renaissance; and Lesson 15, Civil Rights. More to come.

In the workshop videos, we break down each lesson in four discussions:

Sensitivity:

Whether it's the material in the lesson or the ways students will be challenged to connect to it, there are reasons you'll want to approach certain parts of the lesson with caution. We've tried to talk through some of those.

Context:

If there are time periods or important historical figures who loom large in the lesson, we try to call those out. If there are works of literature, music or film that might help students connect with the setting and themes, we try to surface those as well.

Assignments:

Whether it's journal entries, essays, presentations, videos or other exercises, we've tried to offer ideas for assignments that will extend students' connection with the material.

Adaptations:

The teachers who joined me for this workshop focus on grades 5 through 8. There's quite a range of maturity levels in those grades, and we talk about how teachers might want to adapt the material and the assignments to suit a particular class.

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If you’re interested in learning more about the workshops and bundles for education, drop me a note at jon@forttmedia.com.

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You can take portions of The Course online. Buy a lesson bundle, and send others the link:


Also, it’s now easy to purchase a lesson as a gift:

Buy a $5 lesson in The Course for someone else! Fully-paid access to an interactive lesson will go to the email address of your choice. This is a great option for introducing kids to the lessons.