Entertaining and educational!

By Southern Living
Credit: Dann Tardif/Getty Images

There's much to love about Masterpiece on PBS. We appreciate the program as much for its entertainment as for its educational value, which is why we were happy to learn that Masterpiece offers resources for teachers and students that make it easy to employ the educational potential of its content in classrooms across the globe.

One such resource can be accessed online: It's the Masterpiece Collection, which brings together videos and lesson plans across a variety of historical adaptations of literary classics, including Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, Emma and Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, and David Copperfield and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. PBS describes the collection this way, "Presenting a treasure trove of videos from MASTERPIECE films, supported by essays and teaching tips, this collection offers innovative ways to access, understand, and analyze classic literature adapted for the screen. Watching these pivotal moments from award-winning shows also helps students appreciate the power of film dramatization—and the importance of becoming a critical media consumer."

The collection also includes videos and corresponding lessons plans for such authors as Thornton Wilder, Thomas Hardy, Anne Frank, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Charlotte Brontë, and Emily Brontë, among others. According to PBS, "Along with videos from the series, resources include background information, discussion questions, activities, and research assignments that help students explore and understand historical events, people, and places." The resources have a variety of applications. Many are appropriate for grades 5-13+, with some specifically aimed at grades 9-12. To find the ones most appropriate for your classroom, be sure to check the labels for each video, lesson plan, and related media.

The resources can be found at pbslearningmedia.org, with additional videos relating to historical dramas and social studies—including many educational clips from the series Victoriaavailable in a related Masterpiece collection.

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Will you take advantage of the free resources PBS offers for teachers and students? Do you ever turn to PBS for aid in teaching history lessons?