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Picking up the Pieces: The Reconstruction Era

5th Grade
Social Studies Unit Assignment
Common Core Standards 2014
Betty Moak

Phase 1 - Overview
A. The Reconstruction Era
Standard 5-1: The student will demonstrate an understanding of Reconstruction and its
impact on the United States.
5-1.1 Summarize the aims and course of Reconstruction, including the effects of
Abraham Lincolns assassination, Southern resistance to the rights of freedmen, and the
agenda of the Radical Republicans.
5-1.2 Explain the effects of Reconstruction, including new rights under the thirteenth,
fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments; the actions of the Freedmens Bureau; and the
move from a plantation system to sharecropping.
5-1.3 Explain the purpose and motivations of subversive groups during Reconstruction
and their rise to power after the withdrawal of federal troops from the South.
5-1.4 Compare the political, economic, and social effects of Reconstruction on different
populations in the South and in other regions of the United States.
The indicators partially addressed in the four lessons of this assignment are highlighted.
B. Fifth Grade
C. 5 Weeks
D. Central Ideas: Reconstruction was a messy time of our nations history with many
clashing perspectives and changes. Policies and programs were established to grant
Freedmen rights, rebuild the South and unite the country but many proved insufficient.
There were many individuals and groups which worked against reconstructing the United
E. Key concepts: Freedmen and white resistance, Freedmens Bureau, Sharecropping,
Radical Republicans, Reconstruction Amendments, 1865 and 1868 SC Constitutions,
Impeachment of President Johnson, Black Codes, the KKK.
F. Related Skills: Map-making, graph-making, investigation into topics examining
evidence and creating a credible account, comparing and contrasting multiple
G. Democratic Citizenship Values: Fairness, justice, empathy. Reconstruction is a hard
period of our history, full of promise but also full of bitter and selfish people. Examining
individuals perspectives offers practice in empathy and also prepares students for
understanding the importance of stepping outside of yourself to consider the bigger
H. Accommodations:

Two students with exceptionalities are in my class and will receive specialized
accommodations as necessary so that they may participate as much as possible in each
A female student (referred to hereafter as Miley) possesses a language-based learning
disability. She struggles with reading skills and reading comprehension. She is removed
from class twice a week to work individually with a speech-language pathologist. When
reading or writing is involved in a task, she is reluctant to share out loud or participate in
the task at all.
A male student (referred to hereafter as Justin) possesses a physical disability. He has
only one hand, his other arm ends at the forearm just before the wrist joint. He tries his
best to keep up with other students in all tasks and activities. This disability does not
often seriously impede his ability to participate but it does make certain things more
challenging or take longer.
Phase 2 - Resources
A. Social Studies Textbook:
Boehm, R. G., Hoone, C., McGowan, T. M., McKinney-Browning, M.C., Miramontes,
O.B., & Porter, P.H. (2000).United states in modern times: Harcourt brace social studies.
USA: Harcourt Brace & Company.
This is the textbook assigned to my 5th grade internship class. My coaching
teacher recommended it as a basic source and starting point for information for myself
and students about social studies topics. The section it contains on the Reconstruction Era
is small but useful. Using the social studies textbook gives children the opportunity to
practice using a familiar informational text navigating through table of contents,
glossary and index giving them exposure to what is an important skill in secondary
grades. It allows them to use informational text literary skills like summarizing
paragraphs and pulling out key ideas.
B. Trade Books:
Sherman, P., & Cooper, F. (2010). Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation. Grand
Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.
This picture book with beautiful illustrations is about Ben, a slave in the South
during the Civil War. It illustrates the value of learning to read and the suspended hope
slaves experienced hearing about the Emancipation Proclamation while still trapped in
slavery. It provides a great launching point for this Reconstruction unit, reminding
students about prior knowledge about the Civil War, and grabbing students attention by
letting them witness life through the eyes of a young slave hopeful for a better future.

This trade book shows that new rules do not instantly change society and people. It
provides a bridge between past knowledge and upcoming learning.
Robinet, H. (2000). Forty acres and maybe a mule. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks.
This is a historical narrative about three young former slaves and their quest for
freedom. It contains key topics of this unit like the Freedmens Bureau, making it a good
introduction for students to these ideas. Reading this story gives students a story to go
along with all of the content we are learning about Reconstruction. It can be used as a
read aloud throughout this unit to give students a relatable perspective and perhaps be a
source of motivation and wonder to learn more about Reconstruction.
C. Four Additional Resources:
Smith, J. (1996). Black voices from Reconstruction, 1865-1877. Brookfield, Conn.:
Millbrook Press.
This resource describes the Reconstruction Era through the eyes of the Freedmen.
It contains excerpts from several primary sources photographs, paintings, letters,
contracts and other documents. It provided me with both basic and more detailed
knowledge about the Reconstruction topics I covered in these lessons. When teaching this
unit, it would be ideal to leave this book in the classroom. This will provide access for
any students who wish to delve further into social studies topics. It can also indicate to
children that I am still learning too, finding and reading resources to learn more about
social studies just as they are doing.
Mills, H. (2014). Learning for real: Teaching content and literacy across the curriculum.
Portsmouth: Heinemann.
Since language is an embedded part of social studies, this book by the ELA fairy
godmother is a valuable resource for any social studies unit. I pulled inspiration from a
document in chapter two for students to examine primary sources. This document guides
students through questions before, during and after they examine the primary source. If I
were to teach this entire Reconstruction Unit, students would have several opportunities
to use this form to scrutinize primary sources. I provide an introduction to the document
for students during the lesson three about the Freedmens Bureau.
Mintz, S., & McNeil, S. (2013). Unit 6: Reconstruction After the Civil War. Digital
History. Retrieved from

