These Are Your Relatives

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TSWBAT use an antique photo of a person or people, and use their narrative writing skills to describe why the person is significant.

Big Idea

What impact has this person had on your (Civil War) life?


10 minutes

This lesson takes preparation.  Initially, the preparation for this is time consuming, but once the antique pictures are secured, you're set.

Antique shops are the best bet for finding these old fashioned pictures, but I've seen them in second hand stores.  I used to pass out the real photographs to the kids, but when I realized using a color copier -even though the pictures aren't in color- created the exact look of the originals, I was sold.  Fit the pictures on as few pieces of 8x10 paper as possible, and color copy in less than five minutes.  Although it takes a little bit of time to cut them out, the pictures look fabulous and the effort is much less than buying new photographs each year. 

The Lesson Image looks like a collection of antique photographs, but they're the copies.  I've also included a picture of the actual photographs on their jigsawed 8x10 paper.

Warm Up

15 minutes

This is an activity that comes in the beginning of my Civil War simulation, but can be adapted as a simple creative writing activity. W.5.3 expects students to develop real or imagined experiences and these will definitely be of the imagined variety. Using a photograph such as this is truly an excellent creative writing starter. I display the assignment on the Smart Board.

My kids are currently a person on either the North or the South and it's the year 1859- Civil War not yet in sight.  As they build their personality before the onset of war, I like to help by giving them the opportunity to involve themselves in real situations that happened in their "life" at that time.  With this task they will take their photo of a relative and describe an actual memory they have made with that person.  Later in the scrapbook, they will be asked to bring that person's name up again in some manner.

They sit at their desks and I pass out "the relatives" upside down (Meeting their Relatives). They're allowed to look at their relative right away, but just like you can't trade your real relatives, you can't change these people either.  Some may look odd or funny, but they're now "family" to the person who received them (Look-a-like Relative?)


25 minutes

Once they've had the opportunity to show their classmates their relatives and vice versa, it's time to get busy on the scrapbook page. With explicit directions on the Smart Board, and lots of scrapbook materials in the front of the room, they're excited to start (Lots of Activity).

I walk around the room and observe (Putting the page together).  One of the most important parts is to make sure they're answering the questions (Writing about their relatives). It's easy to get caught up in creating a beautiful page and forget to read what's required on the Smart Board (It's coming together!)

 I also want to make sure no one is defacing their "relative" which has happened in the past, and help with old fashioned names if asked. The kids also need direction on how to present their writing in a clear way (It's lovely! Text rewrite on white paper would be good...). On the previous scrapbook page they created their family tree (Family Tree and Relative Page) and they really are "creating a life."


15 minutes

The kids love to share their scrapbook pages.  I usually allow about four tops, maybe five, because it can get out of hand with more.  We have plenty of days ahead and everyone will get a chance.

The pages are beautiful and each is unique.  It's fun to get started with this simulation each year and the kids will enjoy sharing their finished product with their parents in May.

Slideshow of Civil War Relative Scrapbook Pages.  Unmute bottom left corner.  If you click on the slideshow it will take you to