AWTT for Education

Welcome,  Educators, to AWTT's education platform, which is built around the idea of "Learning through engaged citizenship".

Since 2002, educators around the country and at all levels have been inviting Robert Shetterly and his Americans Who Tell the Truth portraits into their classrooms to teach history, civics, ethics, art, even science, but most of all to demonstrate the tools of engaged citizenship critical to a functioning democracy.

These “Models of Courageous Citizenship” aim to inspire teachers and students to journey more deeply into American history and to empower them to identify both the specific challenges our communities face and what each of us can do to address these problems.

Middle and High Schools

Over the last two years, AWTT has launched exciting new programs for middle and high school students.

The first is the Samantha Smith Challenge, a dynamic educational program for Maine middle school students designed to build a bridge between the classroom and the world and to show students that, no matter what age, they can be part of solving the challenges and problems they see around them. If you are a Maine middle school teacher, sign up now! It’s free!

In 2016/2017 we expanded the Samantha Smith Challenge (SSC) beyond Maine through partnerships with education organizations in other states. In Maine, we partner with MAMLE, the Maine Association for Middle Level Education. Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, we partnered with NELMS, the New England League of Middle Schools, to spread the Samantha Smith Challenge to all of the New England states.  If you are interested in bringing the SSC to your state, please contact our Director of Education Services, Connie Carter.

The second program  is engagEd, a resource for educators who wish to involve their students in solving the world’s problems. The engagEd lesson plans draw from the experience, knowledge and work of the AWTT portrait subjects, activists working everyday for social, economic, and environmental fairness. As your students dive deeply into activities that teach about access to clean water, how to make a school in a free society, connecting to people and issues through portraiture, and the reasons to abolish war, they will also learn about what they can DO to make a difference.

Read teacher testimonials here.

Higher Education

Dozens of colleges and universities around the country have hosted exhibits of the AWTT portraits to inspire, challenge, and bring students together.

Robert Shetterly is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges. Members of that organization are encouraged to invite him for residencies, as are other colleges and universities that are not a part of that organization.

Syracuse University, the University of Southern Maine, the University of Vermont, St. Edward’s University in Texas, Miami University of Ohio and many others have integrated the portraits into curricula across disciplines and throughout the university to catalyze dialogue and help students connect personal feelings and experiences to a history of activist change makers. Contact us if you are interested in discussing whether the AWTT portraits might be a good fit for your students.

How to get started? If you are an educator, here are 6 ways to get started with AWTT.

  1. Explore the Portrait Galleries. There are more than 230 portraits that can be broken into themes from Civil Rights to Peace Makers, from Food & Health activists to Whistleblowers. Take some time to understand the scope of the series and identify portraits or groups of portraits that will work for you and your classroom.

  2. Browse the engagEd lesson plans. See how the living truth tellers would begin to teach about the issues that they spend time thinking about every day.

  3. Create a MyAWTT Page. Register now to create a MyAWTT page and take advantage of AWTT’s tools for the digital classroom. This page gives you to a single place to save the portraits and engagEd lesson plans you wish to use in the classroom. That way you don’t have to go looking for them each time you come to our website site. Your MyAWTT page will also allow you to save other images, documents, and student work that you might want to project for the whole class from your computer or tablet. You can also encourage your students to create their own MyAWTT pages and portrait exhibits that they can then share with the class.  And, if you have any questions or comments for us, you can reach us right from your own MyAWTT page.

  4. Consider hosting a Traveling Exhibit. Schools and universities from 28 states have brought the portraits and Robert Shetterly in so that their students can experience the art directly, make their own hero portraits and self-portraits under the tutelage of Robert Shetterly, and engage the wider school community in dialogue around general or specific themes.

  5. Create a permanent exhibit of American changemakers. AWTT’s posters, cards and prints can be displayed permanently in your school or classroom. All educators receive a 20% discount on AWTT store purchases.

  6. Want more guidance? Contact us using the form below and we will get back to you to help figure out the best way to bring AWTT into your school, college, or university.

Have a Question about AWTT's Education Programs? Log In or Register to contact us.