A gentle reminder ...

The goal of this blog initially was for Mr. Mc to show his students and friends what he doing while in Pennsylvania and DC in 2011. Now it's being used as a place for him, travelling colleagues and former students to discuss edumacation and history related "stuff" as well as ... well, anything which pops into his head. Mr. Mc would never knowingly embarrass either the school he loves or the family he is devoted to. By joining in the discussion, he expects the same of you.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

How do you say 'PowerPoint' in Masai?

This blog comes from the person at the TED conferences who prepares their speakers. If you don't know about TED and TED-Ed, you should. The conference brings some of the most interesting and influencial people on earth to speak about the area they researched, experienced with and are experts in. Some really cool stuff. The TED-Ed version connects educators and animators to make short films for students. I use them all the time. I'm even playing with submitting a lesson to TED-Ed.

The story of the blog involves this young man (his TED Talk is above) who has come up with an ingenious way to keep lions away. Someone from TED invited him to speak and the blog is about how they prepared him to travel across the world, speak in his non-native language using technology he was unfamiliar with to an audience of some of the most educated and sophisticated leaders on earth. That would freak me out, let alone a 12 year old boy from Narobi, Kenya. Chris Anderson, the curator at TED, suggests five avenues of attack in preparing people for the TED Talks, which I think are instructive for my young orators as well.
  • FrameYour Story
  • Plan Your Delivery
  • Develope Your Stage Presence
  • Plan The Multimedia
  • Putting it All Together
The essence of the Ford's Theater Oratory Program are in there in topics two and three, but Ive been lookng for the other three as my students delve more into original oratory and the use of Prezi, PowerPoint, One Note ...


Friday, May 24, 2013

Work Hard and Be Nice!

We have this sign in our front room. It is a wonderful reminder to me that so much of my life is really out of my control... but I can still work hard and be nice.
Nice is a valuable commodity in our dog eat dog, 24/7, meme based, snarky world. Hard work is too, but we still see that as a community value. I'm not sure people would say that being nice was a community value.
Two things are causing me to think of 'niceties'. One is a photo and article that was posted on Facebook.
The article is here... go ahead and read it...then come back.
Welcome back.
I love that one woman calmly explained and one woman humbly apologized. Like the writer of the article points out, that is not how things work in the intrawebby thingy we are on. Usually its the electronic equivalent of last call on Jersey Shore. Finger waving versus finger pointing.
The other thing came via a tweet yesterday. A friend, Chad, forwarded a great blog post by George Wood, who is a retiring principal from Ohio. Go ahead. Read it and come back.
Welcome back again.
I read this last night and I it made me cry. I want to work for this guy. I remembered all those same moments of kindness by teachers and mentors. A coach who offered 'good hustle, son,' rather than ridicule or comparison to my more athletic brother. A music teacher who saw something me but let me figure it out at my pace. A Greek professor who, in his 80's, who, when he found out that one of the middle school students I mentored had accidentally killed himself playing with a gun, sought me out to make sure I was holding up okay. Mr. Wood is correct, that is what I remember of my time as a student.
That's got me thinking about how kind I am to my students. I hope I challenge them and make they word harder than they think they can. I also hope I'm kind. Growing up is hard enough without the adults in their lives seeing only the negative in them. I wonder how well I get across to them that I love what I do not in spite of them but because of them? It is difficult work, to be sure. But it is pure joy to watch them as they navigate into maturity. Part of the joy is in the rolling up of the sleeves and being a part of that.
Maybe I need to move that sign to my classroom. Or, better yet, two signs!

Does anyone have 5 Billion Gigbyte Flashdrive I can borrow?

A teacher friend from PA sent this as a tweet yeaterday and I have spent that time digesting it. Wow. We consume somewhere between 45 and 60 GIGABYTES of data a month. That is crazy!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

A great game for budding '007's' this summer


One of the things I like to do in May is go through all the emails and blogs and tweets I was too 'busy' for during the school year but didn't want to delete outright because they look interesting. The new blog for the Kansas Council for the Social Studies is titled Doing Social Studies and is gonna be cool. One of the contributors is Glenn Wiebe who works for ESSDACK which stands for, well, I don't know what it stands for but, they work in the world of edumacation.

