Civil War Era
Civil War Era - Wrapup
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Share cropping .... Help or Hindrance ?
Middle
Weighing the “pros” and “cons” {making a side-by-side list} of the contractual obligations of both the freed man and the land owner. Who was responsible for what?
Integrated Curriculum
Elementary
Being an elementary teacher, we usually have the same students all (or most of the) day. As we all know, one way to help students learn any new information is to connect it to what they already know, or to other areas of study. I was fortunate enough that even during the years when our 4th and 5th graders changed classes, it was usually only for one class so I had my students for most of the subjects. I was also fortunate enough to work at a school where our special area teachers bent over backwards to help us. If I were using this song in my Civil War unit, I would ask our music teacher to incorporate it into his/her lessons. This would serve several purposes for me: 1) my students would get to hear about the Civil War from someone else in addition to hearing it from me, 2) it would incorporate both Musical Intelligence for those students who are more musically inclined and Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence for those who need to move to help them learn, 3) it would free up a little of my instructional time to devote to analyzing the song, etc., because I wouldn’t need to spend time teaching my students the song (and they really don’t want to hear me sing!)
The Civil War
Elementary
Students will form two teams. Each one will defend the North or the South during the civil war era. They will research different leaders of the time and show their response to what is going on in the country.
Batman
High
I would pull a correlation of The Dark Knight. Two Face aka Harvey Dent, who students can identify with, eloquently stated, "You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.". I feel that showing John Brown's song, and explaining the assault on Harper's Ferry, the dissolvement of VA into West Virginia. I think that perspective is so key in History. Students today do not have the historical context, but rather the 20/20 vision of Hindsight. Things that seem cut and dry, with no gray area today were murky, and had never happened before. I would use this as a primary source to tie into common soldiers lives, and perpetuate the Civil War to students.
Civil War
High
I think that it would be great to encourage a project where students investigate the Civil War from a perspective that doesn't include slavery. What other issues and goals were a part of the War? There were so many underlying concerns that get pushed aside. Many people believe that the Civil War was just about slavery however students could learn so much investigating beyond slavery.
John Brown Song
Elementary
We use a lot of the Hamilton lyrics while we teach the American Revolution and it really gets the students engaged. I think I would use the John Brown song and other songs from the Civil War Era to really grasp their attention. Students could also analyze the lyrics in groups and try to figure out the message and then we would debrief.
John Brown Newspaper Articles
Elementary
I love the idea of looking at newspaper articles about John Brown throughout the war. This would be a great way for the students to look how point of views changed or didn't change over time. Newspaper articles could give them points of view from all different sides.
sing me a song
Elementary
I like the idea of letting students listen to and analyze civil war era songs and determine which side the song is representing. (North or South, Pro-slavery or Anti-Slavery) THis might help them understand how divided we truly were.
Read Me
Elementary
I would like to give the students a chance to read a variety of letters written throughout the Civil War. They would read letters from Union and Confederate soldiers, family members left behind when they went to war such as their wives and children. Letters written by enslaved and freed slaves. The students could examine how the war effected everyone in similar and different ways.
Civil War Era Classroom Connections
Adult Education
Now that I have learned more about the Civil War Era and the John Brown Song, I think it's imperative that we teach our students that Virginia was in the crossroads. Virginia was complex (still is) and had strong northern and southern ties . . . therefore, Virginia faced a dilemma. Virginia felt tension centered on political, economic, cultural, and agricultural issues. Virginia was squarely in the middle of the crisis over slavery, too. Virginia was part of the founding of our nation. Virginia was in the middle of the division of the nation during The Civil War. Virginia is still relevant today (in mid-term and Presidential elections).
Woodrow Wilson Middle School Roanoke City
Middle
I would let students listen to the song and evaluate words in the song and determine which side the song is representing. (North or South) Have students think about the southerners and have students write words to a song that the south may have written about John Brown. They can do this in groups and share with the class.
Virginia and the Civil War
Elementary
Pre-lesson group questions:
What is a war?
Why do people go to war?
Do you think you could be in a war? What if your brother was on a different side of the war than you?
Can a war really be won?

