Sallas Mahone Elementary

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5th Grade Students Experience Reconstruction

All 5th grade students learned about the Civil War and how our country had to be rebuilt during the Reconstruction Era. For many of our students, this is such a difficult concept to understand. Teachers have heard over the years, “Well, I wouldn’t clean it up. I didn’t make the mess.” So this year, Mrs. Law wanted to try to make the lesson authentic by giving the students an emotional connection. As students returned from their fall break, they were greeted by a sign from General Ulysses S. Grant himself. They sat as patiently in the hallway as they could and predicted what was inside their classroom. They had to wait until just about everyone was there, which was close to 8:25. They stood around the door and waited for the go ahead. As they entered the classroom, they were astounded by what they saw. Their “land” had been destroyed. Immediately Mrs. Law heard, “Oh no, General Sherman has come through and destroyed everything!” Of course, she smiled. Connections were being heard all over the classroom. Students were even “segregated”. Those wearing only jeans had to clean up the majority of the mess in the back, while the other students cleaned up the other half of the room. Connections kept being made and they realized who probably did the majority of the reconstruction. She never doubted for a second that the classroom would be “reconstructed” back to its original state. She only hoped that they connected, even at a very small level, at how many people felt after the war and what would lie ahead. Needless to say, she was not disappointed.