The National Oratory Fellows program is a signature initiative of Ford’s Theatre, drawing on our institutional expertise in history, education and performing arts. It is a long-term teacher professional development program designed to build teacher capacity to use public speaking and performance as teaching strategies in middle and high school classrooms.
Teaching and Learning
Washington, D.C., offers numerous opportunities to get out of the classroom and experience history, particularly when studying the Civil War. While Ford’s Theatre receives a large amount of attention, many other sites with engaging stories can be found around the city—in neighborhoods and places easily accessible to students that they may pass by on a daily basis.
Nearly every American teacher has either had to read or teach Death of a Salesman in their lifetime. It’s a classic! Ford’s Theatre collaborated with Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) to devise a fresh, cross-disciplinary lesson plan to tackle the theme the American dream. Read more from Jennie Eng and SAAM Teacher Programs Coordinator Elizabeth Dale-Deines.
How can a college professor or K-12 teacher work with a public history institution like Ford’s Theatre to teach students about historical research? Learn from a collaboration between Ford’s and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, that inspired college students and brought underrepresented voices into a digital history exhibition--and see how teachers at all levels can do such projects.
A teacher from our summer institute, The Seat of War and Peace, reflects on the program and a lesson she designed to help students examine the history of Confederate monuments and the push to have them removed.
Historic sites and museums provide a wide range of professional development opportunities for teachers, especially in the summer. What do educators really want to learn? And what makes a great learning experience? From 2016 to 2018, staff from Ford’s Theatre and researchers from George Washington University are partnering with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to find answers to these questions.
More than 1,000 D.C.-area students attendour student matinee performances each year. LaMar Bagley, Ed.D., Director of Student Life for The SEED School of Washington, D.C., has brought his classes for 10 years. LaMar says the experience teaches his students critical thinking and allows them to draw correlations between the history told on stage and their own lives.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) surveyed more than 10,000 administrators, teachers, counselors and support staff about their post-election classroom and school environment. Data showed that half of teachers surveyed were uncomfortable bringing up the election and politics in their classrooms. We must build a community where students feel comfortable exchanging ideas. Creating a safe learning environment starts on day one of the school year.
A field trip to Ford’s Theatre is a great way to teach the Lincoln assassination, what Washington was like during the Civil war, Lincoln’s presidency, Reconstruction and even historical memory and legacy. Here’s how to make place-based learning a memorable #BestTripEver for your kids this year.
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