So they were excited about the war?

Post date: Nov 5, 2017 1:48:31 PM

Teaching the American Civil War is certainly something I've missed teaching at Happy Kids. One thing I've missed about it, is the opportunity to help kids empathize with people who lived a world away and 150 years ago. It isn't easy, but it is amazing when it happens. This week we read chapter one of Gary Paulsen's Soldier's Heart. In chapter the main character, Charlie, describes the excitement in his tiny Minnesota town about the outbreak of war. Charlies reaction to all of this? He wants to lie about his age and go off to join the army and join the fight so he can "be a man". Students' reactions were predictably shocked and confused why anyone would so readily go off to war. We discussed this difference in perception. As I said, it is fun to watch kids learn to empathize with people from history.

This week students were given two assignments. The first was learning to make booksnaps, a new reading response activity developed by Tara Martin in the US. Students watched this video to learn how to make them and then made their own. See the slideshow below. Finally, students were tasked with writing a compare and contrast paper about the differing perceptions of war between us today and Americans in 1861. This will help the kids better think through the topic and practice their academic writing skills. I am looking forward to their papers.

Booksnaps for Soldier's Heart ch. 1
Compare and Contrast: Attitudes toward war