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If You Would Like Kids to Know One Thing about the CW (Question from Pam C.) - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Thu Sep 18th, 2008 11:48 pm
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pamc153PA
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Okay, Tim, fair enough question. But I'm going to start my answer by talking about the kids who AREN'T in my Civil War club, because that'll give you a better idea of what the students above the Mason Dixon line know about the Civil War.

Which is (I'm sad to say) not much. At least in my district, kids don't study the CW in any depth until 9th grade, and by depth I mean perhaps a month to cover all the major battles, maybe another week on either end for pre- and post-CW. It's not a decision the teachers make; it's a district curriculum thing, and I suspect most districts are about the same, at least in Pennsylvania.

I teach The Miracle Worker, about Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller, and I do a pretty extensive background to set it up, part of which is the feelings of the South about the North in the 1880s, the time of the play. Helen's father is "Captain" Keller, and there are passages in the play about Grant at Vicksburg, Pemberton, etc., all of them in some way paralleling the character of Annie Sullivan, from Boston. Since there's a definite distrust of the "inexperienced, half-blind Yankee school girl" from  Captain Keller, we talk about why he'd feel that way even 20 years after the war, etc. Honestly, when I give the kids my Civil War-in-a-nutshell speech (try doing that in about 5 minutes), most of them have no idea about it, except that it was between the North and South, it was about slavery (but WHAT about it, and what else, they don't know), and oh, the North won. Each year I have a few kids that have travelled to the South, or know someone who lives there, and they mention that depending on where you go, those feelings of maybe distrust and holding a grudge might still be around. One student last year actually said, "My uncle lives in North Carolina, and he said the war isn't REALLY over yet." So most of my students know little, and often what they think they know is hearsay and opinion.

My CW club kids actually know relatively more about the war, comparatively. They're the ones interested in it, after all, either because someone they know is, or they saw the movie Gettysburg or something like that. But, as 7th and 8th graders mostly, they're the real newbies, so their information is mostly the guns-generals-and-gore stuff, which, if it gets them hooked, is just fine. But they want to know EVERYTHING, so it's fun to help them along.

Someone somewhere on this board mentioned something like what is taught depends on who wrote the book. I think, rather than deliberately trying to mislead the students up North, curriculums/books almost treat it as "for awhile it was an issue that might split the country, by then we (the North) won, and everything was alright again. Next topic." Lack of time in class, lack of space in books. You can believe that, while I am not an expert on the Southern perspective (I lack that "its in my blood" thing that some of the Southern folks on our board have the luxury of having), I take every opportunity to present both sides the best I can. It's a challenge I enjoy.

Hope that answered your question, Tim, and gave you a little meat to chew on, Ole!

Pam 



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 06:09 am
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susansweet
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Interesting information Pam.  You sound like the best kind of teacher one that cares .  Glad you teach The Miracle Worker .  One of my favorite modern plays .  I love telling people that Helen Keller had a connection to Civil War.  The look on the face is priceless. 

Keep up the good work.  There just is never enough time to teach all the material everyone wants teachers to teach.  We can just do the best job we can do .  I do miss the teaching , not the politics. I miss the kids and their joy of learning .  I taught little kids in first grade . 

Susan



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 05:24 pm
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TimK
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Yes, Pam, it did answer my question. However, it also provided me with probably ten more questions, but I guess that's the way my brain works.

You sound like a wonderful teacher. Your thirst for knowledge and then the desire to pass it on is appreciated.



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 05:36 pm
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Scout
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This is a great thread! Thanks for getting another one started Pam, and for your diligence in the classroom! My sixth grade teacher recognized my interest in the subject, and got me going on another couple books outside of class....which of course led to several more.



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 11:21 pm
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pamc153PA
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Susan,

When I first started teaching The Miracle Worker, I wasn't yet into the Civil War. Then I taught another grade for a few years, and when I moved back and had to teach the MW again, it was like, Great! I don't even have to try to work the Civil War in--it's part of the play!

You would not believe how many things I teach can be tied somehow to the Civil War--and you can be sure I've tried my darndest. Even my classroom library is full of Civil War books. When I see one of my kids sign one out, then another, then another, I know I've gotten another one hooked!

Pam



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 11:30 pm
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susansweet
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Pam I taught first grade and was really into Shakespeare and theatre.  You would not believe how many of my little kids could quote Shakespeare, went to see a play and later on did some acting .  

