When I first told students that we were going to have a fancy cotillion in my 8th grade history class, there were several surprised students. Some feared that they would need to dance in public, others were excited about what they might wear. Most were happy when they were told that it would be a celebration. "Is this a party Mr. Smith." I heard. No, but it has become a tradition that has really fostered some great learning. In the end, few expected that they would love to research and perform original historically accurate skits from one of America's most divisive and important historical periods.
Students will first of all be evenly divided into groups researching Abolitionist, states’ rights and southern slave holders, and African American slave life. We will setup our classroom as a time machine students will be graded on their participation as a member of the northern or southern teams, historic research, and development of a historically accurate fictional character.
I hope that you have a great time with this project and would love to hear your feedback.