Ring Second-Graders Learn More About Civil War In ELA

Ring Elementary School second-graders recently worked on their Civil War journals during a literacy workstation in Mary Moran’s class. Students answered questions such as: “Where did the Civil War begin and end?” and “Who are Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee?” Students also colored a map using a key depicting Union and Confederate states. The journal was just one part of the U.S. Civil War English language arts module given to all district second-graders.

“I didn’t know about the Emancipation Proclamation until I learned about it in class,” said Kierra Jones, Ring Elementary School second grader. “It was a letter that was to free some slaves but not all of them.”

Ring Elementary School second-grade teachers Moran, Marcella Centi, Heidi Maggio, Melissa Schrader, Allen Thomas and Kristina Charlesworth-Golden presented the module, which had numerous learning goals, including: introducing students to an important period in U.S. history, learning about the controversy over slavery between the North and the South, how the end of the war also meant the end of slavery and discovering the women and men who made significant contributions during this time.

This module lays the foundation for in-depth studies of the U.S. Civil War in later grades and sets the stage for the “Fighting for a Cause” ELA module, which will be taught later in the school year.

In Schrader’s class, second-grader Makenzie Westley brought in copies of her relative’s Civil War diary from 1864 to show the classes.

“Our teacher read the diary out loud in class because the writing was hard to read,” said Makenzie. “I think hearing something like the diary helps everyone learn better about the Civil War because it was written by a real person, a relative of mine.”

“We want each child to continuously improve their skills, so high expectations are a must,” said Moran. “Our daily lessons involve incorporating the NYS Common Core Learning Standards with explicit teaching, modeling, and guided practice of strategies that will lead our second-grade students to be more successful, motivated, independent readers and writers. Listening and Learning module content is challenging and incorporates many higher-learning objectives and concepts, but is read by the teacher. This allows the children to concentrate on comprehending what they are learning, and takes away the stress of trying to read the material that is above their reading level. The benefit of this is that all learners have the potential for success.”

During literacy stations, teachers are using guided reading books to focus on individuals important during the Civil War. Students have also read related books from the library and interactive stories available on www.raz-kids.com. Students are also creating a two-paragraph “U.S. Civil War” writing project for the hallway, which will be displayed with their informative writing pieces.