I have been teaching third for four years (five if you count my graduate internship) and I have never explicitly taught historical fiction. Sure, I covered it as a part of genre, but that was it. Our county recently adopted a new program, Benchmark Literacy, which definitely has it’s ups and downs. The program has us spending 2 weeks on historical fiction, and I have to say that I have loved it. Here’s what we’ve been up to:
First I introduced historical fiction with the definition on my anchor. Since I like “well-put-together-looking” anchor charts, but don’t have tons of time in my classroom before or after school to create them, I typed up the headers I wanted for my chart and just glued them on. If you’re interested, you can find them here.
Next, we made connections by finding historical fiction picture books in my classroom library and discussing ones that they have already read. We found:
Then, we read one of my favorite historical fiction books, The President and Mom’s Apple Pie by Michael Garland. It is about President Taft visiting a town for a flag pole ceremony and going on a hunt for the scrumptious food he smells. There is even a paragraph inside the front cover that tells about President Taft, which was helpful when we were separated fact from fiction.
We added to our anchor chart as we read.
Then, the students glued a historical fiction foldable into their reading notebook (you can also find that here) and copied from our anchor chart. We put nonfiction elements behind the flap and fiction on the notebook paper. When they were done, they had to add at least one fact to each category on their own and respond to the prompt strip glued into their notebook.
Peppe the Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone is a historical fiction book I just found. I plan on reading it to my students next week. It is a great story with amazing paintings/illustrations, but will take some discussion beforehand. I’m thinking I will have to discuss the concept of “Little Italy”, mention that some religions light candles for prayers, and briefly describe the flow of immigrants in 20th century New York.
I also have the historical fiction poster from my free genre poster pack on display!
Please let me know what books or activities you do while teaching historical fiction. Don’t forget to swing by for my 1,000 follower freebie! See you soon!