Female Spies During the Civil War

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Teacher Notes:

As you know, during the Civil War is the first time that spying was used on a large scale. Women seemed to be better at spying than men during this time, and Tubman, Greenhow, Boyd and Velazquez stood out from the rest. Spying during the Civil War led to modern-day espionage. Your students will enjoy learning about women's roles during the Civil War and the impact their roles had on the United States as a whole.

***NOTE: Your students may use Microsoft Publisher catalog template to create their spy magazine. It provides a title page, table of contents and ad-like pages that can be modified and adapted to become a magazine.

Target Learners:

All students may benefit from this unit. Modifications are possible. If necessary, aid students in the research process by printing off the pages pertinent to their portion of the project; thereby, shortening the research of information and allowing more time to process information. Extensions may also be possible by adding other sections to the spy magazine similar to modern-day magazines. For example, ads for medical needs or extra battle stories.


8th Grade History Standards: Objective 1:8.8 (B) The student will demonstrate an understanding of issues and events in U.S. History. The student is expected to explain the issues surrounding significant events of the Civil War; and Objective 3:8.24 (E) The student will demonstrate an understanding of economic and social influences on historical issues and events. The student is expected to identify the political, social, and economic contributions of women to American society. 

8th Grade English Standards: (23) Research/Gathering Sources. Students determine, locate, and explore the full range of relevant sources addressing a research question and systematically record the information they gather. Students are expected to (A) follow the research plan to gather information froma range of relevant print and electronic sources using advances search strategies; (B) categorize information thematically in order to see the larger constructs inherent in the information; (D) differentiate between paraphrasing and plagiarism and identify the importance of citing valid and reliable sources. (24) Research/Synthesizing information. Students clarify research questions and evaluate and synthesize collected infromation. Students are expected to: (A) narrow or broaden the major resaerch question, if necessary, based on further research and investigation. (25) Research/Organizing and Presenting Ideas. Students organize and present their ideas and information according to the purpose of the research and their audience. Students are expected to synthesize the research into a written or an oral presentation that: (A) draws conclusions and summarizes or paraphrases the findings in a systematic way; (C) presents the findings in a meaningful format; and (D) follows accepted formats for integrating quotations and citations into the written text to maintain a flow of ideas.

Texas College and Readiness Standards:  Objective II: (C) 1. Understand which topics or questions are to be investigated.  2. Explore a research topic. 3. Refine research topic based on preliminary resarch and devise a timeine for completing work. 5. Synthesize and organize information effectively. 6. Design and present an effective product. 7. Integrate source material. 


8th Grade ELPS: (1) (C) Cross-curricular second language acquistion/Learning Strategies: Use strategic learning techniques such as concept mapping, drawing, memorizing, comparing and contrasting, and reviewing to acquire basic and grade-level vocabulary; (4) (K) Demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by empoying analytical skills such as evaluating written information and performing critical analyses commensurate with content area and grade-level needs. Grasp of language structures, and background knowledge needed to comprehend increasingly challenging language.

Time Required:

Students may need anywhere from a week to eight days to complete this assignment due to the research involved and the need to schedule computer time.

Technology Needs:

Computers will need to be available for student use during class time and possibly afterwards also. Other books and resources may be necessary as research continues to expand the topics.

Attachments to the Teacher Page:

History Frame: http://www.readingquest.org

Bubble Map Graphic Organizer: drb.lifestreamcenter.net/.../describing.gif


Resources and Credits:

Photographs and biographies of all four spies in this unit: http://womenshistory.about.com/od/spies/Women_Spies_in_History.htm

Image of spy collage on Title Page: abmwar21.tripod.com

Image on Task page: hill.troy.k12.mi.us/staff/bnewingham/myweb3/2...

Image on Process page: www.presentationhelper.co.uk/.../two_kids.jpg

Image on Evaluation page: www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/.../magazinespic.jpg

Image on Teacher page: www.uni.edu/sds/images/HispanicTeacher.JPG

Image on Conclusion page: http://americancivilwar.com/women/inf_women.jpg

Loretta Janetta Velasquez Websites: http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/velazquez/menu.html


Rose O'Neal Greenhow Websites: http://americancivilwar.com/women/greenhow.html


Harriet Tubman Websites: http://womenhistory.about.com/od/harriettubman/a/tubman-sla


Belle Boyd Website: http://www.civilwarhome.com/boydbio.htm


Books as Resources:

Petticoat Spies by Peggy Caravantes

Belle Boyd in Camp and Prison by Belle Boyd

DVD's and movies:

History Channel: Secret Soldiers of the Civil War

Credit for the title "The Influence of Woman" should be given to Harper's Weekly Magazine, 1862.









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