Saturday, December 27, 2008

Teaching HIstory through Fiction

Authorsnow! has passed on a Scholastic link about teaching historical fiction in the classroom. The article's author, Terry Lindquist, teaches grade five social studies. Grade five and six kids are at that amazing point in life where they want to know and they have the basic skills to engage in meaningful feedback. I was totally impressed with the engagement of a grade six class when I first 'tested' my fledgling manuscript of The Kulak's Daughter.  

Two points she addresses, especially caught my attention. First, Ms.Lindquist says "it puts people back in history." Focusing on one character's point of view as historical events unfold demonstrates the 'seven blind mice' principle. 

The other point that she mentions, and I'd like to stress, is that historical fiction can present 'the complexity of issues.'  We'd all love to have events and people clearly defined as good or bad - but the truth is always a bit more difficult to find. And in the end, we want kids to see themselves as part of an ever-developing history. After all it's ourstory and it's incredibly dynamic. 

Word of the day: dynamic-pertaining to energy or power in motion, relating to tending towards change  (as opposed to: static)

1 comment:

Barrie said...

I love that age group. And, now that I have a 7th grader, I'm kind of fond of that age group too. ;) Good post, as usual, Gabe.