ALEX Lesson Plan


Expository Writing and The Civil War

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Ann Harrison
System: Shelby County
School: Shelby County Board Of Education
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 15879


Expository Writing and The Civil War


This lesson is designed to help students strengthen their research and writing skills, while learning more about the Civil War, as they produce an expository paragraph. Students will glean information from an article about the causes of the Civil War and then use the "Step Up To Writing" technique to write their paragraphs.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
TC2 (3-5)
1. Use input and output devices of technology systems.
Examples: input—recording devices, keyboards, touchscreens
  • Demonstrating ergonomics relative to technology systems
  • Demonstrating correct keyboarding techniques
  • Demonstrating safe removal of storage media
  • TC2 (3-5)
    2. Use various technology applications, including word processing and multimedia software.
  • Using navigational features commonly found in technology applications
  • Identifying digital file types
  • ELA2015 (4)
    19. By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the Grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range. [RI.4.10]
    ELA2015 (4)
    23. Write informative or explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly. [W.4.2]
    a. Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. [W.4.2a]
    b. Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic. [W.4.2b]
    c. Link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases (e.g., another, for example, also, because). [W.4.2c]
    d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic. [W.4.2d]
    e. Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented. [W.4.2e]
    ELA2015 (4)
    26. With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of the first three Language standards in Grades K-4.) [W.4.5]
    ELA2015 (4)
    39. Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing. [L.4.2]
    a. Use correct capitalization. [L.4.2a]
    b. Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text. [L.4.2b]
    c. Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence. [L.4.2c]
    d. Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed. [L.4.2d]
    SS2010 (4) Alabama Studies
    7. Explain reasons for Alabama's secession from the Union, including sectionalism, slavery, states' rights, and economic disagreements.
  • Identifying Alabama's role in the organization of the Confederacy, including hosting the secession convention and the inauguration ceremony for leaders
  • Recognizing Montgomery as the first capital of the Confederacy
  • Interpreting the Articles of the Confederation and the Gettysburg Address
  • Local/National Standards:


    Primary Learning Objective(s):

    Students will write an expository paragraph about the causes of the Civil War using information gleaned from an online article.

    Additional Learning Objective(s):

    Students will demonstrate keyboarding skills by typing their expository papers.

     Preparation Information 

    Total Duration:

    61 to 90 Minutes

    Materials and Resources:

    Strips of green, red, and yellow construction paper, printed copies of online article from Step 1

    Technology Resources Needed:

    Computer(s) with printer and word processing software


    The learner will need to be familiar with the Step Up to Writing procedures:
    Green: Main Idea
    Yellow: Details
    Red: Explanations or Examples.

    1.)Students will read the web article and, using the strips of construction paper, will identify the main idea, details, and supporting details of the causes of the Civil War. Teacher should discuss how to extract facts from the article without plagiarizing.
    (American Civil War Causes Kids Zone.htm)
    Article on causes of the Civil War

    2.)Students will place the strips in the correct order and identify a closing sentence.

    3.)Students may use the graphic organizer at this site to record their notes.
    (QuiP - Questions into Paragraphs)
    A graphic organizer for collecting information.

    4.)Students will write their paragraphs and then work in pairs for peer editing. After paragraphs have been edited by peers, students should make necessary corrections.

    5.)Students will type paragraphs using word processing software. Final copy should be printed and submitted to the teacher.

    6.)Students may wish to expand their Civil War knowledge by exploring some of the following websites:
    (Civil War for Kids)
    Information and activities created by students

    (Gettysburg National Park's Civil War Page for Kids)
    Learn about the Battle of Gettysburg, its leaders, Civil War food and slang, and read letters from soldiers.

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    Assessment Strategies

    The attached rubric will be used to assess the summarization.




    Review the parts of a paragraph and help students identify the different parts.

    Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

    Presentation of Material Environment
    Time Demands Materials
    Attention Using Groups and Peers
    Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
    Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.