NBC Learn K-12 Subscriber Spotlight: Showing the Unsung Heroes of History

Posted on 05/02/2018 11:15 AM

 

About Andy Janig, US History Teacher, Reading High School, Reading, Ohio

Andy Janig had been planning to become an attorney, when a trip out west inspired him to give back to his community. “I was literally perched in the middle of the Big Horn Mountain Wilderness in Wyoming and began generating a list in my head weighing the pros and cons of being an attorney versus being a teacher, and I decided teaching was the better route- a decision I do not regret for a second," he says. "I honestly felt this was the best way for me to repay my community- a community that embraced me and treated me as one of their own.”

Originally from Germany, Janig gained citizenship in 1990. “[It] was perhaps the greatest year of my life! I got my citizenship after living in the U.S. for 18 years, I married the most beautiful girl in the world (after the citizenship), I saw the Rolling Stones at Riverfront stadium, and the Reds won the World Series,” he says.

A few years later, he became a teacher and has been teaching ever since. Twenty-four years into his teaching career, the enthusiasm in his voice is still apparent as he discusses his students and the ways he works to instill a love of history and learning in them.

But Janig has not forgotten his love of law, and has found ways to incorporate into the classroom. He uses it as a way to connect with his students at Reading High School, by coaching mock trial and teaching criminal justice in addition to US History. Janig has even inspired some students to become lawyers and recently had the opportunity to take his students to watch a former student in court. Also, four of his former students are currently in law school.

Mr. Janig's Favorite NBC Learn Videos

Thompson is featured in a classic photo that appears in every textbook, yet very few truly know her story. Janig is changing that by showing this video to his students every year. His students love learning about Thompson. “Students will reflect on the video and have a discussion. At the very end, there’s a picture at the time when the news report came out, and it will remind kids of something... They make connections to their own lives,” Janig says. They find her very relatable, making history more real and relevant for them.

There is news coverage from 3, 8, 15, and 40 years after the shooting, allowing the students to analyze the differences. Janig shows the videos produced 15 years and 40 years since the Kent State tragedy and asks his students: “How are they perceiving it differently? Why are they perceiving it differently?”

What Mr. Janig loves about NBC Learn

  • Profiling unsung heroes: Many textbooks tend to focus on the same individuals, but with NBC Learn videos that highlight some of the lesser known characters, Janig’s students get a broader picture of history, and get to learn about some truly inspiring characters with whom they can identify.
  • Analyzing changes in attitudes over time: Janig uses archival news videos about the same subjects over different periods of time to teach how time changes people’s perspective. He has a playlist for his unit on the Vietnam War. He shows his students videos about the Kent State shooting and has students compare and contrast the perspectives of clips.
  • Short videos and easy-to-use features: Janig loves that NBC Learn videos are around 3-5 minutes, allowing him to easily incorporate them into instruction. NBC Learn allows him to vary the types of instructional activities in order to meet the needs of different learners. He finds the playlist feature most useful as it has allowed him to create playlists to match each of the units that he teaches.
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If you are trying to view the videos from inside a school or university, your IT admin may need to enable streaming on your network. Please see the Internet Filtering section of our Technical Requirements page.

DVDs AND OTHER COPIES

The Science of the Olympic Winter Games is not available on DVD at this time due to licensing restrictions on on Olympic footage.

DOWNLOADING VIDEOS

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