History Apprentice Week 1: Reconstruction and Immigration

Last year we finished up with the Civil War and the assasination of Abraham Lincoln. We have finally freed the slaves and the country is once again united (at least physically) so what happens next?

You’re about to find out as we study what happened during the period of American History known as Reconstruction. You’re also going to start to learn how America is truly becoming the great melting pot as immigrants from all over the world make their way to America during this era. So buckle up, it’s going to be exciting 😀

✏ Writing Assignment

Research one of your first ancestors to immigrate to America (check out the History Journeyman blog, this piggy backs) and take notes on him/her using the outline method. Make sure you have at least 3 subtopics and 2 details about each subtopic.

Study and Learn:

Story of the World, Read: pg. 83-the end of the section on page 86 to learn about modernizations taking place at this time

Watch: Prager U about Reconstruction

https://youtu.be/icOFEc5uVts?si=heVQlpz1Ov92pdyJ **Pause the video and take notes as you watch, it will help you with your assignment.

Read/skim this article on the same topic: https://www.history.com/topics/american-civil-war/reconstruction

Watch this video on immigration (it includes actual footage which is fascinating!) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8X4CypTaOQs

Read this article on Ellis Island: https://www.statueofliberty.org/ellis-island/overview-history/


This school year we’re going to be writing a newspaper front page for EACH of our history classes! Some of you are thrilled and some of you are sad right now. The cool thing is that by the end of the year you’re going to have some really cool articles to show all that you learned this school year.

Because I want them to look like an old newspaper(ish) I’ve created a Canva template for you to use (if you are not at all familiar with Canva text me if you run into any issues!). You are welcome to create your own template and get as creative as you want but that is not necessary.

Click here to access the newspaper template you will be using this semester

  1. The requirements for this assignment are to first, write a headline and create an article for the main story. The main story must cover the Who, What, Why, When and Where of Reconstruction. Working with the 8.5 type size in the template means this article is less than 500 words! Do not be intimidated, that is not a lot of words. I do expect you to use that space but you may adjust your font size to be 7.5 or 9.5 if that is helpful. We are going to get really good at summarizing and learning key points this school year by working on these newspaper articles each month. I do not expect you to write in newspaper style because we haven’t taught that to you — just write an informative 500 (ish) words covering the 5 w’s of Reconstruction.
  • NEXT, you get to write a sub-article for the sidebar. This sub-article is of a topic of your choosing. I want you to pick a topic dealing with reconstruction or immigration and write an interesting but concise summary of that topic. Things that may spark your interest could be: black codes, assasination of president Lincoln, an opinion piece on what lincoln would have wanted for reconstruction, Irish people and immigration, Germans and immigration, sharecropper farms, Chinese exclusion act, reasons behind immigration to America, travel and immigration, lasting repurcussions of reformation on equality, AND MORE.
  • Both articles need to have a photograph — that’s what the green and blue box is for. I would like you to use a historical photo for both spots! We have entered the era where we can actually see photos of this time period so we’re going to seek out and use those photos. A simple google search will bring up ample photographs for you to use.

IN CLASS you will be put in groups to share your sidebar article! Each group will vote on the most interesting article they heard in their group. Yes, I understand that “interesting” is a relative word — this could mean that your article was very articulate or written in a fascinating way. It could mean you chose a really unique topic. It could mean that you chose something your classmates had never learned about before. So the goal is to be consise and interesting 🙂 Each group will send their “most interesting” representative to read their article for the entire class.

((Tip for success: Practice reading your article out loud (both of them) to hear how they flow and catch any mistakes. Also, I recommend having a parent proofread them))

  • Finally, you are going to be learning where you came from! Did you have an ancestor come through Ellis Island or one of the other ports during this era? Where did they come from and how did they get here? Ask a parent or do some research to find at least one ancestor who immigrated to America (it’s ok if it wasn’t during our time period, I understand that you have no control over that 🙂
  • Research a type of food that ancestor may have commonly eaten and make the dish, bring it to class and be prepared to let everyone sample it! Learn some cool facts about the food, your ancestor or the country of your ancestors origin. Anything interesting to share with us in a 2 minute presentation before passing out your food. If you have a sibling in the class I encourage you to cook together and prepare your presentation together (so you only have to make one dish).


Watch this short video in a quiet place where you can ponder : https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/media/video/2017-01-0003-we-dont-need-to-be-the-same-to-be-one?lang=eng

Sometimes we look at the diversity around us and use those differences to judge one another. We get stuck on seeing outward appearances such as beauty, status, fashion, hygeine or modesty. We can take our diversity and turn it into unflattering boxes we put each other in such as “nerd” or “annoying” or “know-it-all” or “goody-two-shoes” and choose only to see our differences as a negative thing to look down upon. There was definetly a LOT of unkind judgements experienced by freedpeople and immigrants trying to make their way in America in the 1800s.

As you go about your week catch yourself in those judgmental thoughts and replace the thought with truth and love instead. Write down some of the untrue judgmental thoughts you experience AND write down what you replaced those thoughts with to train your mind to see diversity as a gift and an opportunity.

2 thoughts on “History Apprentice Week 1: Reconstruction and Immigration

    • Jen Cloward says:

      Thanks for asking. Always 3 because we will be taking these notes to write 5 sentence paragraphs with so you will need 3 subtopics.

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