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Historical Journal: Sharing our journals (part 6 of 6)


Social Studies, History, Religion, Art


Elementary, 4-5
Middle School, 6-8
High School, 9-12

Time required

45 minutes

Materials required

Healthy drinks and snacks (optional)

Related background reading


Related documents


Related links


Lesson Plan


In this lesson, students will complete the unit by sharing their historical journals with one another. They will conclude by discussing the value in understanding a time period through different historical viewpoints.


  • Students will share their completed historical journals among their peers.
  • The class will discuss their experience with analyzing situations through different viewpoints.

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

Bring in healthy drinks and snacks (optional).

Recap of the Unit (8 minutes)

  1. Ask students to recount the lessons of the unit:
    • Reading of two different accounts
    • Practice writing from one viewpoint
    • Practice writing from a different viewpoint, and comparing the experiences
    • Starting journals
    • Researching an individual
    • Journaling about different events
  2. Ask students to share the themes they see common throughout these lessons. List these on the board. There are no wrong answers, but if the class appears to be stuck, guide them to include some of the following:
    • Events can be interpreted in many ways.
    • Historical accounts should be critically examined.
    • It is important to understand the viewpoints of differing people and groups, particularly when trying to understand historical conflicts.
    • [Grade 9-12] There is value in understanding the emotions and motivations driving differing parties. This can be quantitative information.

Sharing Historical Journals (17 minutes)

  1. Seat students in pairs or small groups (depending on the size of the class, maturity level, and the number of students who brought in completed journals).
  2. Have them exchange journals and read.
  3. If students appear particularly shy in sharing their writing, then have students go through their journals and describe what they wrote. Have them discuss their specific interpretations of each event.

Discussion (15 minutes)

  1. Bring the class together and begin a discussion about the experience of reading a journal written by a historical person with a different point of view. Some questions that may be asked are:
    • Was it difficult reading/accepting/understanding the differing viewpoint? How different did it feel to your own?
    • How did your understanding of the events change? Not change?
    • Do you think it’s useful to read differing viewpoints on the same event?
    • Is it important to critically analyze how authors may have interpreted historical accounts?
  2. [Grades 9-12] Before wrapping up the unit, ask some questions for students to consider on their own. If time allows, have students share their responses in class.
    • What would happen if only one viewpoint lasted? How would our understanding of history change?
    • Is a truly perspective-less historical account possible? Even if consisting of only facts, would the author’s perspective be present in the decision to include some facts and not others?

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

“Today we’ve concluded our unit by recapping our previous lessons, identifying common themes, and sharing our journals. Congratulations! We asked some great questions, learned from each others’ different perspectives, and learned to be more critically engaged historians.”

Ask students for their favorite parts of the lesson.