July 4, 2012
I am a middle school history teacher and have found the Civil War Trust to be invaluable in helping me present the war and surrounding events to the students. Our school joined the Trust in 1999 and have contributed a total of $110,000 so far through 70+ fundraisers for various battlefields. This helps the students to learn to take responsibility for their history and gives them a sense that they are actually making a difference. The Trust has so many things to help teachers. For instance, they have a Teachers Institute that teachers can attend to learn first hand about battlefields, meet other teachers and exchange information. They have lesson plans for elementary, middle and high school. They have a Traveling Trunk that you can order to come to your school that have reproduction period items that can be used to teach the 1860's. They have vocabulary lists on line that one can easily use in the classroom. They have battlefield specific photos that a teacher can use to show students just what they are saving should they decide to have a fundraiser. They have contests where a student can either write or draw, whichever works for them, on a period theme. I use it for extra credit and the students really like it. They have timely updates on current events relating to Civil War themes so teachers and students can see what is happening regarding current events relating to preservation. I find their website quite easy to use. They have a Teacher Feature where various teachers explain how they teach the Civil War, so this is a great way to get ideas. They also feature schools and allow them to explain how they involve students in preservation. One more thing is that if I ever need information that I can't find on their website, I can always call them and get an expert answer. We expecially like the fact that the vast majority of donations go directly to purchasing land, a great use of our money. Teaching about the Civil War is just so much easier with their help.
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