To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, award-winning director and producer Ken Burns has launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the speech. Burns was inspired by his work with Greenwood students in filming The Address, a feature-length documentary to be released April 15, 2014.
“[W]e have to look no further than the story of a tiny school in Putney, Vermont, the Greenwood School, to understand why this speech above so many others survives. Each year at the school students are challenged to memorize and then publicly recite the Gettysburg Address. These students, boys 11 to 17, all face a range of complex learning differences that make their personal, academic and social progress challenging.”
Go to Ken Burns’ new website, LEARN THE ADDRESS, to watch all the living US Presidents and a host of other celebrities and politicians recite the speech. The collection of recordings housed on this site will continue to grow as more and more people are inspired by the grit of Greenwood students and the power of history. If they can do it, you can do it!
Media coverage of Ken’s launch and Greenwood has included the following:
Dr. Louisa Moats, Greenwood’s Academic Program Advisor and member of our Advisory Board, was honored recently at the International Dyslexia Association’s annual conference. Dr. Moats received the very distinguished Samuel Torrey Orton Award for
- making a vital contribution to our scientific understanding of dyslexia,
- significantly enhancing and advancing our capacity to successfully intervene and assist people with dyslexia,
- expanding national and international awareness of dyslexia, and
- demonstrating unusual competence and dedication in service to people with dyslexia.
Louisa Moats is a prolific author and has written many influential scientific journal articles, books and policy papers on the topics of reading, spelling, language, and teacher preparation. She has been an important mentor and longtime friend to the Greenwood faculty, and we congratulate her on this well-deserved and prestigious honor.
Partnering with Educational Consultant and renowned Learning Specialist Caryl Frankenberger, we are piloting a grant-funded cognitive training class for all students. Cogmed Working Memory Training is a program designed to strengthen working memory and improve attention in children, adolescents, and adults. Working memory is the ability to keep information in mind for a short period of time in order to perform complex tasks. It is a key factor in intelligence and is critical to thinking, learning, staying focused, remembering instructions and starting and finishing tasks (and is an important sub-skill of Executive Functioning).
Cogmed Working Memory Training is an evidence-based intervention that was developed by a team of neuroscientists and uses computer technology. This grant is funding Cogmed training for all students, and also funds Caryl and her partner Ted to come for 2 days a week to Greenwood to support and evaluate the 6 week program. The program is taking place in Science class. For more information about Caryl Frankenberger or Cogmed, please visit the Frankenberger Associates website.
The Science of Learning and Learning Profiles
As an extension of Cogmed, we are teaching a “Science of Learning” class to ensure all students understand this program in the larger context of neural plasticity. Students are learning how effort and practice can create new neurological connections, as well as how they learn, what strategies are most effective for their success, and how to effectively advocate for themselves. This course explores 6 core domains: cognitive, executive function, social, emotional, physical and character. We are using experiential activities that help students understand their strengths and weaknesses in each domain. Students will use this understanding in discussions with their advisors as they develop strategies to better navigate school and life.
The Greenwood School (a middle and high school boarding school for boys with language based and attentional learning differences) in Putney, Vermont (www.greenwood.org) is proud to partner with award-winning director and producer Ken Burns to produce The Address—a Ken Burns feature length documentary focusing on Greenwood students’ challenges and triumphs in studying, memorizing, and publicly reciting The Gettysburg Address. An integrated study of The Gettysburg Address is a Greenwood tradition. Since the school’s founding in 1978, Greenwood students have memorized and recited The Address in front of their peers and families. It is a test of courage and resilience, and at Greenwood it is an inspirational rite of passage. Ken and his Florentine Films team have been “embedded” in the Greenwood community since Thanksgiving and have documented over 200 hours of Greenwood students’ trials and successes. On February 15, the students recited The Address to an audience numbering 250; it was a triumphant and magical celebration and a moving testament to our students’ perseverance, bravery, and dedication.
Ken Burns and his film crew were along as Greenwood School students embarked on a school trip to Gettysburg Military Park in Gettysburg, PA. The trip was covered in a recent USAToday story:
The Address, parts of which he filmed Thursday at the Gettysburg National Military Park, is about a Vermont school for boys with learning disabilities who memorize and recite Abraham Lincoln’s iconic Gettysburg Address, which he gave 150 years ago this November.