The students and teachers of Chalone Peaks Middle School created a great Civil War reenactment last May. Deep learning about our shared history, superb teamwork and great fun defined the day. It was the 18th time Bull Run, Gettysburg and the Civil War camps of both armies were brought to life by all the participants. As usual, I learned from both the students and the history. I would have shared Dave Park’s wonderful photos of our 18th annual event sooner, but I missed the link back in May. Better late than never! Enjoy!
The doctor is in!
Harriet Tubman teaches.
Some of you might recall “You Are There”, Walter Cronkite’s great, long-running TV series. Cronkite served as host and interviewer in historical reenactments of critical events from our shared past. The show brought history to life with unprecedented immediacy. I’ve tried to capture that immediacy in this readers’ theater script about the Lincoln Assassination
No event in our history was more important or more traumatic than the assassination of President Lincoln and I’ve created a new story and teaching unit that explores this tragedy. The unit’s goal is to make these crucial events clear and accessible to students. I’ve based my unit’s narrative on Jim Bishop’s excellent book The Day Lincoln was Shot. By adding several fictional characters and some dialog to the events Bishop detailed, I’ve created a readers’ theater script for middle school and high school students.
I’ve also created vocabulary and reading comprehension activities to enhance and accompany Booth Shot President Lincoln. You’ll recognize both the cooperative learning and reciprocal teaching techniques incorporated in the activities.
Please take a look at the unit’s preview excerpt when you have a chance! Here’s the link:
Caspar Buberl’s frieze of marching soldiers, located at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center in Corinth, Mississippi.
Poetry is the most difficult literary discipline of all and I claim no proficiency in it. I do find, however, that making an honest effort, especially with forms unfamiliar to me, improves my writing overall. I wrote the villanelle just published in the Ekphrastic Review some years back. The poem was inspired by Civil War art and was originally published as a front-piece to Dawn Drums, my Civil War novel. Ekphrastic Review editor Lorette Luzajic paired it with a photo of sculptor Caspar Buberl’s 19th Century Civil War frieze. I appreciate her work in finding an image of Caspar’s work that she could share! Here’s the link: http://www.ekphrastic.net
Students and teachers of Chalone Peaks Middle School once again created a great event yesterday. Helped by parents and loyal reenactors, everyone worked together to make the 2018 Civil War reenactment a learning experience without equal. History came alive before young people’s eyes and will live in their minds always.
Author at work (Photo by Vibeke Hanneman)
Lincoln sharing his thoughts (Photo by Vibeke Hanneman)
Harriet Tubman revealing the evils of slavery. (Photo by Vibeke Hanneman)
Confederates advance (Photo by Vibeke Hanneman)
Union soldiers defend. (Photo by Vibeke Hanneman)
BOOM! (Photo by Vibeke Hanneman)
Joined in respect at the cemetery
Our Civil War teaches lessons still, important ones about honor, sacrifice and the price of freedom for all. Teachers and re-enactors created a dynamic civics classroom at San Lorenzo Park on May 12th. The students of Chalone Peaks Middle School entered it with energy and intelligence. They emerged with experiences they’ll remember their entire lives, experiences that will be the seeds of good citizenship. We began our day at King City Cemetery by honoring Civil War veterans buried there. Students read “Shiloh”, a great poem by Herman Melville. President Lincoln offered remarks about the difficult, crucial service the soldiers rendered. A rifle volley and taps ended our ceremony. We then marched on to battles, seminars and the Gettysburg Address.
Dave Park took great photos of the day. Please enjoy his work and the efforts of our students.
On the march
Honoring those who served
Pickett’s charge on the 3rd day of Gettysburg
Meeting the charge
Joined hands at war’s end
Abraham Lincoln was a great president and an even more amazing human being. I folded many of his words and many great anecdotes about him into my novel. Spending time with him, as I did when writing Dawn Drums, is the best way I know of to reaffirm your love for America. I hope and trust that, because of Lincoln, reading my book will uplift and inspire you.
Moonlight Mesa Associates is graciously offering Dawn Drums for sale in November. The 35% discount for individual sales is barely above their costs. The unadvertised discount for school orders is 50%. Teacher friends, if you get your school to order some copies, you’ll get them at cost. This sale is only available through the publisher. Forget about Amazon! Requests for signed copies will be forwarded to me and I’ll expedite the delivery as fast as I can. Here’s the URL:
The Emancipation Proclamation went into effect on January 1st, 1863. Other than our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, there is no more important primary document in our nation’s history. It effectively ended slavery in the U.S. The Thirteenth Amendment to our Constitution made the abolishment of slavery official, but President Lincoln’s Proclamation made the Constitutional change possible. I’ve prepared common core activities that will open this document for young people and posted them for free on TPT. Teacher friends and colleagues, you’ll find the full text of the Proclamation, vocabulary building, directed reading, reciprocal teaching questions and a poster assignment to help involve students with this crucial primary document. Please let me know how all this works with your students!