This document is a sort of self-paced study guide for the Reconstruction Era. Its
content is geared towards educators, providing rich summaries of major points of
Reconstruction and suggestions for student exercises. The content is too advanced for
elementary children to read as a resource, but this document was a great educator
resource for me to learn. I snipped some of the quotes featured in my first lesson
introducing Reconstruction from this document and some of its other primary source
excerpts inspired some of the activities I chose. For the most part, this document fleshed
out some of the main topics of Reconstruction for me.
Stanford University. (2014). U.S. History Lessons. (2014, January 1). Retrieved October
11, 2014, from
This amazing resource contains many document-based lessons which lead
students to examine and interpret primary sources in a structured inquiry fashion. It
contains full lessons for a wide range of U.S. History topics, all presented in a clean,
modern format that is easily accessible and transferrable. I appreciate that the format of
these lessons allows them to be used with students of many different ages older
students in middle or high school may go more in depth into the questions and primary
sources than younger elementary students, yet all are learning and being challenged.
After I found this source, I immediately bookmarked it in my web browser and believe it
will be very valuable during my first years of teaching.
D. Field Trip: South Carolina State House
Many important changes in government and law happened during the period of
Reconstruction. Although not all of these alterations were made on the State House
grounds, it provides a valuable representation of these government events and actions.
After learning in the classroom about many legal changes like the Reconstruction
Amendments and the 1865 and 1868 South Carolina Constitutions, students will be able
to witness parts of the bill-making process. Our tour guide will be told that we are
specifically interested in the Reconstruction Era, making the tour especially relevant.
E. Classroom Guest
A representative from the SC African American Heritage Commission will come
to our classroom to speak and answer questions about a few of the improvements and
hardships of African Americans during Reconstruction. Columbia is home to two African
American colleges which were founded during Reconstruction and this will be one of the
items mentioned for it is a legacy that students may still see today. As a person
knowledgeable in the history of African Americans in South Carolina, this speaker will
give us a different perspective about black culture, how it has progressed and how it still
must further improve.

Phase 3 Choosing Appropriate Learning Activities

Betty Moak
October 27, 2014
Lesson Plan #1
Social Studies
5th Grade
Unit: Reconstruction
Lesson: Introduction to the Reconstruction Period
Group B
Students will recall prior knowledge from the previous year about the conclusion of the
Civil War. Students will begin to understand the discordant state of the United States following
the Civil War. Students will begin to compare and empathize with different populations and
viewpoints of the Reconstruction Era.
South Carolina Social Studies Academic Standards:
5-1.1 Summarize the aims and course of Reconstruction, including the effects of Abraham
Lincolns assassination, Southern resistance to the rights of freedmen, and the agenda of the
Radical Republicans.
5-1.4 Compare the political, economic, and social effects of Reconstruction on different
populations in the South and in other regions of the United States.
Time: 20 minutes
Class will head outside to a flat, grassy space for a multi-way tug of war activity. I will
already have the area set up as follows. Four pieces of rope are attached to a central ring. Four
teams line up on the outside of four lines, arranged in a box around the central ring. The first
team who pulls the ring over their line wins the game. I will explain the rules and safety
guidelines, and then divide the class into four teams. After a few rounds of multi-way tug of war,
the class will head back inside.
I will ask questions to spark a discussion about the activity and its link to todays lesson.
How is multi-way tug of war different than normal tug of war? I will use additional questions
to steer discussion in the desired direction. Because there are more teams, it is harder to win just
by pulling hard. There are many people pulling in many directions, so it is hard for one team to
accomplish what they want. Forming alliances with others could be helpful or hurtful.
I will introduce todays lesson. We are going to learn about a period in history called
Reconstruction. This is a period where people had many different attitudes and values. It was
like they were playing multi-way tug of war, but instead of there being a ring in the middle, it
was the fate of our nation. Many groups wanted many different things, and just like in our game,
not all of the teams would be able to win.
Time: 45 minutes
I will summarize where we are at in history. Today we are going back in time to learn
about 1865. This was a big year, the year the Civil War ended. Ask students if they remember
anything else that happened around this time (Lincolns assassination). So the United States is a
nation divided and ravaged by war without a strong leader and now the country has to try and
become united again. This is Reconstruction.

