US History--Civil War & Reconstruction--2008

My units change every time I cycle through them. (I like to think the units are getting better each time.) For our most recent study of the Civil War, I had students in grades one through ten. Our main assignment was this:
Make a FLAP BOOK with some information about each of the following:
--Abraham Lincoln
--A Civil War battle
--A Confederate leader
--A Union leader
Also, add something from at least two other topics—medicine, photography, constitutional issues, famous ships, movie reviews, timeline, or any additional from the list above.
I didn't direct the construction of the Flap Books. We spent most of our “togetherness school” time reading aloud, watching movies, or doing activities. Then the Flap Books were each student’s synthesis of all the information.

Some of our other activities included making a map showing Union & Confederate states, adding to our timelines/century books, contrasting industrial North with agricultural South, memorizing the Gettysburg address, and making a chart of major battles of the war.

There are so many great resources for Civil War times!  This time around I used the following:
  • Sojourner Truth:  Ain't I a Woman? by Patricia C. and Fredric McKissak.  
  • Runaway to Freedom by Barbara Smucker--about the Underground Railroad.
  • Gods and Generals--video version of the book by Jeff Shaara.  This covers the Civil War before Gettysburg, with a lot about Stonewall Jackson.
  • Voices from the Civil War by Milton Meltzer.  This author has a series of books on U.S. history using all primary sources.  It's a great resource.
  • video:  Robert E. Lee from the History channel.  (We didn't think it was very good, so I'd like to find a different video or book about General Lee.)
  • Killer Angels by Michael Shaara.  This historical novel about the battle of Gettysburg is one of my favorites.  It introduces the reader to people on both sides of the war, so you feel that you know them as friends.
  • Just a Few Words, Mr. Lincoln by Jean Fritz--about the Gettysburg address
  • video:  Shenandoah
  • "A Lincoln Preface" by Carl Sandburg (part of his famous Lincoln biography)
  • Critical Thinking in US History, volume 3, lesson 6.  This lesson explores corruption in the Reconstruction governments.
I recommend that you find additional books—especially biographies of other people from that era (Clara Barton, Matthew Brady, Frederick Douglass, George Washington Carver, Eli Whitney, etc.)  Let me know what gems you find!

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