Historical Fiction EDR 515 Julie Benenhaley, Peter Gottwald, Jr. and Chris Giaccone
Agenda • What is Historical Fiction • Examples of Historical Fiction • Incorporating Historical Fiction • Article 1 and 2 • Tips for Choosing Good Historical Fiction • Guidelines for using Historical Fiction • Book Discussion/Literacy Circle/Debate • Snack Break • Article 3: The Little House That Gave Ground • Article 4 and 5 • Small Group Activity • References and Resources
Historical Fiction Genre • Historical fiction tells a story that is set in the past. That setting is usually real and drawn from history, and often contains actual historical persons, but the main characters tend to be fictional. Writers of stories in this genre, while penning fiction, attempt to capture the manners and social conditions of the persons or time(s) presented in the story, with due attention paid to period detail and fidelity.
Broad Categories of Historical Fiction • 1. Any work that both the setting and the character(s) have a historical basis in fact. • 2. Any work that the setting alone is set in a historical past while characters and situations are fictionalized.
Examples of Historical Fiction • 1. Fictionalized memoirs, in which the author lived during a particular era, and because of the passage of time, it has become historical fiction • 2. Fictionalized family history, which are stories that have been passed down through generations • 3. Fiction based on research, in which the author does extensive research on a particular era and weaves a story through selected factual details • 4. Time travel, in which characters in the present day travel back in time to experience historical events (Temple et al., 2006).
Why incorporate HF in reading programs? • 1. It peaks their interest/curiosity about a specific topic in history. • 2. It levels the playing field because some students come to class with a rich knowledge of history and others do not. Reading historical fiction promotes academic equity because comparing books from one unit to the next provides kids with equal opportunities to develop historical analogies • 3. It often puts people back into a historical time or place.Social studies texts are often devoted to coverage rather than depth. Too often, individuals — no matter how famous or important — are reduced to a few sentences. Children have difficulty converting these snapshots of a person into complex individuals who often had difficult choices to make, so myths and stereotypes flourish. Good historical fiction presents individuals as they are, neither all good nor all bad.
4. It presents the complexity of issues. Traditionally, historical issues have been presented to children as flat, one-dimensional, or single-sided. Historical fiction restores the complexity and truth in history. • 5. It provides multiple perspectives.Historical fiction introduces children to characters who have different points of view and offers examples of how people deal differently with problems • 6. It connects social studies to the rest of the curriculum. Historical fiction, while enhancing understanding of the past, can help integrate social studies across the curriculum. • 7. It hammers home everyday details. Picture books today provide visual and contextual clues to how people lived, what their speech was like, how they dressed, and so on. When accurately portrayed, these details aid providing a richer understanding of the period.
Article: History Methods for All 1 of 2 • What are some advantages to historical fiction? • Helps adolescents participate in the past • Incites adolescent learners to feel, reflect, and make comparisons with contemporary society. • Helps students understand the past • Shows students the interconnectedness of mankind • Help students develop a keener sense of chronology and long time spans
Article: History Methods for All 2 of 2 • How does incorporating historical fiction in the classroom promote cooperative learning? • Dyads (Think, pair, Share) • TTYPA (Turn to your part and…) • Paired Partners • Total Group Response • How might you infuse drama in the history classroom? • Miming Activity (acting out a scene/event w/ out talking) • Improvisation (acting out a scene/event w/ talking) • Role Play Activity (Same as above except that time is given for preparation) • Character Story Reading (each student is a character in a story or passage and they will read their part when it is there turn)
Group Discussion Article: Where Are The Facts • Why do you think using Historical Fiction when teaching history and/or social studies is a viable teaching strategy in your classroom? • Have you used any of these types of strategies in your classroom? Explain. • How might you adapt these strategies for those with special needs? • What are students most likely to learn while reading Jason's Gold and how might a story such as this one make it easier to understand social studies concepts?
Examples of how this was used • What did the lesson plans help the students achieve? • How did this lesson plan make learning about the Gold Rush a much easier task? • Were the NCSS Standards met? The Lesson Plans • 1. Verifying facts about the Yukon Gold Rush • Fact finding mission to make sure the historical fact in the book is accurate • 2. Reporting on the Yukon Gold Rush • Comparing the use of language used in a specific era • 3. Mapping the Yukon • Mapping the route to the Yukon w/ locations in the book • 4. Analyzing Jason Hawthorne’s Heroic Qualities • Qualities of the main and other characters in the story
Resources from article 2 • Alaska’s Gold: • http://www.eed.state.ak.us/temp_lam_pages/library/goldrush/index.htm • American Memory: • http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html • Map of the Yukon: • http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/gmd,klpmap,ww2map:@FIELD(SUBJ+@band(+Transportation++Yukon++Maps++))
History for Kids Website • You can use a web quest when using a resource such as this one when teaching historical fiction: • http://www.historyforkids.org/ • An example web quest is on the EDR 515 seminar website. • http://www.myteachersite.net/00001-WQ/Literacy-WQ.html
Example Lesson Plan on RWTYou can use this lesson plan for Fever 1793 • Students brainstorm what they know about communicable disease and epidemics. They are then introduced to historical fiction and select a historical fiction novel to read from a booklist. They use a set of guiding questions to prompt critical thinking as they read. After they finish the novel, students use nonfiction books and Websites to gather facts about the infectious disease, illness, or epidemic discussed in their piece of historical fiction. Students then find examples of both verifiable fact and fiction in the historical fiction novels they read and write a reflection paper. Finally, students complete a project of their choice from a list of possible projects, including literary analysis, plot analysis, research about disease outbreaks, a disease prevention poster, and more. • http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/looking-history-historical-fiction-404.html
Tips for Choosing Good HF The historical fiction you choose should: • present a well-told story that doesn't conflict with historical records • portray characters realistically • present authentic settings • artfully fold in historical facts • provide accurate information through illustrations • avoid stereotypes and myths
Guidelines and Questions to Consider When Using Historical Fiction • Guidelines are used to evaluate the novel’s historical accuracy. The guidelines for analyzing data can be divided into four main categories: setting, character, plot, and theme. • Remember, historical novels are about past public events and people and social conditions and are based on historical facts. The historical novelist should not distort historical data for the sake of literary form.