I met Glenn last spring at the National Council for History Education conference. He and I attended the same session and got to talking. He ended up in the session I helped lead with the Smithsonian American Art Museum on using art in history. It is one of my passions and so I will post the Prezi I used in my presentation and move on. Anyway, I quickly learned that Glenn is the guy to know for tech in Kansas (really anywhere) and he and I have chatted electronically off and on during the past year about how I and the school might do it better.

Anyway, the spider web that is the internet led me to a post on Glenn's blog on a game called Pursued. The short version of Pursued is that you've been knocked unconcious and taken somewhere. You manage to get free but must tell Control where you are. Using Google Earth, you can look at your surroundings to decide where you are. It is a simple premise but intoxicatingly fun.

I will continue to ramble on about teaching and learning and all things philosophical, but for today I'm climbing out of a trunk, looking around and trying to descern the differences between the Space Needle in Seattle and the Stratosphere Casino in Las Vegas.

Enjoy the day.

Monday, May 20, 2013

"...don't be surprised if they start to fidgit."

This is the part of summer where potential outweighs actual. My classroom is clean and quiet and I spend a few hours each day playing with what 'could be' for next year. This summer's Big Hairy Audacious Goal: Change how I've been doing things in a fundamental way. As the summer barrels forward, the potential because actual--either it makes its way into the curriculum or it doesn't. By
August, the reality of students in a couple weeks requires fine tuning, not major overhaul. But now is the time for dreaming big.

This summers big dream:
  • Spend three quarters teaching American History, not two.
  • Spend one quarter teaching Civics not as a US Government class but as a Civics Laboratory
What this means in reality:
  • Fold my econ module into American History... tie it to historical events rather than as a stand alone entity.
  • Completely changing the research portion of the class. This is a big deal in my world. Almost everything I do has a connection to research. By lengthening the American History module, all of the projects and assessments have to change as a result.
  • Fully integrate oratory and art into the classroom experience. I have been playing with some ideas for speeches and speech-writing as well as figuring out how to make the classroom move visual and interactive.
In addition, I keep playing with an idea that has been rattling around in my head for some time. What would happen if students picked the type of assessment for a particular unit. Paper Test. Project. Presentation. Paper. I have a pretty varied assessment model but they all do the same thing at the same time. What if I let them choose and then graded them accordingly? I normally have eight big assessments each year. If I required them to do at least one paper, one paper test, one presentation and one project and then let them pick the method for the other four... I'm still figuring this one out but I want to let them focus on their strengths at the same time challenging them to explore areas where either they don't have a lot of experience or feel weak in.

Part of this impetus for change comes from remarks by Sir Ken Robinson in the video above. Some highlights:
  • Students are naturally different and diverse--science and math are important but not sufficient, "a real education has to give equal weight to the arts, humanities, physical education..."
  • Curiosity-if you can lighten the spark ... children are natural learners. Curiosity is the engine of achievement.
  • School level control--education doesn't go on in the committee rooms or legislative halls but in the classroom...
At the end of the speech he says something that has me thinking about my role as an educator. He talks about leadership in the Command and Control form. The real role is in Climate Control. He is speaking administratively but I think it applies to classroom leadership as well. Instead being teacher-boos of all things; if I create a climate where there is different, curious and student-owned learning going on, then Death Valley gets rain and the ground gets carpeted with little flowers.

I'm excited to see where potential takes me this summer.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The War of 1812: The Movie


I'm spending the week in Boston in  July studying the War of 1812 on the USS Constitution and have been buying books and getting all my ducks in a row for the program. I ran into this clip. It might be the most honest rendition of modern understanding of the war out there. I couldn't imbed the YouTube viewer so have it as a link both above and below.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The plunders of war

Today was the end of school honors assembly and its got me waxing nostalgic.
I've been teaching now eight years. It is the longest I've ever worked in one place. My youngest boys were in first and third grades when I started at Independent. They will both be in high school this upcoming school year. The kids I will teach next year were just starting Kindergarten when I started at the school.
I've said this before, teaching has been challenging and exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. My goal as a teacher is simple and can be summed up by a statement by George Bernard Shaw:

“I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead - ahead of myself as well as you.”  

My hope for my children and for my students is that they will go farther than me. I want to inspire them to move beyond themselves and me as well. I am exactly where I am supposed to be...where is that spot for them, I ask and poke and prod. I am so proud of the three graduating classes I've been lucky enough to challenge, goad, heckle and encourage. One of my favorite moments is when a student comes back to say hi. I love hearing how they are doing and what they're learning and the trouble they are getting themselves into and out of. It is a blessing to watch 13 year olds become young women and men. I'm honored to be a part of it.

