Using Historical Fiction to Learn About the Civil War

This lesson uses the book Meet Addy by Connie Porter to teach the characteristics of historical fiction, making inferences and using visualization, and Civil War history. The book tells the story of a young girl who escapes from slavery during the war. Students learn how to visualize and infer events from the author's choice of words, and then refine their comprehension by questioning the text together. In this lesson, students will: *Access historical information from a variety of sources *Examine the characteristics of historical fiction *Interpret the author's craft of visualization through writing and drawing *Formulate inferences to explain the author's word choices *Analyze the author's message of discrimination using group think-aloud discussions to develop and refine comprehension of the text ***This lesson provides integration into 5th grade social studies standards. The use of historical fiction about the Civil War will help students better understand life during this time period.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.5
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.5.6
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.4.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.5.3
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.5.4
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.10
By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4-5 text...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.10
By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3
Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.5
Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.6
Analyze multiple accounts of the same event or topic, noting important similarities and differences in the point of view they represent.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.10
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.4.5
Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.10
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., how characters...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.9
Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.3.1
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 4 topics and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.1
Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.2
Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.4
Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support...
GLE 0301.1.2
Demonstrate knowledge of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, and usage of words and phrases.
GLE 0301.2.1
Continue to develop basic listening skills necessary for communication.
GLE 0301.2.2
Continue to develop basic speaking skills necessary for communication.
GLE 0301.8.1
Use active comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading.
GLE 0401.1.2
Demonstrate knowledge of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, and usage of words and phrases.
GLE 0401.2.1
Continue to develop oral language skills necessary for communication.
GLE 0401.2.2
Continue to develop listening skills necessary for communication.
GLE 0401.6.1
Apply skills and strategies to comprehend informational texts.
GLE 0401.8.1
Use active comprehension strategies to derive meaning while reading and check for understanding after reading.
GLE 0401.8.3
Know and understand the basic characteristics of the genres studied.
GLE 0501.1.2
Demonstrate knowledge of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, and usage of words and phrases.
GLE 0501.2.1
Continue to develop critical listening skills necessary for comprehension and task completion.
GLE 0501.2.2
Continue to develop strategies for expressing thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively.
GLE 0501.2.4
Participate in teams for work and discussion.
GLE 0501.5.1
Refine logic skills to facilitate learning and to enhance thoughtful reasoning.
GLE 0501.5.2
Use logic to make inferences and to draw conclusions in a variety of oral and written contexts.
GLE 0501.6.1
Apply appropriate skills and strategies to comprehend informational texts (e.g., pre-reading strategies, comprehension strategies, graphic organizers,...
GLE 0501.6.3
Explore the organizational structures of informational texts.
GLE 0501.8.1
Use previously learned comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading.
GLE 0501.8.2
Experience various literary genres, including fiction and nonfiction, poetry, drama, chapter books, biography/autobiography, short stories, folk tales, myths,...
GLE 0706.2.3
Develop an understanding of and apply proportionality.
SPI 0501.1.12
Recognize root words, prefixes, and syllabication as aids in determining meaning within context.
SPI 0501.1.15
Recognize and use grade appropriate vocabulary within context.
SPI 0501.1.16
Determine the correct meaning/usage of multiple meaning words within context.
SPI 0501.2.4
Organize ideas in the most effective order for an oral presentation.
SPI 0501.5.2
Identify stated or implied cause and effect relationships in text.
SPI 0501.7.2
Determine the main idea in a visual image.
SPI 0501.8.7
Identify similes, metaphors, personification, and hyperbole in context.
SPI 0506.2.7
Recognize equivalent representations for the same number.
TSS.ELA.3.FL.F.5
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
TSS.ELA.3.SL.CC.1
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 3rd grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
TSS.ELA.4.FL.F.5
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
TSS.ELA.4.RI.CS.5
Describe the overall structure of events, ideas, and concepts of information in a text or part of a text.
TSS.ELA.4.RI.RRTC.10
Read and comprehend stories and informational texts throughout the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding at the high end as needed.
TSS.ELA.4.RL.CS.5
Explain major differences between poems, drama, and stories, and refer to the structural elements when writing or speaking about a text.
TSS.ELA.4.RL.RRTC.10
Read and comprehend stories and poems throughout the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding at the high end as needed.
TSS.ELA.4.SL.CC.1
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 4th grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
TSS.ELA.5.FL.F.5
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
TSS.ELA.5.FL.PWR.3
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills when decoding isolated words and in connected text.
TSS.ELA.5.FL.VA.7a
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 5 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of...
TSS.ELA.5.FL.VA.7b
Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
TSS.ELA.5.FL.VA.7c
Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal contrast, addition, and...
TSS.ELA.5.RI.CS.6
Analyze the similarities and differences in points of view of multiple accounts of the same event or topic.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.IKI.9
Integrate information from two or more texts on the same topic in order to build content knowledge.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.KID.2
Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.KID.3
Explain the relationships and interactions among two or more individuals, events, and/or ideas in a text.
TSS.ELA.5.RI.RRTC.10
Read and comprehend stories and informational texts at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.CS.6
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.IKI.9
Compare and contrast stories in the same genre on their approaches to similar themes and topics.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.KID.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.KID.3
Compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in a text.
TSS.ELA.5.RL.RRTC.10
Read and comprehend stories and poems at the high end of the grades 4-5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
TSS.ELA.5.SL.CC.1
Prepare for collaborative discussions on 5th grade level topics and texts; engage effectively with varied partners, building on others' ideas and...
TSS.ELA.5.SL.CC.2
Summarize a text presented in diverse media such as visual, quantitative, and oral formats.
TSS.ELA.5.SL.PKI.4
Report on a topic or text, or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Access historical information from a variety of sources
  • Examine the characteristics of historical fiction
  • Interpret the author's craft of visualization through writing and drawing
  • Formulate inferences to explain the author's word choices
  • Analyze the author's message of discrimination using group think-aloud discussions to develop and refine comprehension of the text

