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The Craft of Writing through Narrative History

Christine Picón Van Duzer

Contents of Curriculum Unit 02.04.04:

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Introduction and Objectives

The Craft of Writing through Narrative History is designed for bilingual students in the third grade. It introduces students to social studies through literature and writing by using stories about people. I will focus my lessons around a collection of biographies about children in history and two autobiographies--a bilingual autobiography by an artist and an autobiography by a civil rights heroine. The lessons will explore the lives of people and their perspectives on the world around them through narrative histories. I think a first person point of view will motivate my students to get excited about writing.

Students also examine selections from literature as models for their own writing; investigate the events that shaped the author’s stories; and relate what they learn about other people to their own lives. In the end students will write their own narratives to help them understand more about themselves and to understand their own place in history. Florence Krall writes … “the journey inward becomes an ongoing process that leads outward to a more complete understanding of the human condition. Self-understanding is not merely a reflection on what we are but what we are in relation to the world. Self-understanding comes to us via our unique perceptions of the world which are inherent upon our individual abilities as well as on our social cultural histories” (Graham 119). Understanding the world and how the students are a part of it is the general theme throughout this unit. Insofar as my students have experienced first hand the types of events that they will read about in the biographies and autobiographies, the unit will be relevant and therefore meaningful.

We choose to express ourselves through writing. Writing gives our thoughts a home, a place where they can settle and take shape. Writing allows expression of our imagination in a way that visual images cannot because language is filled with nuance and shared meaning. Writing also records oral history so that other cultures and societies can share in each others stories. The focus of writing through narrative history is to encourage students to flourish within their culture as well as in the larger society.

I want to help my students learn what it means to be who they are, to know where they come from, and to show them how they are a part of American history. I feel I can do this through literature, storytelling, and writing. I believe bilingual students in American society need to learn how to use and understand English without denying their own language. My primary goal in my classroom is to use discussion, debate, and journaling to develop decisive, critical thinkers. Through the use of historical literature that focuses on Hispanic traditions and some challenges of American society, students will explore their own cultural heritage as well as their American history. Students can then make historical connection with the past and try to understand how these events can still touch their daily lives.

Research studies indicate that when students can relate their daily life experience as well as prior knowledge to the content of literature, they are better able to understand and assimilate new concepts and knowledge; hence the engaging of narrative style through literature may result in a student’s discovery and retention of historical concepts (Farris 74).

Donald Murray also supports this theory for using literature to make connections in order to help students retain information. In his book, Write to Learn, Murray says: “the narrative’s story telling style can be a pivotal component in using description to show the reader what is taking place. Historical facts placed in a story persuade the reader to stay interested long after the information has been passed. The story then develops into a sequence of events encouraging the reader to respond, creating an inter-active experience” (246).

Integrating reading and writing into social studies adds variety and interest for students, so that students, sparked by material that touches their own lives, will participate in open discussions, that will lead to questions about the world around them. In participating in such an exercise students will find their own writing voice through narrative form and they will explore various historical views including their own. Writing also allows students to interact with literature by forcing them to take ownership of what they read and providing them with the opportunity to reflect. They can then develop skills such as critical thinking, planning, and responding.

Author Pamela J. Farris provides the five stages of the writing process: “prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing” (75). In prewriting students gather information before they begin to write. Students must demonstrate that they know how to locate reference materials and sources, plan the type of writing they will do (in this case narrative) and use graphic organizers, outlines, and webs. Through a series of teacher generated questions, students will discuss what they already know, what they want to learn, and what they have learned to create a list of information. This information is later used in their writing.

Drafting is the stage when students write down their main ideas in an organized manner with a clear beginning, middle, and end. In the revising stage, the student rereads the draft and makes any necessary changes in punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and grammar. The editing stage combines the modifications in content and punctuation.

Publishing is the final stage. At this stage students are encouraged to share their work with each other. Once students have spent the time gathering information and doing their rewrites, publishing offers them the chance to finally share all that they have learned and collected in their finished work. It is an opportunity for students to see how an audience reacts to what they have written. All lessons in this unit will go through the five stages of the writing process.

