Battle of Manassas
Grade Levels 3-5
by Avigail Frager, Bruce-Monroe @ Park View Elementary
A lesson that bridges the piano piece “Battle of Manassas” with the events of the Civil War battle.
Goals and Objectives
Students will be able to describe the Battle of Manassas by writing and recording a narrative to the music piece “Battle of Manassas.”
During the American Civil War, music was written to describe battles that took place. One such piece was “The Battle of Manassas.” Students will listen to a version of “Battle of Manassas” and participate in turn and talks/stop and jots to record their feelings/reactions to the music. Students will then participate in a read aloud of the Battle of Bull Run (with turn and talks and think alouds). After reading, students will summarize the battle. As an end project, students will be recorded reciting the narrative over the music, matching the actions of the battle with the music.
Audio version of “Battle of Manassas”
Attachment A- Battle of Manassas Timeline
Attachment B- Thomas Wiggins
Attachment C- Map of Manassas/DC
Attachment D- Battle of Manassas narrative
Each student should receive a copy of “Battle of Manassas Timeline” (attachment A). Tell students they will be listening to a piece of music written during the Civil War about the Battle of Manassas. As they listen, you will frequently pause the movement for students to write down their thoughts about the section they just heard. Students should listen for familiar sounds and connections they might have.
After the recording ends, ask students to share what they heard at different sections of the piece. Play each sections while discussing so students can listen for other details. Record answers on the board in timeline form.
Inform students, “This piece was written after the first battle of the Civil War, the Battle of Manassas. It was written by Tom Wiggins, a southern slave from Georgia. He was blind and autistic. When he was 12 he heard his master’s son talking about the battle he just witnessed. This inspired him to compose this piece. It follows the actions of the battle. Share Attachment B with students.
Read students the Battle of Manassas narrative (attachment D) creating a timeline as you go. Have students record this on their timelines (details from battle should match sections of music).
Use the timeline facts to write short narratives of the war. Encourage students to use adjectives.
Assign each section of the timeline to different students. Play the music again and have the assigned students recite their timeline narratives over the music, telling the story of the Battle of Manassas.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.2 Summarize a written text read aloud or information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.4 Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.5.5 Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
About the Author
Avigail Frager is an elementary school teacher in Washington, D.C. She currently teaches social studies to grades k-5.
About Banner Moments
Made available as part of the 2014 Banner Moments K-12 Institute—a project of the American Music Institute of the University of Michigan and the Star Spangled Music Foundation, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities