Historical Fiction Creative Writing Assignments

Historical Fiction Creative Writing Assignments-45
When it comes to designing lessons, I have found these standards to be liberating, because they emphasize the process of reading, writing, listening, and speaking over any particular canon.With my eyes firmly focused on the standards, my first planning question is no longer, “Which book should I teach next?Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006.

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These competencies are at the heart of the standards movement, and I believe that students who become confident in their own ability to make sense of big ideas and communicate this understanding effectively will be successful throughout their schooling and beyond.

Since discovering differentiation and the classroom energy created when students exercise choice, I have seen many of my students reconnect with learning.

For example, you might write a story set during the Vietnam War from the perspective of a Vietnamese woman whose husband is fighting in the conflict, or you could create a character from the Revolutionary War who is a British sympathizer.

Offering a different side to the story can lend dignity to viewpoints that are often marginalized and give readers an alternate way of seeing history.

Students then work in heterogeneous literature circles in a reader's workshop environment to discuss, react to, and analyze a novel of their choice: Roots by Alex Haley, Daughter of Fortune by Isabelle Allende, Cane River by Lalita Tademy, The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan, or The Storyteller's Daughter by Jean Thesman.

Each of these novels, listed in order from most challenging to least challenging, uses a distinct cultural perspective to tell the story of a family's evolution.Many historical events have perspectives that are underrepresented or unexplored in literature.Write your story from the point of view of a character who experiences a side of the story's true events that frequently goes untold.Choose a historical event, then craft a fictional plot that mirrors the conflict at the heart of the real circumstances.For example, the Civil War would make a rich backdrop for a story about a family that is split apart when the father and oldest son choose to fight on separate sides of the conflict.This five- to six-week unit engages students in the study of historical fiction and culminates with them developing and sharing a piece of historical fiction that is based on one of their own family's stories or artifacts.The unit opens with students using the concept attainment method (see Glossary, page 350) to develop a working definition of historical fiction.Students who choose to rework or expand their writing further have the option to do so as an ongoing independent study.This unit is a reflection of my desire to help all students become critical readers, effective writers, careful listeners, responsive speakers, and most importantly, engaged thinkers.Those who cannot or do not wish to focus on their own family's stories work with material provided by the teacher.Supported by differentiated modeling and coaching from the teacher in a workshop environment, they develop a vignette (character sketch), short story, or chapter of a longer work that demonstrates their understanding of the qualities of excellent historical fiction.


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