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Historical Journals: In-class journal writing (Part 5 of 6)


Social Studies, History, Religion, Art


Middle School, 6-8
High School, 9-12

Time required

25 minutes each time (conducted 4-7 times)

Materials required


Related background reading


Related documents


Related links


Lesson Plan


In this lesson, students will write their historical journal entries in class.

Note: This lesson may be incorporated as a side activity into a larger class-period. It should be repeated 4-7 times.


  • Students will listen to an event described by the instructor.
  • Students will then apply their knowledge of the time period toward writing a journal entry from the perspective of an historical individual.

Questions or Assessment

  • What was it like completing a multi-day journal written from the viewpoint of a historical individual?
  • How different were your peers’ journals (those who were coming from different viewpoints) from your own?


Teacher prep
Research a time-period, and come up with a series of events that a single historical individual would have lived through. These 4-7 events will be used in successive class periods.

  1. Events do not have to be extremely significant. They can be minor events that have larger symbolic meaning.
    • Example: A Spanish missionary attempting to convert a CHamoru.
  2. Keep the description of the event short and engaging. Four to five minutes is ideal.

Describing the Scenario (5 minutes)

  1. Ask students to put away distracting items and to close their eyes.
  2. Read the scenario to students.
  3. Once completing the scenario, very briefly recap with the students the main points of the scenario. Do not allow students to begin making interpretative, qualitative statements; the purpose of recapping is to ensure that all students heard and understood the scenario.

Journaling (20 minutes)

  1. Have students write a journal entry about the scenario from the perspective of their historical individual.
    • Format is unimportant; free writing, personal essays, letters to the editor are all allowed. It is more important that students engage with the scenario at hand from the perspective of another person.
    • Remind students to write from only one perspective (and not both).

Recap (5 minutes)
Recap what we’ve done and learned in the lesson and unit:

“Today we’ve listened to another scenario and spent time journaling from the perspective of our historical individual. Keep up the good work!”

Ask students for their favorite parts of the lesson.