I will explain the first activity coloring in the states of an 1865 map. Using this map of
the United States in 1865, we can visualize some of this disconnection and refresh memories
about which states fought on which side. We will label the map as United States of America
1865, color in three main groups of states: Confederate/Southern states, Border States and
Union/Northern states. Border States are those states which endorsed slavery but did not secede
from the Union. We will create a colored key for the map in the empty box.
We will now take a closer look at a few of the people living within this map, focusing on
three perspectives: Northerners, Southerners and Freedmen. I will display freedmen on the
board and ask if students know or can deduce its definition. I will clearly define it and have
students write it in their SS notebooks. Freedmen are those who were formerly slaves but have
now been set free. We had four teams during our tug of war game earlier, but each team
contained different people who have their own thoughts and viewpoints. It is the same way with
the three quotes we see on our handout. The viewpoints we are going to examine represent a few
but not all perspectives of people around the time of Reconstruction Era.
The other handout given contains three quotes by three different people living during this
time. Students will be instructed to cut the solid lines between each quote and fold on the dotted
lines. After the lesson, we will glue these into our SS notebooks, applying glue to the section
which says glue me. As students cut, I will give instructions about the three quotes activity.
Try to place yourself in the writers shoes and imagine what he/she was feeling and thinking.
Highlight key words and note questions you have. On the inside flap, write down your thoughts
about this persons viewpoint. We will do the first together.
The first quote (from General Sherman) will be read together on the board, highlighting
phrases and questions we have. I will ask students what they know or infer about this quote.
Likely responses are that they will refer to General Shermans march to the sea. I will give the
context, noting that it is from 1864, near the end of the war. This quote was said after his march
to the sea, as his troops approached our city. Possible feelings and thoughts noted: the South did
wrong, they rebelled and now they deserve to be punished. The soldiers want revenge.
Working in table groups, students will examine the second quote, making notes,
questions and comments. After a few minutes each table group will share out with the whole
class. We will follow the same process for the third quote. There are several terms which we will
likely need to define together, including: insatiable, coarse, bleached homespun, tolerably
and hominy.
CHECKING FOR UNDERSTANDING: (Supervised and independent practice)
While students are working in small groups for the second and third quotes, I will float
around the classroom formatively assessing group work, through observation and questions, and
answering any specific questions.
Time: 3 minutes
I will place an image of the multi-way tug of war diagram on the board. Thinking about
todays lesson, what are some of the different teams that were playing tug of war during
Reconstruction? We will label Freedmen, the North and the South. There will still be one
place blank on the diagram. As we write these, I will remind them The North and the South are
not strict dividing lines, of course everyone in the North did not think the same, nor did everyone
in the South. These are just representing some of the general feelings right after the Civil War.

As we learn more about the Reconstruction Era, we will learn about other people, other teams,
and different players within the North and the South, during this time who had different
Since this is an introductory lesson, I mostly just want to ensure that students are
participating and making connections to prior knowledge from the fourth grade social studies.
Students written responses to the three quotes as well as highlighted words and notes will serve
to gauge participation and understanding.
The text used in this lesson will hopefully not be intimidating to Miley due to its brevity
and format quotes people said rather than informative paragraphs. Choosing to let students
work in table groups will provide her support and make her feel more comfortable doing the
quotes task. Her table group neighbors have been strategically chosen including other female
students who will provide help and will seek to include her. As students work, I will be sure to
check in on her and see if she is highlighting, underlining or exhibiting other signs that she is
trying and participating. If she seems to be struggling, I will help her by reading the passage out
loud for her and talking her through the process of identifying key words and feelings.
The multi-way tug of war activity will be a bit hard for Justin. I do not want him to feel
singled out, but also want to make sure that he is safe since fifth graders could get a bit
competitive during this game. I will keep suggest at first that he take the first or last position in
the tug of war line since it could be nice to have space around him if he loses his grip or balance.
I will keep an eye on him during the activity. The construction tasks in this lesson will present
challenges for Justin. Cutting and then gluing the map and foldable into his social studies
notebook will take him a little longer than other students. I am confident that other students will
help him, but Justin prefers to do such things himself. I will keep an eye on him during the time
students do these tasks to make sure that he does not feel rushed or isolated.
Teacher brings:
Multi-way tug of war materials: ropes and ring
Smart board presentation
Three quotes foldables
1865 maps
Students bring:
Craft supplies: Scissors, glue, colored pencils
Social Studies notebooks (notebook where they take notes and glue in handouts)
After telling the rules for multi-way tug of war, I will explain these safety guidelines:
1. Only hold rope with hands no wrapping or tying.
2. Let it go! To prevent rope burn, let go of the rope if its moving through your hands or if
you are falling.

