Thursday, December 13, 2012

Looking Toward January: Historical Fiction

Both fourth and fifth grades in many districts will be writing historical fiction in January. Now would be the time to begin immersing the students in that genre. Using historical fiction in read alouds. literature circles, and whole group teaching will allow children to become familiar with that type of writing.

There are two ways students can learn about a time period. One is to use the unit of study happening in social studies. As the class is studying a historical era, set all of their writing stories within that one era. They can use not only the social studies text book, but also film, photographs and stories set in that time period. It is important for them to develop images of  the time and place to draw upon as they create stories set in that context.

Another option is to set the stories students will be writing in the era of the Read Alouds they will be interacting with during whole group reading time. All of your read alouds for this month would be the time and place in history you have chosen. Material for this option can also come from folders of articles and photos from the time period the teacher has gathered.

I am including, in this blog, a list of historical fiction picture books that could be used for this unit. For my Monday book suggestions next month, I will be using these books and going deeper with descriptions of those books. For now, here's a list to get you started:
  •  Lewis and Clark and Me by Laurie Myers
  • Smoky Nights by Eve Bunting
  • Delivering Justice by Jim Haskins
  • The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
  • January's Sparrow by Patricia Polacco
  • A Good Night for Freedom by Barbara Olenyik Morrow
  • The Harmonica by Tony Johnston
  • The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
Choosing books that fit your era of choice will give students a good starting point for writing this genre. Making anchor charts with lists of things they notice in this reading will also give you a place to start when you begin the writing workshop in January!

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