Grade Level:9-10

Course: English or History

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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A Reading of the Gettysburg Address
  • Module Description
    • This module asks 9th and 10th grade students to perform a close reading of the Gettysburg Address, participate in a Paideia Seminar on the text, and write an essay in which they evaluate Lincoln’s definition of democracy based on the speech.  Ultimately, students practice a series of interrelated literacy skills while gaining a deeper understanding of an iconic American political document, thereby merging American history content with Common Core literacy skills.  If teachers choose to assess students on the skills embedded in this module, there is a classroom assessment exercise applying the same LDC template to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. In addition, teachers can self-assess their evolving seminar planning and facilitation skills using the Seminar Reflection Guide found in the module Appendix.

      NOTE: This module is designed to teach and assess the Core Content College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards identified in the LDC standards as well as those for “Speaking and Listening,” including a formal and rigorous dialogue about concepts and ideas. Common Core “Reading” and “Writing” standards are practiced and assessed around the Paideia Seminar discussion. If you are not trained in leading Paideia (Socratic) Seminars, you can still teach this module by replacing the seminar in Cluster 3 with another discussion-based strategy.  

  • Tasks
    • Teaching Task Template Task (Design your own lesson)

      Has the Gettysburg Address influenced our contemporary understanding of American democracy?  After reading the Gettysburg Address, write an essay that discusses Lincoln’s definition of “democracy” in the Address and evaluate its influence on our understanding of American democracy.  Be sure to support your position with evidence from the text.

      Task 6 Template: [Insert Question] After reading __________ (literature or informational texts), write a/an __________ (essay or substitute) that discusses __________ (content) and evaluates __________ (content).  Be sure to support your position with evidence from the texts. (Argumentation/Evaluation)
  • About The Teacher
    • Author/s: Laura Billings and Terry Roberts

      Course: English or History

  • Materials, References, and Support
    • For Teachers


      • Adler, Mortimer J. and Charles Van Doren. (1972). How to Read a Book. New York: Simon and Schuster.
      • Davis, Judy and Sharon Hill. (2003). The No-Nonsense Guide to Teaching Writing: Strategies, Structures, and Solutions. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
      • National Paideia Center. (2010). Teaching Thinking Through Dialogue. 2nd Edition.
      • Roberts, Terry and Laura Billings. (2011). Teaching Critical Thinking: Using Seminars for 21st Century Literacy. New York: Eye on Education.
      For Students
      • “The Gettysburg Address” by Abraham Lincoln
      • For Classroom Assessment: “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King 
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