A Minnesota PBS Initiative

Educator Resources

We invite educators to utilize the resources below in your classrooms.

Imahges of the Vietnam War and a graphic for The Vietnam War series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick



Ken Burns Classroom: The Vietnam War Discussion Guide for Facilitators

Many educators find the Vietnam War to be a challenging topic to discuss in a classroom setting, as it brings up emotionally complex questions. THE VIETNAM WAR filmmaker Ken Burns says, “We think it is crucial for teachers to pose those very difficult and thought-provoking questions, and we believe this webinar helps further that effort.”

Middle and high school educators are invited to log in to access a video and accompanying discussion guide, designed to empower educators to use The Vietnam War– a documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick- as the basis for facilitating meaningful dialog in a group setting.

This educational video is a co-production of WETA, TPT and the Minnesota Humanities Center.

Additional resources:

Educator Guide (High-res)
Educator Guide (Low-res)
Music Playlists
Episode Descriptions

Lesson Plan: How the War was Fought: The Things They Carried
Lesson Plan: Teaching Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s “THE VIETNAM WAR”

Lynn Novick’s tips for young filmmakers


Tim O'Brien at a book-signing, cover of The Things They Carried book, Tim O'Brien with Lynn Novick

Teaching “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien

Lesson Plans from Prairie Public Broadcasting 
(click to download .doc file)
Credit: Teachers Allison Wendel & Angela Cassidy from West Fargo High School in West Fargo, ND

Draft Dodging
Survivor Guilt
Speaking of Courage

Lesson Plan: How the War was Fought: The Things They Carried
In this lesson, students will view segments from The Vietnam War of Vietnam veteran and author Tim O’Brien reading from The Things They Carried, and use this literature to learn about soldiers’ experiences in war. They try their hand at writing about the things they themselves carry, and what those things say about themselves.

Interviews with Tim O’Brien
The Power of Storytelling: Tim O’Brien and Lynn Novick conversation at Macalester College
Writing in Peace and War: Tim O’Brien and Marlon James conversation at Macalester College

Drawings of Ho Chi Minh, Helicopter rescuing people during the Fall of Saigon, Maya Lin and the Vietnam Wall

Essential Shorts

To provide a historical context for the thousands personal accounts within the Minnesota Remembers Vietnam initiative, TPT produced a series of three animated “Essential Shorts.” The short videos are focused on the motivations and milestones and iconic photographs that defined the era, as well as the design behind the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.


Collage of Hmong veterans and children.

Teaching “America’s Secret War”

EDUCATOR TOOLKITA collection of activity guides for teaching the Secret War created by and or educators.

AMERICA’S SECRET WAR | 60-minute documentary
In the shadows of the Vietnam War, the CIA conducted a secret war in Laos that relied on Hmong soldiers to prevent the threat of communism from spreading deeper into Southeast Asia. Tens of thousands died, both in the fight and in the escape. America’s Secret War explores the untold, turbulent history.

Hmong in America Story Wall Collection of stories

The Telling Project: Kang Vang digital short (4:22)

Spoken Word artist Kevin Yang performs Cups and Quarts, an original piece about his Hmong heritage, at Twin Cities PBS for the premiere screening of the documentary America’s Secret War.

We Gotta Get Out of This Place concert poster.

Teaching the Music of the Vietnam Era

WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE | Vietnam-era concert
A special Veterans Day weekend experience featuring live music, storytelling, and imagery from the Story Wall. Based on We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Rolling Stone’s #1 Music Book for 2015, and featuring an all-star cover band led by Dan Chouinard.

THE VIETNAM WAR series Music Playlists


Graphic with text Minnesota Remembers Vietnam and a photo of a group of soldiers

Teaching Minnesota’s Vietnam War Stories

Documentaries & Tools from Twin Cities PBS (click to download PDF file)

PERSPECTIVES | 60-minute documentary
Perspectives reveals the unexpected ways that the Vietnam War forever changed some people, and unpacks the personal narratives of people who stood on the front lines of one of the most unsettling chapters in American history.

EPILOGUE | Ordway Stage Performance
EPILOGUE draws from some of the most compelling stories & lessons of our year-long Minnesota Remembers Vietnam initiative. This performance is an exploration of the Vietnam War and its enduring legacy through music and stories from a mix of Minnesotans.

PRAIRIE MEMORIES: THE VIETNAM WAR YEARS | 4-part documentary series
Prairie Memories, The Vietnam War Years is a collection of oral histories from people who served, were left behind, who protested, or who fled their war torn country for a new life.

This documentary features stories from local Vietnam War veterans as part of the statewide Minnesota Remembers Vietnam initiative, a year-long effort to inspire Minnesotans to share and remember their Vietnam War experiences.

They were young, half a world away from home, and at war. Vietnam veterans from the northland share their personal stories, in their own words in this original WDSE WRPT production.

An original WDSE WRPT production featuring Vietnam veterans from the Northland sharing their personal stories, in their own words.

Collage of Vietnam War photos and soldiers and a graphic that says Minnesota Remembers Vietnam Story Wall

Teaching with The Story Wall Collection

At the heart of this initiative is the Story Wall (, an inclusive space for Minnesotans to share personal videos, narratives, and photos about the Vietnam War. With 800+ stories on the site, this platform has been embraced as a safe space to not only share, but be heard- because many of these stories were shared for the very first time. Many in our community have told us that the process of sharing a story was in and of itself healing.

The Story Wall is an evolving archive of personal memories about the Vietnam War, including photos, narratives, video, artwork, and poetry. Each story in this collection is unique, yet there are some themes that seem to resonate, and seem to connect. EXPLORE THE FEATURED STORY COLLECTIONS


Classroom Inspiration

Dog Tag Poetry

Collage of photos of war veterans

Storytelling Resources

TPT Producer Tips for Young Documentary Filmmakers (video)

The Power of Storytelling
: Tim O’Brien and Lynn Novick conversation at Macalester College
Writing in Peace and War: Tim O’Brien and Marlon James conversation at Macalester College

The Telling Project

Vietnam War 50th Commemoration Resources

Printable Poster Collection
Interactive Timeline

Reading Lists

Vietnam War Reading List courtesy of the Minnesota Humanities Center



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