United States History: Beginnings
Unit: Civil War Times - This unit teaches students about key components of the US Civil War, such as slavery, the formation of the Confederacy, major events and battles of the war, the Union road to victory, Reconstruction, and the South after the war. The unit uses primary, internet, and visual resources to teach students using a variety of styles.
- Publisher: Harcourt Horizons
- Grade Levels: 3rd - 6th grade
- Overall Unit Goal: Students will be able to categorize, determine point of view, identify frame of reference, and compare maps using key components of the US Civil War.
- Unit Outcomes: Describe Abraham Lincoln's political career, identify the states that made up the Confederate States of America, analyze the dynamics of the election of 1860, apply critical thinking skills to organize and use information from maps, use map scales to find distances on a map, analyze early battles of the Civil War, describe actions President Lincoln took during the Civil War, compare resources and battle strategies of the US and the Confederacy, explain ;the Emancipation Proclamation, and describe its effects, identify major battles of the Civil War and their results, analyze the Gettysburg Address and its impact on the Civil War, and describe the surrender of General Lee to General Grant at Appomattox (Harcourt Horizons, 2003).
- Common Core State Standards: SS.IS.4.6-8.L.C. - Determine the value of sources by evaluating their relevance and intended use. SS.IS.8.6-8.MdC. - Assess individual and collective capacities to address problems and identify potential outcomes. SS.CV.3.6-8.MC. - Compare the means by which individuals and groups change societies, promote the common good, and protect rights. SS.EC.1.6-8.L.C. - Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society. SS.G.2.6-8.MdC. - Compare and contrast the cultural and environmental characteristics of different places or regions. SS.H.1.6-8.L.C. - Classify series of historical events and developments as examples of change and/or continuity.
Description of Adapted Lessons
- Lesson 1: Slavery and Freedom: Summery - examines proslavery legislation and the work of abolitionists before the Civil War. Objectives - Describe the importance of slavery to the Southern economy, analyze laws pertaining to slavery, describe the purpose of the Underground Railroad, analyze the contributions of women to the antislavery movement, and identify important abolitionists and what they did to try to end slavery Harcourt Horizons, 2003).
- Lesson 2: Civil War: Summery - describes the major events in the US Civil War. Objectives - analyze battles of the Civil War, describe the actions President Lincoln took during the Civil War, compare the resources and battle strategies of the US and the Confederacy, explain the Emancipation Proclamation and describe its effects, and analyze how different groups of Americans contributed to the Civil War effort (Harcourt Horizons, 2003).
- Lesson 3: Reconstruction: Summery - describes President Lincoln's death and Reconstruction plans after the Civil War. Objectives - describe the events surrounding President Lincoln's death, analyze plans for the Reconstruction of the US, analyze the reactions of the both Southerners and Northerners to Reconstruction efforts, and identify problems with Reconstruction governments (Harcourt Horizons, 2003).
- Textbook - US history textbook with chapters, highlighted vocabulary words, main idea statements, purpose statements, atlases, and reference tools
- Graphic Organizers - helps students organize content, compare and contrast, generalize, summarize major events, guide reading, identify main idea and supporting details, identify fact vs opinion, identify cause and effect, draw conclusions, and sequence events
- Reading and vocabulary transparencies to add visuals to direct instruction
- Videos and DvDs: Civil War Journal: Commanders - profiles of Civil War commanders. Heroes of Today and Yesterday: Harriet Tubman - outlines the life of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad
- Harcourt's website: www.harcourtschools.com - multimedia biographies, primary sources, and virtual tours
- Vocabulary index cards
- Journal - writers journal to have students think deeper about concepts. They answer specific questions pertaining to each chapter
- Assessment Book - collection of informal checklists, self-evaluations, performance assessments, portfolio assessments, formal assessments, and answer keys to use during each lesson
- Activity Book - different worksheets and activities designed to reinforce the lesson objectives and content
Barriers Which Prevent Access for Students with Moderate-Severe Disabilities
- Reading level and amount of text
- Abstract concepts and vocabulary
- Ratio of text to pictures
- Lack of AT and instructional technology
- Lack of differentiation and not individualized - one size fits all
- Amount of content
- Fast paced instruction
- Lack of student choice
- No hands-on or authentic experiences
Characteristics of Students
- Autism, intellectual disabilities, and multiple disabilities
- Deficits in gross and fine-motor skills
- Short attention spans - need frequent movement breaks
- Poor social skills
- PreK - Kindergarten level reading ability
- 1st grade-level mathematical abilities
- Basic concepts of money
Rationale for Adapting Civil War Lessons
Social studies requires a variety of critical thinking skills, but students with moderate-severe disabilities may need to focus on only one critical thinking skill (Browder & Spooner, 2011). Additionally, students with moderate-severe disabilities need to be able to use and understand the social studies text, and they benefit from an adapted text summary which uses pictures and symbols to support main ideas and key vocabulary (Browder & Spooner, 2011). The students have kindergarten-level reading abilities, and will need an adapted text to understand the main ideas of the unit. Furthermore, graphic organizers can decrease the intellectual demands on students with moderate-severe disabilities. However, students with moderate-severe disabilities need multiple ways to express their learning, such as picture cards and AAC devices (Browder & Spooner, 2011). The students are non-verbal and have fine-motor deficits. Also, knowledge and concepts need to be linked to students daily lives verses abstract concepts (Browder & Spooner, 2011). Lastly, movement should be incorporated into lesson which builds in movement breaks and help maintain student attention (Downing & MacFarland, 2010). The students have difficulty maintaining attention, and need frequent movement breaks.