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!
Photo by Ed Haskell
I recently discovered a great poem by Andrew Hudgins: At Chancellorsville. As most of you know by now, the Civil War is an abiding interest of mine. I’ve found that the personal moments, the insignificant details truly bring home the horror and tragedy of the War. At Chancellorsville offers such details, such moments. I’ve prepared common core activities that I hope will open this poem for young people. I’ve provided directed reading, scripted reading, reciprocal teaching, research questions and a poster assignment to help involve students with Hudgins’ words and with the turbulent times in which he lived.
Here’s the link: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Civil-War-Poem-At-Chancellorsville-2763540
Home Sweet Home by Winslow Homer
I taught Robert W. Chambers’ The Pickets many times and found it a great story for 8th graders – either as an entry into other CW topics or as a stand alone unit. I’ve refined that unit and put it on TPT. I checked with Perfection Learning (who published the story in “A House Divided”, their excellent CW anthology) and determined that it’s in the public domain. I included extensive excerpts from it and included links to the complete text of the story. Please take a look when you have a chance.
Julia Ward Howe arose at dawn on November 18th, 1861 and hurriedly wrote the words that became one of our most revered patriotic songs. I hope that the common core activities I offer on TPT will open the poem for young people. I’ve provided directed reading, scripted reading, reciprocal teaching, research questions and a poster assignment to help involve students with Julia’s words and with the turbulent times in which she lived. Here’s the link to the activities:
P.S. Here’s a great recording of the Battle Hymn:
Shiloh Church – “the log-built one”
Herman Melville never knew that he was one of America’s greatest writers and would become a world literary figure. Disappointed by the poor reception his novels initially received, he became a customs inspector and turned his literary focus to poetry. He expected to be remembered, if at all, as a poet. Moby Dick insured that this would never happen.
Melville volunteered in hospitals during the Civil War. His experiences with the wounded – their suffering and their bravery – greatly influenced him and resulted in some great American poems. One of these is Shiloh.
I’ve created some activities (common core, of course!) for teachers to use with students when they consider this poem. I’m pleased with what I’ve made and hope that the structures I’ve provided will open Shiloh for young people. It’s a good poem and needs to be read. It’s message of reconciliation and sharing of common ground is one Americans need to ponder. Here’s a link to my plans:
This unit was endorsed by the Civil War Trust Teachers Regiment, by the by.