It is important to integrate learning through a variety of texts. Because of the different reading levels in my classroom I have chosen a combination of books that students can read on their own or listen to because the reading level of the book is difficult. These books reach back into America’s past as well as into contemporary issues. These texts include We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History by Phillip Hoose, a collection of young people’s stories during the time periods of 1492 to present. All of the stories in this book are factual, taken from the diaries and the interviews of the actual people. This collection will serve as the catalyst for the student’s own journal, story telling, and writing activities. Next, we will read the bilingual book Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia. Artist and author Carmen Lomas Garza uses her art and her family’s story to describe what it was like growing up in a border town. Through My Eyes: The Story of Ruby Bridges as told by Ruby Bridges is an incredible story of how a six-year-old girl became a symbol for the Civil Rights movement and was propelled into American history. Lastly, I will use Kids Explore America’s Hispanic Heritage: Westridge Young Writers Workshop. This book organizes writings by students in grades three to seven around topics of Hispanic culture, including dance, cooking, games, history, art, songs, and role models. By incorporating these types of books into the curriculum not only will students be challenged but the books allow them to be able to explore their own cultural history as well as the history of others. Students will be able to make connections among historical events using real life experiences that are recognizable and meaningful in their daily lives.

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All students learn and produce language differently; there is no set formula for how students will acquire language. As a bilingual teacher, it is important to encourage any kind of communication through reading, writing, evaluations, assessments, and social situations that will allow students the opportunity to use all of their skills. It is significant for a bilingual teacher to understand the levels of writing in Spanish and English because all of these stages may be found in one classroom alone. It is then helpful to identify the level that each student is in so that the teacher can adjust the assignments individually and increase learning.

Yvonne and David Freeman examine the process of writing development in their book, Teaching Reading and Writing in Spanish in the Bilingual Classroom; they believe that it is important for a teacher to understand the “normal patterns of writing development,” so that the teacher is capable of decoding and supporting student’s written work while helping students achieve standard forms (145).

For example, when Diane entered third grade, her records indicated that she was at a second grade level in reading and writing. She was able to speak, read, and write in her second language of English at a level appropriate for a beginning third grader. In contrast, her classmates were still struggling with language acquisition, reading comprehension, and basic writing skills. Their records indicated levels, for them that ranged from kindergarten to first grade. These students did not have many experiences with reading and writing in either Spanish or English. Diane is an avid reader and writer in Spanish she is able to use the skills she has already acquired in her first language towards her second. Once she acquired the necessary vocabulary and spelling skills in English she was able to improve her reading and writing because she already understood basic grammatical structure and realized that her writing allowed her to express herself and be heard. While other students, in many cases, the bulk of the class, whose oral skills where high enough to produce lively discussions, were unable to clearly articulate their ideas in writing because of their lack of reading and writing experiences in either of their languages. The challenge of my unit is to get these students to start writing and encourage those who write, like Diane, to continue. It is important to identify each student’s level and continue to assess the student’s achievement throughout the year, so that the lessons can be adjusted accordingly.

I also had a small group of students who had no experience with English or very little. It was difficult for these students to produce written work in English even though they were capable of expressing themselves in their native language of Spanish. I encouraged these students to write in their first language or to illustrate their responses to build their confidence and support their participation in the classroom. It is important to allow students to gain a comfort level in expressing their thoughts. As students acquired more English language skills in spelling and vocabulary they were able to use these skills to begin producing written work in English.

Iván arrived from El Salvador ten days before school started. He had no English instruction from his previous school. He was placed in my third grade bilingual classroom. Communicating with his peers was no problem because all of my twenty-one students spoke Spanish, but one of the goals in third grade is to prepare students for the Connecticut Mastery Test, which is taken in fourth grade and is given in English. Luckily, my goals of preparing the students for this test and other requirements and aspects of third grade were in line with Ivan’s strong desire to learn English. He also had his parents support at home. For students like Iván I took several steps to ensure that they were able to participate in the classroom while acquiring English language skills. In the beginning of the year classroom discussions were conducted in both Spanish and English; later as students acquired more English and became more confident, including Iván, they would choose to discuss topics in English. Even though, classroom discussions were bilingual the curriculum was taught in English. Iván was seated with a strong bilingual student so that he could receive translation without disrupting the class.

Books for units would be available in English at all levels, from picture books, beginning reader texts, to chapter books, so that students could acquire information at any reading level. This flexibility not only supported Iván, who was a grade level reader in Spanish, but also helped the lower English readers. Iván was encouraged to take home books in Spanish so that his first language was maintained--parents could read to him--and further discussion could continue at home. Home support also included review of spelling words that Iván would take home, to look up in the dictionary, find their meaning, and then use in sentences. This word drill helped him with acquiring vocabulary, pronunciation, and spelling. Iván had no problem writing in Spanish and by the end of the year he was able to write a good page response in English. This was a great accomplishment, after much hard work.

