Lesson Plan

Sandburg and Lincoln

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
60 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
3.RI.1, 4.RI.3, 5.RI.3
State Standards:
North Carolina Essential Standards
Social Studies
Additional Standards:
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies Standards
Thinking Skills:
Remembering: Recalling or recognizing information ideas, and principles. Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts.


Learning Targets
• I can identify biographer, autobiographer, biography and autobiography.
• I can compare and contrast Carl Sandburg and Abraham Lincoln.
• I can identify key details within an informational text.


This lesson is intended to be used following a visit to the Sandburg, but can be used as a stand-alone lesson in the classroom if another lessons have been completed on Sandburg for background, such as Sandburg Through Time - Growing Up (Timeline Activity). Students will write a poem in the acrostic style and compare and contrast facts of Sandburg's and Lincoln's life. 




T Chart and Lincoln and Sandburg facts for students to sort

Download Sandburg and Lincoln Fact Sheet

2 paragraph excerpt from Sandburg's biography of Lincoln. Reading that can be for teacher to project or for students to read.

Download Sandburg's "Abe Lincoln Grows Up"

for student activity

Download Excerpts from "Abe Lincoln Grows Up"


Activating Strategy 
Acrostics - Teacher will vertically write the word CARL on the whiteboard. Teacher will ask students to think about words that begin with the letters C, A, R, and L that could describe Carl Sandburg. Whole class will determine the best words that describe Carl for each of the letters. Teacher will then complete the acrostic poem about Carl Sandburg.

Teaching Strategy
1. Ask students "If you had someone famous to write about, who would it be and what might you write?" Prompt students in discussing the difference between an autobiography and a biography. Explain that Sandburg was a biographer of Abraham Lincoln.

  • What does a biographer do? Introduce the term historian, and relate that many historians enjoy writing about notable people.
  • How / Where does a biographer get information to write the biography?
  • How does a biographer teach us about history? 

2. Share the longer piece of writing from "Abe Lincoln Grows Up" with the class (can be projected on whiteboard for students to follow along).

  • What do the students notice about the way Sandburg wrote?
  • Why do they think he wrote this way?
  • What does Sandburg teach us about Lincoln in this piece of writing?

3. Students will work in small groups using a piece of writing from "Abe Lincoln Grows Up" to identify facts about Lincoln and from "Prairie Town Boy" to identify facts about Sandburg. Groups will share facts with the class.

4. Teacher directed the whole class will complete a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting Sandburg and Lincoln.

5. As an independent activity to, give each student a Sandburg / Lincoln fact page to sort and paste.

Summarizing Strategy
Freeze Frame - a small group of students will create a tableau (a grouping of people not moving) that represents a key detail of Sandburg's or Lincoln's life. The other groups must guess the key detail of the tableau or freeze frame.






Additional Resources


Related Lessons or Education Materials

Check out the other lessons in this plan:

Pre-Visit Lesson: Connemara Farm
Pre-VIsit Lesson: Poets and Poetry
Pre-Visit Lesson: Sandburg Through Time - Growing Up

On-Site Lesson: Sandburg Through Time - From Prairie Town Boy to Famous Writer
On-Site Lesson: Sandburg's Writing "Spring Grass"

Post-Visit Lesson: Sandburg Through Time - Autobiographical Poem
Post-Visit Lesson: Sandburg and Lincoln
Post-Visit Lesson: Why Goat's Milk?

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Last updated: July 24, 2015