After our study of the Civil War and Virginia's role in it, students will look a the concept of war as a way to get what is wanted. Are there any alternatives to war? Do they work? What if there is something you truly believe in but your brother does not? Now what do you do? How would we solve this kind of situation in the classroom?

After a thorough study of the Civil War as it relates to Virginia, students will take a field trip to Manassas Battlefield.

Students will be divided into two groups - the North and the South. Using a poster, Group 1 will illustrate what the North wants that is worth fighting over. Group 2 will illustrate what the South wants that is worth fighting over.

Students will write letters home to "mom" about why they think their fighting is about something worth fighting over.

Students will discuss the consequences and positives of the war using a venn diagram.

Virginia's Decision to Secede
High
I think it would be beneficial to take a closer look at the Virginia Convention and Virginia's difficult decision to secede from the Union. Although there's a lot of information to we could go through, and depending on time constraints, the main goal would be to have students look at the points of view (POV) of both sides, comparing the arguments for and against secession. After a warm-up or a KWL-type of activity, students could break into two main groups (for/against secession) then smaller groups (depending on the size of the class) to look at a sources including a map of secession, speeches from the convention, and newspaper editorials. Students could then work together to understand and summarize each source and prepare a presentation outlining the main arguments. Students would take time to review the main points to decide which argument was more persuasive and why. After the presentations, the class will debrief and look at the Virginia Ordinance of Secession as a class.
Second Grade
Elementary
It would be interesting to have the students listen to the song and hear the march of the time. They will not understand what they are singing about specifically but can be explained how the union was in support of freeing the slaves. The Civil War for second graders can be explained as some people wanted slavery and others did not. Students are familiar with Abraham Lincoln and his importance in the abolishment of slavery.
Civil War in Virginia
Elementary
Having students understand why there were opposing sides and successions of states, eventually resulting in a civil war. Knowing the history of Virginia specifically, is important for students to know. To know why they sided with the southern confederacy instead of the United States. Understanding that not all citizens, from the North and the South, believed in what was being fought for.
Oh the Tangled Webs Weaved by Virginia
Elementary
The pivotal of Virginia in slavery and the sale of slaves from Virginia provide an interesting angle from which to paint a picture of our Commonwealth. Being born and bred here there has always been that streak of stubborn state pride, just like that of Virginians past. However, knowing the role that Virginia played in the Civil War makes it bittersweet. Second grade does not get into the Civil War Era, but we do talk about our history and where we came from, as well as our famous folks who were born and raised here as well. I believe that a good lesson for us may be to look at the geographic location and the efforts Virginia made to maintain their agricultural roll, as well as their location to roll materials and the tie in with textile industries. There is no way to make it right or better, but simply stating the facts of the time, the location and the institution of slavery were things that took place and we can only look forward and learn from our mistakes.
4th Grade Teacher on the Civil War
Elementary
The Civil War was a turning point for young America. The Union's win would lead to a lot of changes that would make life better for many, including the slaves. Reconstruction was the road to recovery and its affect on history gives historians a lot to consider, review, and dissect. By listening to a song like the John Brown Song, students would be able to see how even music was affected. What started as a song to make fun of one man for sharing a name with an abolitionist, became a song of praise for the abolitionist himself! The progress of the times, the power of the Union, and the shift in post Civil War culture would bring forth many notable changes for young historians to explore. I would love to combine a resource like a song, its lyrics, or a news article to show how media was important in the past (as it is now), and how it reflects what was happening then, just as it does now. Making the learning real to students will help the material stick and impact them differently than simply reading the facts from a history book.
7th grade Civil War
Middle
One thing that I fail to do when teaching about the Civil War is using real life examples of the divisiveness of the Country. I usually just talk in generalizations about the North being anti-slavery and the South supporting it. I could use this John Brown song, the raid, and the coverage of the aftermath of the raid as an example of what the country was thinking during this time period. The students would be interested to see that not all Northerners supported John Brown and not all Southerners vilified him.
Abolitionist History
Middle
My classroom activity would focus on students learning more about significant individuals in the abolitionist movement throughout history of the movement. In addition, students would examine how movements and tumultuous times in history are often reflected in the music of a particular time. Students would research both, and create a short presentation through the Flipgrid app. This app would allow the students to incorporate technology into their learning.
Freedman and Women role play
Upper Elementary/ Middle/High/Adult
I went to a workshop at Howard University where they had the Zinn Education Project come in and teach how to teach Reconstruction- especially because it is usually glossed over in the classroom. The students would receive a photo similar to the one used in this course and a document about Freedmen and Women. You can find that information here https://www.zinnedproject.org/materials/reconstructing-south-role-play/
Students would create a person that they would be and write an script concerning them. They will choose to be a woman or a freedman and tell in their perspective in pairs What their life would be like.
Students will then come back and we will have a whole class discussion and give students an opportunity to share in the class.