There is an in-class assignment of reading and evaluating the three quotes from multiple
perspectives. If students do not complete this task during class time, it will become a homework
I had the opportunity to teach this lesson to my fifth grade class during my internship.
Several aspects went well, others were mediocre and prompted me to improve the lesson for this
unit assignment. Originally, my introduction was a two minute film from the History Channel
saying that the biggest legacy of the Civil War is freedom. I thought it would serve as a nice
connection between last years learning since this was the first social studies lesson the fifth
grade class received. It did not add anything to the lesson, so I decided to change the task to the
more interactive multi-way tug of war activity. This activity is more cohesive with the goal of
helping students understand the tension among multiple perspectives of the Reconstruction Era.
My time for the lesson was cut short so I see many areas where I could have improved.
Activities were rushed, and Justin was among several students who was not able to glue his map
and foldable into his social studies notebook. We only made it through the first two quotes and
did both of together as a full class. It went well, but many students including Micah did not
participate since it was a short and rushed discussion. Students did have insightful comments and
encouraging reactions about the quote written by a southern teenager.
Appendices A, B and C
Map -
Quote -
Quotes -

Betty Moak
Social Studies
Unit: Reconstruction
Group A

October 27, 2014

Lesson Plan #2
5th Grade
Lesson: Reconstruction Amendments

Students will know what the Reconstruction Amendments are and will be able to
summarize what each Amendment says. Students will contrast the Reconstruction Amendments
with the Amendments of the Bill of Rights. Students will recognize a shift in government
responsibility from protecting its citizens against itself to protecting its citizens from each other.
Students will participate in an oral exercise to simulate the reluctance and belligerence many felt
during the Reconstruction Era.
South Carolina Social Studies Academic Standards:
5-1.1 Summarize the aims and course of Reconstruction, including the effects of Abraham
Lincolns assassination, Southern resistance to the rights of freedmen, and the agenda of the
Radical Republicans.
5-1.2 Explain the effects of Reconstruction, including new rights under the thirteenth, fourteenth,
and fifteenth amendments; the actions of the Freedmens Bureau; and the move from a plantation
system to sharecropping.
5-1.4 Compare the political, economic, and social effects of Reconstruction on different
populations in the South and in other regions of the United States.
Time: 10 minutes
Children will gather around on the floor for a read-aloud, Ben and the Emancipation
Proclamation. Before starting, I will ask someone to give me a summary of the Emancipation
Proclamation. With that in mind, I will read the story. We will talk about the ending Ben is still
a slave but he is hopeful for a brighter future. Despite the President declaring freedom for the
slaves, they are still oppressed by their masters in the South. Why are they still slaves? The
country was still at war, Southern feelings remained unchanged.
We are going to continue considering different perspectives of Reconstruction like we
have done before. Today we are going to examine some of the laws of our country
Amendments and how they related to perspectives of citizens and government during those
times. Just like Ben experienced in this story, just because the President or the government
commands something does not mean it is going to happen right away.
Time: 45 minutes
To begin, we will review the first ten amendments our government created, the Bill of
Rights. To do so, we will play a sorting game as we create a chart in our social studies notebooks.
The Bill of Rights limits the governments power and details personal freedoms. We will create a
chart in our social studies notebooks and sort the first ten amendments between two categories of
Citizens Can and Government Cant. Students sit in table groups which each have slips of
paper which correspond to one of the first ten amendments. Two separate spots in the room are
designated as citizens can and government cant spots. Starting with the 1 st Amendment, we

will read an abridged version out loud (displayed on smart board) and then say whether we think
it describes what citizens can or government cant do. As we go through each amendment,
students write the amendment in their chart under the corresponding side. As we read through,
sorting the amendments, a member of the table group runs the slip of paper over to the
designated area.
I will ask questions which connect the Bill of Rights to our Reconstruction studies. So
these Amendments detailed rights of every American. Yet thinking about the Civil War, our
read-aloud earlier and what weve been learning about Reconstruction, did every American have
these rights?
More amendments were created to try and ensure rights for all people in America. Three
made during the Reconstruction Era are called the Reconstruction Amendments. We are going to
learn more about these now and how they sought to secure rights for Freedmen.
Divided into groups of two or three, students will examine one of the Reconstruction
Amendments (only the first section of each amendment). Each group will be assigned either the
13th, 14th and 15th Amendment which they will read, decode and summarize together, writing key
ideas in their social studies notebooks. I will remind them to practice underlining key words to
help discover the message in this more difficult type of text. After groups have completed their
task, we will have a class wide discussion. All of the groups working on the 13 th Amendment
will share out and we will come to a consensus as to what this amendment says. The same will
be done for the next two amendments so that each group must orally present what they pulled
from the legal text. As we decide upon key statements for each amendment, we will write it in
our social studies notebooks. The 13th Amendment abolishes slavery. The 14th Amendment gives
citizenship and its subsequent rights to everyone born in the United States. The 15th Amendment
forbids the denial of voting rights based on race.
Returning to the chart made for the Bill of Rights, we see that it is difficult to categorize
the Reconstruction Amendments by the same headings. This is because things have changed.
Our nation is around 100 years old, and an important shift in the government has occurred.
Students will write the following in their social studies notebooks:
Before the Civil War, the US government sought to protect citizens from itself
government. After the Civil War, the government shifted to protect citizens and their rights
from each other.
I will seek to make connections between todays activities for students. Think back to
our read aloud. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that all slaves were free. But making that
official announcement did not actually do anything. It did not change the peoples hearts or
minds in the South. What about the Bill of Rights? Those laws were made to secure equal rights
for all, yet many people living in the United States were treated as less than human. So we have
just learned about the Reconstruction Amendments. Do you think that they will work? Do you
think that Freedmen will now be able to vote and have all of the same rights as other Americans?
To illustrate the tough tension of Reconstruction, of new efforts and laws for equality but
unchanged perspectives, we will participate in a brief oral activity. A student will read an
announcement from the Principal as I hold a plastic container of crickets: In an effort to make
our school healthier, starting next week every student must eat at least two crickets every day.
Crickets are an excellent source of protein and unsaturated facts. Thank you for your cooperation
and we all look forward to growing healthy and strong together! Our class will have a

