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The Civil War

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Title: The Civil War


1
The Civil War
  • Teaching LASTING Lessons in History

2
Introduction
  • The Civil War era is one of the most critical and
    fascinating in our nation's history. The many
    books about this period written for young
    audiences provide a rich context in which to
    learn about the Civil War itself and to explore
    more basic issues about the nature of human life
    and society. The following lesson plan for an
    upper elementary unit on the Civil War contains
    links to other Internet sites that can provide
    valuable cross-curricular materials for you and
    your students.
  • CivilWar_at_Smithsonian homepage

3
Objectives As a result of completing this unit,
students will be able to...
  • discuss some of the social, political, and
    personal issues that Americans confronted during
    the Civil War era.
  • use the Internet to locate resources related to
    the Civil War and incorporate information from
    these resources into their own writing.
  • define historical fiction and identify some of
    the techniques writers use to create good
    historical fiction.
  • discuss the central issues of the Civil War from
    a variety of different perspectives.
  • share their personal reactions to what they have
    learned in both small-group and whole-class
    discussions.

4
Building Background
  • At the start of the unit, guide the students in
    creating a KWL chart to tap into their prior
    knowledge and discover what they want to know
    more about.
  • www.civilwar.com

5
Background and Causes of the War
  • A. Economic developments in the U.S.
  • B. Slavery
  • C. States Rights vs. Strong Federal Government

6
Civil War TimeLine
  • For an overview of Civil War chronology, you can
    direct them to the Civil War timeline provided
    online by the Library of Congress. You might also
    encourage them to research relevant topics,
    perhaps assigning pairs or small groups to become
    "resident experts" in specific areas. A few of
    the topics they might explore are
  • the Harpers Ferry Raid
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • the Battle of Bull Run
  • the Battle of Gettysburg
  • the Battle of Shiloh
  • General Robert E. Lee
  • General William Sherman
  • the Underground Railroad
  • CivilWar_at_Smithsonian Timeline

7
Genre Study Historical Fiction
  • Many of the books in the list of recommended
    titles are historical fiction. Ask students what
    they know about this genre, and have them list
    examples of historical fiction that they have
    read in the past. Make sure they understand that
    historical fiction is based on events that
    actually happened -- such as the Civil War, the
    Battle of Gettysburg, and the assassination of
    President Lincoln -- but the main characters and
    the specific events in those characters' lives
    are made up by the author. A writer of historical
    fiction researches the time and place that will
    be the setting of a story before he or she begins
    writing. Besides reading history books, the
    writer may study personal journals and letters,
    newspaper articles, photographs, art, and
    literature from the period. All of these primary
    sources provide the "flavor" of the historical
    period so that the writer can make the setting
    and events come alive for readers.

8
Integrating Reading and Writing
You can use the following activities to help
students integrate their own writing with the
reading they are doing in the unit.
  • Select one of the minor characters in a book you
    have read, and write a series of journal entries
    using the voice of that character. Before you
    begin writing, think about the following
    questions What experiences has the character
    had? How do you think he or she might feel about
    these experiences? What hopes or dreams might the
    character have? How does the character feel
    toward other characters in the book, and why?

9
Integrating Reading and Writing
  • Write a speech in which you express the views of
    an abolitionist or of someone who wants to
    preserve the institution of slavery. Before you
    begin writing, make an outline of the major
    points you want to make. Decide who your audience
    will be, and think of ways in which you could
    appeal to the emotions of this audience. When you
    have completed a first draft of your speech,
    practice delivering it to a friend or family
    member. Ask your practice audience for advice on
    revising your speech to make it more powerful and
    persuasive.
  • Imagine that you have been transported through
    time to the Civil War era. Write a story telling
    about the adventures you have there. First think
    about the geographical setting of your story --
    did you land in the North or the South? Whom did
    you meet there? What happened next? How does it
    feel to be in the middle of a civil war? When you
    have written a first draft of your story, share
    it with a classmate and talk about ways you could
    improve the story in the revision stage.

10
Recommended Trade Books
  • Charley Skedaddle by Patricia Beatty (Morrow,
    1987).
  • Eben Tyne, Powdermonkey by Patricia Beatty and
    Phillip Robbins (Morrow, 1990).
  • Jayhawker by Patricia Beatty (Morrow, 1991).
  • Turn Homeward, Hannalee by Patricia Beatty
    (Morrow, 1984).
  • With Every Drop of Blood by James Lincoln Collier
    and Christopher Collier (Delacorte Press, 1994)
  • Lincoln A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
    (Clarion Books, 1987).
  • Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt (Follett, 1964).
  • Escape from Slavery The Boyhood of Frederick
    Douglass in His Own Words edited by Michael
    McCurdy (Alfred A. Knopf, 1994)
  • The Story of Booker T. Washington by Patricia
    and Fred McKissack (Childrens Press, 1991)
  • The Boys' War by Jim Murphy (Clarion Books,
    1990).
  • Shades of Gray by Carolyn Reeder (Macmillan,
    1989).
  • Harriet Tubman by M. W. Taylor (Chelsea House
    Publishers, 1991
  • Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington
    (Doubleday, 1963)