One tangible reminder is the swag you get from kids. In our school, there is a monetary gift, which is lovely. Thank you! However, at Christmas and end of school there is a sea of gifts and cards from students as well. I look forward to them more than I should let on. I genuinely thank them and then find a quiet place to read them with no one around. I don't want anyone to see me cry-I always do. They are heartfelt and remind you that you did something important. In the hurry of a school year, that can get lost. The thank you cards and then graduation announcements four years later push through the daily grind of educating the teeming masses. I am not a collector, but I keep all of those. I keep them close by. On a rough day during the school year, I have been known to ask myself, "What the hell am I doing in this classroom?" I'll pull them out and reread them. The cards are like a tether that keeps me from going over the edge.

Another blessing are the tokens of their gratitude. Mugs and books and chocolates and pencils and binder clips (my charges know I have an affection for office supplies). My room is littered with items which remind me that I'm a lucky guy. This year, a former student brought me a set of presidential Pez dispensers. This was in the middle of the year and they said that they saw them and thought of me. Again, I thanked them and we laughed about them and when they left, yup ... I needed a minute to get the lump out of my throat.

The picture above is a small stash of plunders of war.

This summer, this blog is the place I ponder what it is to be a teacher and how I can do it better. As always, its designed to get the thoughts out of my head and if they are instructive or challenging or infuriating ... cool beans on all accounts. I appreciate your taking the time to read them, comment on them and share the in the interawebby thing you're using.

Today, however, I just wanted to say I love my job and wish the TIS Class of 2017 the very best!

I love ya'll. I'm a growly bear and push you because I love ya.  It's how I show my affection!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A year-long focus on food????

I'm playing with an idea for next year. Yes, I know that school isn't out yet and there is a pile of grading staring at me but ...
Since coming back from Ford's Theater last week, I have been thinking about what I would tweak for next year. The program was a success, but I'm not ready for status quo yet. I know how I want to change some things up--some are minor fixes and some are complete shifts in how I do things. Still wrestling.

Hunger Report ChartsHowever, yesterday and today has given me either a scathingly brilliant idea or a something with alot of work and little payoff.
We had, for the seventh grade, a 'hunger banquet' yesterday. The idea is to separate the group into third world, second world and first world countries and show them what they would eat at a typical meal. Fried chicken or rice and beans or ... less. It was an eye opener for the kids. They talked about feeling guilty (third world), confused (when circumstance moved them from one group to another) and angry (second and third world).

Today we showed the movie, Dive! It brings home the problem of food waste in the United States. 1 in 6 Americans will go to bed hungry tonight while supermarkets through roughly half of all its perishable items in dumpsters. The movie is about dumpster diving and food waste activism and it has me thinking.
What if my eighth graders selected a focus for the entire year, like food waste. They could research the issue, analyze local connections and see what change they can offer. It could involve all classes...and involve oratory at the local level.
Would love to hear thoughts and resource suggestions. I've wanted to do something like this for a couple years, I could just never my brain around how it might look.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Oratory and the Old Guy

I won't lie, I was nervous. I speak for a living and am passionate about oratory but ...

At the last video conference before leaving for the DC retreat the Ford’s staff dropped the bomb that each of us was expected to write a speech and be prepared to present it at the retreat. They went on to say that one of the teachers would be selected to deliver their speech with the students.

That gave us about two weeks to come up with a speech. Part of my panic was time. This is the busiest time of the year for me and this year I had the prep for the retreat itself. Student Council pancake feed and end of school dances were days away and on the homefront, there were calendar issues as well.

Part of my panic was concern. I have been billing this as a chance for students and now it felt awkward to say I would be performing alongside of them. This was their moment. I watched a college choir director who picks solos for himself every concert because the choir ‘deserved ‘ a  great voice to play off of.  He always contended the students loved it but they didn’t.  It don’t want to be that guy.

But there was another reason. As I have gotten older, I am scared to perform outside of the two or three ‘safe’ places I frequent (classrooms…okay, I guess just one safe place) I still perform occasionally but I haven’t been at peace with a performance for about a decade. The nervousness is consuming and so the work done suffers. I can get it to one level but never to the higher level I know I can.  I am going to be honest, sometimes I decide to not audition or perform-- focusing on how it could go wrong--not how it could go well.