Students like Iván have a limited English vocabulary and can write simple sentences. This level can be helped along with lots of opportunities in reading and writing. This is also an important stage to develop because it is when the student gains the confidence and begins to enjoy the writing process. At this level students need guidance in interpreting their thoughts. Modeling is also very important. I found that my students did not have a lot of experience with the writing process. It was important to show them many examples of types of writing as well as using a variety of weekly writing styles.

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Vincent E. Mauro is a K-5 elementary school although this status will change when it becomes a magnet school drawing students from outside the neighborhood. The school is located in a part of New Haven, Connecticut, known as “the Hill.” In the 2001-02 school year the student body consists of 54% African American, 45% Hispanic, and 1% other. Twenty-three percent of the Hispanic students are in the bilingual program. Six percent of all the students are receiving special education services. My students are in the third grade bilingual program. Their first language is Spanish, but most have already acquired their second language of English.

The environment of the school plays a role in the type of students I receive from year to year and this has an impact on planning. Much depends on the class’s background, how much needs to be explained about the topic, and class writing ability: in other words, can students express their ideas in writing and have students been writing in previous grades? The classroom schedule for elementary social studies can be inconsistent because of all the other important demands on time. But these are the hurdles that we have as teachers before we can begin any unit. As a result, this unit is written to be flexible and easily modified or adapted.

Whether we can spend many class hours or only a few on this unit, all lesson plans were developed to reinforce students’ culture and to create dialogue among the students about their ancestors and what affects their relatives had on American history. These lessons teach students how history shapes the world where they live today. This dialogue gives students the opportunity to practice listening, speaking, reading, writing, and higher order thinking skills. Students will be asked to answer critical thinking questions and to listen attentively to stories in order to identify key details and concepts. For bilingual students, these various opportunities to participate help in building their knowledge of the English language through oral comprehension, conversation, reading and writing skills. Ultimately, students will have opportunities to share each others writing. This experience will lead to a better understanding of themselves as well as one another while acquiring a second language.

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Assessment and Evaluation

Students will demonstrate an understanding of social studies through writing their points of view and being able to retrieve information that can be used in their writing. The completed narratives will serve as assessments of how well the students listened, participated, and wrote their assignments. Once assignments are completed, students will read their work aloud and contribute to the student-author library. I will be able to evaluate their progress in spoken language skills during these activities.

I will be able to assess and evaluate student’s connections to history by observing, discussing, and reading their comparisons as well as their sharing of their own experiences with people similar to them. I will evaluate student’s involvement in their learning, through listening, reading, discussing, writing, and conveying their own experiences, by classroom observations and review of their individual work.

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These lessons are designed for third grade English language learning students and may be modified to accommodate the different levels found in the classroom. Through discussion of topics based on books, students will compare their experiences with narratives. Opportunities will be provided for active listening and writing. I will create writing models to guide students work.

I will also focus on vocabulary and there will be discussion about the vocabulary words used in prompts, such as compare, contrast, identify, and respond. Students will record the meanings of these words and will be encouraged to use these words in their writing. Explaining vocabulary is important when working with bilingual students who are trying to acquire language.

In lesson I, Children in History, students learn social history through the narrative stories in We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History. This book contains biographies of children who collectively lend a hand in shaping American history. This lesson will generate discussion supporting language acquisition and independent writing. Through the text and teacher support, conversation is initiated in order to guide and encourage students through a compare and contrast discussion about their own life experiences. This discussion will be the reinforcement needed for the written assignment that follows.

Lesson I’s objective is to have students begin understanding how farm workers are important to society; learn the name of Cesar Chavez, and in the end write a compare and contrast paper on their own lives in comparison to that of children who worked in the fields. Because my students are in an urban setting I can count on many of them having experiences unrelated to the girl in the story I will read to them. But because some of my students have agricultural backgrounds either from parents who worked in the fields or grandparents who harvested for a living on their land or someone else’s, I don’t think that farm labor is a completely foreign concept to them.

One way of finding out how much students know or understand is to begin brainstorming ideas. I like to use a KWL chart (what the students already know, what they want to learn, and in the end what they have learned or how have their ideas or opinions changed?). I begin with asking what the students think they know about farming, migrant labor, and how someone their age would be a part of all that. Then the discussion can lead to what topics students want to learn about. Through this discussion students can begin to explore questions such as, “Where do migrant workers live, do their children go to school,” and so on.

