In class December 12/13 – Did the Union Win or did the Confederacy lose?

Four long years, over 620,000 dead, even more casualties, part of the nation in ruins, and an entire segment of the population freed for the first time – the results of the Civil War are almost impossible to comprehend in 2017.  Why did war end up with a Union victory and Confederate defeat?  Let’s put our heads together (and ask some other experts) and discuss!

Check out the materials provided to you as well as the resources below.

A great collection of resources from an assortment of Civil War authorities

Why was the Confederacy Defeated? from Alan Farmer

Why Did the Confederacy Lose? from M.T. Owens

What was the primary reason for the Confederate defeat in the Civil War? from ABC-Clio (usmstudent, historyrules)

Then, as a group:
Come up with a list of the 7 major factors that led to the eventual result of the Civil War, ranked in order. Enter your TOP THREE factors in this form.

Come up with a “possibility factor” of the Confederacy winning the war, with a “0” meaning they had no chance at all no matter what they did and a “100” meaning they could have totally won the war but made too many mistakes. Place your names near the location of your factor on the following drawing – Section 1 / Section 2 / Section 5 / Section 6 / Section 7

Can you come up with some great plausible “What if’s?” that could have changed the course of the war?

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In class December 8/11 – A. Lincoln

Our Greatest President-So … how do you assess the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln? Do your rankings match those of past polls? Consider each entry in the “President A. Lincoln” activity and submit your ratings in this form.


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The Life of a Civil War Soldier

You spent some time online and in Kenosha learning about the life of a Civil War soldier – so what was it like?  And why does it matter? Show off your understanding any way you want with a Civil War Soldier Sensory Figure.

Some past examples:

Soldiers liked music, by the way … especially songs with big fat hooks:

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Preparation for December 8/11 – Spend some time with A. Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln – Judging by the number of books written about him, I think we can all agree that he’s a pretty famous guy, right? How do we view him in our society today?  Is he well remembered?  Highly regarded?  Where is rated in comparison to other presidents? Check out the crossroads he faced as President.  Are you looking for Lincoln? How did he do as Commander in Chief? What about his speeches – were they “fitly spoken”?  Did his views on freedom change over the course of the war? What’s the deal with Lincoln Suspending Habeas Corpus and this great Habeas Corpus video? Was there evidence of an unpopular Mr. Lincoln? This is kind of cool – What are America’s perspectives on Lincoln today?


Watch the videos below as well. We will chat about our 16th president in our next class – so spend some time checking out the materials below , complete the President A. Lincoln assignment, and come up with a few observations about A. Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln

Some other great videos – Lincoln as Commander in Chief / The Humor of Lincoln / The Other Side of Lincoln – Lincoln’s Depression / Abraham Lincoln’s Family Life


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Preapartion December 4 – We are headed to Kenosha …

We are headed to the Kenosha Civil War Museum on Tuesday – it should be awesome!

You are out of uniform, but no shorts, sweats, ripped clothing, hats, or quadratic formula t-shirts. Make sure you are warm enough and that you look presentable. Bring a packed lunch (no nuts, please) to your ADVISOR’S  ROOM Tuesday morning WITH YOUR NAME ON IT. Let Taft know if you need a lunch. Also, bring your AmStud notebook, a cell phone and a PENCIL (no pens) on the bus – yes, you will be doing some writing.

We have three activities planned at the museum.  Hopefully we can figure out some other ways to have a little fun at the museum – but our major goal is to learn learn learn, cuz learning is cool.


Are you ready to see the elephant tomorrow in Kenosha? That’s one of our goals when we visit the Civil War Museum tomorrow.  You will also be examining the words of the men (and a few women) in blue and gray and trying to learn a little bit about their story. One of your tasks to prepare is to check out the soldier life material available on AHR and come to school on Tuesday with ONE QUESTION you hope to have answered a the museum.

How do you prepare? Make sure you complete the Why Fight handout, focusing on the motivations of soldiers on both sides of the war. Then, spend 25 minutes or so taking some notes from the various sites and podcasts available on the Civil War Soldier site. You can also listen to my Civil War Soldier Podcast for more info.


