Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Gettysburg Address Close Read
Kevin Harmon
US History
Time Frame:
4-5 days
Grade Levels:

Classroom/Homework Activity to be performed:


  • Students will have read chapter on the American Civil War

  • Students will have read and completed worksheets over Civil War battles

  • Students will have completed concept(mind) maps over the chapter sections 

  • Students will have watched the History Channel’s Story of Us on Civil War



  • The lesson plan meets State(Ks)and USD 449 and course objectives

  • The Gettysburg Address changed and challenges the US to a new “new birth of freedom”

  • The lesson plan is in line with common core goals for critical reading skills


District, state, or national performance and knowledge standards/goals/skills met:


  • Reading history 6-8.2 - cite textual information…. 6-8.7 distinguish fact, opinion, reasoned judgment

  • Writing history- 6-8.2 - write informative/ explanatory text...6-8.6 use technology….6-8.7 conduct a short research project

  • KCCRS 1,2,7,8,9


Primary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed:

Teacher will provide copies of the Gettysburg Address (see Everett copy in link below)


Full description of activity or assignment.


  • 1st read- teacher will read the Gettysburg Address to the students at the end of class  the day before the lesson begins

  • Day 1: teams will be assigned(3-4 per group).The teams will elect a captain who will turn materials into teacher. All team members will read the Gettysburg address and underline or circle and define all words they do not know in the margin of the document. At the end of class, each team captain will list the unknown words from their team  which may be done on butcher paper or board-your call. The class will note the common unknown words each group listed

  • Day 2:Each team will I) write a 3-4 sentence summary paragraph of the Address. II)Each team’s captain will share their summary with the class. III)Poise questions to teams/class- What was similar  in the team's summary? Different?

  • Day 3: (Text dependent questions[have the questions posted in classroom]) Each team will answer the following questions according to the Gettysburg Address--

I) What time frame in our country’s history did Lincoln start the speech with?

II)What was the “reason” Lincoln said they were there for?

III)Who did Lincoln say “consecrated” the ground?

IV) What would the world not “long remember” but could never “forget”?

V) What did Lincoln say the dead had given?

VI) What did Lincoln say “shall not perish”

Each team will share their responses to the questions with the class  and turn in a copy to teacher.

  • Day 4: Demonstration of new knowledge-- Each team will answer the following questions and share with the class.

I) How did Lincoln define the purpose of the war(cite examples)?

II) What did Lincoln say would be the outcome of the war?

III) Each captain will turn in team’s answers


Critical Analysis: Each student will write a 2-3 paragraph (4-6 sentences per

paragraph) essay, answering the question,and citing evidence from the Gettysburg Address(due in 2 days)-

Why and how does Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address continue to speak to us today?


Full explanation of the assessment method and/or scoring guide:


  • The students will receive a daily grade based on teamwork and participation.   20pts.- actively contributing to the team. 15 pts.- contributes occasionally to the team. 10 pts.- listens to team but doesn’t contribute.

Concluding paragraph- 50-45 pts.- Student cites examples from

document to make points of the essay. Uses correct grammar, and paragraphs are proper length. 44-40 pts.-Has at least a couple of cites from the document, a few grammar mistakes and paragraphs are proper length. 39-30 pts.-Does not cite the document, grammar mistakes,and

paragraphs are not of required length(4-6 sentences)