Civil War Era
Middle
I would like to use the three soldier letters given in this unit. These would be great primary sources to show what the people that actually were fighting in the war thought about the Emancipation Proclamation. As Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation under his powers of Commander in Chief, the soldier's thoughts are even more relevant to hear.
Chandra Manning's points that Barney breaks social convention by telling his brother what he should think is interesting and demonstrates his belief on how important the topic is. Although not part of Manning's discussion, the end of the letter shows that while Barney is supportive of abolition of slavery, he and others in society still have work to do to reach equal rights. One would suppose the Confederate soldier would not be in favor of the Emancipation Proclamation, but it is interesting for students to see his viewpoint and reasons. The African American soldier, Macy, makes a case for freedom but also unity in the country and reconciliation, still another viewpoint not mentioned in the first two letters.
As we are often encouraging students to look at the issues in the time period, reading personal letters seem to be a way for students to gain the person's perspective, even if they disagree with the content.
Civil Wat
Middle
Students will watch an account of the surrender ceremony from The Civil War series on YouTube and examine the surrender agreement as well as a passage from Grant's memoirs to gain a deeper understanding of his compassion and character. The activity provides an in-depth study of compassion toward former enemies after a conflict is resolved.
The ultimate politician
Middle
Several aspects of this module are appropriate to add to my 6th grade curriculum. First, the secession of the western counties of Virginia from Virginia after Virginia voted to leave the union is interesting as the state divided and west Virginia chose to remain with the union. Second, the idea that a state could remain with the union but still maintain slavery is interesting as the war was mostly fought about the institution of slavery. Third, the way that Abraham Lincoln masterfully approached the issue of slavery and his position on it, downplaying his intentions to formally emancipate slaves at the beginning of his career and then fully supporting abolition by the time of the fighting shows an astute politician who understood that leading by force of opinion on this divisive topic would not be productive. Fourth, John Brown's evolution from lunatic to prophetic hero in the eyes of northern Americans reflects the gradual acceptance of the necessity of abolishing slavery, even though the economy of much of America relied on it.
Civil War
Elementary
I love the idea of using the song and some of the other examples of primary sources to give a deeper meaning to the feeling of what it would be like to be a part of a major event that would change American history forever. The song not only offers great context for the story of John Brown but it also proves how stories were passed before the time of radio, tv, etc... This is such an experience for our 21st-century students who are so plugged into devices that I think it's sometimes impossible to get them to understand life prior to the technologies.

