Lesson Plan: Reconstruction Changes the United States G 8

Written By: Rachel Ibes
Grade Level: Grade 8

Time Allotment

Two 42 minute class periods


This lesson is used to introduce writing into the Language Arts classroom while using the content studied in American History. Writing to respond to video will be used as an introduction for writing to respond to reading. Teacher will use gradual release of responsibility model to lead students toward independence.

Subject Matter

Subject areas addressed include writing, summarization, responding to video, paragraph writing, and study of Reconstruction.

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to explain, in writing, Reconstruction’s political and cultural impact in the United States.

Media Components - Video/Web

  • http://www.learn360.com/ShowVideo.aspx?ID=640158&SearchText=reconstruction&MediaFormat=3360063http://
    Description of events after the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination.
  • Materials

  • Computer
  • Paper
  • Teacher Preparation

    Download video clip onto computer desktop or flash drive.

    Introductory Activities

    Note: Students will have been introduced to the R,D,F paragraph writing format. In this format, students state the prompt in the first sentence. The second sentence is a Reason, Detail or Fact that supports the prompt. The third sentence is E: expand, example, extend. Students usually write 3 RDFs at this level, for a paragraph and then conclude. Introduction sentence + RDF + E + RDF + E + RDF + E + Conclusion would result in an eight-sentence paragraph.

    Response to surprise/differing expectation: Board Work: Think of a time in your life when your actions resulted in a series of events that uncontrollably grew.

    Perhaps you told a “little” lie and it forced you to tell another and another and yet another. Maybe you started a project and once involved it turned into more than you expected.

    When the South surrendered to end the Civil War and days later Lincoln was assassinated, no one could have predicted the events that were to follow. They changed the nation and the people within it. We are going to listen to the results of the previously mentioned events.

    Learning Activities

    The teacher introduces the video. In the gradual release of responsibility, the teacher models first and shares with students what is going on in the thinking process. The teacher leads the students toward a summary of one of the events that occurred during Reconstruction.

    Culminating Activity

    After the teacher has modeled, the next step is to work as a class with the teacher to complete a second summary of one of the events. The third step is for students to work with partners to complete a summary, and the final step is for a student to independently complete a paragraph summary.

    Follow-up of a group discussion about how the United States was affected by events during Reconstruction. Students give details to support what they think about the topic.

    Cross-Curricular Activity

    In Language Arts, students could write a paper dealing with the Reconstruction events being studied in American History. Students could take on the role of newspaper reporter and write about how these events changed the United States.

    The RDF paragraph structure is transferable to a variety of subjects. Students may summarize planets in Science or series of steps in a math equation.

    Community Connections

    Students could make suggestions as to actions they could take on events that are currently happening in the city, state, or country and the possible results and impact on the city, state, or country.

    Access to computer and internet