A Novel Approach: Historical Fiction in the Elementary Classroom

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Last year, I had the opportunity to work with a group of fifth graders at the request of their language arts teacher. The challenge was this: primarily due to the long-term impact of No Child Left Behind legislation on subjects other than reading, writing, and mathematics, the time allocated for social studies was only 30 minutes per day. Further, this instructional time was scheduled right before dismissal. Compounding the problem was the school district's new policy of basing teachers’ evaluations and pay partly on standardized reading and math test scores; this made it exceedingly difficult for the teachers to deliver the U.S. history instruction that was mandated in the fifth grade curriculum. But this language arts teacher, once a social studies education major, deeply valued the humanities and social sciences and was determined that her students would develop their historical knowledge and thinking while also meeting reading and mathematics benchmarks.

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Social Education, v. 77, no. 3, p. 122-126

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