In order to help students ask questions and be critical thinking citizens, teachers need to offer assignments (and reading material) that helps students see multiple points of view about people and history. Blogging allows for creative writing, especially in social studies. We want students to step into periods of history and understand different perspectives, experiences, and events. At the same time tap into the Common Core Writing Standards:
- Common Core State Standard.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
- Common Core State Standard.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3a Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
- Common Core State Standard.ELA-Literacy.W.7.3b Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, and description, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.
The assignment described below was used with a unit on colonialism but this assignment can be adapted for any unit in history.
Here is a Colonial Blog assignment that requires students to take on the identity of an imaginary colonist and write three blog entires explaining their reactions to specific events that angered the colonists. The focus of this assignment is to understand what caused the colonists to revolt against the English.
First, students are to imagine a character that was living in a colony in 1760. Using data given in class, students select a country of origin, home colony, a religion, a profession, and a name. Students invent a name, age, and family circumstances. The assignment requires students to write a brief biography of their character. This includes: demographic information, family’s history, and a description of life in the colony.
For the first blog entry, in character, the student is to write about how one of the British acts have affected you. Describe which rights have been violated and how this act changes your life. Tell how you will respond to this act. The following are the British acts during this period: Proclamation, Stamp Act, Boston Massacre, Line of 1763, Quartering Act, Boston Tea Party, Sugar Act, Townshend Act, Intolerable Acts. The blog entries are expected to be based on the history of these events and be descriptive.
The next blog assignment requires students to read the posted blog entries from other students and write a response. Comment on the experience of a fellow colonists. Give advise, sympathize, or ask a question. Tell what happened after your previous response. Tell how one of the British acts has affected you. Describe what is going on in your life, which rights have been violated, and how this act changes your life. Explain how you will respond to this act.
The final blog assignment has students read the posted blog entries of the other colonists and write a response. Tell what happened after your previous blog entry and how another British act affected you. Describe what is going on in your life and that of your family, which rights have been violated, and how this act changes your life. Explain how you plan to respond to this act.