Online Work and Lesson Plans

Joan has worked extensively with PBS Online to develop lesson plans and other educational materials to accompany documentary films. Her document-based lesson plans cover topics ranging from Ken Burn’s films on The Civil War, Jazz, and The War, to work for the National Archives and The Islam Project.Org.  She currently works with Ohio State University as curriculum developer to write lessons of mutual interest to Turkish and U.S. teachers.  Joan is also the author of Eyewitness to the Past: Strategies for Teaching American History in Grades 5-12

Lesson Plans to accompany the films of Ken Burns:

The Civil War

Civil War Letters
Lincoln and Reconstruction

Conflicting Newspaper Accounts

The War

Letters From the Front Line
Double V: African Americans and the War
On the Home Front
Letters from the Frontline
The Declaration of War Against Japan and Just War Theory


Jazz is About Freedom: Billie Holliday’s Anti-Lynching Song Strange Fruit
Jazz is About Collaboration: Jim Crow Laws and Segregation
The Will to Play Together: Jazz Music and the Crisis Over School Desegregation

The West

The Transcontinental Railroad
Mark Twain and the American West
The Nez Perce and the Dawes Act

Unforgivable Blackness

Crossing the Color Line
Defying Convention: A World of Black and White
Reading and Writing About Boxing
Writing with Punch

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty

The Shakers

The Shakers

Other Lesson Plans at PBS:

Woodrow Wilson: The American Experience
Women’s Suffrage
Wilson and African Americans
The Presidential Election of 1912
War and Peace

Race: The Power of an Illusion California Newsreel

Planting the Seeds of Tobacco and the Ideology of Race

Unnatural Causes… Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
California Newsreel

Disease and Social Policy in the American South: A Case Study of the Pellagra Epidemic

Napoleon, David Grubin
Napoleon Becomes a Man of Destiny
Hero or Tyrant?

My Journey Home, WETA

Cultural Awareness: A Writing Activity
Political Events and Personal Lives

In the Light of Reverence for POV

Freedom of Religion: A Supreme Court Simulation
Sacred Ground or Federal Land: A Conflict Resolution Role Play

The Indian Ocean in World History

Tea Goes Global: Patterns of Migration, Trade, and Conquest in the Indian Ocean Over Time

Indian Ocean Travelers in the Medieval Era: Networks of Exchange Across the Hemisphere

The National Archives:

Eli Whitney’s Patent for the Cotton Gin
Alexander Graham Bell’s for the Telephone and Thomas Edison’s Patent for the Electric Lamp
Photographs of the 369th Infantry and African Americans During World War I
Founding Documents of the Peace Corps

National Council for the Social Studies:
We Are Living History: Reflections of A New York City Social Studies Teacher [about September 11, 2001]

The Islam Project. Org
Learning about Stereotypes: How They Form and How to Fight Them
Sharing our Roots
Muslim Immigration to America
African Americans and Islam: What’s In A Name?

Access Islam
Project Advisor

Islam in Southeast Asia, Asia Society
Finishing the Koran and Rites of Passage: Local Perspectives on Islamic Religious Observance

Ohio State University

Students as Collaborative Curators: World War I and its Aftermath in Turkey and the United States

Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean, Lessons on Reform in the Nineteenth Century