This wasn’t always the case.

I love performing and I love the process of ‘figuring it out’. What’s the essence of the song or character and how do I get that across. I’ve gotten to sing and perform in some really amazing places and with some amazingly talented people. For years, it didn’t occur to me to be afraid on stage. Somewhere down the line that changed.

To be selected meant I had to confront that. I think the coordinator at Ford’s had me figured out, because, when she announced my selection, she said that I needed to “put on my big boy pants.” What she doesn’t know is that that statement was a gift. As I worked on the speech in the early morning of the performance day, it was her voice I heard when I would start to spiral into doubt and anxiety. Between that voice and the impromptu audience in the Metro-I was ready.

At the theater, I kept thinking the following things:

·         •Be in the moment

·         •Put your big boy pants on

·         •Quit sweating

·         •Savor the moment-this is a big deal

·         •Be fearless...you have something to say that deserves to be heard (the text of the speech is here)

·         •did I mention ..."Put your big boy pants on"

 I am a terrible critic of my work--I can tell you how I would do it differently, but I can also tell you I savored the moment. I built moments into the speech to take in the stage and the people. I wish I could put into words the rush I had during those two minutes. It went fast, to be sure. But it was a good sort of fast… There was enough time to enjoy the moment itself, not just survive it. I was standing centerstage beneath Lincoln’s box at Ford’s Theater. I was saying something I believe people need to hear and grapple with. I was still nervous and there was the sweat rolling down my brow, but, for the first time in a long, long time, I allowed myself to enjoy myself as a performer. As I introduced the next speaker I had a little moment of déjà vu. I had a memory of getting off of a rollercoaster as a kid wanting to get back in line and do it again.

On that stage at Ford’s Theater, it was as fun and felt as natural as it used to feel. Was it perfect? No it was not? Will I spend the next few days replaying how I could fix it? Yes I will. But the words I keep coming back to are ‘personal best’ and ‘honorable attempt.” I was honored to get the chance, I worked hard in the time I had and I walked away feeling content with what it was. Again, if I were honest, I haven't felt that way about a performance in a long while. It felt good. This is a feeling I had wished for my students. I didn’t expect to have it as well.

But other than that ... (Dave's Ford's Theater Speech)

Several have asked for this, so here it is...

But other than that…?

“Yes, yes. But other than that Mrs. Lincoln … how did you enjoy the play?

The absurdity is in the question’s disconnect. To disregard the devastation of assassination in favor of a stage production gives it its dark humor. Surely, no one would ask this. Surely.

Disconnect has been a familiar thread in education for nearly two decades. Unfortunately, it’s not a joking matter and educators have been asking a variation of ‘surely’ for most of those two decades.

In our race to the top, to leave no child behind, we’ve distilled learning into data storage and regurgitation. People far more adept have addressed this issue and so I will defer to their statistics and pie charts. I’d like to offer one possible solution. Actually, it’s another question…

What if we let oratory serve as a guide in how to best educate our young charges?

If disconnect is the issue, oratory allows for a reconnection. Student oratory is built on the premise that students are innately curious, they’re able to explore a topic and then articulate insights effectively. In oratory, students are introduced to skills necessary to succeed as thinkers, writers and speakers.  Skills Mr. Lincoln honed in the rural Kentucky lyceums and debating societies of his day. Skills impossible to assess with bubble sheets. Harvard educator Tony Wagner reminds us, “The best judge of a student’s progress isn’t in the facts they learn but in what they can do with those facts.”

In addition, by developing those skills, we offer students ownership. Oratory gives young women and men a voice- a place at the table. Our students have insights we really need to hear. When students are connected, they are fearless in their research and both open to and unphased by opposing viewpoints . They want to grapple with the issues of both the past and the day.

Oration reminds us: education isn’t as much about having the right answers, but, as often as not, just asking the right questions. Classrooms should provide a safe place to wrestle with those questions.

We can’t separate the play Our American Cousin from an event almost a sesquicentennial ago. And we shouldn’t. That event defined a nation. By the same token, as educators, we shouldn’t divorce process from product. What if oratory could offer a way back? That… is question worth exploring.


"Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career ..."

We are at DFW..I'm back home.. on a layover and I thought I would post. I didn't take any photos today and so will post what I get from parents and Ford's Theater in a few days. But I wanted to get my thoughts down before we boarded for ICT ...too late.

