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Snoozer Lesson Plan
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Lesson Summary:
Students will read a fictional story set during the Civil War and identify how oral history and folklore contribute to the richness of U.S. history, African American history, and baseball history. In addition, students will be able to identify key historical figures, events, and economic and social conditions during the time.

Key Features of Powerful Teaching and Learning:
(National Council for the Social Studies. “A Vision of Powerful Teaching and Learning in the Social Studies: Building Social Understanding and Civic Efficacy.”

Meaningful: Students will know key historical figures, events, and dates during the Civil War.

Value-Based: Students will understand how African Americans were treated and thought of during the Civil War.

Challenging: Students interpret the economic, social, and cultural climate of the Civil War.

Students will read a fictional story set during the Civil War and identify how oral history and folklore contribute to the richness of U.S. history, African American history, and baseball history. In addition, students will be able to identify key historical figures, events, and economic and social conditions during the time.

1. Students will define key vocabulary terms.
2. Students will interpret and understand the economic and social conditions during this time.
3. Students will read and know the importance of fictional writings/oral traditions/folklore to U.S. History, African American History, and baseball history.

Materials/Primary Resources:
Story of Snoozer:

Procedures and Activities:

Day 1:
Pre-teach the Civil War and make sure students understand the following terms before beginning the lesson: Confederate, Rebels, North, South, Union, and Yankee.

Distribute the vocabulary sheet and have students define the list of terms provided. This can be done individually, in small groups, or as a class. Students could also use to look up term definitions.

Set the background for students by discussing the setting of the story. Be sure students know Snoozer is a fictional story. Discuss how oral traditions and folklore can play a role in students understanding what happened during the Civil War. You could teach the Folklore and Oral History lesson plan before this one as a nice compliment to the historical importance of oral tradition and folklore to African Americans, baseball, and U.S. history.

Time: 1865
What: Camp Lee
Where: Virginia
Who: Held eight Union prisoners and one black man
Why: Captured during the war between the North and the South (Civil War)

Students then read Snoozer aloud as a class or individually. During or after reading Snoozer discuss the following points with students to clarify important information, dates, and events.

Teacher’s Notes:
1st stanza: Discuss the location and role of Andersonville and Antietam in the War.

2nd stanza: What is meant by: “just as long as they stayed tied to the factories of the North and kept the flow of tobacco and cotton coming?” Why were the factories important to the economy at this time?

2nd stanza: Talk about the surrender “at Appomattox Court House, only a hundred miles away, by the great general for whom the camp had been named.” What were the implications of this on the war?

2nd stanza: Discuss Lee and Grant’s role in the war. “Some thought he reported that Robert E. Lee had been shot and killed in battle. At least one old widow thought she heard him say that Lee finally got the best of Grant”.

4th stanza: With bats improvised from farm tool handles, and balls wound together tightly over countless hours in confinement, with joy for the end of a national nightmare, and with sadness over its human cost, with the innocence of children on a playground, the game was taught and learned. Discuss the meaning of the underlined part of the passage.

4th stanza: Discuss the meaning of the phrase, “serious as a hanging judge, and spoke with the same lack of humor.”

4th stanza: Discuss how and why Sam was/would want to be “sticking it to the Yanks”“Or maybe old Sam was sticking it to the Yanks, rubbing their noses in this equality thing that some were preaching applies to the black folks, even to the wildest Africans on the plantations. If it turned out that this damn war was about treating the blacks as if they were humans, then by God and golly, Snoozer is going to get out there and play with the Yanks.”

5th stanza: Time is now 1905, discussion on “whether ‘base ball’ would be opened, at its highest levels, the new ‘National’ and ‘American’ leagues, to men of any background”Was baseball opened up to men of any background? Why or why not? When was baseball opened up to men of any background?

5th stanza: "Whaddya say, Jamie boy, will we see the Dark Continent represented in the World Series some October? Why, I bet Jamie thinks women will play big league ball someday, am I right, Jamie?" Discuss the meaning of the phrase Dark Continent, the use of nigger and darkie, and how baseball’s future played out compared to the underlined phrases.

5th stanza: Discuss the meaning of: “then all at once there's Snoozer, goin' after the ball like it was his ticket north” and “Did you make him sit in the dust a few times?”.

5th stanza: “I do believe it was the first white hand he ever shook.” Discuss why this may have been the first white hand Snoozer ever shook.

5th stanza: How did the game of baseball transform Camp Lee? How did baseball transform the nation?

Conclusion: Discuss the meaning of: “The battle line separating blue uniforms from gray was long gone, but the ‘color line’ of the National Pastime was young and strong.”

Day 3:
Review the key points in the story Snoozer. After completing the assessment students can share their thoughts as a class or in small groups. If time, students could work on the alternate assessment.

Extension and Enrichment:
Reenact and video tape Snoozer using props, costumes, dialogue, etc. to create the setting as closely as possible.

Online Resources:

Secondary Resources:
See the lesson plan titled, Folklore and Oral History for further resources and information regarding the importance of oral history and folklore in this context.

Also for Day 3:


Students write a one page summary of how baseball transformed Camp Lee and the nation during the Civil War, citing examples from Snoozer or other sources, i.e. "Cain't do it. Chains are for dogs. No dog could've played ball today like this nigger. Like Snoozer played."

Alternative Assessment:
Create your own life story about one of the characters in Snoozer. Use Tim McCarthy’s and Ed Trowbridge’s life stories as examples.

Student Handout:

Snoozer Vocabulary
1st stanza:
1. improvised -
2. stockade -
3. apprehension -
4. meager -
5. call to arms -

2nd stanza:
6. harangues -
7. verify -

3rd stanza:
8. truce -
9. animosity -
10. gaunt -

4th stanza:
11. callow -
12. proclamation -
13. precipice -

5th stanza:
14. imminent -
15. shrouded -
16. flagstaff -
17. countenance -

Resources for Diverse Learners:
Teachers can utilize the ReadPlease program for students that need/want to listen to Snoozer instead of reading the story.
See the Teacher's Toolkit link for more information on how you can utilize Readplease to enhance student learning.

Grade level: 9-12
Subject: Social Studies

NCSS Standards:
I, II, III, V, VI, X
ISTE Standards: 1, 2, 3
Missouri Standards:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Time Allotment:
3, 60-minute periods