discussion/debate about this new school rule. There will be some who embrace it, some who
reluctantly accept, some who outright refuse and will protest.
These varied feelings and reactions are similar to those felt during the Reconstruction Era.
For some people, the Reconstruction Amendments sounded as crazy as eating crickets. Of course
now we see that those Amendments were good things, but then again, everybody may be eating
crickets in 100 years too.
Todays lesson is full of whole class and small group activities. By asking questions and
using name sticks to call on every student I can gauge whether or not they are tracking with the
class dialogue and learning. While students work in small groups decoding the amendments, I
will listen in on conversations and steer them in the right direction as needed. When small groups
share out for the whole class and agree upon a meaning, I will be able to see if students were
grasping the concept and participating.
Time: 3 minutes
I want to leave students with the disgusted and excited feelings from the cricket oral
activity. The Reconstruction Amendments meant huge changes for the United States and were
not cleanly implemented or practiced by many of its citizens. I will reinforce their feelings of
perplexity, discord and discontent, which seems to be characteristic of much during the
Reconstruction Era.
Monitoring students during classroom discussions and activities is the primary way of
formatively evaluating their progress. I will check their social studies notebooks as well to make
sure that they were participating and taking notes during the lesson.
Reading and seeking to understand and paraphrase one of the Reconstruction
Amendments will be very difficult for Miley due to the tough legal diction. For this activity, I
will partner Miley with another peer who struggles with reading and writing. The Amendment
slip I give them will be a paraphrased, more simple version. This will allow Miley to participate
in the activity, practicing, reading, pulling main ideas, writing and sharing orally without feeling
intimidated by a difficult text. I will monitor the pair to make sure that they are able to make
progress together.
I do not think this lesson presents any significant difficulties for Justin. Note-taking may
take a bit longer since it is harder for him to hold the paper still while he is writing, especially if
we sit in a circle on the floor for the Reconstruction Amendment discussion. I will watch him to
make sure that he is participating and has sufficient time to write down information.
EQUIPMENT/MATERIALS/MEDIA: (How used and appropriateness.)
Teacher brings:
Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation by Pat Sherman
10 slips of paper with 1 st 10th printed

Copies of 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments (first section only)

Clear plastic container of crickets
Smart board presentation
Students bring:
Social studies notebooks
For the Bill of Rights activity, I need to be sure to choose two safe areas of the classroom.
The pathways to these areas should be uncluttered to prevent students tripping as the run to and
from these areas.
Students will read, discover key ideas and write them in their own words when they
examine one of the Reconstruction Amendments. They will also orally present their ideas to the
class and then talk with other classmates to reach a consensus about the texts meaning. This is
an exercise to help students practice democratic and social skills recognizing and recreating
ideas through text and writing, communicating and altering ideas through speaking and
deliberating with others.
I had the opportunity to teach this lesson to a fifth grade class during my internship.
Originally, I opened the lesson with a question How did you become an American citizen?
The general answer for most children at my school is that they were born into the United States.
Regardless of parents status, anyone born in America is a U.S. citizen. This part of the law was
written into our Constitution during the Reconstruction Era, and we will be learning about it and
other Reconstruction laws. The question sparked good discussion, but still seemed a bit weak.
My internship class loves read-alouds, and although the book I chose for this lesson plan is set
during the Civil War (not during Reconstruction) I like how it connects to students prior studies
during fourth grade and how its message is cohesive with my lesson. The read-aloud shows that
new rules do not instantly change society and people. Students may recall this truth about the
Emancipation Proclamation and be able to easily transfer it to the Reconstruction Amendments.
Originally, the whole class read through the Reconstruction Amendments and came up with key
ideas together. This was effective, but not all students participated, only those who regularly
volunteer during lessons. In changing the format to small group work with reading, writing,
speaking and deliberating required, I hope to make the task more interactive and encourage more
students to participate.
Appendices D and E
Bill of Rights
Reconstruction Amendments

Phase 4 Supporting (Infusing) and Fusing Related Areas of the Curriculum

Betty Moak
October 27, 2014
Lesson Plan #3
Social Studies
5th Grade
Unit: Reconstruction
Lesson: The Freedmens Bureau
Social Studies with English Language Arts Infusion
Students will learn about the Freedmens Bureau and its role in Reconstruction through a
mini research project. Student will learn specific ways in which the Freedmens Bureau helped
African Americans adjust to freedom and gain independence. Through this activity, students will
practice many ELA strategies for informational texts. They will read multiple sources critically,
gleaning and summarizing important material and writing about it in their own words. Students
will examine a primary source and practice connecting content knowledge to this examination.
South Carolina Social Studies Academic Standards:
5-1.2 Explain the effects of Reconstruction, including new rights under the thirteenth,
fourteenth, and fifteenth amendments; the actions of the Freedmens Bureau; and the
move from a plantation system to sharecropping.
5-1.4 Compare the political, economic, and social effects of Reconstruction on different
populations in the South and in other regions of the United States.
Common Core English Language Arts Standards:
RI.5.2 Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key
details; summarize the text.
RI.5.4 Determine the meaning of a general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a
text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.
RI.5.7 Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to
locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
RI.5.9 Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about
the subject knowledgeably.
Time: 15 minutes
I will have the words Freedmens Bureau written on the board. Before I read the first
two chapters of Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule I will tell students to listen out for these words
and try to determine information about the Freedmens Bureau. This novel takes place at the
beginning of the Reconstruction Era, when Freedmen in the South were still being treated as
slaves by reluctant masters. In the first two chapters, three young Freedmen run away together
and try to find the Freedmens Bureau to receive Shermans promise of Forty Acres and maybe
a mule.
I will ask students what information they were able to gather about the Freedmens
Bureau. I expect that students will grasp that the Bureau helped former slaves, sometimes
providing them with land. Then I will explain that today we are going to find out more about
what the Freedmens Bureau did during Reconstruction.

Time: 50 minutes
Students will participate in a mini poster project to learn about the Freedmens Bureau.
Working in pairs, students will be tasked with creating mini posters about the Freedmens
Bureau. These posters should inform readers about what the Bureau does and should be designed
as if they were displayed in towns during Reconstruction. Students will have access to two
resources, their social studies textbooks and a printed handout of an online source. Students will
read critically, in their own words summarize information in their social studies notebooks and
put it onto the mini poster.
Students should focus on three parameters for creating their posters, which will be
displayed on the smart board during this activity. They must say three or more items that the
Freedmens Bureau did. They must use their own words to write the poster, not copying the
resources words. The poster should be legible and easy for people passing by to read.
I am allotting about 30 minutes for this mini-research project about 15 minutes for
research and 15 minutes for creating mini posters. I will announce when time is halfway through
to help keep students on task. Another motivation will be that students are not permitted to
decorate or color their mini poster until all they have added all of their text information. Since
the posters will displayed later, they will not be presented to the class but will be submitted
directly to me. After students turn in their mini posters, they will glue the printed resource about
the Freedmens Bureau into their social studies notebooks.
Next, with our fresh knowledge about the Freedmens Bureau, we will examine a
newspaper ad and talk about it together (displayed on smart board). This is a freedmans attempt
to locate his lost family through a newspaper advertisement in the Colored Tennessean in
October of 1865. Three questions adapted from a primary source inquiry form will guide our
discussion (Mills, 2014). Before looking at the ad, What do we know about the Freedmens
Bureau? Looking at the ad, What do we notice? What does it mean? Afterwards, What
surprised us the most? (This activity will introduce the primary source inquiry process to
students, who will complete it individually through written assignments later in the unit).
A few comments which are likely to surface in our discussion: We know that the
Freedmens Bureau helped freedmen in many ways: build schools, provide help for legal
documents and helped locate lost family members. This man lost contact with his mother 21
years ago! It seems like it would be very hard to locate her without our modern technology. This
ad sounds very well-written. Was the freedmen educated or maybe the Freedmens Bureau
helped him draft it?
While students work in small groups on mini posters, I will float around the room
ensuring that students stay on task, answering and clarifying concerns. Our class wide discussion
about the newspaper ad will allow me to formatively assess what truly sank in from the mini
poster exercise. The first question especially (What do we know about the Freedmens Bureau)
allows me to see what they remember from their poster work.
Time: 3 minutes
I will summarize the topic of todays lesson, relating it to prior and future lessons.
Today we learned about the Freedmens Bureau, the first friend of former slaves after so many
years of suffering. They represented and supported Freedmen, trying to fulfill what government

laws set out to do in abolishing slavery and giving Freedmen citizenship. The Freedmens
Bureau seems like a sign of hope after so much disagreement and cruelty. But will it be enough
to bridge the waters between Freedmen and dissatisfied Southern whites?
The mini posters are submitted directly to me. They will be graded as a summative
assessment according to the attached rubric. This activity was designed to let students practice
using strategies for reading information texts. The content of each poster reveals students
efficient or inefficient use of these methods.
The second resource about the Freedmens Bureau (a printed source for children from will probably be difficult for Miley to read through and analyze. Working in pairs for
this assignment will benefit her and help her to complete this task involving reading and writing.
I will choose an appropriate partner for Miley who will not dominate the task but will support
Miley as she needs it. As the class works on the mini poster task, I will keep an eye on Mileys
group and when they come to the second resource, I will suggest that her partner read the
passage out loud for both of them. I will check back in and make sure that she is participating by
pulling out main ideas, underlining key words and helping to form the written statements.
I do not think this lesson contains any major difficulties for Justin. Assembling the mini
poster may be challenging since it is harder for him to hold papers still while he is writing. I will
just observe him during the mini poster task work time like other students and make sure that he
does not need anything additional.
Teacher brings:
Mini posters
Handouts of second source about Freedmen
Smart board presentation
Students bring:
Social studies notebooks
Colored pencils
Creating a mini poster is the primary assignment performed in this lesson. Students are
expected to have completed this task by the end of the time given during class.
I will not have the opportunity to teach this lesson in my internship this fall. I talked
through the lesson with my coaching teacher who helped give me an idea of how much time
would be needed for the mini poster activity. She also emphasized to me the importance of
giving specific guidelines for the mini poster so that the students have a clear idea of my

expectations. This led me to include three specific parameters for the poster to help focus
students as they read sources and determine what information is most important.
Appendices F, G and H
Resource about freedmen -
Social Studies textbook - United States in Modern Times by R. G. Boehm
Primary source inquiry form - Learning for Real by Heidi Mills

