The Days of Julia Johnson: A Civil War Diary


Activities

1. Tell me fast
2. Color the levels
3. Web search


1. Tell me fast
Objective: To write a concise summary of historical narrative.

Description: After reading a section of the diary, ask the student to imagine that they want to tell someone what happened to Julia "AS FAST AS YOU CAN"... Instruct them to write what they would say using the smallest number of words they can think of to TELL ME FAST! (HINT: Each student must decide what to include and what to leave out.)

Comparison Version: Students share and compare their versions and talk about why they differ.

Game Version: Students submit their versions and teacher acknowledges a winner with the best description using the fewest words according to a rubric. The students may be involved in voting for a winner by reviewing descriptions without knowing which student wrote the description.

2. Color the levels
Objective: To identify different levels of meaning in historical narrative.

Description: With suggestions from the annotated and color-coded diary entries included in this web-based teacher guide, assign diary entries for reading and ask students to color code the diary text to show where they think Julia is writing at a personal (blue) or social (green) level; or when she is talking about political, military, or economic concerns (purple). Have your students share results and discuss differences and the meaning of history at different levels. The teacher may also ask the students how they felt about color-coding the diary.

3. Web search
Objective: To find information related to Civil War life on the web and apply the information to respond to a question requiring higher level thinking and reflection.
Description: Using the web link resources on this site (or other teacher-screened web sites), instruct students to explore these sites, describe information they found, and respond to this question: How would you compare life during the Civil War for those who fought with the daily lives of those who stayed behind at home?

ADAPTING TO GRADE LEVELS: Every activity and rubric should be created with the target grade level in mind. At higher grade levels, activities can be made more challenging and complex. These activities only begin to suggest the many possibilities for using Julia's diary in history studies for Middle to High School grades.

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