The primary resource that was most poignant to me was the example and explanation for the sales receipt for a slave. This could really evoke a true empathy for the handling of slaves. A receipt is something that my students would understand and would never attach to another living being. I think that this would be quite shocking to my fourth graders but also provide gravity to the institution that waged destruction and division on such a young country.
Civil War Era
Elementary
I think that letters and journals are great ways to help the students connect to the events of the war, so while giving notes on the different important events and battles, I would include these items. I think that they would be a great way to show the opinions of real people from the war. I would continue this during my teaching of Reconstruction. I think that the political cartoons are a good way to show public opinion of the events during this time, and photographs - such as of the new schools developed for freed slaves - could help students make connections. Primary sources, such as the sharecropping contract, could also help students understand the events. Overall, finding real texts from the time and other primary sources would be beneficial.
8th Grade World Connections Instructor
Middle
I very much enjoyed the journey that the John Brown song took me on! As I indicated in my reflection piece, it connected me to the song that I was familiar with (Battle Hymn of the Republic), prompting me to do additional research on my own to get answers to questions about which came first and why. And as I "dug down" further in the module and my "outside" research (much thanks to Google), I even made a connection to why the image of John Brown is on the cover of the first album made by the rock 'n' roll band, Kansas! This just made the process of analysis and "making connections" more fun and meaningful to me! As a teacher for a course called "World Connections," this is important not only for my own benefit(s), but for my students. When we can make connections to students' interests and relevant to their lives today, I believe students are more excited to learn about history! Another example of something that "caught my eye" was a letter that had my birthdate on it, but 102 years before I was born! So, I was interested in the sense that "Hey, that happened on my birthday during the Civil War!" This point leads me to the diary entries from Cofederate Navy midshipman Robert Hanson. Perhaps some students can relate to either dates or places mentioned in the entries. I wanted to pull out a map when Mr. Hanson was writing about traveling from Charlotte to Greensboro, NC; going from Danville, VA to the James River and Richmond, VA, etc. I just thought that these helped students connect to the geography and dates in history of an everyday person, especially since I teach and live near Danville and Lynchburg. These help bring the history to life!
Civil War Era
Middle
As reading is an emphasis in our classroom, presenting The New John Brown song would be taught for content but also for it poetic devices. Reading to recognize stanzas, end and internal rhyme, alliteration, similes or metaphors would be an emphasis. After listening to and analyzing the song, students could choose a well known song and change the lyrics to reflect a subject matter from the war studied.
John Brown
Elementary
I would like to have the class use information accessible to them to make a case for John Brown. Was he a hero or a terrorist? As evidenced through the information presented in this module, we see that the perception of John Brown evolved during the time of the Civil War. We look back now and think what he did was heroic and a catalyst for change, but what if something like that happened tomorrow? What if someone were to invoke violence on an ideal we didn't necessarily think was wrong? How would we feel?
Civil War era
Middle
I would like to have a letters from a Northern soldier, a Southern soldier and an African American soldier during this time period to compare and contrast. Also, analyze what the soldier was discussing in their letters.
Civil War
Middle
I need to incorporate more music in my history classroom! It would be fun to allow students to use music of the Civil War to create a music video with images illustrating the events referenced in the songs.
Soldiers' letters
Middle
I would like to have an activity based around soldiers' letters from the Civil War. Selecting one Union and one Confederate letter from early in the war would show students what early motivations for fighting the war were. Comparing these to representative letters from midway through the war could highlight changing perceptions of abolitionism and prospects for victory. Letters from black Union soldiers could round out the comparisons. Students could then see how the Civil War had differing perceptions and meanings from the very beginning, not just today.
Applying information about the Civil War
Elementary
It is interesting that important events from the Civil War were put into a song and that the tune lives on today. I wonder what current events are sung about today in our music? Is Rap Music telling the stories of the African Americans' culture in the United States today? This would be an interesting assignment to ask students to listen to music with and ear for what is happening in our culture and society.
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Elementary
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Comments

What a great idea!. I've read that Lee originally was wooed by both Lincoln and Davis. I would like to see compared memoirs for Grant and Lee.

How interesting to think about how they would have been trying to get him on their side. I hope to look further into this with my students. They would enjoy taking a side and offer their thoughts on what they might have done. Thanks!

I like the activity above where students read both a letter from a Union and a Confederate soldier as to their motivations for fighting in the war. This would really give the kids a nice primary source activity and enhance their understanding of the Civil War

I love the idea of getting various letters for students to read and analyze. I may try this out too!

I really like the song, and the origins of this lesson. It's a different way to present a familiar topic in a new light. I really liked the ideas of my peers. I always enjoy the different approaches, creativeness, and intelligence of reading others thoughts and approach on this board.

I think the idea of having students write letters home to express their thoughts about what they are fighting fr ( why they are fighting in this war) was super fun..... MaryclaireC

Instructions

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Using the John Brown Song
Video of a 4th grade classroom analyzing the John Brown song in a lesson aimed at learning different reactions to the raid on Harper's Ferry.

Emancipation
This site from historian of the Civil War, Ed Ayers, investigates the end of slavery in the South through an interactive map that links to individual narratives.

Civil War Photos
From the National Archives, a trove of photos related to the Civil War grouped by activities, places, and portraits.