Reconstruction Revisited: Why? What If?
Suzanne Johnson & Michael Schroeder
Vestal Central School District
Suzanne Johnson and Michael Schroeder's project on Reconstruction
is intended for Advanced Placement students. They introduce the
project by describing the purpose,
objective, and focus of the project. Johnson and Schroeder also explain
how the activities
align with New York State Teaching
Standards, and provide guidance on assessment tools, procedure, and
The project centers on
two activities that encourage students to think critically and creatively
about the subject matter.
In Activity I, students first hypothesize about the needs,
problems, and possible solutions for different people involved in
the history of Reconstruction. Next, using primary sources provided
by the instructors, students explore the same questions, this time
drawing on "historical facts" rather than their own hypotheses.
In the second activity, students play the parts of various historical
involved in the process of Reconstruction. The students
research and write a paper on their chosen historical figure,
in a mock debate, based on their research.
Johnson and Schroeder's homework assignments are keyed to the textbook
.............. Students define terms and demonstrate via short answer
questions that they understand some of the major events and documents
Reconstruction. In addition, they answer more interpretive questions that
require them to
analyze and speculate on causality.
Johnson and Schroeder include an extensive set of documents in their
project. The students utilize these at various points in the assignments
described above. Most of the documents are lengthy quotes from historical
actors, often "ordinary" people. Several political cartoons accompany the
To view the full text of Johnson and Schroeder's project, please follow
the links below.
Objectives, NYS Standards, Assessment
Activity: Hypotheses and "Historical
Activity: Reassembling the South: A Socratic
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