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Juneteenth Proclamation Jubilation

What took nearly 3 years to travel from Washington, D.C., to Galveston, Texas? Celebrate Juneteenth with a replica of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Today information travels instantaneously. So the idea that an important government announcement took almost 3 years to travel from Washington, D.C., to Galveston, Texas, seems unbelievable. Although Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, the slaves in Texas did not hear that they had been freed until June 19, 1865. Invite students, working in small groups, to research the time period, the importance of this proclamation, and Lincoln's presidency. Student groups organize their research into a presentation format of choice in preparation for sharing their learning with classmates.
    2. Groups look at a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation in a book or on the Internet. Read the entire Emancipation Proclamation. Notice that early documents were not written with a computer or even a ballpoint pen but perhaps a feather or fountain pen nubs.
    3. To replicate the Emancipation Proclamation, students cover their work area with recycled newspaper. Students initially create paper that appears to have aged. On a recycled foam produce tray, mix Crayola® Washable Kid's Paint in multicultural colors to create a light antique color. Cover watercolor paper with Washable Watercolor paint. Blot paint with a paper towel to create the mottled look of antique paper. Dry.
    4. Each member of the group assists with copying the words of freedom found in the first two paragraphs of the Emancipation Proclamation on the treated paper using Crayola Fine Line Markers. Use a fancy, cursive style of writing. Everyone in the group signs the document just like Abraham Lincoln at the end.
    5. Provide a time for student groups to share their research presentations with small groups of classmates.
    6. As a class, discuss the overall importance of the Emancipation Proclamation to the slaves and the white people who lived in the country during this time period. How did this change the country forever?
  • Standards

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of grade level text's complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

    LA: Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; summarize or paraphrase information in notes and finished work, and provide a list of sources.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SS: Demonstrate an understanding that different people may describe the same event or situation in diverse ways, citing reasons for the differences in views.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    SS: Identify and describe examples of tensions between and individual's beliefs and government policies and laws.

    SS: Give examples of how government does or does not provide for the needs and wants of people, establish order and security, and manage conflict.

    SS: Recognize and give examples of the tensions between the wants and needs of individuals and groups, and concepts such as fairness, equity, and justice.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Abe's Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Doreen Rappaport; Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty by Tonya Bolden; Lincoln's Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union by Louis P. Masur; The Price of Freedom: How One Town Stood Up to Slavery by Dennis Brindell Fradin; Abraham Lincoln: Letters from a Slave Girl by Andrea Davis Pinkney; Ben and the Emancipation Proclamation by Patrick Sherman

    Working in small groups, students create a timeline of events leading up to the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation, putting the proclamation into the historical context of the Civil War.

    Juneteenth remains one of the few U. S. holidays that does not have a commercial component. Students identify other non-commercial holidays and speculate on what has protected them from exploitation.

    Groups of students review the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. What loopholes exist which were closed by the Emancipation Proclamation to insure the rights for men of all colors. Re-examine these documents to see that the rights of women were omitted. Why do you think this was so?

    Students theorize why President Lincoln insisted upon the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation.


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