Unit: Historical Fiction


Grade Level: Middle School

Length of Unit: 15 - 20, 90 min class sessions

Stage 1: Desired Results

Content Standards and Benchmark:

AISC Technology Standards 1 & 2

AERO: English, End of grade 8 , Reading

1. Students will read fluently using the skills and strategies of the reading process.

2. Students will comprehend, respond to, and analyze a wide variety of literary texts.

3. Students will apply skills and strategies appropriate for reading non-fiction texts.

Understanding (s): Understandings:

Students will understand that…

Historical fiction is a reading genre helps people understand better and relate to history and present day.


Essential Questions: General

  • What is historical fiction?
  • How can historical fiction help us understand history?
  • What lessons can we learn from history that apply to present day?

Stage 2 – Assessment Evidence



  • Students choose to read a book from the Popular Middle School Historical Fiction Books on GoodReads.com
  • Reflection blog post on each reading with links to websites about historical events they read about in their book
  • Personal Weekly Quizlet Vocabulary from reading
  • Creation of a timeline using student’s choice of web 2.0 tool that documents what happened in the story with characters and what happened historically

Role: You are a middle school humanities teacher that is integrating technology into your curriculum

Audience: 7th Grade Humanities students

Situation: Students will work independently on readings, reflection blog, timeline, and quizlet vocabulary.  Students will share  and discuss reflections in class and are responsible for at least 5 comments on the blogs of other students.

Product: Students will create a blog that will contain the reflections, the timeline and embedded quizlet vocabulary games.

Six Facets of Understanding:

Explain:  Students create a blog to explore and explain the historical fiction genre by reflecting on readings and historical events that occur during their novel’s timeframe.

Interpret: Students will research historical events that are mentioned in their novel.  In their blog and their timeline, the will reflect and discuss these events and link to resources they have found on the Internet that explain the importance of the historical event; it’s causes and effects.

Apply: Students develop a digital timeline incorporating historical events and events in their novel.  

Have perspective: Students will write a two blog post from the perspective of two different characters in their novel to explore the perspective of a historical event from another’s point of view.

Empathize: After each reading, students will have a class discussion about how they are relating to characters and events in their novel.

Have self-knowledge: In their last blog post, students will reflect about what they have learned about the historical fiction genre and the historical events in their novel.  They will also evaluate themselves and their timeline project, what part of the assignment was the most challenging and why and what part of the assignment they are most proud of.

Stage 3: Learning Plan - Including Differentiation

Day One and Two

Introduce Historical Fiction Genre

Discussion Questions:

  • Have you ever read any historical fiction books?
  • What people in history are you interested in learning more about?
  • What historical periods are you interested in learning more about?

Unit Overview

  • Set up Blog, have students link URL on shared Google Doc, allow commenting
  • Set up GoodReads.com acccount if not setup already
  • Choose book and check it out from library (teacher might want to already have a selection of books checked out for the students to pick from.  You may want to give the option to some ESL students to choose a historical fiction picture book, instead of a novel.
  • Introduce timeline project briefly


  • Students section off their book into 15 readings
  • Start First reading
  • Start writing first blog post; answer these questions in the post
  • What is historical fiction?
  • What book did you select and why?
  • What time period does the novel cover?
  • Reflections on the 1st chapter

Day Three

  • Finish 1st blog post
  • Have students read and comment of another student’s post
  • Read for 20 min. second reading
  • Quizlet account set-up and instructions on how to use it Click here for video tutorial
  • Students pick out 5 words from each reading that students are unfamiliar with and add them to a quizlet vocabulary card set


  • Second blog post; possible prompts
  • Compare and contrast the time period in your novel to present day
  • Who are the main characters and how are you connecting to them?
  • What historical events have happened in your novel so far?  Write about what you have learned.

Day Four

  • Read for 20 min. third reading, have students highlight 5 words from the reading for Quizlet vocabulary
  • Show students how to embed Quizlet vocabulary game into their blog
  • Give directions for digital timeline project.  Give students suggested digital tools to use for this:
  • Have students go through reading and start recording events that they are going to include in their timeline project for the first three readings, suggest Noodle Tools for Bibliography and Evernote for taking notes and saving resources.  Additional lesson can be given for these tools in necessary *ask Integrator or library for help.  
  • Give students 20 min to research online the historical events they recorded from their novel.  Have them save the urls.


  • What events in history have taken place in your novels so far?
  • Do you (or other students) know about any of these events?



  • Third blog post; possible prompts
  • What have you learned about history through your novel?
  • Pretend you are one of the characters in your book, write your blog post from their perspective

Routine for remaining 90 min Classes and Daily HW

  • Read 20 min per class, any additional reading can be done for HW
  • Discussion 10 min
  • add 5 words to Quizlet set for each reading - 10 min
  • Go through reading; record plot events and historical events that will be added to digital timeline - 10 min
  • Research historical events, save information and urls for timeline and bibliography - 10 min
  • Work on timeline project - 30 min


  • Finish reading
  • Reflective blog post on reading, and comment on a classmate’s blog
  • Practice quizlet vocabulary
  • Work on timeline project

Rubrics and Assessments