Now that the students have all these ideas in their heads I introduce Jessica Govea. Her story begins with what life was like for the farm workers while she lived near Bakersfield, California (which I would point to on a map). She picked fruits and vegetables with her mother starting at the age of four. She eventually goes on to meet and work for Cesar Chavez as a teenager. At this point I want to plant Cesar Chavez’s name in my students’ minds for a later discussion of his work with the United Farm Workers.

For now, I let Jessica’s story reveal how she and her mother would wake up in the dark, and put on their homemade clothes in hopes to find work that day. At the end of the story I like to ask, what do you remember about what I read to you? This discussion should be coupled with the KWL chart so students can add to what they have learned and change what they may have thought. Before students begin writing, we create a Venn diagram displaying Jessica’s life, the student’s life, and the similarities between the two. Once the diagram is in place students can begin writing about how their personal lives are similar and different to Jessica’s and they will complete a compare and contrast writing assignment.

In the second lesson plan, Family Stories, students will learn social history through their family’s own narratives. After I read Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia by Carmen Lomas Garza, students will be asked to interview their family members, in order to create their own historical narratives. A letter sent home prior to the beginning of this lesson would be helpful to explain to the parents or guardians what type of information might be of interest to the students. Students will generate their own questions in class, so that everyone will have an understanding of what the interviewer should be trying to find out. Most students will need to conduct their interview in Spanish, so it would be helpful to produce questions in both Spanish and English.

This is probably the first time many students will be asked to question family structure and for some students this could become complicated. The idea of the unit is not to make anyone feel uncomfortable or left out. It is designed as a way to help students understand how much they have to offer, no matter who it is their living with. In class some basic questions that can begin discussions are, “Where were you born?” This question always is a source of pride because many were born in places like Puerto Rico, México, and El Salvador and although many have not been there since their birth they show a great affection for these places. Other questions would include, “How old are you?” “Where do you live?” “How many brothers or sisters do you have?” All of these questions and answers can be collected in the student’s journals. After our discussion it would be important for me to model what the end result of my interview would look like in order to take students beyond the data collecting process.

My example may begin; “My aunt Nancy was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. When she was one, her family moved to a house in New Haven, Connecticut, on Orchard Street. That’s where her three younger sisters were born--Lisa, Teresa, and Nina. Because she was the oldest she was responsible for making sure everyone got up on time for school. “Mami made us breakfast before she left for work at the hospital,” she told me. “And Papi slept because he worked at night at the post office.” She and her sisters had to be very quiet when they left for school in the mornings. Growing up my aunt loved Tuesdays; it was her favorite day, because abuela would pick up the children from school and take them to her house. She had a big backyard with chickens. My aunt Nancy told me a story that no one else in the family knows. One day when she was in the backyard with the chickens …” and so on.

It is important to make sure students understand that they are using all the information they have collected to write their own original family story. I have found that students would rather copy the model. It is also essential to provide them with lots of encouragement and guidance. Encouraging students to obtain personal and historical information through photographs, videos, and oral history will support the student’s involvement in the research and help them see why their story is so unique.

Through this unit students will learn how to gather data. They will use oral communication in conjunction with writing, retelling, describing, summarizing, narrating, and reporting. Students can include with their paper a family album that illustrates a family tree or family artifacts. I believe that this could be a meaningful assignment for the students because it gives them a record of how they viewed their family when they were in third grade.

Returning to the book We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History by Phillip Hoose brings me to my third lesson, Local History. This lesson also fits in nicely with many of the third grade history standards in New Haven. Three standards that I will focus on are: identifying specific time periods in New Haven County’s history, using a timeline to display a sequence of events, and explain how rights and responsibilities have changed over time (18). Explaining rights and responsibilities will be the focus of the writing prompt in this lesson. One particular story from the book, We Were There …, narrates the life of Connecticut local Joseph Plumb Martin of Milford, Connecticut. It is important to set up some background information for the students in order to help them understand the sequence. This is the perfect opportunity to set up a time line. The timeline will be a visual guide to help student’s perspective. Facilitating the understanding will require my asking questions such as, “Who was involved in this war?” “What were some of the factors that began the war? “How was it fought?” “Where was it fought?” Here is another opportunity to use the map and point out where Connecticut is and were the Revolutionary War was fought.

