Learning Concept
(themes, topics)
Knowledge Dimension
Cognitive Processes
Student Learning Outcome
Distinguishing fact from opinion
Students will define what a fact is and what an opinion is.
Students will be given a short historical document and will identify factual statements contained in the document
Students will be given a newspaper article and will identify opinions contained in the article.
Students will be given a teacher-generated writing sample and will distinguish between factual statements and opinions.

Use historical maps.
Students will identify the key features and vocabulary terms found on maps.
Students will classify elements of a political map, physical map, and an economic/resources map.
Students will design their own political map of a fictional country.

Students will write a one paragraph journal entry about what they learned about the Civil War.
Students will devise an original newspaper article about a Civil War battle.
Students will write their own opinion piece about an important Civil War event.

Rich Maliff ( Project COFFEE)

Questions pertaining to Topic:

Although students learn U.S History in elementary school, this will be new to them on a high school level. Some of the concepts will be looked into more deeply. The students will also come into the unit with varied amounts on prior knowledge on the topic. I think all students will have at least cursory of each of the three learning concepts, however I feel students will have the most knowledge in maps and the least in how to effective self-reflect. The concepts are not explicitly taught in the student textbooks, but they were chosen because they are learning concepts in the state standards.

Questions pertaining to the Teacher

I am familiar with the material, having taught the subject multiple times. It is also a subject I enjoy teaching. I have ample time to prepare for the lesson and have multiple ways of presenting the material. I will be able to use the textbook, Internet, and movies/videos if I choose.

Questions pertaining to the Students.

I have no ELL in my program, but some students have specific disabilities pertaining to language. Their difficulties will be taken into account through out the year. Before we study a new unit, I preview any new vocabulary words students may be exposed to. This unit will be no different. We also study current events topics frequently in class. I will try to compare and contrast the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa with that of our own civil war. In terms of student behaviors, I will hope that my classroom management and the different activities we will in doing in class will help to minimize and behavior problems.

Questions pertaining to Content

All of my classes have between 5 and 8 students and they are very familiar working in groups that size throughout the program. Also, I will have taught most of my students for multiple years. Knowing our students allows us to create groups that have the potential to work the best with each other.

Questions pertaining to Strategies.

We have multiple reward programs in our program, and I will use the tenets of those programs in my class to help manage behavior and work production. The progress of the students will be informally assessed by the amount of points they earn each day in class and by teacher observation. They will also keep all of their work and notes in their person work folders in class. This helps keep a record of the work they have done and helps to organize their work to use in the future.

Matt Lussier ( Judge Rotenberg Center)

Questions pertaining to Topic:

The students have been exposed to various topics in U.S. History throughout their schooling, but this will be their first formal, in-depth lesson on the United States Civil War. Most of the concepts presented will be new, so it is critical to accurately assess student readiness. The topic is fairly important in the overall curriculum due to the fact that the Civil War was a divisive, polarizing, destructive conflict that heavily impacted the lives of many different Americans. It is important that students learn how the Civil War influenced future events in U.S. History, partuclarly how it impacted race relations. Students should be cognizant of the fact that the Civil War has helped shape the social dynamics present in America today. The textbook does a fairly thorough job of presenting relevant concepts, but some students will require modified instruction. The content will be presented utilizing a variety of modalities.

Questions pertaining to the Teacher:

As a teacher of history, my knoweldge on the topic is adequate, and hopefully the students will be positively influenced by my enthusiasm for the subject matter. I have several resources at my disposal, including the textbook, Internet, historical maps, globes, modified worksheets, and movies/videos. I will put all of these resources to good use as I differentiate instruction.

Questions pertaining to Students:

I have a few bilingual students where Spanish and English are spoken in the home, but I don't have any ELL students per se. All of the students have a pretty firm grasp of the English language. As many of my students are African-American, I think they will experience a deep, personal connection to the material. They will be eager to learn how the slavery issue and the subsequent Civil War impacted African-American culture, and how it influenced race relations and the African-American experience. Some of my students have reading difficulities, so instruction will have to be modified to meet their individual needs. The students will not be able to learn effectively by exclusively reading the textook, but instead they will be exposed to a variety of instrucitonal modalities. The students will have to be taught unfamiliar vocabulary terms, for there were many words and phrases used during the Civil War era that are not often heard in today's vernacular. A significiant amount of instructional time needs to be devoted to assisting students with vocabulary. Without a clear understanding of important vocabulary terms, the students will not be able to acquire a firm grasp of the larger concepts. It is cetainly possible that many of my students have experienced racism, and I think they will find this lesson particularly meaningful. This lesson will provide them with the opportunity to explore their cultural roots more thoroughly. I will consistently apply behavior modification techniques to manage students with concentration problems. As stated previously, I'm hoping the students will find my enthusiasm infectious, and this will lead to the students having greater focus. Those students who are disinterested in the subject matter will have to be provided with appropriate learning materials designed to heighten student interest.

Questions pertaining to context:

My class consists of only ten students, which serves as an optimal class size for whole-group instruction. This is a manageable number of students, and it is fairly easy to maintain student attention. Fortunately, the students have established a positive rapport with each other, and they work effectively in small groups of two or three. I think having the students complete assignments in collaborative groups of two or three members provides for the most effective method of delivering quality instruction.