This morning, I got up early and wandered DC practicing my speech. I have really struggled with what I wanted to say as an oratory fellow and when I finally had words, it was Thursday night at about midnight. Friday and Saturday were a blur of activity and we were told about 18 hours before the performance what teachers were presenting. When Cynthia announced my name she said, "Time to but your big boy pants on." Her sweet-natured way of letting me know I needed to get over any doubts or worries I had and get to work. She doesn't know what a gift that was. Every time I would go into an emotional death spiral, her voice was in my head!

It was chilly this morning and so I went underground, into the Metro to practice. I wrestled with where to breath and how to say this or that. What gestures felt genuine and how my posture was either giving or pulling energy. I had been practicing and pacing--bad practice technique. A speech is given stationary and so should be practiced stationary. So I did. As I spoke, people stopped and listened. When I was pacing, no one paid me any head. There is alot of talking and pacing going on in the metro part of DC. I was in good company. Stationary speakers is a different thing. IT was one of the most surreal experiences -- I think people thought I was preaching. I guess I was, sort of.

After my sermon in the Metro, I cleaned up and headed to a fellows meeting. The goal of the meeting was to dream big. What would oratory education look like? What should it look like? It was a great conversation and I left encouraged.

After the meeting was the performances on Ford's stage.

I tried to make sure every moment was seared into my memory.

Justin was first and he was amazing. It has been fun to watch him grow as a speaker. He is a naturally gifted speaker and has a lot of experience on stages, so that is a head start. But he has worked so hard on the Gettysburg Address and it was a joy to watch.

Cameron headed up the second half and to quote one of the teaching artists, "He hit it out of the ballpark!" Again, like Justin, Cameron is both gifted and experienced and had this speech at a 9...this weekend it reached a 10+.

I was so proud of both of them.

The other students did well too. Several fellows are English teachers and so some of the original oratory prompts were from books like I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Petey, and Chasing Lincoln's Killer. The interesting thing about these were that the novels were merely the jumping off point for speeches on finding the joy of life in all situations, practical ways to address teen depression and suicide and reconciling who you are with that the world says you are.  There were biographical interpretations as oration of Sojourner Truth, Clara Barton, Dr. Mary Walker and John Wilkes Booth.

The whole trip home, I kept going back to a quote for Cameron's Lou Gerhig speech:

Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?

That is what I feel. I am so proud of the work done this weekend. By students, fellows, parents and Ford's staff. Yesterday was an example of teaching, learning and leading at is best. I'm finding myself feeling greedy ... I want more days like this as a teacher! Now my job is to look for and develop moments where that can happen again. Look for the thunder clouds and head toward the lightening to see if it will strike twice. Its a task and it takes you out of comfort zones and into moments of frustration with yourself, your collegues and your charges. It can be physically and emotionally draining.
But the reward...the reward is so worth it.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ford's Theater Retreat--Day 3

Day Three was all about the student speeches.

During the morning session, the students worked on their speeches and the fellows worked on movement with Jojo Ruf. It was interesting to think of a public speaker as a 'character' and that how you stand and move affects that character. Think, for example, how your feet affect how the rest of your body moves. Straight forward. Pigeon-toed. Bowlegged. It was out of my comfort zone to do movement exercises, but I learned a lot and it is something I want to play with in the classroom. After that, the fellows listened and offered feedback on teacher speeches and the kids saw a two man play, called One Destiny-featuring one of the teaching artists. I've seen it before and knew that they would love it. They did.

After lunch on the bus, we made our way to the Lincoln Memorial. It stands out as one of my favorite moments in DC. The students all performed their speeches on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Let me say that again, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial-it was amazing. Cameron and Justin did themselves and us proud. All of the students did. After a few more moments with Mr. Lincoln, we headed back to Ford's Theater.

The remainder of our time, the fellows worked on after-retreat team building. We had a frank post-mortem on our year as a fellow and what life looks like as a 'off-year' fellow. I was encouraged to hear how they wanted to continue the dialogue and relationship multiple years. The students worked with Jojo on movement and then got to spend time practicing on the stage itself. We joined them near the end and it was so cool to hear them and see them on the stage.

After the days work was done, we headed to Arlington Cemetery. I can proudly saw I am 15 for 15 at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Yup. I cried. Like a baby. We saw the changing of the guard-I'm always moved by it. Always.

