We began our unit on the Civil War this week, learning about events that led to the war. Using various resources including picture books like “Clara and the Freedom Quilt”, “Nettie’s Trip South” and my favorite”January’s Sparrow”, students are developing a deeper understanding of this period in our nation’s history. I also include non-fiction passages, BrainPop and video clips as well as songs including “Follow the Drinking Gourd”. We’ve already had wonderful discussions. The students not only seem to be learning, but engaged. We will continue to build our understanding of this period before beginning a simulation where each student will take on a role, looking at events from 1861 – 1865 through the eyes of their character, making history come alive.
Students share their thinking throughout our lessons. My favorite questions was “why was it called the underground railroad if it wasn’t underground?” Students learned that underground had another meaning, that it also could mean secret. Although I’ve been teaching this topic each year for the past ten, each year is new. I love sharing history with my students.