The Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the hallowed ground of Civil War battlefields, and History®, the leading destination for factual television entertainment, are pleased to announce the winners in their fifth annual Civil War Lesson Plan Contest. The contest encouraged teachers to combine primary source material with their own originality to vividly present 19th century history in the classroom, rewarding the top participants with cash prizes.
“We are grateful to the outstanding educators who share their time-tested techniques and tips through this contest, helping improve the overall quality of history education in the United States,” said Civil War Trust president James Lighthizer. “Every one of us at the Trust had a teacher who helped instill the love of history and this contest is our way of thanking all such inspirational educators.”
Dr. Libby O’Connell, Chief Historian and SVP of Corporate Outreach for A&E Television Networks, elaborated on her organization’s ongoing commitment to classroom teachers. “For the fifth consecutive year, History® is pleased to partner with the Civil War Trust to recognize the incredible innovation taking place in our schools every day. The work submitted by these superior teachers provides outstanding examples for other educators to emulate as they teach about this period in U.S. history.”
This year’s grand prize winner was Karen Richey of Toby Johnson Middle School, in Elk Grove, Calif. Her lesson, entitled “Emancipation 1861 to 1863,” asks students to view excerpts from the Sacramento, Calif., newspaper from 1861–1863 to gain an understanding of evolving public opinion about slavery and emancipation from the beginning of the war to the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Second place went to Todd Searing of Urbana Middle School in Urbana, Ill., for “Jeremiah Handley.” His lesson has students review primary source materials written by the average soldier during the war, then read about a fictional character, Jeremiah Handley, all the while deciding what paths Jeremiah should take in his story.
Ms. Carolyn Dupee of Park Avenue Elementary School in Auburn, Maine, earned third place for her lesson “Joshua Chamberlain.” This lesson has students review writings by and about Union general Joshua Chamberlain; then they are asked to analyze his frequent label of “hero” based on the documents.
Honorable Mention went to Connie Lambert of Alcorn Central High School in Corinth, Miss., for “Contraband Camp.” Her lesson presents material on the little known topic of contraband camps — where former slaves gathered under the protection of the U.S. army in the time before emancipation so they would not be returned to their masters. Students are asked to analyze images and write a diary entry from a contraband’s point of view.
As part of the organization’s commitment to sharing proven classroom methods with educators, free-of-charge, the Civil War Trust publishes the winning lesson plans on its website. In addition to individual lesson plans, teachers may also download the organization’s comprehensive two-week Civil War Curriculum, available at three grade levels. For more information on Trust education initiatives, visit www.civilwar.org/education.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 32,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.