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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The Civil War BEGINS! For my in class historians in Friday, November 17

We know the first shots of the Civil War were fired on April 12, 1861.  But why? And what was the impact of the events at Ft. Sumter?  Take a look here, and check out the CWPT overview of the first battle of the conflict and another great overview from the History Channel.


Experts make a lot of money (and get a lot of attention) predicting the outcome of events – such as football games, horse races, and presidential elections. It’s a process commonly known as handicapping, and they do it by examining all of the data about two sides, both tangible and intangible, and using that information to develop an educated guess about the result of a contest. Even though we know the result of the Civil War, it doesn’t hurt to look at the two sides before the war begins to see the strengths and weaknesses of each side. To do so, complete “Handicapping the Civil War” DOCX  using the materials below.


Looking for some info on the strategy of both sides on the even of the war? Check out Civil War Strategy for more info to add to your notes.

Then … make a claim! What does all of this info mean? We will see how the war evolves, based on your predictions.



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Ready to show what you know, young Civil War historians? You will have a 25 minute quiz on Monday concerning the targets below:

I can use perspective to explain how events between the Compromise of 1850 and the Election of 1860 led to the secession of southern states.
I can explain varying interpretations of the long term causes of the Civil War and evaluate the importance of slavery as a principal cause of the conflict.

What should you study? Simple – The Edge of the Precipice notes and reading, Why the Civil War activity, and the ideas presented in the Secession intro from Doc. (Basically – why did seven Southern states secede?)

Think there will be a big section on the election of 1860? Yes, there will. Guaranteed because it’s THE MOST IMPORTANT ELECTION IN AMERICAN HISTORY (hand slam)!

Here are a bunch of awesome resources if you need more info – great stuff online about the coming of the Civil War!

And … here is a tired tired Taft babbling his way through a review (I do like to talk about this stuff!)


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The Edge of the Precipice … in Wisconsin?

While all of this “Edge of the Precipice: craziness was going on across the map of the United States in the 1850 … what was happening on America’s Dairyland? You should find out a little bit about what Wisconsin was thinking while the controversy escalated.  To do so, check out the Joshua Glover Podcast, and this little video from Wisconsin Media Labs.  You can also check out how Wisconsin discussed secession – Governor Randal was all for it – and how a shipwreck changed Milwaukee.

There are a ton of cool local sites for Civil War History Rules pics … take a trip and shoot a few shots of you with a History Rules sign!

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