Writing, teaching and making history come alive

Lessons and Activities

Experiencing the past through writing historical fiction class activities


What does a classroom session look like?

I come to your classroom dressed in the clothes of the time. Students handle artifacts, listen to music and sing along. They try on clothing, play games, and experiment with the language of the time. We read examples of vivid historical fiction, and talk about who lived back then and what their lives were like.



·        Learn the when, where, who and why of the Oregon Trail

·        Discuss how we know what we know about history

·        Try on clothing from the time

·        Map out wagon size

·        Handle artifacts from the time

·        Hand sewing

·        Practice writing as they did in the 1800’s

·        Learn a song and dance

·        Play games from the time

·        Make an instant book

·        Play a word game to learn vocabulary of the time     

·        Define historical fiction  

·        Make a word bank using period appropriate vocabulary

·        Listen to vivid historical non-fiction and fiction writing

 ·       Learn about using sensory details to create vivid descriptions

·        Consider relevance of details to story and character


Drawing on their in-class experiences, students write short historical fiction passages, letters, songs, or diary entries.

They share their work with each other.

We highlight their successes and suggest areas for additional improvement.

They learn rewriting skills they can use in any type of writing.

They use artistic decision making and critical thinking to shape their work for presentation.