Gettysburg Address

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Our Gettysburg Address lesson plan teaches students about the Gettysburg Address. Students read the speech and analyze it in addition to learning about the historical context of it and its lasting impact.

Included with this lesson are some adjustments or additions that you can make if you’d like, found in the “Options for Lesson” section of the Classroom Procedure page. One of the optional additions to this lesson is to have students deliver their rewritten speeches from the lesson activity to lower grades.

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Description

What our Gettysburg Address lesson plan includes

Lesson Objectives and Overview: Gettysburg Address introduces students to Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to summarize, identify reasons for, orally present, and define selected vocabulary from, the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln. This lesson is for students in 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th grade.

Classroom Procedure

Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the orange box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The supplies you will need for this lesson include access to the internet and the handouts.

Options for Lesson

Included with this lesson is an “Options for Lesson” section that lists a number of suggestions for activities to add to the lesson or substitutions for the ones already in the lesson. To adjust the lesson activity, you can have students deliver their rewritten speeches to lower grades. You can also let students use the internet for help with the practice page definitions.

Teacher Notes

The teacher notes page includes a paragraph with additional guidelines and things to think about as you begin to plan your lesson. This page also includes lines that you can use to add your own notes as you’re preparing for this lesson.

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES

Gettsyburg Address

The Gettysburg Address lesson plan includes two pages of content. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was only 269 words and a few minutes long, but is one of the most famous and well-known speeches of all time. President Abraham Lincoln gave the speech on November 19, 1863 while dedicating a national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address in honor of the Union troops who’d died six months earlier at the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. At this battle, Union General George Meade and his troops beat Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his troops. 3,155 Union soldiers died and they wounded more than 14,000.

Lincoln’s speech reminded people of the ideals and principles of equality, freedom, and democracy. He referred to the past, present, and future of the country, and this gave the speech a timelessness that makes it relevant today.

Lincoln was not the main speaker at the event. U.S. Senator and preacher Edward Everett spoke for more than two hours before Lincoln’s speech. Supporters of Lincoln liked the speech but his opponents criticized it.

The speech starts with the phrase “Four score and seven years ago.” A score is a period of twenty years, so this means 87 years ago, or 1776, the year the founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence and when the United States became an independent country.

Lincoln also mentions our fathers, referring to the founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. They founded the nation on freedom and a dedication to all people created equal. They thought this was a country for everyone.

The Civil War was happening at this time and the speech was a test to the endurance and strength of America. Lincoln also mentions the people who died at the Battle of Gettysburg fighting for the country. He said that the people listening should honor the dead.

He then says that the living cannot match the sacrifice of the people who died fighting on the battlefield. We shouldn’t forget the dead and must continue to fight for freedom. We should let the people who died inspire us and cannot allow their deaths to become meaningless.

Lincoln ends his speech talking about God and saying that the government should work for the people and do the will of the people. He references the Constitution during this section by using the phrase “we the people.”

Lincoln was President from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865, a day after John Wilkes Booth assassinated him.

The lesson ends with the full text of the Gettysburg Address which you can find carved into the walls of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS

The Gettysburg Address lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity worksheet, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. You can refer to the guide on the classroom procedure page to determine when to hand out each worksheet.

REWRITING THE SPEECH ACTIVITY WORKSHEET

Students will work with a partner to complete the activity worksheet. Each pair will rewrite each line of the address using easier language and vocabulary so that younger students could read it. They can use a dictionary and thesaurus for help and should make sure the lines flow together and are logically written. Each pair will then read their speech aloud to the class.

DEFINITIONS PRACTICE WORKSHEET

The practice worksheet asks students to write the definition for each word as it was used in the Gettysburg Address, including a synonym for each word. They will also fill in the blanks in several sentences related to the lesson material.

GETTYSBURG ADDRESS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT

For the homework assignment, students will match the description to the correct term. They will also write down what the Gettysburg Address means to them.

Worksheet Answer Keys

This lesson plan includes answer keys for the practice worksheet and the homework assignment. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.

Additional information

grade-level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade

subject

Social Studies

State Educational Standards

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.4.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.5.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.1, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.6.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4

Lessons are aligned to meet the education objectives and goals of most states. For more information on your state objectives, contact your local Board of Education or Department of Education in your state.

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BD
01/11/2021
BRUCE D.
US US

Gettysburg Address

I used this in conjunction with the students regular textbook. It made the address easier to understand for some of the students. The activities at the end made the learning experience complete for them.

KP
05/26/2020
Kerry P.
US US

Gettysburg Address

This was so helpful. My students love dit!