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 
  • Divide students into groups of five. Have each student in the group select and read a different Addy book from the series:
    • Addy Learns a Lesson
    • Addy's Surprise
    • Happy Birthday, Addy!
    • Addy Saves the Day
    • Changes for Addy
  • While reading their selections, students should summarize the major events in each chapter and draw an illustration to go along with their writing. After reading the entire book, students can then use their writing and drawings to retell their Addy stories to the other members in their small group. You can determine students' comprehension of the stories by assessing their drawings and their abilities to retell the beginning, middle, and ending of the stories.
  • Invite students to research the Civil Rights Movement from Addy's time in 1864 to the present, noting significant laws and changes that were made. Students can record their findings on a timeline that shows how slavery began in the United States and was prevalent until the late 1960s. Depending on the age and ability of students, the amount of information and level of detail will vary.
  • Have students reread Meet Addy to gain and clarify information. Ask them to respond to the following statements made by characters in the story:
    • Addy's father: "She [Addy] go out in the morning, her eyes all bright and shining with hope. By night she come stumbling in here so tired, she can hardly eat. . . . Addy getting beat down every day. I can't stand back and watch it no more. We can't wait for our freedom. We gonna have to take it" (8).
      • Why is it important to stand up for what you believe in?
    • Addy's mother: "But Addy, people can do wrong for such a long time, they don't even know it's wrong no more" (25).
      • Tell of a situation in today's world where you feel something is wrong, but people may not realize it because it's been done that way for such a long time. 
    • Uncle Solomon: "It's magic. You hold on to that dime. You gonna need it where you going. Freedom cost, you hear me? Freedom's got its cost" (34).
      • Why does freedom cost? Does it always mean money?
  • Have students write in their journals about their personal experiences with discrimination or how they would cope with being discriminated against.
  • Have students write about a time when they were faced with a difficult situation and needed to show courage. Do they feel they have as much courage as Addy? 

Helpful Hints

Materials and Technology:

  • Meet Addie by Connie Porter
  • Civil Was Booklist Printout
  • Brain POP: Civil War (Website)
  • Images of the Civil War

References

Contributors: