Daily Activities – Henry Wirz (1865)
The daily activities created for each of the Today in Georgia History segments are designed to meet the Georgia Performance Standards for Reading Across the Curriculum, and Grade Eight: Georgia Studies. For each date, educators can choose from three optional activities differentiated for various levels of student ability. Each activity focuses on engaging the student in context specific vocabulary and improving the student’s ability to communicate about historical topics.
One suggestion is to use the Today in Georgia History video segments and daily activities as a “bell ringer” at the beginning of each class period. Using the same activity daily provides consistency and structure for the students and may help teachers utilize the first 15-20 minutes of class more effectively.
Level 1: Provide the students with the vocabulary list and have them use their textbook, a dictionary, or other teacher provided materials to define each term. After watching the video have the students write a complete sentence for each of the vocabulary terms. Student created sentences should reflect the meaning of the word based on the context of the video segment. Have students share a sampling of sentences as a way to check for understanding.
Level 2: Provide the students with the vocabulary list for that day’s segment before watching the video and have them guess the meaning of each word based on their previous knowledge. The teacher may choose to let the students work alone or in groups. After watching the video, have the students revise their definitions to better reflect the meaning of the words based on the context of the video. As a final step, have the students compare and contrast their definitions to their textbook, dictionary or other teacher provided materials definitions.
Level 3: Provide the students with the vocabulary list and have them use their textbook, a dictionary, or other teacher provided materials to define each term. After watching the video, have the students write a five sentence paragraph based on the provided writing prompts.
1. Does it make people feel better after a tragedy if there is someone to blame and punish for the event? In a five-sentence paragraph explain why you think the United States government held Henry Wirz responsible for the deaths at the Andersonville prison.
2. In a five-sentence paragraph explain what caused such a high mortality-rate at the Andersonville prison. Do you think Henry Wirz could have stopped the mortality rate from rising so high?
3. Do you think people should be held accountable for their actions during war time? Who should hold them accountable, what kinds of actions should be considered criminal? In a five-sentence paragraph give your opinion on these two questions, and decide if Henry Wirz fits into your definition of a war criminal.
Related Georgia Performance Standards:
Reading Across the Curriculum (Grades 6-12)
SSRC1 Students will enhance reading in all curriculum areas by:
c. Building vocabulary knowledge
• Demonstrate an understanding of contextual vocabulary in various subjects.
• Use content vocabulary in writing and speaking.
• Explore understanding of new words found in subject area texts.
d. Establishing context
• Explore life experiences related to subject area content.
• Discuss in both writing and speaking how certain words are subject area related.
• Determine strategies for finding content and contextual meaning for unknown words.
Grade 8 Georgia Studies
SS8H6 The student will analyze the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on Georgia.
a. Explain the importance of key issues and events that led to the Civil War; include slavery, states’ rights, nullification, Missouri Compromise, Compromise of 1850 and the Georgia Platform, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dred Scott case, election of 1860, the debate over secession in Georgia, and the role of Alexander Stephens.
b. State the importance of key events of the Civil War; include Antietam, the Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg, Chickamauga, the Union blockade of Georgia’s coast, Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign, Sherman’s March to the Sea, and Andersonville.
c. Analyze the impact of Reconstruction on Georgia and other southern states, emphasizing Freedmen’s Bureau; sharecropping and tenant farming; Reconstruction plans; 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the constitution; Henry McNeal Turner and black legislators; and the Ku Klux Klan.