Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Honest Abe's Economy of Words

Deloris Morris
Santa Rosa District Schools


Students write expository essays using the FCAT writing prompt format and the FCAT scoring method and rubric after reading ACROSS FIVE APRILS and a study of the Gettysburg Address


The student determines the main idea or essential message in a text and identifies relevant details and facts and patterns of organization.

The student knows the role of physical and cultural geography in shaping events in the United States (e.g., environmental and climatic influences on settlement of the colonies, the American Revolution, and the Civil War).

The student understands the impact of significant people and ideas on the development of values and traditions in the United States prior to 1880

The student uses graphic organizers and note-making to clarify meaning and to illustrate organizational pattern of texts.

The student extends the vocabulary-building expectations of the sixth grade using seventh grade or higher level vocabulary.

The student restates or paraphrases text by summarizing.


-Copies of The Gettysburg Address found in AMERICA'S PAST AND PROMISE, McDougal Littell, Evanston, Ill. 1998 (see file).
-Transparency of the FCAT scoring method and rubric used in 1999. Florida Writes, State of Florida-Department of State, Tallahassee, Fl., 1999. (can be found in any Florida Writes book)
-Transparency of the “Economy of Words” (see file).
-Transparency of the Writing Prompt (see file) optional.


1.Make copies of the Gettysburg Address.
2.Make a transparency of the FCAT Writing scoring method and rubric.
3.Make a transparency of the “Economy of Words.”
4.Make a transparency of the Writing Prompt.
5.Become familiar with the idea of “Economy of Words.”


Prior to this lesson, students have read ACROSS FIVE APRILS and have had instruction on the writing process; the FCAT scoring method and rubric have been reviewed with them (Focus, Organization, Support, Conventions).

Day One:
1. The teacher reviews previously learned knowledge of the writing process by having students define prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.

2. The teacher reviews the FCAT scoring method and rubric by using a transparency.

3. The teacher gives an oral background of the Civil War, the causes and outcomes of the War (particularly the Battle of Gettysburg)

4. The teacher gives a copy of the Gettysburg Address to each student and explains the circumstances that existed when Lincoln gave the speech (see attached file).

5. The teacher reads the document with the class and generates a discussion on the “Economy of Words” using a transparency (see attached file).

Day Two:
1. The teacher gives students an expository writing prompt and has them do a timed writing (see attached file)
The timed writing is optional.

2. The teacher collects the essays for review.

Day Three:
1. The teacher places students into cooperative learning groups and gives each student his or her own essay.

2. Students read their essays to the group; the group scores each essay according to the FCAT scoring method and rubric.

3. The teacher collects the essays for a second review to determine if students have understood the FCAT rubric.

Day Four:
1. The teacher selects six essays (one for each level of scoring) and reads them to a different class without divulging the author.

2. The teacher elicits responses from the class and asks them for possible scores.

3. The teacher and class offer suggestions for improvement.

4. The teacher returns the essays to students to write a final draft for scoring by the teacher.

5. The teacher scores the final essays using the FCAT scoring rubric


Peer groups and the teacher use the FCAT Writing rubric to assess student's writings.
The teacher will also need to assess the student’s ability to use an “Economy of Words.”


This lesson can be shortened or lengthened depending on prior instruction on the FCAT scoring method and the writing process.
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech can also be adapted to a persuasive writing lesson.

Web Links

Web supplement for Honest Abe's Economy of Words
Abraham Lincoln

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