11
Enrichment Activities
  • A Matter of Perspective
  • The Language of History
  • Music of the Civil War

12
A Matter of Perspective
  • The people fighting on two sides of a war
    obviously have some major differences of opinion.
    But, as Carolyn Reeder's novel Shades of Gray
    emphasizes, there can also be a wide range of
    opinions among people supposedly on the same side
    of a conflict. Encourage students to discuss and
    research some of the different perspectives that
    various groups of Americans had on the Civil War.
    For example, they might compare Hannalee Reed's
    impression of General William Sherman in Turn
    Homeward, Hannalee to the attitude toward the
    general expressed in General Sherman and His Boys
    in Blue, a poem by Union soldier Captain Richard
    W. Burt. They might also juxtapose the attitudes
    and experiences of African American soldiers and
    white soldiers who fought for the Union cause.
    The film Glory provides some insight into this
    topic.

13
The Language of History
  • From the first pages of many historical novels,
    students will notice that the authors have used
    authentic language from the Civil War period to
    make their characters' dialogue sound realistic.
    Words such as "git" ("get"), " 'taters"
    ("potatoes"), and "furriner" ("foreigner") are
    examples of regional dialect (here, the dialect
    of southern Illinois). Expressions such as
    "hopping the twig" ("getting married") and
    "bluebellies" ("Union soldiers") are examples of
    idioms or slang used in that era. On the
    Internet, students can access a list of Civil War
    slang with modern definitions. Interested
    students may write their own Civil War-era
    stories or journal entries using some of this
    language.

14
Music of the Civil War
  • As students will learn from their reading, the
    experiences of soldiers in the Civil War were
    neither romantic nor fun. When they were not
    facing the horrors of battle, soldiers had to
    deal with boredom and homesickness. Music was one
    way that soldiers could both pass the time and
    remember home and family. They whistled or sang
    familiar songs while performing menial duties,
    and some played instruments such as harmonicas
    and fiddles during their free time. Ballads
    composed during the war told moving tales of
    soldiers' honor, grief, and courage. Students
    interested in this aspect of the war can research
    the songs that were popular among Union and
    Confederate troops. One resource is the Songs of
    the Civil War web site, which offers a cassette
    tape of selected songs with informative
    narration. Another is the American Memory web
    site from the Library of Congress, which offers a
    collection of American sheet music from
    1850-1920, including a page on Civil War songs,
    and a collection of post-Civil War era sheet
    music, 1870-1885. Students who locate audio tapes
    or CDs of Civil War music may select songs to
    enhance dramatic readings of their creative
    writing from this unit. Students could also study
    the lyrics of Civil War-era ballads and report on
    common themes in the songs, perhaps comparing
    these songs with those written to commemorate
    other wars

15
The War Between the States
  • Civil War Battle Summaries by State
  • Civil War Maps Collection

16
Abraham Lincoln
  • Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)Sixteenth President
    (1861-1865)
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Abraham Lincoln Resources

17
Slavery
  • The Underground Railroad

North American Slave Narratives, Beginnings to
1920
18
Emancipation Proclamation
  • Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was issued on
    January 1, 1863
  • Emancipation Proclamation

19
The Gettysburg Address
  • The Gettysburg National Cemetery was dedicated by
    President Abraham Lincoln a brief four months
    after the Battle. Lincoln's speech lasted only
    two minutes, but it went into history as the
    immortal Gettysburg Address.
  • GCVB Member

20
President Lincolns Gettysburg Address
  • Shown here in Lincoln's own hand, the Gettysburg
    Address was only two minutes long

What you'll find here The story of Lincoln's
famous address.
http//www.gettysburg.com/bog/ga.htm
21
A Nation Divided
22
Unit Wrap-Up
At the close of the unit, you may wish to bring
the whole class together for a wrap-up
discussion. The following questions can serve as
a guide for this discussion.
  • Which character in the books you read did you
    find the most interesting? Why? What ideas and
    feelings about the Civil War did this character
    have? How did these ideas and feelings change
    over the course of the book? What experiences did
    the character have that caused these changes?
  • After studying the Civil War era, do you think it
    is obvious which side was right and which was
    wrong? What issues were at stake in the war
    besides the continuation of slavery? Did your
    opinions or feelings about the war change as a
    result of your work in this unit? If so, how?
  • Did you find the Internet helpful in learning
    more about the Civil War? Which sites were the
    most helpful or interesting? Is using the
    Internet a fun way to find information? What
    other topics would you like to explore on the
    Net?
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