Walking in their Shoes: Learning the Civil War through Writing

Jashonai Payne, Elementary Teacher, David Cox Elementary School




My curriculum unit focuses on integrating writing through the social studies topic of the United States Civil War. This unit is designed to teach fifth grade students about various perspectives through history during this riveting era using historical fiction novels and picture books with rich text, as well as historical documents such as the Emancipation Proclamation and the Declaration of Independence. Students will learn about the African in his days of power and greatness before slavery, slaves’ journey to America, the plight of the slaves leading up to the inception of the Civil War, as well as their tireless fight for freedom and equality. There are numerous opportunities for students to interact with various forms of text through persuasive writing, journal writing, debate, dramatic simulations, and poetry. Other topics of interests are the Underground Railroad, famous players such as Abraham Lincoln and Harriett Tubman, as well as the unsung heroes such as Dred Scott and Harriet Beecher Stowe, who assisted in the Battle of the North and South. My hope is for students to grasp the function of writing as a way to communicate for various purposes while simultaneously learning about the true events behind this important historic era.