This year we are studying Texas History, and I’ve been eagerly looking forward to covering the Civil War from a Texas perspective AND to integrate Texas History with American history. I’ve found a great product that is helping create our Civil War American history timeline, and integrating easily with our Texas history lessons. This is crucial because the Civil War is a pivotal event in American history.
(This post is sponsored by The Giant American History Timelines, all opinions are my own, and I have affiliate links in here marked by an *)
Preparing to put together our Civil War American History Timeline
Because I’m not planning on leaving the timeline up long term (I’m slowly covering all of our wall space upstairs with different learning tools, wall space is at a premium) I thought to try printing the pages smaller.
First I printed the timeline pages from Giant American History Timeline book 1. out four to a page, but that was way too small, so I switched to two American History timelines pages to a page, and it worked out great. I find this to be a great method to save on ink and paper when I’m printing something to share with the kids where I don’t expect them to write on the pages.
SIDE POINT: You can get the Giant American History Timeline pre-printed*, but I like the flexibility of only printing the pages I want to use, and it’s much easier to send one page to my printer than copy a page from the book.
Then I printed off the instructions as a booklet, I know you can just look at it on your tablet or another such thing, but I find it helpful to have a printed copy. If they’re on a tablet I can get distracted by shiny buttons. Also, printed instructions can be scribbled on. I particularly like the suggested opener for this unit and their ideas for the Gettysburg Address. I’ll also say I appreciate their including a “here’s how to display the timeline” with several different options. The other timeline products I have don’t include that, so I just cram the timeline pieces on my reusable timeline.
USEFUL INFO: Each page has in the bottom right-hand corner it’s appropriate spot in the unit. As I said they give you a streamlined timeline, and a full one, and that is immensely helpful.
Then I printed off a set of the Civil War pages for each of the kids, and I did a quick pre-check to see how much they knew ahead of time. We have in theory studied the Civil War twice before (once during American history, and a second time during Modern history). This does not guarantee they remember it……
Creating a Civil War unit
First off you need to talk about the causes of the Civil War, we started off with Uncle Tom’s Cabin and then moved on to the various economic and political causes. That by itself will probably be a whole post because it’s a lot more complicated than just slavery. Abraham Lincoln’s abolitionist leanings were probably the giant piano that broke the camel’s back, but there were rumblings of trouble earlier (including several Northern states considering seceding at one point over economic issues).
Then we got into the war itself. For simplicity’s sake we limited it to one event a year, I plan to go back in and fill those details in a bit more.
- 1861- Battle of Fort Sumter/First Battle of Bull Run (yes I broke my rule here, I really wanted both)
- 1862- Battle of Vicksburg
- 1863- Battle of Gettysburg
- 1864- Sherman burns through Georgia
- 1865- surrender at Appomattox Courthouse
Of course, once the war is all done, you have to deal with the aftermath and Reconstruction. Jeff and I have gotten into many debates on how it should best have been handled. You can still see the scars in the South from the early years of Radical Reconstruction. I wonder how our history would have been different if the Radicals in Congress hadn’t gained the upper hand after Lincoln died. To some extent though, I don’t know if anything could really heal the problems.
That, however, is a debate and theory for another day, or potentially an amazing high school report… Someday.
Our Civil War American History Timeline on Display
With it zoomed in like this, it may not seem that big, but this is about half of my wall, now you can see why I printed the pages at half size (and I left out a few that didn’t fit what I was focusing on). I love the multi-layered effect, and how you can see several events are going on at the same time.
This is a close-up of my favorite part. I love the layers of this timeline, and the blackline drawings. It reminds me of books I read as a kid, particularly the Reconstruction picture. I’ll confess that’s part of why I didn’t color it initially, I like the look of the black and white. I’m thinking I might color it lightly in colored pencils to echo illustrations of the era.
Of course, now that we’ve finished the Civil War, we need to move on to The Giant American History Timeline book 2 or the print version of the Giant American History Timeline book 2. I’m also highly amused because it looks like they’re sharing a bunch of super helpful later American history ideas on their Facebook page right now (someone there really likes space).
Make sure to check out their Pinterest boards for some more ideas for your history lessons.
Pick up your own copy of the Great American History Timeline
The best deal however is the printable timeline bundle, and use Promo code TIMELINE20 at checkout will discount The Giant American History Timeline Bundle (digital) by 20%.
Win your own Great American History Timeline