PBS: The Border

Bibliographic information: PBS: The Border. http://www.pbs.org/kpbs/theborder/about/index.html

Brief description: The Border is a PBS Documentary focusing on six stories of the Mexican/American border. The documentary focuses on everyday life, traditions and opportunities in border towns on both sides of the border, contrasting life within the border towns. There is also a timeline telling what the border area was like in the past, up to the present day. Links to other related sites are also included. There was also a follow up documentary called Beyond the Border, which tells the stories of four Mexican brothers and their transition to life in the United States. The website also contains information about a writing contest for students, which includes both creative writing and poetry categories on themes related to the border. PBS is public broadcasting, a nonprofit organization recognized for making quality programming.

Qualitative Analysis: I think the stories will be of interest to students because they remind them that all of their families were at one time immigrants to this land, whether it was recently or before this place was called the United States. The vocabulary and sentence structure varies throughout each vignette and even more widely between vignettes. The documentary is broken up into six separate sections that each have their own focus related to the U.S. Mexican border. The narration is all done in conventional English, with a more formal tone. The parts of the story that are interviews and first hand accounts from people living along the border are more conversational and familiar. Some of the people speak English as a second language, so their vocabulary and sentence structure can vary from traditional American usage at times. The documentary is filmed on video so the moving images and actions of the people are integral story telling elements.

Subject area: Social Studies, English

Personal thoughts: This is an appealing piece because it offers a more intimate look at life in border towns. It focuses on day to day life of people in border towns, rather than border crossing. We get to know more personal stories about immigrants, as seen through the documentary.

Subjects/themes: immigration, traditions, border towns, history, Mexico, United States

Series information: 1st in the PBS Border Documentary Series

Character names/descriptions: families and communities living in border towns in the US and Mexico. For example, one segment follows Richard Montoya, Herbert Siguenza and Ric Salinas who are part of Culture Clash, a Latino theater group, as they work on a piece commissioned by San Diego Repertory Theatre.

High interest annotation: See what life is like on both sides of the border in this documentary featuring the people and lives of those in border towns.

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