Lesson Plan

What are your artistic talents?

Creatively share your in depth research of one American Who Tells the Truth.

Reading Assignment:

Robert Shetterly’s Blog: 

To Stand Up a Stone

Essential Question:

What value do “standing stones” bring to our communities/our world?

Lesson Description:

Choose one AWTT portrait subject and learn about the subject’s issue, actions, challenges, moments of inspiration, and accomplishments.  After studying this person in more depth, make a creative presentation that provides an energetic and deeper understanding of the AWTT portrait subject.  Use the creative arts to expand understanding and highlight the Truth Teller’s story.


  1. Select the Shetterly Truth Teller you would like to research.
  2. Read the selection about your Truth Teller on www.americanswhotellthetruth.org
  3. Find two other resources about your Truth Teller and read them. This may include books written, plays or songs performed, or articles published.

             Resource #1:

             Resource #2: 

  1. Write about your Truth Teller thinking about the following guidelines.* 
  • Tell a story. 

           √ Ground it in the events of your Truth Teller’s life. 

           √ Make it real.

            √ Talk about moments when your Truth Teller was tested or challenged.  

           √ Tell things you know about this person that are not common knowledge. 

  • Be  personal and brief.

         √ Be specific. 

        √ Name the belief or cause that is central to your Truth Teller’s life.

        √ Write in words or phrases that are comfortable for you to speak. 

  • Some examples:

         √ Don’t say “bus”.  Say “run down city bus with doors that don’t close”.

         √ Don’t tell, but show.  Don’t tell about anger or truth or justice,; show what made your Truth Teller angry or what act was unjust.  Skip the                    “This is a story about truth.” line and move right into the “truth”.  

  1. Some possible formats for your writing
  • A story – pick one incident or critical moment.  Tell it as a first person story.
  • A letter – written by your Truth Teller or to your Truth Teller from you or someone in your Truth Teller’s life
  • A rap – add movement or beatboxing
  • Slam poetry – think spoken word, powerful emotion, smiles, tears. 
  1. Important concepts to consider
  • What do you admire about this person?
  • What does this person make you feel?
  • What would you like to say to this person if you could have a conversation with him/her?
  • What one story might tell the essence of this person?

*Based on This I Believe in association with National Public Radio and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

Discussion/Suggested Lesson Expansion:

Share writings, poems, stories, and raps with the class or with the school or community. Discuss how these stories allow access to a better understanding of a person.


Bring Americans Who Tell the Truth (AWTT) original portraits to your community.