Part I: Story and History
These modules for History students aged 11-15 investigate the relationship between historical writing and narrative. Students will look at the transition from prehistoric art to myths and historical narrative, and recognize that the historical narratives we construct every day still use 5,000 year old intellectual tools and structures.
Students investigate valuable intellectual and historical questions such as:
- Do cave-paintings count as historical narratives?
- Who was the first person to record their experience - and why?
- If a myth is based on a fact, does that make it history?
- What's the difference between a true and a significant story about the past?
- Why are some historical stories told over and over?
- Is every story biased?
- Are there thought-experiments in History?
Each module has several sections, allowing teachers to break them up between class- and homework. They all end with a writing task which invites students to write freely and at length about a concept in the module and to consider how it appears in narratives that are part of their own lives.
Part II: Writing Historical Fiction
Writing historical fiction is an excellent way for History students to develop an understanding of historical narrative, cause and effect, empathy, and perspective. Yet many teachers do not feel comfortable introducing an fiction task to the History classroom, or confident in steering students through it in a manner fundamentally different from English.
This 10-section workbook engages students in a self-guided exercise in forming a historian's question, locating sources with which to answer it, and performing a thought-experiment with historical imagination. They write the narrative in stages closely tied to historical skills, and so recognize from the outside the contestability of historical explanations and the relative quality of siginficance and evaluation performed by different historians.
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