Educator's Guide: Language Arts: WVIC News

Background:

During the Civil War, the telegraph was the fastest means of communications. Civilians received information on battles the next day. Photographs and lithographs would not appear in newspapers or magazines for months. Today's wars are known about in a matter of minutes if not seconds.

Methods:

Divide the students into groups of seven, each group consisting of one on-the-scene reporter, and six soldiers. Do not limit the students to just soldiers, have one group be civilians, hospital staff, sailors, or politicians. Or have seven students volunteer to do a single broadcast instead of requiring every student to participate. Have the students research their roles and the reporter design questions to ask. The questions will be given to the role players, however have the reporter hold two or three in reserve to ask the actors during taping. This will create a more authentic situation. Have students practice and refine their news broadcast. Tape the final production to show to other classes. If taping will be done in the park, please contact park personnel for approval and scheduling.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. How would TV have presented the Siege of Vicksburg? How would each side describe the events?
  2. What impact would television have had on the civilians and soldiers?
  3. Could television have affected the outcome of the war? How?
  4. Is television news the objective, unbiased source it claims to be?

Classroom Activities:

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Grades:

  • 7- 12

Objectives:

Students will research and write a script for television news program. Students will analyze how television might have affected the Civil War.

Materials:

Research materials, video camcorder, tapes and props.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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