Betty Moak
Social Studies
Unit: Reconstruction
Social Studies with Math Infusion

October 27, 2014

Lesson Plan #4
5th Grade
Lesson: Sharecropping

Students will evaluate three separate sources (image, social studies textbook and
sharecropping contract) to discover what sharecropping was like during Reconstruction. Students
will learn about the injustices and hardships of sharecroppers. Students will practice multiplying
whole numbers by fractions and decimals during a sharecropping math exercise. Students will
practice using math skills to solve real world problems.
South Carolina Social Studies Academic Standards:
5-1 The student will demonstrate an understanding of Reconstruction and its impact on the
United States.
5-1.2 Explain the effects of Reconstruction, including new rights under the thirteenth, fourteenth,
and fifteenth amendments; the actions of the Freedmens Bureau; and the move from a plantation
system to sharecropping.
5-1.4 Compare the political, economic, and social effects of Reconstruction on different
populations in the South and in other regions of the United States.
Common Core Math Standards:
5.NBT.7 Add, subtract, multiply, and divide decimals to hundredths, using concrete models or
drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship
between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the
reasoning used.
5.NF.6 Solve real world problems involving multiplication of fractions and mixed numbers, e.g.,
by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem.
Time: 10 minutes
Image of Georgian sharecroppers will be distributed to each student and will also be
displayed on the smart board. After gluing the picture into their social studies notebooks, I will
tell students to write down three sentences about the image their thoughts, observations and/or
feelings. After a few minutes, we will share out in a class wide conversation about the image.
This image looks like slaves working in a field African Americans in extreme poverty picking
cotton in ragged clothing. After we discuss this image (heartbreaking expressions, likeness to
slavery), I will inform students that this picture was taken decades after slavery was abolished. I
will tell them that these are not slaves, but sharecroppers. Is there a difference? This is what we
will discover today.
Time: 50 minutes
What is sharecropping? Working in pairs, students will uncover what it looked like
during the Reconstruction Era through an investigation and then discussion. I anticipate

dedicating about 40 minutes to this portion, but will observe the class during this time and adjust
the time accordingly.
First students will read the classroom textbooks section on sharecropping (three
paragraphs). They will write a one sentence summary of what the text says sharecropping is.
Next, I will pass out a sharecropping contract and a worksheet with five questions. Students will
examine the contract and answer the related questions. As a class we will share out about the
activity, question by question, being sure that each group participates at least once. The first four
questions detail what sharecropping looks like and ask whether or not it seems fair. There are
many restrictions and requirements and it does not give much freedom to the sharecroppers. The
last question asks students to compare the sharecropping contract to the sharecropping portrayed
in our textbook. The textbook presents a nicer, watered down version of sharecropping which
does not fit with this contract or the photograph we examined earlier.
To transition to the math portion of this lesson, we will take a second glance at the
sharecropping contract. I will ask students if they noticed that fractions were mentioned in the
contract, during the second paragraph. I will write the two amounts on the board as they call
them out 1/2 and 2/5. This contract is one of countless examples of how fractions are used in
everyday life. Today we will be acting as bookkeeper for a landowner during Reconstruction, Mr.
Rumford. Using our knowledge of fractions and decimals, we will work out contract details for
Mr. Rumfords five sharecroppers.
On the smart board I will display the situational problem and first two rows of the
sharecropping worksheet (table headings and the first sharecropper). We will read the problem
together and I will make sure the instructions are clear specifically using fraction and decimal
multiplication only and writing out all math work. Together, we will work through the first
sharecroppers information on the smart board. As our social studies lesson concludes, I will pass
out the sharecropping math worksheet for students. Students will be responsible to do the
assignment at home, to ensure that they complete the work themselves rather than relying on a
During the sharecropping textbook and contract exercise, I can hop from group to group
listening and asking questions to gauge their understanding. After this activity, a class wide
discussion about the worksheet questions will inform me about students thinking and
participation. The math homework assignment will help me see if understanding of fraction
multiplication and simplification has sunk in and if students can apply it this real-life situation.
Time: 5 minutes
I will once again display the image of Georgian sharecroppers on the smart board. With
the knowledge you pulled from our book and the sharecropping contract, what do you think
about this picture now? Did any of your first thoughts or opinions change? What surprised you
the most? We will carry on this closing discussion for a few minutes and conclude with the idea
that sharecropping seemed like a good idea at first, but in reality it resembled slavery in many

