Thursday, March 5, 2015

Historical Fiction Launch

Now that our amazing fantasy unit is over, we continue our journey in the fiction world, but this time with HISTORICAL FICTION!! Even though the kids loved our fantasy unit, they were ready for a change of pace. And what better change than to transport our readers back in time!

To launch this unit, we introduced our students to 4 different time periods: Early Colonies, Revolutionary War, Civil War/Slavery, and WWII. We utilized a Prezi to launch the unit.
Click to view our intro Prezi
After they were exposed to facts about the different eras and a few possible book choices, we had our students vote on the era that they most wanted to immerse themselves in using a Google Form.
From that point, we put the kids into era-alike groups of 3 or 4 kids. The best part about this unit, is that we are encouraging all students in a club to read different books. This allowed for our groups to be completely heterogeneous! 

We also created an open-ended packet for our students to utilize as they needed for this unit:
Click to see the packet in our TpT store!
In this packet, there are lots of opened-ended templates for the kids to utilize to house/organize our thinking! Many of the pages match the major touchstone lessons we will cover in this unit. In our environment, the packet serves as a guide, not a requirement. Many students choose to use it. However, many students choose to create their own format. Lots choose a digital format (Google Spreadsheets, Prezi, Google Presentations, etc.). The students like to create collaborative docs where all members in their club can contribute their thinking in one place. I absolutely love the creativity and ingenuity that our students show. They truly know how they learn best and how to best display their thinking in a way that is personal to them!

Next, we got the students immersed in their era using picture books. Each group chose a picture book from their era to work through together. They used sticky notes and marked all over it! They had grand conversations and wrote long and strong thinking's about their new era learning!
The next step was to build more background knowledge about their era. Students self-selected nonfiction books tied to their time period. They, again, dug through them in partnerships, pulling out interesting facts and new learning. They shared their learning as a book club. The final step was to really collaborate and put together all of their ideas into a collaborative long and strong. The goal was to include a piece of everyone's great ideas into one big thinking! It was magical to see them put their heads together! Some groups needed more coaching than others, but what they came up with was remarkable!
An example of an organizer from the packet was time to dig into their new historical fiction books! They were SO excited to see the cart and buckets full of books to pick from! There was something for every interest and era! After our build up of information, all they wanted was some time to dig in and READ!
We are so excited to see where this unit takes us! Check back soon for more unit updates!

Happy Teaching!



  1. So many great non-fiction children's books on various periods of history. Love this unit you did.

  2. Might want to widen it to include immigration movement into US... there were several periods of this and could feature Ellis Island of which there are many titles. Enjoy your reading!

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Immigration is a great idea! We have a large collection of multiple copies of books that we share between our 4th and 5th grades. We'll have to look into that era and see if we can get some titles for our collection!