Once students have knowledge of the time period, place and circumstances, discussion can begin on rights and responsibilities. These two ideas shouldn’t be foreign to students because these types of discussions happen on the first day of school and I would use this as an opportunity to review the real rights and responsibilities of the students in the classroom and in the school. From there we can explore what are our rights and responsibilities are in our community. After reading Joseph Martin’s story, I ask what you remember about what I read to you. We can then begin discussion on what types of rights would the colonist have lost or gained by rebelling against England? What were J.P. Martin’s feelings about going to war? What about the fact that he was fourteen? Would going to war be something a fourteen year old could do today? What rights do the students feel are worth fighting for? How many of their rights are they responsible for? What is the connection between rights and responsibilities?

Before students begin the writing assignment, I’d make a chart with two columns. First column would be entitled Rights and Responsibilities Then and the second column would be Rights and Responsibilities Today. Once students have come up with their own lists from the information in the reading and our group discussion they’ll be ready to begin the writing task, how rights and responsibilities have changed over time. After students have completed the assignment they will read it aloud to the class. This would make a nice collection of work to add to the student-author library.

Lesson IV, Real People, this lesson will help students obtain personal and historical information through other students’ published writings. After reading Kids Explore America’s Hispanic Heritage by the Westridge Young Writers Workshop, students will focus on the chapter entitled “Real People--Hispanics in America Today.” This chapter includes many examples of student interviews and examples of people who help in their communities. Hispanic heritage is just one of the themes in this series, also available; Kids Explore America’s Japanese American Heritage and Kids Explore Native American Heritage.

The discussions of real people will reintroduction Cesar Chavez, who is also mentioned in this book. For this lesson the discussion and writing will lead into questions about how organizations benefit people living in the community, New Haven curriculum civics’ standard (16). I think it is interesting that Cesar Chavez was not only Chicano, but he became a great community leader and created an organization that still helps migrant workers of all cultures. I believe he is a good role-model for my students to appreciate.

Here is an opportunity for students to do research at the library. Once again students have to collect data. After much discussion about Cesar Chavez, what his place in history is and why, I would create a web placing Cesar Chavez’s name in the center, then I would ask the students to brainstorm on all the different causes he was involved in like the United Farm Workers Union and the Civil Rights movement. These titles would be attached to his name, like balloons; by breaking the information down into manageable parts students can get better visual perspective. Using my Cesar Chavez web I can create a writing model. After this exercise students will be sent to the library to research other people who have created organizations that benefit the community and create their own webs of information. Students will answer the question how do these organizations benefit other people? Some examples of organizations would be the Sierra Club or America’s Civil Liberties Union. This type of research is wonderful to share with the class orally because it gives the students the opportunity to teach a particular subject that they are now experts on.

Students again learn social history through the narrative story, in lesson V, Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges. Students discuss the biography of Ruby Bridges. Who was Ruby Bridges? What is a social activist and how does a six-year-old girl become one? What would they, the students, have done if they had been in the same position?

After reading the story to my students I ask, “What do you remember about what I just read to you?” I would like to gear the discussion towards Ruby’s courage. The reason I like the story of Ruby Bridges so much is because she is an example of how age has nothing to do with courage and that through her bravery she created history. I want my students to know that they have the strength within themselves and that they are capable of achieving greatness. There is no academic strand for achieving greatness, but I believe that students need to be surrounded and taught that the opportunity is there. So after much discussion on the Civil Rights movement and what it meant to so many people, especially African Americans, I would like their writing to focus on what does greatness mean to them. Is it helping a younger sibling with their homework? Is it cleaning up an empty lot and helping create a community garden? Is it collecting toys for sick children in a hospital? Is it fighting for what you believe in? I want them to think about what kind of person they want to be. Because no matter what they become an artist, teacher, or scientist, who they are as human beings is much more important.

Children in History: Compare and Contrast Writing Lesson I


Based on what was read, compare and contrast a day in your life with the child’s life in the story. Identify the responsibilities of that child. How are they different from your own? How are they the same? Use KWL chart.

Students will identify the responsibilities of the child in this autobiography and compare them to their responsibilities.
Students will answer instructional questions and listen attentively.
Students will identify key details and concepts, using both verbal and non-verbal responses.
Students will discuss their own story ideas as a class.
Students will write legible sentences about themselves in similar or contrasting events.
Students will create cohesive paragraphs that develop a central idea with consistent use of Standard English grammatical rules.
Students will produce a narrative writing that can be understood when read regardless of the inclusion of some inconsistent use of standard grammatical forms.


