Civics Curriculum


Prior to the lesson, have designated places for students to sit in their novel study groups.

Group Size: Any

Learning Objectives:

Students will read fluently. Students will comprehend new text.

Students will effectively create summaries.

Students will visualize the text they are reading.

Students will learn about the events surrounding the Revolutionary War.


1. A Revolutionary War novel for each individual student

2. A Revolutionary War novel packet for each student

3. Discussion questions for each novel (attached in Daily Discussion folder and embedded in lesson)


Reading Schedule:

  • Sarah Bishop: Author's Foreword-Chapter 3
  • The Riddle of Penncroft Farm: Chapter 1
  • My Brother Sam is Dead: Chapter 1
  • Fighting Ground: Pages 3-12
1. Review with students the procedures for completing the packet as discussed yesterday.

2. Place students into their Revolutionary War novel groups to begin reading for day 1.

3. Remind students to stop and discuss the reading, as well as document their gists. You may also want to hand out a reading guideline sheet for groups to use when an adult is not present. This sheet is located in the Introduction folder of this unit.

4. While reading, continually stop to ask questions. These questions could be used a study guide each week for the comprehension quiz or as a study guide for the final assessment. Below are the day's questions for each novel:

The Fighting Ground:
• Why do you think Jonathan dreams of being a soldier like his brother?
• What does the bell signify to Jonathan?
• What side of the war do you think Jonathan’s father and friends are on? How do you know?
• Why doesn’t Jonathan’s father speak of the war any longer? What would you do if you were in the same situation?
• Why do you think Jonathan’s father doesn’t want him to join the war effort?

• Why do you think Jonathan wants to go and check on news at the tavern?
• Why does Jonathan’s family keep reminding him to only do what he is told and to hurry back?

• What part could a thirteen year old like Jonathan take in the war?
• Why is Jonathan so eager to join the war effort and prays that he will experience a battle?
• Why doesn’t Jonathan want to think about his neighbor who was just killed in the war? Do you think Jonathan thinks he will have the same fate?
• What are Tories and why do people around Jonathan’s village not like them?
• What would cause his father to be afraid of war, but not Jonathan?

• What gives you the impression that Jonathan hasn’t experienced life beyond his farm and the tavern?
• Why do you think Jonathan suddenly becomes shy when he approaches the men at the tavern?
• Why don’t any of the adults pay any mind to Jonathan at the tavern? How do you think Jonathan is feeling?
• How do you think Jonathan feels when he hears that soldiers are coming?
• What do you think Jonathan will do now that he hears about the soldiers coming?
My Brother Sam is Dead
Chapter 1:
• Why do you think Tim thinks that Sam looks so brave? How do you think Tim feels about Sam?
• What type of a relationship do you think father has with Sam and Tim? How can you tell?
• What side of the war do you think Sam and father are on? What leads you to this conclusion?
• Why do you think father continually interrupts Sam as he is talking?
• Describe the fighting Sam is talking about.
• What does father mean when he says, “I will not have treason spoken in my house, Sam?”
• Do you agree that it is worth dying to be free? Will you be free if you have died or are you fighting for everyone else to be free?
• Do you agree with father or Sam? Why?
• Why does Tim become nervous when Sam speaks to father?
• What does mother mean by saying Sam is quick with his tongue?
• Do you feel as though children are supposed to be quiet and not say anything even when you know that grownups are wrong?
• What does Tim feel about Sam’s viewpoint and father’s viewpoint?
• Why do you think Tim continually ran away after fights with father? Do you think this was the right way to handle the situation?
• What does it mean, “Idle hands makes the Devil’s work?”
• Do you think Tim looks up to Sam? Why or why not?
• Do you think it is alright for men to be scared going into war or should they be brave and not be at all scared?
• Should Sam take the brown bess knowing that his family will not have protection but he will?
• Why does Tim regret swearing that he wouldn’t tell Sam’s secret?
• What are father’s feelings about war?
• Do you think it was right for father to kick Sam out just for being on the opposite side of war compared to him?
• Why do you think father was crying even though he always put on a front that he was so strong?
• Tim foreshadows events to come, what bad times do you think will be coming?
Sarah Bishop
Chapter 1:
• What causes Sarah to be too scared to ask questions?
• Why do you think Sarah never asks her father questions about something he is so sure about?
• How does Sarah’s father know who is shooting?
• What do you think Quarme is trying to remind Sarah’s family of?
• What side of the revolution are Sarah and her father on?
• What happened to Sarah’s mother and what responsibilities did Sarah now have?
• What in Sarah’s home would alert someone to the fact that their family was on the side of Britain?
• What happened to the picture of King George?
• Why would Chad put the picture of King George in the fire? What side of the war is he on?
• Who are Skinners?
• Why would Chad turn out the lamp for them to sit in the dark when he heard a whistling sound pass over their house?

