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The Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln

Student Achievement Partners

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Note that this resource was reviewed during the Spring 2014 review period. The resource may or may not have been updated since the review. Check with the content creator to see if there is a more recent version available.


This resource was reviewed by OSPI in Spring 2014. Learn more about the review process and the data analysis approach.

The version reviewed was last updated: 10/10/2013.

Background from OER Project Review Team
Student Achievement Partners was founded by the lead writers of the Common Core State Standards. All resources that Student Achievement Partners creates are open source and available at no cost.

EQuIP (Learn more)

Exemplar if improved (9.5)
Chart with scale of 'meets criteria' from 0 (None) to 3 (All). Alignment: 2.5, Key Shifts in the CCSS: 2.75, Instructional Supports: 2.5, Assessment: 1.75.

Achieve OER (Learn more)

Chart with scale from 0 (Weak) to 3 (Superior). Explanation: 2.75, Interactivity: 0.0, Exercises: 2.5, Deeper Learning: 2.5.

See standard error chart for the review scoring

Reviewer Comments (Learn more)

Minor (1.8)

Comments/Ideal Use:

This is a short lesson on close reading and the use of text evidence using the Gettysburg address. The lesson is very complete. It includes teacher reading aloud, students reading independently, students discussing among themselves and as a large group. Student responses are discussed and evaluated as a whole. Every component of the lesson is designed to guide students in close reading and analysis of the text. All responses require text based evidence as does their final essay. Within each lesson time is spent on academic vocabulary. There are additional extension activities for both ELA and Social Studies classrooms. These would provide opportunities for students to do independent reading. The only problem I see is the lack of assessment rubrics and clear criteria for determining student mastery.


  • Narrow focus on standards - only targets close reading of non-fiction text
  • Lack of assessment rubrics and criteria to determine mastery - none of these are evident although suggested answers are available.


  • Add writing instruction to support the final essay.
  • Add assessment tools and rubrics.
  • I would like to see this combined with a unit of writing instruction so that additional scaffolding and supports were included to complete the final essay.

Comments/Ideal Use:

Could be used in almost any classroom. Experienced teachers, as well as, novice teachers would find it thorough, engaging and interesting to teach. Experienced teachers may have an advantage in having clear expectations for outcomes on student work.


  • Extremely detailed guidance on the teaching of the document
  • Clearly delineated lesson steps for developing understanding of each part of the GA for all students
  • Questions are specific to the selection and require deep analysis by students to understand and cite the evidence directly from the text
  • Vocabulary is taught in depth with analysis on one term from start to finish in the document
  • Extra exercises included to extend the learning for individual students or groups of students
  • Compare and contrast activities include looking a different versions of the document and writing essays, and/or using drama to add another layer of learning for students


  • No rubrics or student samples of work expected


  • Include rubrics or student sample responses to assist teachers and students in having more clear targets for the assessments and overall learning in the unit of study

Comments/Ideal Use:

The unit would seem to have been developed with a good knowledge of its subject, but it would be difficult to achieve its ends, without clearly articulating them in the beginning and for each lesson thereafter and with a better understanding of teaching strategies. This unit is an orphan, it neither fits as a stand-alone, or as a portion. It might work as an enrichment resource if reduced in size in a history course.


  • The Common Core Standards are not mentioned in the Gettysburg Teachers Unit. In the publisher's page Supplemental Resources are listed: The Importance of Good Questions, Core Standards, etc. The primary standards that the three sections of 1-2 days each are engaged with are Close reading, Vocabulary, and Writing from textual evidence.
  • The directions to the teacher explain that by not giving any support to the readers, the slow readers will be on a plane with those readers, "who have privilege background knowledge."
  • There are no rubrics; the revised speech writings are considered formative assessments.
  • No provision for various skill levels of the students. No information in the teacher’s instruction for enrichment or for providing for the poorer reader.


  • Introduce the Standards aimed at in the instructions and the purpose of each lesson. The students are entitled to know what they are studying and why before the lesson. Advance Organizers would be beneficial.
  • Develop exploratory vocabulary exercises before the readings.
  • Develop short rubrics for their writing or have peers exchange writings after editing. Instructions should be given about composition skills and editing.
  • Make use of the appendix which contains samples of non-text dependent questions, resources, and different version of the Gettysburg speech for comparison study.

Comments/Ideal Use:

Students write frequently to answer focused questions about each section of the text. They are then asked to write to analyze Lincoln's choices and the impact they may have had on the audience. The prompt explicitly asks students to pull details from the text to support their analysis.

This scripted series of lessons could be used by a relatively new teacher to lead students in the lessons. The class would need to be made up of 9th or 10th grade students reading on grade level or who have had previous practice with difficult text because they are asked to read the text cold with no front loading or other kind of pre-unit support.


  • This lesson engages students in a close reading of a complex text. The lessons require students to examine the text one paragraph at a time. It provides text dependent questions that allow students to understand the text at a deeper and deeper level as the lesson progresses.
  • The lesson teaches academic vocabulary with a focus on denotation and connotation. Section three asks students to consider the changing meaning of the word "dedicate" over the course of the text.
  • One of the extension activities allows students to read a variety of texts to build content knowledge. Activity 2 for social studies "comparing two different receptions of the speech and its historical implications" provides one primary and one secondary source for students to build more content knowledge and engage in a compare/contrast activity.


  • Teachers will need to decide how to evaluate student work on their own. There is not a rubric for the writing assignment.
  • Scaffolding not provided. There are not alternatives or extra supports provided for students as they are working with the text
  • Focus on speaking and listening missing. The scripted lessons to not encourage collaboration


  • Create a rubric. Collect some samples of student work as exemplars
  • Create graphic organizers, answer frames or other supports for language learners or students who are reading significantly below grade level.
  • Add opportunities for students to talk about their ideas about the text in large and small groups.

Creative Commons License
This work by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.