Tomorrow is the big day! The boys are calm cool and collected. They are ready. Their teacher is nervous for them. He'll work through it but he is so proud of them and the work they've put in. He is excited to share them with the audience. On a side note, I was selected to perform my speech at Ford's as well. The call came down at the end of our work session. I'm excited to do it but am, to be honest, battling nerves. I am proud of the speech and am going to work this evening and morning and so should be ready. I have to be honest, I'm glad, I'm glad I only have one evening to prep--there is no 'freak out time.' I'm sure, though, I will make some time for it.

See ya tomorrow!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Ford's Theater Day Two

We are back in the hotel after a very busy day. The students have toured Ford's Theater, performed improv near the National Archives and looked at modern art at the National Portrait Gallery. The fellows read our speeches and critiqued fellow fellows speeches as well as analyzed student work. The teaching artists have been working with the kids and so I haven't seen much of them but they seem to be having a good time. I am really excited to hear their speeches on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial tomorrow.

At lunch, Ray Dempsey of British Petroleum spoke to everyone. BP is a supporter of the oratory fellowship and Ray is the VP in charge of legislative affairs in DC. He is a phenomenal speaker and he captivated the kids. He has a great story to tell and tells it well. He and I chatted and found out he graduated from Winfield, Kansas and had lived in Ark City (my hometown). His grandmother still lives there. He said he's in Wichita regularly and so I'm hoping I can get him into TIS for the kids to hear him. He talked about the BP oil spill in 2010 and his role as one of the media people for it during the disaster. Its easy to paint the company as a greedy villain until you hear him speak. Compelling is the best word to describe it.

 The afternoon for the students was a tour of the theater and the Peterson House (where Lincoln died). Fellows spent the afternoon looking at student work we brought. I had expected a show and tell but Sarah and Cynthia offered a different angle on student work. The work was viewed with no explanation. The reviewers could report what they saw but make not judgements about the work. After that, they could ask questions which the presenter compiled but didn't not immediately. When their observations and questions were complete, then the presenter explained the work and answered questions. It was a cool exercises and completely unnerving when it was my turn. Five minutes of silence as they review the work and then six sets of eyes noticing and questioning. I used the kid's analysis of King's I Have a Dream Speech (you can see these in the King's Speech posts 1, 2, 3 and 4.) I like that it relies on the work to speak for itself. In the end, they noticed things I hadn't and asked questions I need to reflect on.

The evening was spent at the theater, Ford's Theater. We saw Hello Dolly and it was excellent. It was something I had wanted to do for a few years now-to see a show at Ford's, and I am so glad we got the opportunity. I've never really warmed up to the show. This production, however, made me a convert. The Irene Malloy was phenomenal. Beautiful voice and great comedic timing. The Horace Vandergelder was a treat to watch--that can be such an unlikeable character and you saw the charm as well as the rough edges. The dancing was amazing--the dance chorus (four men and two women who made up the chorus but were also the companies principal dancers were unnervingly tall. They all had to be 6 foot plus. They towered over a couple of the other actors and had a couple showstopping moments. The real showstopper was the Dolly Levi. Its a role that becomes characture-ish quick and she never was. She commanded the stage. There was a moment between Vandergelder and Dolly in the restaurant which was as good as it gets in the theater. The staging was clean and ingenious in its use of these unmanned baggage carts as the set for the train station, feed store and millinery shop. After the show, Steven, one of the teaching artists and an professional actor who played three roles in the show, gave us a tour of the theater and talked about the assassination. He was a hoot to watch on stage (I would have been curious to see where he would have taken Vandergelder) and so generous to spend an hour after a show to talk with us.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ford's Theater Retreat--Day One

We left cold, snowy Wichita at 6 a.m. and arrived at temperate spring Washington D.C.  by lunchtime. An absolutely gorgeous day and we took advantage. The Wichita delegation grabbed lunch and headed to the Capitol Building for a tour set up by Representative Pompeo's office. Our tour guide, a fellow Wichitan was excellent. After the tour we wandered back toward Ford's for a meet and greet for the kids. While they gorged themselves on pizza and ice breakers, the adults met and chatted. This is an impressive group of teachers and parents. Impressive. A final walk to the White House and stroll through Lafayette Park and we were done for the day. Tomorrow is a full day of activities so, enjoy the pictures and good night.

The trip begins

6 am at Mid Continent Airport. Good bye cold torrential rain. Hello DC