History was always my other love and many of my kids read the books I had on various ages of history.  I had many in my class library.  One of my first graders was interested in the Civil War.  He still is and is in his second year of college.  We had our picture taken together out at the reenactment this year .  He reenacts with the Iron Brigade . s He remembers when I found Z is for Zouaves for him for his ABC book in first grade.  I found a picture for hin to copy.

Susan



 Posted: Fri Sep 19th, 2008 11:55 pm
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pamc153PA
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Very cool, Susan! Kind of sweet to know some of them DO listen, huh? Sort of like sending a little piece of yourself out into the world.

Pam



 Posted: Sat Sep 20th, 2008 02:09 am
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susansweet
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Never thought of it that way Pam but in a way very true.  You instill in your kids a love of history too with their study of the Civil War. 

I am just passing on what I learned from Mr. Ralph Rozelle  tenth grade history teacher at Dominguez High School in Compton California .  As I visit historical sites around the US I hear Mr. Rozelle whispering to me that this is an important site pay attention here.  I have gone to several sites just because he told us in High school we needed to visit this site.  Each of us needs to pass that passion for history on to the next generation.  We never know who it will touch .



 Posted: Mon Sep 22nd, 2008 10:34 pm
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Johan Steele
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Thurs & Fri I expect to see most of 2000 students, mayhaps as many as 3000. Every year it never fails to amaze me how many make an immediete connection when they understand they AREN'T too young to be soldiers. And they aren't too young to share the horros; to die or be horribly maimed. It sobers even the most obnoxious and I hope imparts an interest or at the very least a curiosity.



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 06:47 am
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susansweet
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Johan thanks for taking your time to talk to students .  I know you make it a special day for them and that they learn from what you have to present to them.

Susan



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 12:03 pm
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Johan Steele
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THanks Susan... I get so irritated w/ the "Rambo" mentality. I hope I impart some of the reality to them.



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 12:45 pm
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j harold 587
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Johan, you have referred to the Rambo mentality before. I understand what you are referring to. Too many times with students living history presenters get too caught up in the "stuff" to impart a real understanding of life in the time being portrayed. It is important to keep the glorious part of combat out of your presentation. (as though there was any) Just show that our capability to inflict injury is always far ahead of our ability to heal.

Another point I like to make is that the combat medic of the ACW was equipped much the same as todays.  Bandages, tourniquet, splints and stretchers. To be 150 years advanced the basics are still the same. 

I too like to make the point that many combatants blue and grey were the same age of my audiance. Drummer boys were not the only youth who were in combat.



 Posted: Tue Sep 23rd, 2008 12:49 pm
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Dixie Girl
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my 10 year old brother has recently taken a interest in the war. im kinda trying to embrace the fact that he's still young and actually seems to care about this cause i know if i don't he wont care in a few years.

one thing i would like for future generations to know is be proud of your ancestors. be proud of the ones who fought and died defending a cause that they thought was right whether they won or not.



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War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


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 Posted: Wed Sep 24th, 2008 10:16 pm
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Bighouse
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I think that's true for any group of Veterans. As we are rapidly losing our WWII vets, it's hard to realize sometimes when we see these frail old men and women, what they went through.
For all of us involved in any type of historical preservation, whether as a re-enactor, a teacher, writer,etc., our role is to make sure that future generations do not forget their past. It looks like everyone who's entered a comment here is doing a great job of that!



 Posted: Wed Sep 24th, 2008 10:28 pm
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What about profiling Fredrick Douglass? I'm passionate about this individual. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I feel he was more influential than Dr. King, and probably the most famous African-American. Look at his beginnings. It's amazing that he was able to access the Lincoln white house and the presidents' ear as he did. Also, as an aside he was a slave of on one of my ancestors plantations here on Maryland's eastern shore just minutes where I currently live.

Doc C



 Posted: Wed Sep 24th, 2008 10:30 pm
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DG

Pardon me, but your are the future generation. Your future generation hasn't been conceived yet.

Doc C



 Posted: Wed Sep 24th, 2008 11:15 pm
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susansweet
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Good one Doc.   As to Fredric Douglas I agree , he is one of the people Students should study and learn about . 

Susan



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 Posted: Thu Sep 25th, 2008 02:32 am
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Dixie Girl
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Doc C wrote: DG

Pardon me, but your are the future generation. Your future generation hasn't been conceived yet.

Doc C

that might be true, but it will still be good for em to know.



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War Means Fighting And Fighting Means Killing - N. B. Forrest When war does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw away the scabbard." Stonewall Jackson


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