Students to learn about Civil War with new hands-on lessons

Deputy County Executive Matt Gibb, on behalf of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, and Oakland Schools Superintendent Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch introduced an instructional curriculum today centered on the county’s Civil War map that will enhance students’ understanding of local history.

091813 civilwarPatterson unveiled the “Oakland County in the Civil War” map in 2011 to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. Two years later, Waterford School District staff development consultant Carol Bacak-Egbo developed lessons which Patterson and Markavitch plan to introduce into social studies classrooms. They will send the map with information how to access the instructional curriculum to every school in Oakland County.

“The Civil War map allows students to encounter history first hand,” Gibb said. “Instead of just reading about it from a textbook, they can experience historic sites and buildings right here in Oakland County.”

The instructional curriculum for the Civil War map goes beyond the traditional history lesson.

“These lessons help students connect with their own local history, with real individuals who served in the Civil War,” Markavitch said. “This curriculum requires students to grapple with primary source materials, the real stuff of history, instead of a textbook. It requires a student to think and read like a historian.”

Some of the local Civil War history on the map includes: a remarkable story of a woman from Rose Township who enlisted disguised as a man and later became a spy for the Union; a Rochester soldier spared from a Confederate hanging because of the intervention of a confederate family with whom he had shared his food rations; and a Lake Orion teacher who became the Commander of Michigan’s 102nd Colored Regiment.

Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Michael Warren joined Gibb and Markavitch at Franklin Community Church in Franklin, Mich. for the announcement today. Warren co-founded Patriot Week, Sept. 11-17, with his daughter Leah. It celebrates America’s first principles, founding fathers and other patriots, vital documents and speeches, and flags.

“Patriot Week encourages Americans of all ages to explore the individuals, documents and words that are the foundation of our great nation,” Warren said. “These Civil War lessons will inspire our students to engage our past through contemporary sources rather than just rely on a textbook.”

The lessons allow teachers to meet the Michigan Social Studies Content Expectations as well as the new Literacy Standards for History and Social Science in a creative way. Bacak-Egbo developed them in partnership with Bruce Miller and the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War. Both took part in the news conference today. Teachers can access the instructional curriculum on the Oakland Schools website at

The general public may purchase the “Oakland County in the Civil War” map for $20. For more information about obtaining the map, call Oakland County’s One Stop Shop at 248-858-7647.

Franklin Community Church will soon celebrate its 175th anniversary. For more information, call the Rev. Lynn Hasley at 248-626-6606.

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