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Understanding Craft and Structure, Part 2

Students read closely to analyze the text from Lincoln's Inaugural Address in an effort to understand what can be learned by studying specific words and phrases.
Grade 11 | AP English | Common Core Standards: L.11-12, RH.11-12, RI.11-12, and W.11-12
Teacher: Johanna Heppeler, East Leyden HS, Franklin Park, IL

Lesson Summary

In this lesson, students read closely to analyze the text from Lincoln's Inaugural Address in an effort to understand what can be learned by studying specific words and phrases. Students are encouraged to find specific references and inferential evidence within the text. This lesson lays the groundwork for a larger goal framed around the essential question: How did Lincoln’s speeches reflect the changing course and goals of the war?

Things to watch for:

  • A review of vocabulary important to the lesson: firm, conciliatory
  • Students work in pairs to discuss their findings

More classroom videos with Johanna Heppeler:

Alignment to Common Core Standards

Reading: Informational Text

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

  • Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses). (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.8)
  • Analyze seventeenth-, eighteenth-, and nineteenth-century foundational U.S. documents of historical and literary significance (including The Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address) for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.9)

Reading: History/Social Studies

Key Ideas and Details

  • Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1)

Craft and Structure

  • Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10). (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.4)


Knowledge of Language

  • Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.> (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.3)


  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1)

Classroom Strategies

Strategies that can be used to support this lesson:


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