Arab American Stories
Arab American Stories is a 13-part series presented by Detroit Public Television that explores the diversity of the Arab-American experience. Hosted by NPR’s Neda Ulaby, each half-hour features three short, character-driven documentaries that profile Arab Americans making an impact in their community, their profession, their family, or the world at large.
Arab American Stories highlights the diversity within the Arab American community. The series showcases the lives of 39 different Arab Americans from around the country. The stories in the documentary are notably devoid of political or other rhetoric, filled instead with engaging stories of Arab Americans across the country who have made contributions in art, science, and business and many other areas of society. Many of these stories work on multiple levels, and will have as much relevance to students interested in subjects such as art, science, entrepreneurship, law, and other fields as well as those interested in immigrant stories and understanding more about the Arab American experience.
The accompanying viewing guides and lesson plans have been created to assist educators in positioning the episodes as part of lessons across multiple disciplines. All lessons have been aligned to the new Common Core standards. Like the series, the lessons cover a broad range of topics and help students explore the characters and concepts presented in the episodes further. Students are also challenged throughout the lessons to think about community, culture, identity, and the American experience as seen through the 39 Arab American stories.
Lessons and episodes cover a wide variety of education objectives and subjects. The series should not be viewed solely as a history or social studies resource. Teachers will find concepts and objectives across the education spectrum, including:
- Math (with strong geometry, calculus and real-world math applications presented)
- Science (with emphasis on physics and the science in industry in invention)
- Careers (with a broad spectrum of career choices, paths and options presented)
- Literature (with opportunities to hear from authors)
- History and Social Studies (with themes of culture, identity, immigration, Arab-American relations and Arab-World history)
- Art & Music (with opportunities to see and hear from a wide variety of working artists and musicians)
The lessons have been designed with an interdisciplinary approach meant to engage students in dialogue. Each lesson contains:
- An overview of the episode
- Preview questions
- Vocabulary (words are from the episodes and definitions are based on the context in which the word was used in the episode)
- A journal/writing prompt
- Post-viewing discussion questions
- Lesson activities
- Web resources
- Common Core alignments
Best practice for use of media in the classroom:
- Supports instruction
- Is part of a lesson, not the lesson itself (a short segment under 15 minutes is best)
- Is directly connected to the lesson and meets key learning objectives
- Includes pre and post viewing discussion
- Engages students and allows for students to interact with concepts presented through activities
Through the people they meet in each video, students will be given real-life context to the concepts that are presented in the lessons. The people they meet in the stories bring these abstract issues and problems to life. Students will be challenged to:
- Research and investigate issues further
- Analyze issues and concepts presented
- Demonstrate understanding through creating projects and presentations
- Understand concepts and issues from a local, national and global perspective
All lessons are designed for grades 9-12 and are aligned to the new Common Core standards. Activities are designed from the Common Core emphasis on analysis, understanding and demonstration of understanding.
Arab American Stories is also available to stream in classrooms around the country through Safari Montage.