Questions pertaining to Instructional Strategies:

Various instructional strategies are outlined and described throughout the unit plan. The school where I work provides multiple reward programs and incentives to heighten student interest and maximize student effort. I will use a variety of strategies during lessons to motivate students and to generate a strong student interest in the material. The progress of the students will be informally assessed through teacher observation.

Fact vs. Opinion


Yes/No cards ( )

In this activity, students will need two cards. One card will have the word the word “yes” and the other the word “no”. Teachers will have the option to allow the students to make their own (using a computer or markers and paper) to give them ownership in the activity. Students will use those cards to answer questions posed to them about the topic. Using thins activity, teachers will begin to gauge the amount of knowledge the students have on the subject. For this specific activity, the yes and no can be replaced by Fact and Opinion. Here, the teacher can make statements and the students will have to decide which type of statement it is. This will be done as a whole group activity.


Students will analyze a YouTube clip (see links below) of an impactful speech and mark different facts and opinions in the speech. They will be given a teacher-generated worksheet to allow them to do so. They will also have to explain why they feel it is a fact or an opinion. This can be done either individually or in small groups (preferably 2 students). When considering pairings, one strong auditory learner in a group is preferred. This was he or she could help a partner that struggles in this area. Having a student with some computer skills would also be ideal.

This activity is effective for a number of reasons:
  • Integrates technology into curriculum
  • Adds visual aspect to learning
  • Students can pause and rewind speeches to allow for each students to work at their own pace
  • Headphones allow outside stimuli to be blocked for those who are easily distracted
  • Activity can be differentiated by speech (complexity, length)

YouTube clips of possible speeches: Lou Gehrig Herb Brooks- Miracle Gettysburg Address

Students will be given a short newspaper article and be required to highlight facts and opinions in the text. It can be differentiated by complexity and length of article. This activity should be done individually.

Another activity is a form of “Two truths and a Lie” slightly modified to “Two Facts and an Opinion”. Here, students (whole group) will have to come up with two factual statements and one opinion statement. The other students will have to decide which category each statement falls into. This activity provides students with an opportunity to interact constructively with their peers and helps to teach the importance of teamwork and working collaboratively.

These sites also have activities that will will allow students to practice differentiating between fact and opinion.
1. Fact or Opinion Game

2. Lab Activity

3.Fact or Opinion Activity

Maps (Physical, Political, and Economic)


In order to establish what prior knowledge students have on the topic, the whole class will participate in an activity called “Squaring Off”. Prior to beginning this activity, the three corners of the room will be designated to represent a specific type of map (political, physical, economic), and the fourth corner will be designated “I’m not sure”. A teacher or student will ask a question or make a statement describing a certain type of map. Students will then either go to the corner that corresponds with what they feel is the right answer or to the corner designated “I’m not sure”.


Students must be able to learn the different aspects of the various types of maps. In order to do so, students will use learning tools to help them organize the information. Students with lower readiness levels will be given a worksheet to complete lists of the elements of the three types of maps. Other students will receive a blank and will be required to compare and contrast two types of maps, while the most advanced students will fill out a . They will use their textbooks, class notes, and completed work to assist them in this task. This is an activity that can be done individually. All students can complete this activity.

Using graph paper, students will create a scaled map of the classroom. Objects noted in map should include but not be limited to the teacher’s desk, doors, windows, bulletin boards, and student desks. An appropriate compass rose and legend should be included. This activity helps to reinforce the elements of a map and allows them to construct their own learning. The students will preferably complete the assignment in small groups but will have the option to work independently. This is also an activity that most students can complete. If using small groups, a student with some artistic skills would benefit each group. this would also be an activity where the readiness level of the groups can be mixed. All students have the ability to view the class around them and make contributions to the assignment.

Students will create a map of a fictitious country that includes all key elements and features. They will be able to choose which of the three main types of maps to create. Maps should include a compass rose, legend, title, and definable borders. Within their maps they will also be required to show specific elements unique to their chosen map (i.e. landforms, capitals, resources, etc.). This is an activity that can be completed individually.



A Graffiti wall is an activity that be used as a pre-assessment tool and act as a creative outlet for students. Using colorful markers and a large poster board, the students are instructed to design their own graffiti wall, filled with words and images of what they know about the U.S. Civil War. As the unit progresses, the students add to the wall as they continue to learn. Upon completion of the unit, the students’ graffiti walls are entirely filled in, giving them a wealth of information neatly and creatively organized and presented.


Students will be asked to complete a five-minute quick write assignment at the beginning of each class about a given U.S. Civil War topic, i.e. a major battle, event, leader, or politician. The students will complete this assignment independently. If certain students have difficulty writing, they may discuss the given topic verbally with a peer, or be granted the opportunity to draw a picture about the given topic, (i.e., major battle, event, leader, or politician).

Students will be asked to write a two-paragraph newspaper article about a given U.S. Civil War event, i.e., major battle, event, leader, or politician.
Students will be asked to write a five-paragraph newspaper article about a given U.S. Civil War event, i.e., major battle, event, leader, or politician.
Students will be asked to write an eight-paragraph newspaper article about a given U.S. Civil War event, i.e., major battle, event, leader, or politician, with proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. This activity should be done independently.