Chapter 2:
• What causes Mr. Purdy to become less friendly to Sarah?
• Do you think it is right or wrong for people to no longer be friendly with their own friends when it comes to taking sides of a war?
• Describe Sarah’s family finances. How do you know?
• What does Mr. Purdy mean when he says, “Three now, but maybe less before long?” How do you think Sarah feels when she hears this?
• How can Sarah’s father love for King George put his family in jeapordy?
• Describe Mrs. Ryder.
• What do you think was happening to Mr. Purdy’s mill at night?
• Why didn’t Sarah decide to give Mr. Purdy the jar of wild blackberry jam?

Chapter 3:
• What caused Sarah’s family to be in the financial predicament they are in now?
• What lead Sarah’s family to move to America?
• Why scares Sarah’s father? Why do you think they intimidate him?
• Why is father burying the money instead of using it to pay for supplies?
• Why won’t Sarah’s father tell her where he has buried the money? Will this prove to be beneficial if something happens to father?
• Are valuables worth your life?
• Why didn’t father just keep quiet about being on the British side? Why instead did he speak his mind and let everyone know the side he was on?
The Riddle of Penncroft Farm
Chapter 1:
• What happened at Valley Forge?
• Do you think it would be hard to move to a new home at your age?
• What feelings do you think are going through Lars’s mind about his move to Penncroft farm?
• What is apple-pieing a bed?
• What can you tell about Aunt Cass since she like to bamboozle others?
• What can you tell about Lars attitude about his move?
• Why does Lars’s family need to discuss the will with Aunt Cass? Do you think it is important to make sure all family members know about a will?
• What types of things do you think Penncroft farm has experienced considering it has been around since 1760?
• What does Lars see in the window of his new bedroom? Why does this possibly give him a little startle?
• Describe Penncroft Farm.
• How is Lars bamboozled by Aunt Cass?
• How do you think Aunt Cass and Lars will get along while he is staying at Penncroft Farm?
5. After students have completed their reading for the day, have them work on day 1 of their packet completion. They need to complete their gists, summaries, visualizations, as well as their questions to begin a discussion for the following day. Assign for homework if it is not completed.
6. If time remains, review the week 1 vocabulary with students (both whole class and enrichment group). Possible review ideas:
* Have students write answers on the board in teams. Read the definition and have two students on the board write the answer.
  • Hold up the vocabulary words on flashcards and have students shout out the answers.
  • Say the vocabulary definitions out loud and have students shout out the vocabulary word.
  • Have students play charades by acting out the words.
  • With partners, have students write sentences with partners using the words.
  • Have students play Pictionary and draw the words.
  • Have students draw pictures of the words with partners and write a caption of the picture using the vocabulary word.



Monitor student's ability to answer the comprehension questions for each day's readings.

Monitor student's ability to determine the correct definition and vocabulary word.

Benchmark or Standards:

The Standards for the English Language Arts:

Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts.

Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the word; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment.

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