Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past

Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier

As educators, we are constantly seeking innovative ways to engage our young learners and make their educational experiences both meaningful and enjoyable.

One powerful way to achieve this is by integrating reading and history into our curriculum.

Today, we’ll explore the value of history and writing integration and how the incorporation of labeling and writing templates for history can take your lessons to new heights.

writing and history: the power of integration

Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier

Combining writing and history creates a dynamic learning experience for our students.

As young minds embark on their educational journey, understanding the past is crucial for building a strong foundation for the future.

Integrating history into our lessons not only fosters a love for learning but also promotes critical thinking skills, cultural awareness, and a sense of connection to the world around them.

Any type of writing needs start with explicit directions and meaningful practice in many whole group sessions.

Teachers cannot expect early writers to be proficient or independent without a variety of whole group experiences.

The whole group lessons need to focus on sentence segmentation, penmanship, sentence mechanics, content, and illustrations.

Check out this blog post for more information.

Anchor Charts with writing provide students with independent connections to vocabulary. The George Washington anchor chart was written over the course of a week.

Each day the students would write an new fact, following his timeline. We used pictures from a Picture Book of George Washington.

writing and history: labeling

Labeling is a foundational skill for early writers, and what better way to reinforce this skill than by incorporating it into our history lessons?

This is where the History/Social Studies set comes into play. With 45 sheets covering a range of historical topics, this set is a treasure trove for teachers looking to seamlessly integrate writing and history.

Another set Special People in Black History contains 30 people.

(If you’d like more information about labeling, click this link.)

Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier

The History/Social Studies set encompasses a diverse array of topics, ensuring a rich and comprehensive learning experience for your students. From American history and patriotism to essential life skills like wants and needs, the set covers it all. The inclusion of labeling templates for historical figures, events, and concepts makes it easy for young learners to express themselves while reinforcing their understanding of the past.

One of the standout features of this set is its adaptability. Whether you’re working with kindergarteners or first graders, the materials can be easily differentiated to meet the needs of every student in your classroom. The labeling templates serve as a versatile tool, allowing you to tailor lessons to various skill levels. Whether your students are using labels as a springboard for creative writing or diving into research projects, this set provides endless possibilities.

Level 1: Students can write the provided facts in phrases.

Level 2: Students can write the provided facts using commas in a series.

Level 3: Students can write each fact provided in sequential order in complete sentences.

Level 4: Students can add more details for each provided fact.

writing and history: 4 Square Biographies

Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier

4 Square writing templates contain an historical figure and 4 facts about each.

There are three sets of 4 Square templates for History lessons.

The Famous Americans set has 25 templates.

The Special People in Black History has 28 templates and the Women in History set has 28 templates.

Each set also comes with an information guide about the people.

Students can write easy biographies using the templates.

4 Square templates are perfect for differentiation. If your class contains students at the earliest writing levels, students with learning disabilities and/or dysgraphia, students just learning English and neuro-divergent students who need a clear routine for writing, these templates fit the need.

Level 1 – Students can use the templates to write predictable sentences with a single sentence stem.

Level 2 – Students can write simple sentences with a variety of sentence stems, most of which are sight word heavy.

Level 3 – Students can write more than one sentence for each square. The students can use other sources to expound on the detail.

BOTH Labeling and 4 Square Sets can be used to make for bigger books.  Assigning each student a historical person, these can be combined for a Class Book. Students can also make their own chapter books by writing about a different person each week for several weeks and adding them to their own book.

writing and history: word cards

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, A LOT of student problems with writing stem from fear.

Students are afraid to write because they “don’t know how.” Even though it’s our job to teach them how, we also need to show them writing is not to be feared.

When students know about a topic, it’s easy to write about it.

If you ask a student who plays soccer to write about soccer, they’ll write a lot.

Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier

If you ask a student who loves bugs to write about bugs, they’ll write a lot. BUT, if you tell them to write about something new they will hesitate about the spelling. “Yikes…I can’t spell that.”

One of the ways to help our earliest writers, is to provide spelling for them. I do this in the form of a word card.

If we can take away the fear of writing the “big” words, they’ll write using the “small” words on their own. Like the example, students are writing about Presidents’ Day.

They don’t have to worry about the “big” words (Declaration of Independence) and they can focus on the “small” words. They may also choose to write about a “Washington Monument” if they don’t have to worry about spelling.

Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier

Word Cards can also be used to develop vocabulary on topics. When learning about Presidents’ Day, exposing students to a word card can limit their fear of writing.

Writing and History: Independent Centers

The beauty of the History/Social Studies set lies in its ability to facilitate a smooth transition from whole group lessons to independent centers.

The structured Labeling, 4 Square, and Word Card templates provide a consistent framework for students to follow, promoting autonomy and confidence as they engage in independent writing activities.

Don’t forget if you teach a process, you can change the product and students can be successful independently. Check out my Process/Product blog post for more information about this type of center.

Incorporating history into your writing lessons doesn’t just make sense; it creates a holistic and enriching educational experience for your students. The Labeling and 4 Square History/Social Studies sets  and Seasonal Word Card sets are a valuable resource for educators seeking to make learning a vibrant journey through time.

Make history come alive in your classroom, and watch as your students make huge gains in both their writing skills and their understanding of the world.

Check out the links below, if you’d like any of the proudcts to help you bridge the past with Writing and History.

Cathy Collier
Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier
Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier
Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier
Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier
Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier
Writing and History: Building Bridges with the Past Cathy Collier

Leave a Reply