Humpty Dumpty Reconstruction - Teacher Notes
Grade Level/Unit: Eighth Grade/ Reconstruction
H/SS Standards Addressed:
A. Habits of the Mind-Analysis Skills (pg. 14)
B. Content Standards: (H/SS Standards pg. 26-27)
8.10 “Students analyze …the complex consequences of the Civil War, in terms of:
8.10.7 how the war affected combatants, with the largest death toll of any war in American history, and the physical devastation…”
8.11 “Students analyze the character and lasting consequences of Reconstruction in terms of:
8.11.1 the original aims of Reconstruction and the effects on the political and social structure….
8.11.3 the effects of the Freedman’s Bureau and the restrictions on the rights and opportunities of freedmen, including racial segregation, and “Jim Crow” laws
8.11.4 the rise and effects of the Ku Klux Klan
8.11.5 the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments to the Constitution, and their connection to Reconstruction”
Information Literacy Skills:
English-Language Arts & Literacy Skills:
Purpose of Lesson:
This lesson addresses the California H/SS Standards for both content and analysis skills. While addressing the issue of Reconstruction, students are able to develop their own New America Plan. It has been my experience with eighth graders that many of these young people have very strong opinions about how things ought to be, especially with regard to human rights and civil liberties. Additionally, this lesson also improves technology and literacy skills.
Length: Class Hours: 8-10 class periods
As long as the teacher has access to internet linked computers, the amount of additional materials are very minimal. The teacher will want to download and print the Brain Based Grids, the Chec-Bric. Students will have a more manageable time with this lesson if they have easy access to these documents. The teacher may also want to download and print the SKIN-Diving Form and/or the Conclusion and Reflection questions. I usually keep a stack of the SKIN-Diving Forms in the computer lab, but do not download the Conclusion and Reflection questions. For teachers without lab access, I have seen other educators download and print the research for students to use. It is also possible to use this lesson with a variety of the more traditional library materials.
This lesson makes a very natural connection between History and Language Arts. This is an ideal lesson for the educator who is teaching both classes or for the teachers who want to present a combined assignment. This lesson also makes the obvious connection with technology. Without the use of technology, it is still possible to use this lesson, but it is not as engaging for students. Because History touches all aspects of the social sciences, this lesson can also be used to study politics, geography, and economics.
Adaptations for Special Needs:
If you will be using this lesson with students who have RSP or ELL needs, the job of the Biographer and/or Planner are likely to be more manageable than perhaps the job of the manager, historian, or writer. Frequently students who have had difficulty with traditional modes of informational literacy have a knack and natural ability for technology. I have often seen a student struggle with books and yet be much more successful when reading information from a computer screen. If you have students who are visually impaired, you may want to download and print a research topic ahead of time to be translated into Braille. For your students who are more advanced, perhaps the GATE students, you may want to encourage them to take advantage of the Extension Activities. However, I have often found that these students are very content with the existing lesson, but usually like to exceed the prescribed criteria. It is entirely possible that you may want to extend the students’ time in the computer lab by a day or two. You will know if this is necessary by how engaged and earnestly working the students appear to be. Perhaps you teach at a school where absences are a problem. The best way I have found to counter this problem on this type of assignment is to collect and keep the students’ work on a daily basis. This seems to help solve the problem of the absent kid being the one with all the research and information.
While the Reconstruction Era is often assumed to be what happened after the Civil War, in reality there were actually two Reconstruction Plans that were discussed during the war. One of these was the Lincoln 10% Plan of 1863. This plan had at least 10% of the 1860 electorate in the Confederate States take oaths of allegiance to the Union. This plan was considered to be too lenient by some of Lincoln’s own party. In 1864 the Wade-Davis Bill was also being discussed. This required that the majority of the 1860 electorate in the Confederate States take oaths of allegiance prior to being readmitted to the Union. In 1865 Lincoln compromised by proposing the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution. The former Confederate States would have to ratify this amendment prior to being readmitted to the Union. With Lincoln being assassinated in 1865, and Andrew Johnson taking over the Presidency, the Reconstruction issue took on a new set of perspectives and problems. Johnson was a Southern Democrat whom Lincoln had put on his Republican Party ticket in an effort to try to help heal America’s divisiveness and bitterness. Johnson believed that the white Southerners should be allowed to voluntarily proclaim their allegiance to America and set up their own state governments. Johnson also supported the Black Codes that were implemented in the South. Johnson’s rift and frequent conflicts with the Republican Congress were what eventually led to his impeachment. Reconstruction efforts somewhat continued until 1877. Federal troops were in place in the South to try to insure the civil liberties promised by the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments. In 1873 America experienced a major financial recession, which always tends to refocus people’s attention to their pocketbooks rather than more humanitarian concerns. The end of Reconstruction came out of the disputed Presidential Election of 1876 between Hayes and Tilden. Part of the Compromise of 1877, which allowed the Presidential Crisis to be resolved, was that the federal troops would be removed from the South. This action pretty much allowed the South to manage their affairs any way they saw fit. Nonetheless the Reconstruction era was a period of transition for America. This era saw Constitutional Amendments enacted that made slavery come to an end, allowed former slaves be considered as citizens, and provided enfranchisement for former slaves who were males. The paradox of Reconstruction is that the plight of African Americans actually continued to worsen, as evidenced by poverty, racism, segregation, disenfranchisement, and lynchings. It would not be until the Second Reconstruction in the 1950s and 1960s that many of the promises and goals from the First Reconstruction were able to see the light of reality.
This lesson has been researched and created by Freda Kelly, for the SCORE site, June, 2001. I would love to hear from teachers and/or students as to how this lesson worked in your class. I am very grateful to Peg Hill for the opportunities to produce these lessons. Every time I create one, my learning expands exponentially. I learn about the content in depth, more about technology, and always discover at least one outstanding web site for future research. As I have used several of these lessons with students of all abilities and backgrounds, I am convinced that this is cutting edge pedagogy and a way to provide success for all students. As I was preparing this lesson, my personal life seemed to be falling apart. I want to gratefully dedicate this lesson to my dear friend and fellow historian, Barbara Headle for all her support and encouragement. I am now convinced that sometimes when a life falls together, it just looks like it is falling apart. For everyone who has the opportunity to use this lesson, I hope your life is filled with at least one great friend. Friendship and knowledge are the real treasures of this life.
Freda Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org
Truman Middle School
16224 Mallory Drive
Fontana, Ca. 92335