Writing Historical Fiction with Intermediate Students
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English Language Arts
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          In this packet, I have included three examples of historical fiction assignments with accompanying rubrics and checklists.    The first one is a more general assignment if you are studying genre in class.  The next two are ones I have completed when we were studying specific time periods: explorers and settlers.  When collecting research sources, I have students fill out the page marked “Works Cited (Bibliography).”

          I found the more general assignment was a struggle for most intermediate students.  They needed to research a time period and determine what was important to include and what could be changed.  Some students did very superficial research and changed history.  (For example Helen Keller didn’t have a teacher named Anne Sullivan and the U.S. took out Hitler.)  I still felt like this was a worthwhile assignment.  They learned history while writing about it and fixing misconceptions.

          To create the journal entry assignments, I used books from the Dear America series as mentor texts.  I demonstrated for the whole class how to paraphrase informational text and convert it from third person to first. 

For struggling writers, I wrote on their rough drafts four possible dates from the unit of study, left some space for entries, and asked them to fill in the details.  This strategy worked for my three students with IEPs in writing and a child who just moved to our country.  Showing a video of the life of a pioneer made the content accessible to these students. 

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