I love history and it’s quite obvious when you are in my living quarters or classroom. Books are stacked on my shelves (most on my need-to-read list), displayed like trophies.
Since coming to my school, I’ve been putting a lot of my focus on basic English skills and reading/writing/grammar mechanics. Amazon has been a lifesaver and my co-workers have been nothing but generous when it comes to sharing resources. However, not being in my content area has been less than comforting.
English/Language Arts came easy to me all through school, but there are several things that fall into E-LA that I can’t explain. When students ask me questions, sometimes all I have for an answer is, “that’s just how it works in the English language.” I think I’ve learned just as much as my students have this year.
Never fear, we’re slowly incorporating historical texts in our 8th grade class! We’ve read several stories and excerpts that discuss people and events surrounding the Civil War: Harriet Tubman, Abe Lincoln, and Frederick Douglass to name a few. While browsing through some old resources in a cabinet, I came across a writing workshop. This workshop focuses on using descriptive language that walks students through activities on how to effectively describe a person based on different sources (of all mediums). One of the older textbooks has a wonderful story called Mysterious Mr. Lincoln that uses exceptional imagery.
Can you guess who we’re going to do our descriptive writing workshop on? Obviously, Lincoln. I’m reading bits from the book Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly. He gives us a different perspective of Lincoln, more of the internal battles Lincoln faced. The student’s have really enjoyed those bits. I have them close their eyes and create their own image of Lincoln as I am reading. Once we are finished with those, we’re going to watch Lincoln starring Daniel Day Lewis. If you have not had the opportunity to view it, I highly recommend it. You are exposed to many different sides of the Civil War and the interpretation is relatively unbiased.
All has been well with this unit, I’m anxious to see the final products!