Age of Exploration Writing Unit: Writing Historical Fiction in 1st Person Point of View (PDF & Google Slides)
Students read two mentor texts that contain two different points of view on the encounter between Christopher Columbus and the Taino people. After discussing how point of view affects how the story is told, students begin researching an explorer and a tribe he encountered in the Americas. Students then plan and write two short historical fiction stories: one from the explorer’s point of view and one from a Native person’s point of view.
The unit can be used as a summative assessment for Exploration, as well as a narrative writing piece.
This unit integrates studying about the Age of Exploration into a lesson on point of view and narrative writing. This resource includes mini-lessons that teachers can use or skip, depending upon the needs of their class.
This is a complete unit that includes everything but the suggested mentor text. (Two texts are recommended and teachers can find them at the library.) The unit comes in both PDF and Google Slides formats.
Students begin the unit with a lesson on point of view. They learn about 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person point of view, then complete an anchor chart.
Before reading mentor texts, students respond to two prewriting topics that prepares them to understand how point of view affects how an event is seen by different people. The class reads two different mentor texts and discusses both their points of view and how the encounter is portrayed.
Students then read the project direction page and selects (or is assigned) an explorer and a Native people to research. They use the research sheets to help organize their background information, then they use a storyboard to plan their short stories.
An optional worksheet on writing a Bibliography is included in a case teacher’s require one.
Other resources are included: student project checklist, social studies rubric, and narrative writing rubric.
Everything needed to publish a final letter is included – just print and go! This resource includes:
Suggested Lesson Plan, including suggested mentor texts
Suggested Standards Covered
Anchor Chart (printable pieces) for Point of View (1st, 2nd, & 3rd)
Student Anchor Chart Page for Point of View
Questions for the mentor texts
2 Prewriting Prompts
Project Direction Page
Explorer Sign Up Sheet
Notes pages for the explorer and the Native people
Bibliography Worksheet (optional)
Student Final Project Checklist
Social Studies Rubric
The length this lesson takes will depend upon how long students take to research their people, plan, and write their stories. I estimate 2 – 3 weeks of 30 minutes sessions. Teachers should adapt this project as needed to fit their grade level and student ability-levels.