We are knee-deep in our 5th grade historical fiction unit right now. This is always a favorite each year. We've blogged about our various HF adventures HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
In 5th grade, kids have already completed a HF unit when they were with us in 4th grade. During that time, they all read the SAME book. This year, to take them a little deeper, the kids main focus is studying the ERA they selected. Due to this, kids are all reading DIFFERENT books that are within the same era as their book club members. Our students also had to select a different era this year from the one they studied last year in our space. Eras we focused on this year: Colonial America, Revolutionary War, Westward Expansion, Civil War, WW2, and Civil Rights. Our favorite part of this, is that kids of all levels are in book clubs together, really creating fantastic discourse tied to era understanding and how their book fit together.
A huge part of any historical fiction unit is nonfiction understanding of the era they are studying. We spent the first week+ immersing ourselves in nonfiction materials tied to our era. Kids shared ideas with each other and created a group timeline outlining important events from their era.
As we have been working through our books and discussions, they started to bring up and share where their books fit into these non-fiction timelines. Last year, we made "double timelines", which were fun, but only one book could fit in that framework.
This year, our amazing student teacher, Megan Leverence (she's looking for a job, people...anyone hiring?? :) found a great blog post. You can read it HERE. She took the idea and changed it up a little bit, and found a way to connect it to the timelines the kids created.
Rather than write up "reviews," like the blog suggested, she had the kids create "book timelines" of the books they had been reading. She had them find 5-10 important events in their books (no spoilers allowed), and create a timeline "flipbook."
Once the kids created their "flipbook timelines", they placed their books on the nonfiction timelines. This created a fantastic visual of where all of the books we were reading fit across history. We utilized a huge bulletin board in our hall to hang all the timelines and books on. It's been a great discussion and visual tool for all of our kiddos.
How have you taught HF units? How do you bring in nonfiction? We'd love to learn with you!