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 Design of Newspaper


 Teacher Notes


1. Students will analyze both points of view in studying the Civil War between the North and South
2. Students will write and create a newspaper from either the Northern or Southern point of view
3. Students will focus on the following issues / events: causes for the war, slavery, war conditions.


1. Formats for headline story, editorial, interview, political cartoon, movie review, and special feature
2. Selected primary sources from books and the internet
3. Music of Civil War
4. Video disc: Use Ken Burns' The Civil War
5. Textbook, encyclopedias, etc.

Time: five to six weeks

Grade: 8th grade

Headline Story
The video disc of Ken Burns presents both perspectives on the bombing of Ft. Sumter. However, there are many web sites about Fort Sumter.
In groups of three have students do a round robin of editing each other's work. Use the Student edit sheet.
I also usually edit and return their work.


This is the process I use to get the students to write their editorial.

First, I assign a group of four to analyze one of the primary sources
about slavery, either
for slavery or against slavery. Then as a group they analyze the source by using an analysis guide.

I use the format called "Meet the Press" which is a role playing simulation. I like this activity because the students get to hear the southern reasons for their belief in slavery, as well as the northern desire to abolish slavery. Use the follow guide sheets to help the students play their roles as reporters:

Friendly Questions and Unfriendly Questions
Use the Student Worksheet as a guide for the audience who listen to the presentations.

When the students are done analyzing the sources, I teach them how to do an editorial. Once the editorial is done in groups of three I have the students do a round robin of editing each other's work. Use the Student edit sheet.
I also usually edit and return their work.

Besides written primary sources from journals and letters of soldiers, use music of the civil war soldier to teach the students what it was like to be a soldier.

Use images of the civil war to create a slide show (use Powerpoint) to further illustrate the life of a soldier.

Political Cartoon
Interpret some political cartoons from the time period from the web sites I selected before you have the students create their own political cartoon.

Movie Review
We received the Pepsi's version of Glory. Some of the bloody scenes are taken out. However, we still send out a parent permission slip.

Special Feature
The student has the freedom of choice to pursue what interests him/her.

About the Rubric:

In reality I collect each piece of the newspaper in a timely manner so the students have time to compete each piece. I grade each piece as it come in. When all the pieces are done, I give the pieces back to the students so they can begin to format and put the newspaper together.

I also have the parents read and make comments on their work. I consider the newspaper a portfolio of their best work. Students are free to edit their work again for their portfolio before they turn in the newspaper and have their parents read them.

Standard Connection

8.9 Students analyze the early and steady attempts to abolish slavery and to realize the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.

1. Describe the leaders of the movement (e.g., John Quincy Adams and his proposed constitutional amendment, John Brown and the armed resistance, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Weld, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass).
2.Discuss the abolition of slavery in early state constitutions.
3.Describe the significance of the Northwest Ordinance in education and in the banning of slavery in new states north of the Ohio River.
4.Discuss the importance on the slavery issue of the annexation of Texas and California's admission to the union as a free state under the Compromise of 1850.
5.Analyze the significance of the States' Rights Doctrine, the Missouri Compromise (1820), the Wilmot Proviso (1846), the Compromise of 1850, Henry Clay's role in the Missouri Compromise and the Compromise of 1850, the Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), the Dred Scott v. Sandford decision (1857), and the Lincoln-Douglas debates (1858).
6.Describe the lives of free blacks and the laws that limited their freedom and economic opportunities.


8.10 Students analyze the multiple causes, key events, and complex consequences of the Civil War.

1. Compare the conflicting interpretations of state and federal authority as emphasized in the speeches and writings of statesmen such as Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun.
2. Trace the boundaries constituting the North and the South, the geographical differences between the two regions, and the differences between agrarians and industrialists.
3. Identify the constitutional issues posed by the doctrine of nullification and secession and the earliest origins of that doctrine.
4. Discuss Abraham Lincoln's presidency and his significant writings and speeches and their relationship to the Declaration of Independence, such as his "House Divided" speech (1858), Gettysburg Address (1863, Emancipation
Proclamation (1863), and inaugural addresses (1861 and 1865).
5. Study the views and lives of leaders (e.g., Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee) and soldiers on both sides of the war, including those of black soldiers and regiments.
6. Describe critical developments and events in the war, including the major battles, geographical advantages and obstacles, technological advances, and General Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
7. Explain how the war affected combatants, civilians, the physical environment, and future warfare.