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Historical Writing Lesson Plan Rational

Sometimes middle school students can feel so small compared to the world around them.
Puberty is an awkward stage for many students. Some of them may struggle with topics and ideas that
are difficult for them to discuss. Through this historical writing unit I hope to uncover some dense topics
that people shy away from: war, difference in culture, and self-esteem issues. I want students to know that
their stories do matter.
Students will engage with different texts throughout this unit individually and in book clubs. They
will be exposed to historical narratives: historical fiction, biographies, and folktales. In addition to these
types of writing students will also be exposed to memoirs and autobiographies written in different forms
such as diary entries, poems, and graphic novels. The hope is that students see that writing about
themselves can be done in different ways. With rich literature students must have a time to respond.
Throughout the unit students will keep a reading notebook. They will be asked to write their
questions, inferences, and responses in the notebook. Through this reflection students will be able to
begin to think about the following questions. Why do people tell their own stories? How do people tell their
own stories? Are the different types of historical narratives important? Are these personal histories
important if they dont make it into a text book? Not only will students be able to write and respond about
these questions but they will be able to discuss their ideas with their peers in book clubs.
When we get to memoirs and graphic novels students will work with their peers to dissect and
analyze the texts. The purpose of this is for students to be more prepared for their own writing. One of the
end goals for students is to be able to creatively write a memoir or autobiography. These groups will be
based on interest and heterogeneously mixed. They will also discuss the essential questions: Why do
people tell their own stories? How do people tell their own stories? Are the different types of historical
narratives important? Are these personal histories important if they dont make it into a text book?
Throughout the project students are involved in decision making through the texts they read.
They are able to decide what texts they would like to engage with and what topics they would like to learn
about. Because students will be presenting on each book they read students will have the opportunity to
learn information from their peers.
It is my job to teach, facilitate, and coach the students throughout this lesson. There are many
facets to this lesson and much integration that is occurring between reading, writing, and social studies.
For this reason, I will need to allow students time to read daily, write daily, and to discuss the time in
history they are learning about with peers. I will be conferencing with individuals and groups throughout
this unit as well as facilitating class discussions.
Ideas I need to further think about
How likely is this unit plan to be used in a middle school setting when students change subjects
and teachers consistently?
Is it possible to get more than one teacher on the same team to teach cross curriculum content?
How would the sequence of this learning be conducted logically due to the schedule of middle
school students?
Historical Writing Unit Plan with First Lesson Included
Title: Our Stories
Topic: Types of Historical Writing
Grade: 5th-8th Grade

Subject/Course: Writing/History/Art
Designer: Cecilia Marrero

Stage 1 Desired Results

Established Goal(s):

Social Studies Theme

Personal identity is shaped by an individuals culture, by groups, by institutional influences, and
by lived experiences shared with people inside and outside the individuals own culture
throughout her or his development. Given the nature of individual development in a social and cultural
context, students need to be aware of the processes of learning, growth, and interaction at every level of
their own school experiences. The examination of various forms of human behavior enhances an
understanding of the relationships between social norms and emerging personal identities, the social
processes that influence identity formation, and the ethical principles underlying individual action.
Thinking Like A Historian Through Their Eyes How did people in the past view their world? How did
their worldview affect their choices and actions? Turning Points - How did decisions or actions narrow or
eliminate choices for people? How did decisions or actions significantly transform peoples lives?
Common Core Standards
Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (e.g., print or digital text, video,
multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate
summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author's point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion
or avoidance of particular facts).
Student Friendly Goal: Students become aware of their own personal stories through examination of
other peoples stories with the intention to write their story in a creative and engaging way.
Essential Question(s)
1. Why do people tell their own stories?
2. How do people tell their own stories?
3. Are the different types of historical narratives important?
4. Are these personal histories important if they dont make it into a text book?
Students will know
Content (yellow highlight main focus)
1. What a historical narrative is
2. The different types of historical narratives
a. Historical fiction
b. Biographies
c. Folk literature
3. Different ways people tell their stories in
historical writing
a. Poetry

Students will be able to

1. Analyze and discuss the way people tell
their stories
2. Write their own autobiographical
narrative (memoir or autobiography)
3. Present their personal stories in an
engaging creative way
4. Debate on whether personal stories are
considered history or not


Diary Entries

- how to read and discuss historical narratives
- how to write a personal historical narrative piece
- how to debate a topic respectfully and support their
- how to read and appreciate graphic novels
Stage 2 Assessment Evidence
Informal Assessment:
1. Anecdotal notes on students progress with their texts, book clubs, and individual work
2. Conferencing
3. Peer discussion
4. Class discussion/Debate
5. Group check-ins: Asking students the following questions about what they are reading: How did
people in the past view their world? How did their worldview affect their choices and actions?
Turning Points - How did decisions or actions narrow or eliminate choices for people? How did
decisions or actions significantly transform peoples lives?
Formal Assessment
1. Persuasive Paper on their side of the debate using evidence from their text or other sources on
whether or not these stories matter
2. Personal Histories
3. Reading Logs

