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Best Civil War Lesson Plan Contest

Educators, there's still time to submit your best Civil War lesson plan for a chance to win $2,500! Share a lesson plan that captures the interest of your students through use of primary source documents and creative learning objectives for a chance to win one of three monetary prizes. Lessons will be judged on creativity, classroom usefulness, and use of primary source materials. The deadline is July 7, 2012.

For further contest rules and submission details »

From the Educators

June 2012
Dear Civil War Educator and Preservationist,

Anyone who works day in and day out within the Civil War community knew that the 150th anniversary of the Civil War would be a big deal. More than one year in, I remain struck by how much we all underestimated the national focus, the attention on preservation, and the widespread sharing of commemoratory events via social media. At the Trust we have seen record web site visitors, record interest in our mission and, relevantly, a record increase in the number of teachers we are reaching at professional development events, on our Facebook pages and via this newsletter. Please help us expand our reach. Share this newsletter with colleagues, local media outlets and via social media platforms. Remember, each teacher reaches hundreds or thousands of students throughout his or her career. If each of you generates just one more interested educator, we will have expanded our potential reach by millions of students.

In this month's issue, there are several things that I hope will spur you to even greater action. Enter our Best Lesson Plan contest, buy our Kids 150 book, check out our teacher of the year and nominate your own, and find a way to clear your schedule and join us in Charleston for our signature event—the National Teacher Institute.

Thanks again and again for all you do for the topic about which we care so much and, of course, enjoy your summer!

Garry Adelman
Director of History and Education


Teacher of the Year, Jim Percoco

Teacher of the Year Jim Percoco is the recipient of The Civil War Trust's 2012 Teacher of the Year award. He uses the Trust's battle apps in his history classes at West Springfield High School in Springfield, VA.

Read how Percoco's students used the Gettysburg Battle App »


2012 Essay and Postcard Contest Winners Announced!

2012 Essay and Postcard Contest Winners We are proud to announce the winners of the 2012 Essay and Postcard Contests sponsored by HISTORY™ on the theme, "Preserving 150 Years of History: 1861-1862, The War Commences."

View the Winning Postcards and Essays »


Order the Kids 150 Book!

Kids 150 This new "to–do" guide focuses on engaging young students in the sesquicentennial celebration through activities such as "Make Your Own Signal Flag and Send a Message," "Find a Name from the Civil War," and "Memorize the Gettysburg Address."

Order the Book! »


Civil War Trust at NCSS Conference

NCSS Conference Look for the Trust at the National Council for the Social Studies annual conference, November 16–18, 2012, in Seattle, Washington. We will host two presentations as well as an exhibit booth at the conference.

Find conference details here »


2012 National Teacher Institute

2012 National Teacher Institute There's still time to sign up for the FREE 2012 National Teacher Institute, to be held in Charleston, SC, from July 12–15. Includes workshops, speakers, a private tour of Fort Sumter, a dinner cruise, and continuing education units.

Learn more and register »

Book of the Month

Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life
By David A. Adler
New York: Holiday House, 2010

When author David Adler was asked about his approach to writing biographies he answered, "What I try to do is teach as much about the subject through incidents rather than through a listing of facts." In his latest work, Adler accomplishes his goal admirably. The incidents of Frederick Douglass' life, the tragedies and triumphs, are inspiring. Perhaps the most telling incident of Douglass' life was the comment made by his former owner, who told Douglass many years after his escape from slavery, "I always knew you were too smart to be a slave, and had I been in your place, I should done as you did." In Douglass' place the owner may indeed have run away but it took a special strength of character to rise above slavery and achieve the respect of the nation. Born into slavery in Maryland in 1818, the son of a white slave owner and a slave mother, Douglass barely knew his mother. As a six year old, he was taken by his grandmother to his new home, a larger plantation where both food and clothing were scarce, but not the horrors and punishments of slavery. Two years later, Douglass' owner lent him to family members who lived in Baltimore, where he was taught to read, and in the years following he was passed among various owners. Adler describes the well-known incidents of Douglass' life: fighting back against notorious slave breaker Edward Covey, his escape from slavery, and his lifelong devotion to the abolition of slavery and elevation of black Americans into full citizenship. He leads readers to understand how ex-slave with no formal education became a famous orator, a newspaper publisher and a presidential advisor. With each description of the milestones in Douglass' life, Adler includes primary source quotes and provides the historical context to help readers understand the influence that Douglass had on fighting for the rights of black Americans, not only in the years before and during the Civil War, but in the years after, when it seemed that slavery was returning in another form. The primary source photos and illustrations, which include reprints from The Liberator and from Douglass' newspaper, tell their own story. Quotes and incidents are documented in end notes, and a chronology is included as a reference. Of special interest in the Bibliography are web sites to access the primary source newspapers. Highly recommended for grades 6 and above. Note: a typo on page 89 misspelled the last name of Sergeant William Carney.

Special thanks to Rosanne Zajko for her book reviews! If you have a Civil War book that you particularly like, or would like to review for this newsletter, send it in to education@civilwar.org. Thanks!

Purchase Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life »

See More Book Reviews »


Trivia from the Archives

Trivia from the Archives Q. This Constitutional Amendment, ratified July 9, 1868, granted citizenship to, "all persons born or naturalized in the United States," which included former slaves recently freed:

Q. This compromise bill, presented December 18, 1860, proposed to protect slavery stating that, "no amendment shall be made to the Constitution which shall authorize or give to Congress any power to abolish or interfere with slavery in any of the States by whose laws it is."

Answers from the Archives »


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