Grade: Middle
Subject: History

#4529. Civil War Journal Mini Lesson

History, level: Middle
Posted Sat Mar 5 08:28:50 PST 2011 by Nancy Wagner (Nancy Wagner).
Regis University, Denver, CO
Materials Required: construction paper and notebook paper
Activity Time: 20 minutes
Concepts Taught: Journal writing, United States Civil War

Regis University
Lesson Plan Template

Name: Nancy Wagner

Title: Mini-lesson content writing journal
Content Area: American History-Civil War Grade: 8 Duration: 20 minutes
Standards and Benchmarks:

Students write for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Students will be introduced to a writing journal which they will keep through the course of the Civil War Unit. Students will write from the prospective of a young teenager accompanying the troops during the battle. Students may choose either the Confederate or Union army, and the battle they will describe.

Resources and Materials:

Journal made of construction paper covers and notebook paper inside.
Rubric for grading the journal


Sentence starters will be given to students in need of more support. The classroom leveled library has books for all reading levels that contain information about Civil War battles.

Preparing Students for the Lesson:
Expected Behaviors
This is a whole class mini-lesson. Typical classroom expectations apply.

Teaching the Lesson (Lesson Sequence/

Anticipatory Set


Teacher Input, Modeling, & Checking for Understanding

Guided Practice

Independent Practice


1. Pass out the premade journals and grading rubric.
2. Explain to the students that journals or diaries are frequently kept by soldiers at the camp during their time of service.
3. Discuss what the journals might have contained. Pictures, mostly drawn but maybe a treasured black and white photograph of someone from home, letters from home, letters ready to be sent home, if needed. Stories about the people around them, the journal keeper's duties, thoughts, horror at what had been witnessed and the horrors of war.
4. Describe how the journal would looked after being carried with someone, the size (small), how it would be tattered and warn, dirty, and written with whatever the person could find. Depending on the education of the person, the grammar, spelling, punctuation could be different then what we use and the word choice would be different.
5. Model an initial entry. Include date and emotions about preparing to join the army.
6. Students then write their first entry about preparing for the battle they have chosen.
7. As you walk around the room, give feedback about their entries.
8. Remind students to use the classroom resources available to them.


Rubric would be used to assess the students understanding of journal writing and the battle they have chosen. The rubric needs to be designed with the grade level and reading level of the students in mind. A section could be given to the creativity of the student.

Notes & Reflections:

If time permits, students might create their own journal with construction paper and notebook paper as many people may have done during the civil war.