Teaching Profession

Schools Commemorate Civil War 150th Anniversary (Sometimes Inappropriately)

By Liana Loewus — April 12, 2011 1 min read

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, and schools and education organizations across the country are finding ways to commemorate the historic event.

Education Week‘s Eric Robelen will be offering extensive coverage of the war’s teaching and learning implications. (The story package will be out Friday, but Robelen has given readers a taste by blogging about primary sources and Civil War-inspired activities and lesson plans.)

And The Washington Post had an article yesterday about a Virginia 4th grade teacher who led a Civil War classroom activity that underscored the sensitive nature of the topic—and caused an uproar among parents: She put white and black students on opposite sides of the room and reenacted a slave auction. The principal wrote a letter to parents deeming the lesson inappropriate, but would not disclose to the Post what personnel actions have been taken.

What are you planning to do to commemorate the day? How will you navigate the complexities of teaching the causes and consequences of the war?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.