Writing Assignment Description
Eighth-grade students at Pioneer Charter School (now Polaris Expeditionary Learning School) in Fort Collins, Colorado created a historical character file as part of a learning expedition on slavery. The process took two months and included multiple drafts of writing and artwork. Each file contains a portrait, a narrative/biography, a character map, a bibliography, and artifacts based on the character’s life.
Models of Excellence recognizes the challenges of teaching students history that includes sensitive topics such as enslaved people, genocide, and human rights abuses. Student projects that involve topics like this should be planned with care for the emotional safety of students, respect for the people and cultures studied, and should use reliable primary and secondary sources so that content is not built upon assumptions or stereotypes. Written simulations (e.g., fictional diaries or documents) should be closely informed by student research, fieldwork, and adult experts.
How This Writing Can Be Useful
- Historically accurate fictional narrative built from realistic character’s perspective
- Highlights a format that allows for a deeply personalized account of an historical period
- Thoughtful and skilled use of detail to increase reader engagement
Common Core State Standards
|Long Term Learning Target