PS/IS 686 | Brooklyn, NY

Grade 8 Humanities: Week of 10/2/2017 Nothing Civil About War


Dear Families,

In addition to putting the final editing touches on our Personal Statement Essays (final drafts due 10/6!), we completed a “crash course” on The American Civil War this week. We implemented the use of a slightly modified version of Cornell Notes to record important information on the war from books, video, and instruction.



Cornell Notes were popularized in the 1960s by Walter Pauk, a Cornell University professor, who found that his students were not getting what they needed from the jumble of disorganized notes they were generating from their studies. Pauk’s framework for note-taking provides a systematic format for condensing and organizing notes where students divide the paper into two columns. The note-taking column on the right is twice the size of the questions/vocabulary column on the left. About two inches is left at the bottom of the page for a short summary/further study ideas. Our notebooks are basically “living textbooks” that we interact with daily and will be a valuable resource when American History is studied again at the high school level.

Additionally, we analyzed a collection of Civil War Era political cartoons and then brainstormed and created our own.


Ms. Sacilotto


The Free Soil Party wanted new territories and states to be admitted as free ones . . .


Dread Scott took his case all the way to The Supreme Court, only to be told he wasn’t even a person . . .


Some Civil War photographers staged photos for maximum impact (does this qualify as “fake news”?) . . .


Slavery and the Southern economy were inextricably linked . . .


The more things change, the more they stay the same (but I can’t say that I’ve ever seen little girls in Hillary Clinton pantsuits flying through the air before!) . . .


“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others  alone I would also do that.”                                                                                                                              — Abraham Lincoln