Saturday, May 8, 2010


Monday we begin the Civil War.

I mean we really do. The desks are in rows, facing each other, battle lines drawn. The armies have been drafted by the generals, the two kids with the highest grades in the class. Monday we load up our "ammo" by reading the text, then we "open fire" on each other--with one paper wad to the person who answers a question correctly (for points).

In between playing this game, threading it really, we learn how to march like soldiers, view the edited-for-classrooms version of Glory, assume the identities of soldiers and civilians so we can watch the war through their eyes, and try to memorize the Gettysburg Address.

There is sooooo much more, though. The War Between the States is truly fascinating, and the tough part for me is editing. It is deciding how best to focus, on what to focus (the standards are at least some small help with that), at the year's end when student focus tends to shift to the lovely weather, the opposite sex, and summer vacation.

I would love to know what everyone's favorite anecdote/focus/activity/book for teaching and learning about this epic event might be--and whether I could adapt it for 8th graders within a 55 minute class period. :-)

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