Frank Lloyd Wright Trust

209 S. LaSalle St., Suite 118, Chicago, IL 60604.

Participating Staff:

  • Shannon Greve
  • Jan Kieckhefer
  • Kim Scata

The Robie House Teacher Education Project

Participants in The Robie House Teacher Education Project participated in a three-day professional development seminar focusing on Frank Lloyd Wright’s quintessential Prairie style house. This teacher professional development program was designed for educators who teach English language arts, social studies, and fine arts in grades 2-8. Participants explored architecture and design in the context of history and other humanities topics. The goal was to enable teachers to use art and architecture in the traditional curriculum by providing scholarly background and provocative discussion, as well as demonstration and practice in architecture and design activities. Teachers created and piloted grade-specific lesson plans that addressed the requirements of the Common Core State Standards. The Trust is in the process of digitizing these lesson plans and publishing them on its website.

Key learning objectives

  • Develop fluency in architectural vocabulary and in the creation of activities based on architectural principles.
  • Make connections between architecture and history.
  • Use architectural examples to discuss growth and change of communities and cities.
  • Develop techniques to enable students to engage with the built environment.

CCSS connections

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.1 Read closely to determine what the text/work of art says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual/visual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text/work of art.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.3 Analyze how and why different elements interact in a text/work of art.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.

How the program addresses the standards:

Teachers are provided with tools and activities to aid them in developing Common Core State Standards-aligned lessons for their students, using architecture and design as a text.  Close reading, analysis of elements in a text, and discussion based on evidence are modeled prior to lesson plan development. Teachers have access to various media and formats with which to create writing, speaking, and listening activities for their students, predicated on the demands of their own language arts, social studies, and fine arts curricula.

What we learned

Teachers need significant guidance in the integration of arts-based teaching into traditional topics. Evaluations show a high level of satisfaction with the seminar content and activities.

Quotes from participants

Teachers reported that the best features of this activity were:

  • “The privilege of being in an architectural masterpiece and having thoughts of how we can incorporate relatable humanistic and practical architecture work for our students.”
  •  “Tour, discussions, materials, hands-on activities to try out before doing them in the classroom.”

Sample materials

Download sample materials from this program here.