My Civil War Notebook

Welcome back for the Annexation edition of a peek inside my Texas History INB. If you would like to check out previous entries on setting up your notebookmapsregions of TexasNative AmericansEuropean explorersSpanish MissionsColonization, the Texas RevolutionRepublic of Texas, Annexation, or Statehood just click on the title. 
A blog post full of notebook pictures, recommended read alouds, ideas, and tips for teaching the unit.
 Our Civil War unit is always a big hit in the classroom. I think it is because it is one of the points in history that students have heard of, and remember, so they have a connection with it. I can't be sure though.
I always start our unit with vocabulary, because this era has some tough ones. I am a big fan of front-loading these tough words, so that when they come up later in the unit we can discuss them with meaning.
Next we move onto the causes of the Civil War. 99.9% of students think that slavery was the sole cause of the conflict and are shocked to find out that it was only one of many reasons. We take a couple of days to go through each of the causes and talk about what they really mean.
We also spend some time talking about the specific battles that were fought in Texas. My students are always fascinated to find out that the last battle was actually fought after the war was actually over. It is really interesting to talk about why it is that communication was so slow.
From there we move into comparisons. We first compare which states joined the north and the south as well as introduce the idea of the Union and Confederacy for different ways of referring to them.
One of my favorite things to discuss though is the inequities of the north and south. It is really eye opening to talk about the differences in the two groups. After discussing them, students often say no wonder the north won, they had better everything.
We finish up with a timeline of the Civil War. In Texas it is tough, because everything we learn is from the scope of how it affected Texas, but I think that it is important to have an overview of the war as a whole. 

Another GREAT thing about this unit is the amazing read alouds that come with it. There are many, many fantastic books for this time of history, but my favorites are below.

Books to Support this Unit:

(affiliate links)

Underground Railroad

Civil War

I hope that you and your students learn just as much with this unit as our class has!

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