We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History, by Phillip Hoose

Writing journals*

Map of California

*writing journals are for students to record class discussions that take place. Writings will be in the first person-diary-format, but students can mix dairy entries with original stories.

Family Stories: Descriptive Writing Lesson II


Discuss what an interview is. What does an interviewer do? What types of questions does one ask in an interview? Create a worksheet that includes the questions that come out of the discussion. Questions will include who, what, when, where, why, and how. Make sure all events are there to complete the story.

Students will discuss their interview questions as a class.
Students will write legible sentences about their subject while describing events.
Students will create cohesive paragraphs that develop a central idea with consistent use of Standard English grammatical form rules.
Students will produce narrative writing that can be understood when read regardless of the inclusion of some inconsistent use of standard grammatical forms.


Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia by Carmen Lomas Garza

Writing journals

Local History Lesson III


Explain how rights and responsibilities have changed over time. Is there a difference between rights and responsibilities?

Students will create a time line in order to understand the sequence of events.
Students will write legible informative sentences in narrative form.
Students will create cohesive paragraphs that develop a central idea with consistent use of Standard English grammatical form rules.
Students will produce a narrative writing that can be understood when read regardless of the inclusion of some inconsistent use of standard grammatical forms.


We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History, by Phillip Hoose

Writing journals

Map of the East coast and Europe

Real People Lesson IV


What does this organization do? Who are the people behind them? How to they help people?

Students will use text to integrate language and concepts of reading with writing activities.
Students will discuss as a class what is being read in text.
Students will write legible sentences about their subject in describing events.
Students will create cohesive paragraphs that develop a central idea with consistent use of Standard English grammatical form rules.
Students will produce a narrative writing that can be understood when read regardless of the inclusion of some inconsistent use of standard grammatical forms.


Kids Explore America’s Hispanic Heritage by the Westridge Young Writers Workshop

Writing journals

Current American History Lesson V


What was the Civil Rights movement? What made Ruby Bridges a heroine? How will you achieve your moment of greatness?

Students will try to identify with her life and her contribution to the American culture and the civil rights movement.
Students will discuss their own story ideas as a class.
Students will write legible sentences in narrative form.
Students will create cohesive paragraphs that develop a central idea with consistent use of Standard English grammatical form rules.
Students will produce a narrative writing that can be understood when read, regardless of the inclusion of some inconsistent use of standard grammatical forms.


Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges

Writing journals

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Student Reading List

Bridges, Ruby. Through My Eyes: The Story of Ruby Bridges. New York: Scholastics, 1999. This autobiography tells how a six-year-old girl became a symbol for the civil rights movement and was propelled into American history.

Garza, Carmen Lomas. Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia. San Francisco: Children’s Book Press, 1990. This book not only illustrates the author’s art, but it shares a part of her childhood, growing up in Texas.

Hoose, Phillip. We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History. New York: Folkways Music Publishers, Inc., 2001. A collection of stories about children lives during the time periods of 1492 to the present. All stories in this book are factual, taken from the diaries and the interviews of the people who lived them.

Westridge Young Writers Workshop. Kids Explore: America’s Hispanic Heritage. Santa Fe: John Muir Publications, 1992. This book presents writing by students in grades three to seven on topics of Hispanic culture, including dance, cooking, and history.

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Books for Teachers

Farris, Pamela. Elementary and Middle School Social Studies: A Whole Language Approach. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1997. This text is based on a whole language approach to teaching social studies and uses the experiences and insights of classroom teachers.

Freeman, Yvonne S., David E. Freeman. Teaching Reading and Writing in Spanish in the Bilingual Classroom. New Hampshire: Heinemann, 1996. This text presents methods and theories of teaching reading and writing to the English and Spanish speaking student.

Graham, Robert J. Reading and Writing the Self: Autobiography in Education and the Curriculum. New York: Teachers College Press, 1991. Examines the importance of using autobiographies in education and the curriculum.

Murray, Donald. Write to Learn. Florida: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1999. A practical methods text that takes the reader through the writing process.

New Haven Public Schools Academic Performances Standards. Social Studies Higher Standards. New Haven: Board of Education, 2001. A listing of content standards in social studies for the New Haven, Connecticut school district.

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Books listed in bibliography

Maps of California, East Coast, and Europe


Pocket folders for students to use and store written work.

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