I had to create a lesson plan for U.S. History. I focused on the causes and the people of the Civil War. For the causes of the war, I decided to let the students do a project. Basically, I would assign the students to either the North or South and they would have to write a newspaper article in the point of view of a journalist from that time. For the people, I decided to do a game show, asking questions about certain figures that I covered.
I was just wondering what you guys thought about my methods of testing the students about the material and if you have any suggestions for me. It would be AWESOME if you guys responded, because I have to include yall's feedback on a final paper that I have to turn in for my class.

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Tamara,

Not sure what age/grade your students are. I really like the idea of the game show format for review of the people of the Civil War. I have a concern that having the students explore on or the other side of the causes will leave them uncertain of the causes on the other side. Perhaps you could have the students read their articles to the class so that everyone is on board.

Depending on the maturity of the students, this may be an opportunity for them to learn that history is always under review and subject to updating. The causes of the Civil War is still a very hot topic among professional historians. I'd like to offer you a suggestion. I don't know if this lesson is far enough in the future for you to do the legwork, but I'd suggest bringing some historians into your class to answer student questions, and perhaps debate the issue for the students. Don't worry, it may not cost you a penny!

There is a very old mailing list for historians run by the Library of Virginia. They have been most helpful to me over the years. The list is called the Virginia History List, and includes historians around the country with an interest in Virginia history. Here's the link:

http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/elect_discuss.asp

What I would suggest is that you write to Greg Kimball who is now the manager of the list, and ask his assistance in finding one or two historians who could visit your class via the Internet. One historian could provide information and answer questions. Two could present the information and answer the questions on either side. This can be done in a variety of venues, including texting all the way up to Skype which provides visuals and sound instead of just text. Skype is a free downloadable program. The kids can then see the historian as they hear him. If you have a webcam, he/she can also see the class.

Don't hesitate to tell Greg Kimball that I put you up to this!

Among the historians on the list are several who have written books for children. If you are at the elementary level, these would be first choices. I'm perhaps optimistic in suggesting you could get this set up in about two weeks, but it could come together in a week if you hold your mouth right!

If I can be of further help, drop me a line to: weezo45@gmail.com .... You may also want to check and see if I have anything you can use on http://www.educationalsynthesis.org/indexnew.html .... Check out "My Own Books", Famous Americans, and Social Studies / History ...

Good luck!
Anne
Thank you so much for all of that. You gave me some really good suggestions and I'd love to quote you in my paper. This was really helpful though. Thanks a lot!
Quote away!! I'd really like to see K-12 using the internet to put kids in touch with experts in various fields... Not only will the kids be learning from the best, but the teacher can learn more at the same time. The kids will take the learning home, and before you know it, the whole village will step up a notch! And, it will be all your fault!

I wish you luck on your paper!
If the students will be assigned to either the North or South, why not set up a classroom blog (or one for each side of the argument) and have the students post comments depicting the reasoning behind their support of one side or the other. The could also post opposing comments, but the students have to be instructed that the post must be scholarly, thoughtful posts.

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