Analyzing the Inaugural Address

Get high school historians to step outside their own shoes by responding to JFK's inaugural address from the perspective of a civil rights activist, a soviet diplomat, or a Cuban exile. After a class discussion about the address, the final assessment is a writing to JFK expressing one's thoughts from the perspective of the chosen role. 

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • There are other roles that could be provocative to include as options (e.g. Nixon supporter)
  • If able, have participants watch a video of the inaugural address to see how Kennedy delivered the speech
Classroom Considerations

  • The address, while short, is dense and can be difficult for some readers; encourage slow, close reading and ensure vocabulary comprehension
Pros

  • A thoughtful example of using role-play as a way to see how different audiences might respond to the same speech
  • The timeline and historical background help to set the stage for the address
Cons

  • None