Setting (time and place) • Has the author accurately described a particular historical period in the novel? • List some details that describe the historical period and parallel your study of this particular historical period, e.g. geography, transportation, costume or dress, rural, urban, religious mores, social attitudes. • Are the details of the locale authentic in the novel? • Does the description of the locale fit the historical period?
Characters • Are there real historical figures whose names you recognize? • Do the historical figures belong in the period described? • Does a check against the history textbook or biographical materials show that the historical characters are accurately portrayed? • Are fictional characters in keeping with the historical setting? • List positive and negative character traits of main real or fictional characters. Show parts of the novel that support this trait. • Explain the characters’ involvement in the historical setting and events. • How are the historical characters important to the action of the novel?
Plot • Does the plot focus on a specific historical incident? • Do the historical characters in the novel participate in a well known historical incident? • Is the conflict real or fictional? • Do the characters dramatize an eventful moment in history or some other familiar place?
Theme • Does the author’s use of people and events from the past, elucidate some truth about a past era?
Book Discussion Fever 1793 • Author: Laurie Halse Anderson, Date Published: 2000 • In this book for there is a young girl named Mattie that lives in a coffee house that Mattie, her mother and grandfather run. They lived in what we know now as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the summer spread a deadly disease called, "Yellow Fever" in which many people did not live and those that did left for other regions that were not so dangerous. Her feverish mother insists that her and her grandfather flee the city, but Mattie soon realizes the sickness is everywhere and that she must learn to take care of herself in a city that has turned to disease.
More Books by the same author • ChainsAuthor: Laurie Halse AndersonDate Published: 2010 / Grade Level: Middle/High • ForgeAuthor: Laurie Halse AndersonDate Published: 2010 / Grade Level: Middle/High
Summary • Why do you think the author chose to write about this particular historical episode? • Is the author revealing any new insights about the historical characters or historical events? • Why is this considered a historical novel? • Is this novel a good or bad historical novel, based on the previous definition of historical fiction? • What social condition in history does the novel reveal? • What comment do you think the author is making about this social condition? • How can this social condition be related to contemporary life? • How do the characters reveal the theme? • Does this novel reflect more than one theme? • Is there more than one point of view about the theme(s)?
Literacy Circle Fever Discussion Questions • Describe Mattie's relationship with her mother and grandfather, how do these relationships define her personality? Throughout the book, Matilda and her mother never say they love each other, yet we know they do. What evidence is there in the story that the two feel deeply for each other? • Matilda changes a great deal from the beginning of the novel to the end. Give examples of those changes. • In this story we generally see the story from Mattie's perspective, discuss the feelings, emotions and decisions made by the other characters In the story. e.g. her grandfather, mother.
The refugees from Barbados are blamed for bringing the fever (p. 38) and yet it is also said that black people are immune to it. Why do you think the Free African Society steps up to help the sick when no one else will? Why do you think they continue to do so even once it is known that black people can get the sickness too? • Could an epidemic like this happen today? Can you think of any recent illnesses that have been as destructive as yellow fever was? Did people react in the same way as in the book or not? How does modern medicine and science effect epidemics today? • How did you react to how some of the townspeople’s dealt with their family members that fell sick? Please consider how the dead were dealt with and how some families abandoned their sick loved ones in fear of catching the disease themselves.
Debate • Do you think it is fair of the town council of Pembroke to prevent fever victims from escaping the city of Philadelphia and entering their town? Why they should or shouldn't be aloud to move through their town and out of Philadelphia.
Cookie Break • I made you all some very delicious peanut butter cookies so enjoy!
The Little House That Gave GroundTurn and Talk Activity • 1. From what you know from the article, how did Little House in the Big Woods match the master narrative of the first half of the twentieth century? • 2. How did Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry break that cycle of the master narrative in children's literature? • 3. What doors did this open up for our comprehension of historical events? • 4. After reading this article, you can see how the genre of historical fiction in children's literature has evolved over time. How will supplementing history textbooks with historical fiction novels benefit our student's understanding of history?
Small Group Activity -Bringing Together Fictional and Informational Texts to Improve Comprehension -Comprehension Strategies for Reading Historical Fiction Picture Books
Reliable Resources for Choosing Books • Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies, compiled annually since 1972 by the Children's Book Council in cooperation with the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) • Social Studies and the Young Learner, a quarterly magazine published by NCSS, features a regular column on books appropriate for elementary social studies and suggestions for use. • An Annotated Bibliography of Historical Fiction for the Social Studies, Grades 5–12, by Fran Silverblank, published by Kendall/Hunt for the National Council for the Social Studies. • Seminar Website • http://www.myteachersite.net/EDR515/home.html