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In class December 4/7 – Home Front Notecard Confessions

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Learning Experience December 1 – The Home Front!

I can compare and contrast the challenges and contributions on the home front in the North and South.

Away from the fields of battle, the home front was an important part of the Civil War … and also felt the greatest impact from the conflict. We will be examining the home front in class Monday and Thursday next week. To prepare, your task is to spend some time with the materials below and record important concepts and observations on how the war effected the people on the home front, both North and South.  Use your document to compare the challenges of life on the home front on both sides of the conflict.  You should be able to get some great notes from the following sources … pick and choose what works best for you for about 25-30 minutes.

The Southern Homefront [] and The Northern Homefront [] – great overviews to get you started

Check out the Essential Civil War Curriculum’s The Home Front: North and South by Roberta Baxter – lots o’ good stuff!

Women in the Civil War from the CWPT!

Laugh and cry your way through two scenes of a play that I wrote – Women on the Home Front and African Americans on the Home Front

Here’s some great information about Wisconsin’s home front from the Wisconsin Historical Society

Where was the first major draft riot?  You will be surprised ….

How did enslaved people support the Confederacy?  Good question – let’s find some answers!

Interested in Christmas During the Civil War? How about Children in the Civil War?

The Home Front During the Civil War from Middle Tennessee State provides a great comparison.

Check out the cool infographic “Paying for the War” to see about the economy of each side

Once the home front materials are done (at home and in class), you should be able to …

  • describe the various roles of women in the Civil War.
  • discuss how the war affected African Americans in both the North and the South.
  • discuss the economic impact of the war on both the North and the South.
  • describe the views of the Copperheads – you can learn about them here as well!
  • describe the controversy over conscription and the challenges in the New York Draft Riots – more here too!
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I hope you enjoyed your “visit” to Gettysburg today, young historians – we will do the real visit on April 26!  To review what you learned today, check out some of the cool sites below – there is a ton online about Gettysburg!

You should also complete the battle of Vicksburg in your “Turning Points” target display.  It was a long drawn out siege, and you can find out all about it on the Civil War Battles site.  You can also check out the post and videos and pictures  from my trip to Vicksburg a few years back – it’s a cool place with many awesome monuments, including the one to Wisconsin (Old Abe sits up top).

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Learning Experience November 28/29 More Turning Points … and on the road to Gettysburg!

By now, you should have a decent start to your CIVIL WAR TURNING POINTS creative display.  Make sure you have read the directions carefully, along with the rubric that will be used to assess your display.   By Thursday’s combo class, you should have added Fredericksburg, the Emancipation Proclamation and Chancellorsville.  Continue to use the sources available on the Civil War Battle Resources site.

Then … it’s ON THE ROAD TO GETTYSBURG!  We will be there in 145 days (give or take a few), but we need to look at it now to understand the impact of the battle in the course of the Civil War itself!  To prepare …

Read “On the Road to Gettysburg” and get mentally prepared to learn about the greatest battle in the Civil War on Thursday.  If you didn’t get the handout, download the Union DOC PDF or Confederate DOC PDF version.

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LEARNING EXPERIENCE – The Emancipation Proclamation

It’s one of the most important documents in American history, and probably the single action Abe Lincoln is known for more than any other – the Emancipation Proclamation. We will discuss this incredible document (incredibly misunderstood as well) in class after Turkey. Your first task to prepare is to read the handout about the EP, read and annotate the Emancipation Proclamation and read and watch The Emancipation Proclamation videos below from the History Channel.

Use the guide questions on the handout – you don’t need to answer them in writing! Then, turn to the great document itself by annotating the actual text of the EP following the instructions on the handout. There isn’t much writing – I promise. For some additional insight, check out 5 Things You May Not Know About Lincoln, Slavery and Emancipation from History in the Headlines.

Your additional task is to begin with your Civil War Turning Points – you should make it through Antietam by the next time we meet. You should at least have a cool creative format and some start to the assignment – don’t wait until the last minute.

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