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To demonstrate their Civil War knowledge, students write a diary entry or letter from the period, in this lesson

Subjects:

Language Arts, Social Studies  

Grades:

6, 7, 8  

 

Title – Civil War Diaries and Letters
By – Andrea Smith
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Language Arts
Grade Level – 6-8

Goals:
Students will learn about the various effects that the Civil War had on people. They will explore how it didn’t just effect people fighting in the war, but the families left at home and the general atmosphere of life during the time. I want the students to really think about how people lived during this time period by writing about it.

Rationale:
It is also important for students to know about how the Civil War affected the lives of people living at the time. In addition, it is important for students to practice writing. Just because this isn’t an English class doesn’t mean they don’t need to write and learn how to write better. So more writing!

Virginia SOL: USI.9 f

Objectives:
1. The students will read diary entries to use in their letters/journals.
2. The student will write a small letter or journal entry from the perspective of someone involved in the Civil War.

Procedures/Activities:

Reading: (~10 minutes)
Read from a story about a child’s experience during the Civil War. This will be used to put them in the mood of thinking about how ones life can be. They will each receive a diary entry from around the civil war time period. They will be told to read the entry and underline anything about it that is historically relevant. For instance, they would underline if a battle is mentioned or even if they refer to something like a carriage or words used such as “Master” or “Yankee”.

When they are finished, explain that these are the kinds of things that they are going to include when they are writing their own journal/letter. They are going to use all that they have learned about the civil war so far.

Journal/Letter: (Rest of class)
Explain what assignment will be about — reading from rubric as it’s being handed out.

“Consider what it must have been like to be alive during the Civil War. There were a lot of people involved. Which do you most identify with? Pick a person, either a male or female, someone from the North or South, someone directly involved in the War or someone who stayed at home, and write a letter or journal showing “your” experience in the Civil War! You could have been a soldier, a nurse, a Slave, or even a woman left to defend her home.

You need to write 2-3 paragraphs in complete sentences. On the top of your paper write down who you are writing about. Ex: Female Southerner who is a Nurse. Do this so you can remind yourself who you are writing about! Show what you’ve learned so far about the Civil War to show what it would have been like to be alive at the time.”

Once the explanation has been said, remind them to chose who their character is going to be. I will have them pull out a piece of paper and on the top write what their person will be like, if they are from the north or south, write north or south and continue with the rest of the options of involved in the war/at home, white/black, male/female. The top of their paper should look something like “Andrea: female, north, white, in war”. If this is the setting I would likely write about being a nurse in the civil war.

Closure:
If students finish early I will send them to the books about the civil war provided (bibliography of possible books attached). If all students finish before end of class, have them share what they wrote. Before students leave ask what they chose to write about and connect it back to the Civil War. Send them on their Way.

Materials:
– Rubric
– Poster with paper instructions
– Books

Assessment:
Their writing assignment will be graded.

Differentiation:
– Giving students a different assignment than they’re used to.
– Allowing creativity.


RUBRIC:

Who Wants to Be from the Civil War?

          Consider what it must have been like to be alive during the Civil War. There were a lot of people involved. Which do you most identify with? Pick a person, either a male or female, someone from the North or South, someone directly involved in the War or someone who stayed at home, and write a letter or journal showing “your” experience in the Civil War! You could have been a soldier, in the Red Cross, a Slave, or even a woman left to defend her home

          You need to write 3-4 paragraphs in complete sentences. On the top of your paper write down who you are writing about. Ex: Female Southerner Nurse. Do this so you can remind yourself whom you are writing about! Show what you’ve learned so far about the Civil War to show what it would have been like to be alive at the time.

Grading Rubric

What you need to do:

Available Points Points Earned
Complete Sentences 10 points
3-4 Paragraphs 10 points
Accuracy 20 points
Identify Your Character 10 points

E-Mail Andrea Smith !

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