Teaching With Historical Fiction

Why Teach With Historical Fiction by Jane Hedeen, Indiana Historical Society Coordinator, Student and Educator Programs (Indianahistory.org)

We’d also like to share the following from an essay by 5th grade teacher, Terry Lindquist who was recognized by the National Council for the Social Studies as National Elementary Teacher of the Year. It’s a wonderful piece on why historical fiction works so well in the classroom.

Why & How I Teach with Historical Fiction
Here’s the story on historical fiction in my classroom: It illuminates time periods, helps me integrate the curriculum, and enriches social studies. Just take Amy’s word for it. At the end of our westward-expansion unit, while modeling her journal entry after a fictional account we’d read, this fifth grader wrote: “Dear Diary, July 30, 1852: This journey has been heart-wrenching, thirst-quenching, and most of all, an adventure I will never forget.” Blending stories into a study of history turns the past into a dynamic place.

Of course, historical fiction doesn’t stand alone in my instructional program; even the best literature cannot address skills and processes unique to social studies that kids must learn. I have students balance fiction with fact, validate historical hypotheses with research. Historical fiction is the spice.

To help you build good fiction into your social studies program, below you’ll find:

•    Seven Reasons I Teach with Historical Fiction

•    Tips for Choosing Good Historical Fiction

•    Fifteen Fabulous New Historical Fiction Books

•    Is Pocahontas Real? Discovering Where History Stops and the Story Starts

Continue reading the essay here.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.