Monday, September 8, 2008

A Letter to Someone in History

Writing a letter to someone as if they were the character in a specific time period is a great lesson for the classroom. I have done this with students have been quite entertained by the results. First I would have students research a specific person from whatever time period we were studying. Then they would fill out a form stating the person’s name, the year at this specific time, specific events happening at this time, the age of the person, location the person was in at the time, any important personal traits that would be important for someone to know.
Then the student would decide who they wanted this person to write a letter to. It could be to a parent, a spouse, a child, a friend or someone they would like to persuade. The student needs to write this letter as if they were this specific person so it would need to be in first person.

The students would need to include in their letter:
· Personal words to the person they are writing
· An explanation of what is going on at the time.
· The conflict or problems this person is facing
· Hopes for the future
· Personal closing to the person they are writing

It is important that they do not put information in that could not be possible for that time period (for example: mention they will drive somewhere if this takes place during the Revolutionary War period or talking about snow in the middle of summer).

Back when I did this lesson, we didn’t have computers in the room or the technology to share this with others. I think it would be great if the students could post their letters in a blog or podcast to share with others. Other students can respond by asking questions or making comments.

I think this was a successful lesson and the students really were engaged in the learning. They loved the personal aspect of this and enjoyed playing in character. If you decide to give this a try, please come back here and post your results and links to any blogs or podcasts you do.

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