Listening in while students perform the sharecropping investigation and the class wide
discussion afterwards are key times for me to formatively assess that students are meeting
todays objectives. I will ensure that student understand that sharecropping was not a fair or good
The math homework will serve as a formative assessment for mathematics. It will reveal
to me if students are able to remember and use math skills for word problems involving a reallife situation. Since this will serve as an assessment, I made it clear in the written instructions
and my verbal instructions that students must show all of their math work so that I can assess
The investigation into sharecropping includes the sharecropping contract which has long,
odd sentence structures and diction at times. The contents of this contract have been simplified
for younger students and I believe that Miley can handle this text as long as she puts forth a good
effort. Working in a group with friendly peers will help her to feel more comfortable taking risks
examining the text with peers and putting forth her comments and thoughts. I will keep an eye
on her during the sharecropping investigation. If I do not hear her participating, I will join the
group, listen for a bit and then ask Miley what she thinks to pull her into the discussion.
The sharecropping investigation requires a bit of writing to answer questions about the
topic. This worksheet may take Justin a bit longer since it is hard for him to hold the paper still
while he is writing. I will make sure that his group is making good progress and that he has
sufficient time to write his responses and thoughts down before we move on to the group
Teacher brings:
Handouts: pictures of Georgia sharecroppers, Sharecropping contract and questions
Smart board presentation
Students bring:
Social studies notebooks
Social studies textbooks
Sharecropping bookkeeper math worksheet is a take-home assignment which students
will complete individually and return to me the next day. Students should fill in all blank spaces
on the chart and show work (fraction or decimal multiplication only) for all math computation
I will be teaching this lesson this week (10/29) and look forward to learning how it will
go. Having the opportunity to teach the Phase 3 lessons helped me to improve my activities and
plans and I am sure that teaching this lesson will do the same. It is pivotal to reflect after the

lesson and make such changes which allow me to be a better educator and better-prepared for
this and other lessons in the future.
Appendices I, J, K and L
Lesson design
Social studies textbook - United States in Modern Times by R. G. Boehm

Appendix A: 1865 Map

Appendix B: Three Quotes Foldable

(Back side)

Glue me!

The truth is, the whole army is burning

with an insatiable desire to wreak
vengeance upon South Carolina. I almost
tremble at her fate, but feel that she
deserves all that seems in store for her.
- General Sherman, February
When freedom come, my mama said Old
Master called all of em to his house, and
said You all free, we aint got nothing to
do with you no more. Go on away. My
mama said they go on off, then they come
back and stand around just looking at him
and old MistressThey didnt have no
place to go and nothing to wearthey had
a terrible time.
- Freedman describing his
mothers experience
Many have not tasted meat for
monthsMy underclothing is of coarse
unbleached homespunMy shoes are one
hundred and fifty dollars a pair. In two or
three months those prices will be
doubledwe live tolerably poorly. Two
meals a day. Two plates of bread for
breakfast. Dinner consists of a very small
piece of meat, a few potatoes and a dish of
hominy and corn bread.
- Southern Teenager

Appendix C: Multi-Way Tug of War Diagram

Appendix D: Slips of Paper for Bill of Rights Game





Appendix E: Reconstruction Amendments (First Sections) Handouts

13th Amendment - 1865

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a
punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,
shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their
14th Amendment - 1868
Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and
subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of
the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law
which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United
States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property,
without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its
jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
15th Amendment 1870
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be
denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of
race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
15th Amendment 1870 (altered version of Miley)
The right to vote which United States citizens have cannot be refused by
any State because of race, color or because they are a Freedman.

Appendix F: Second Resource about Freemens Bureau

Appendix G: Newspaper Ad

Ad in the Colored Tennessean newspaper in October 7, 1865.

Appendix H: Rubric for Mini Poster

Poster barely explains Poster mostly explains
what the Freedmens
what the Freedmens
Bureau does (0-1
Bureau does (2 items).
Text is copied
Some of the text is
verbatim from sources. written in the students
own words.
Poster is illegible and
Poster is mostly legible
and neat.

Poster explains what
the Freedmens Bureau
did (3 or more items).

Points Awarded

Text is written in the

students own words.
Poster is legible and

Appendix I: Photograph of Georgia Sharecroppers

Appendix J: Sharecropping Contract

Appendix K: Sharecropper Contract Questions

Appendix L: Sharecropping Math Worksheet

Name: ______________________________________

Date: _____________________

You are the bookkeeper for plantation owner E.B. Rumford. This means that you are in charge of
many details like sharecropping contracts. E.B. Rumford has 240 acres of farmland in Sumter,
South Carolina. He has signed agreements with five sharecroppers. He agrees to give each
sharecropper a certain amount of his farmland. In return, sharecroppers must give Rumford a
certain amount of the crops they produce.
Your job is to find out how much farmland each sharecropper gets and the size of each crop
due for the sharecroppers. Also, write the amount of drop due as a fraction, percent and
decimal. Use the information given in this description and the chart below to do calculations.
Write out and show all of your math work.

Sharecropper Amount of
Rumfords Land Farm Size (in

40 acres

Amount of
Harvest Given to
(Write as Fraction,
Percent and Decimal)
















Size (in
Acres) of
Given to
24 acres