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Teacher Feature

Teacher Feature

A Moment in Time

Overview

Students will read the Gettysburg Address to gain a better understanding of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, and the impact of historical speeches.  Students will use this understanding to create a visual display about the historical impact of famous speeches.

Activity

After reading the April Coin of the Month, discuss with the students some of the challenges Abraham Lincoln faced during his presidency.  Locate a copy of the Gettysburg Address and, as a class, read the speech, in its entirety, aloud.  Identify and define any words or phrases that are unfamiliar to the students.  Ask the students to reflect on the meaning of the speech.  What was the overall message of the Gettysburg Address?  What impact did the speech have on future generations?  Record student answers on the board or on a piece of chart paper.

Locate other famous speeches delivered by presidents and historical figures.  Divide the students into pairs and have each pair choose a speech.  Each pair should read the selected speech and identify and define any words or phrases that are unfamiliar.  Have each pair of students create a visual display that uses quotes and passages from the speech, provides information about the time period in which the speech was given, and includes photos from that era.  Have each pair of students read their speech to the class and present their visual display, explaining the historical impact of the speech and the current events that were occurring when it was given.  Each student pair should be able to identify the message and tone of the speech as well.  Create a timeline around the classroom by displaying the students’ work in chronological order according to when the speeches were given.

Extension

Invite other classes to come and take a walk through history by visiting your classroom timeline.  Ask the visiting students to take some time to make connections between historical events.

Standards

The project described above reflects some of the national standards of learning as defined by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS).  These standards are listed below:

Social Studies Standards

Time, Continuity, and Change:  Students will determine the historical impact of a famous speech and create a visual display identifying the current events of the time.


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