Category Archives: The Civil War Remembered

The Pickets

Homer

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.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Civil-War-The-Pickets-2234565

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Battle Hymn of the Republic

Julia

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:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Battle-Hymn-of-the-Republic-2119378

P.S. Here’s a great recording of the Battle Hymn:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnLsQdaR9kI

 

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“Shiloh” by Herman Melville

Shiloh-church

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:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Poetry-from-the-Civil-War-Herman-Melville-2032013

This unit was endorsed by the Civil War Trust Teachers Regiment, by the by.

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Civil War at San Lorenzo Park

Students and teachers of Chalone Peaks Middle School close each school year with a history and civics project – a day long reenactment of events from our Civil War.  Here are some of Ed Haskell’s great pictures from the 15th annual Civil War reenactment.

Union line

Students, teachers, parents and guests honor Civil War veterans interred at King City Cemetery.

 

Lee and Lincoln

Lee and Lincoln greet each other after a the ceremony.

skirmish 2

Hostilities commence with a skirmish between pickets.

cannon

Cannons roar!

Lee leads

Confederates attack!

Union D copyThe Union defends!

Harriet

Harriet Tubman speaks with students.

Lincoln troops

President Lincoln addresses the troops

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Lesson Plans for Lulu

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My Lulu Garlic, Contraband was recently recorded and broadcast by KVPR, an NPR affiliate. It is now available as a free podcast and is fifty minutes in length. Here is the link:

http://kvpr.org/post/lulu-garlic-contraband-robert-walton-valley-writers-read

The story includes both Harriet Tubman and Abraham Lincoln as main characters. It details events from the last year of our Civil War. Teachers, should you wish to have your students listen to it, I’ve provided listening logs, directed reading assignments, reciprocal teaching assignments and three poster options. I think both the story and the assignments are suitable for 8th graders and up. All are free and here is the link:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Plans-for-Lulu-Garlic-Contraband-1854110

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Lincoln’s Birthday is near.

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I attended a small gathering for authors at Sol Treasures on February 6th. The imminence of “President’s Day” moved me to share an anecdote about Abraham Lincoln, one that I included in Dawn Drums. I had not read that selection in public before and I was surprised that I had trouble getting through it.  Lincoln’s compassion humbles me – humbles us all – when I dwell upon all he endured. Writing the book was a great gift to me because I lived with his words in my mind for several years.  May they remain close always.

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The Battle of the Crater, July 30th, 1864

The lieutenant of artillery looked down upon a scene he never imagined and would never forget: hundreds of men in blue torn apart by point-blank cannon fire. He turned to General Mahone. “We’ve held them, sir.”

Mahone continued staring at the slaughter. “It’s a turkey shoot.”

 

Today is the sesquicentennial of the Battle of the Crater. I wrote of the battle in Dawn Drums. I’ve posted that selection, along with a reading comprehension exercise, on my Dawn Drums website http://dawndrums.wordpress.com/blogs/. Please feel free to use it with your students.DownloadedFile-1

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