Stage 3 Learning Plan

This is a cross curriculum unit plan. The process is to allow students to engage in reading, writing, and
history in a perpendicular way. There will be individual work and group work that occurs depending on
what texts students are reading. There will be some research into the debate of whether or not personal
stories are considered historical. Because of the many components of the unit it would be best to allow
students to experience the differences between the various kinds of historical narratives and the modes
they can be written in. Due to time constraints and resources it is possible students will learn about
modes of writing historical narratives that they will not be able to indulge in during class time. For graphic
novels I would like to have the whole class reading different historical graphic novels so we can
appreciate their aesthetic style and discuss what we have noticed about them. While students read these
novels it is possible to have students writing in the style of the author about their own lives. There are a
few lessons that can be conducted based on the information and goals I have provided already.
For Reading
a. Engaging with different kinds of texts
b. Responding to peoples real stories
c. What history am I learning about?
For Writing
d. How can I apply the authors style to my own writing
e. Trying different forms and finding the one I like
Arts Integration

For History

Aesthetic Engagement through graphics

Reading between the lines of poetry

What part of history affected the character?

Discussing specific time periods in texts about the same time period (For example: the
Holocaust for diaries)
j. How did people in the past view their world and how did their worldview affect their choices
and actions?
k. How did decisions or actions narrow or eliminate choices for people and how did decisions or
actions significantly transform peoples lives?
l. How to conduct research whats a good resource?
m. Synthesizing your research
n. Citing Sources in your paper
For Debate
o. Disagreeing respectfully
p. Supporting Opinion with Evidence
For working with peers
q. Whose job is it anyways? Check and balances
r. Do we all have to agree?
s. Conflict Resolution
t. Blocking behaviors
Materials for Whole Unit:
For Students: Notebooks: reading responses, notes on authors style, and historical content gained; sticky
notes, historical narrative texts and modes; if youre in a classroom with technology laptops or ipads
For Teacher: Rubric for individual papers, self-assessment prompts, rubrics for writing assignments,
group checklist for book clubs, additional resources students ask for as they decide what kind of texts
they want to read, paper and art supplies for students that want to create graphic novels of their personal
The following lesson plan is the introduction to this unit.
Yellow sticky notes
Pink sticky notes
Different types of historical narrative novels
Large sheets of paper for graffiti style brainstorming
Academic Language:
Historical Narratives
a. Historical fiction
b. Biographies
c. Folk literature
Modes of Writing
a. Poetry
b. Graphics
c. Diary Entries

d. Memoirs
e. Autobiographies
f. Letters
Preparation for the lesson: Before starting the class post large paper around the room for graffiti writing.
There should be three sheets individually labeled with one of these historical narrative headings: historical
fiction, biography, and folk literature. There should be room for students to add their yellow sticky notes
(general ideas about each type of writing). There should be four other large pieces of paper labeled
poetry, graphic novels, and diary entries. The pink sticky notes will be used for students to show
connections between the historical narrative and the mode of writing.
Prepare a pallet of literacy launchers for students to explore. Allow students to engage with the texts:
scan through them, discuss with their peers what they think about them, look up book reviews, and etc.
Direct students to use yellow sticky notes for their general comments and stick them to the historical
narrative charts. After students have written what they can about the texts have them sit down.
Procedures: Todays class is all about the modes people can write in to create historical narratives: the
essential question How do people tell their stories? Explain to students, using the literacy launchers, the
types of historical narratives. Show them examples of the modes of writing and how the modes are
connected to the type of historical narratives. Focus on biographies as well as branches of biographies:
autobiographies and memoirs. Present them with one of the essential questions: Are personal stories
considered historical writing? Examples: The Diary of A Young Girl, House on Mango Street, Persepolis,
Barefoot Gen, Inside Out: Portrait of an Eating Disorder. After discussing this with the students allow
students to engage with the biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs again. This time asks students to
decide what books are written in different modes: poetry, graphic novels, and diary entries using pink
sticky notes to connect historical information to the texts and yellow for general ideas about the text. Allow
students to decide which texts seem to be more historical and begin to defend their reasons. Ask them
what would be important to understand when reading historical narratives. Allow group discussion and
then introduce students to what will happen during the unit plan.
Closure: Bring students back to what historical narratives are and what the end goal of this unit will be for
them: to write their historical narratives in creative and engaging ways. Review what the students noticed
today about the types of historical narratives and the main points brought up during the mini debate.
Leave them with this question to ponder: Why do people tell their own stories?