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Always Write
(Grades K-12)

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Writing Across the Curriculum: HistoryFix
Northern Nevada's Denise Boswell shares 26 W.A.C. lessons for social studies class

Welcome to the HistoryFix Project! Welcome to WritingFix's very first "sister site." HistoryFix became a part of the WritingFix family in 2007 and has been growing ever since. This webpage is used in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) workshops for teachers, and it is designed to inspire writing about social studies in the classroom. The lessons you see on this page are all inspired by quality "mentor texts," which are published books and/or primary sources that are used to inspire ideas from writers.

You can check out the NNWP's Fall and Spring inservice schedules on-line.

Our W.A.C. workshops' driving essential question: How can we deepen student thinking in all content areas through meaningful and authentic writing assignments?

Taking our W.A.C. workshop? Here is the template to use, if you are creating a HistoryFix lesson as your final project for class.

Meet our NNWP Consultant who inspired this page. Hello, my name is Denise Boswell, and my own experience in traditional social studies classrooms had me memorizing and reciting dates and facts. Memorizing dates has never been a strength of mine; therefore, I was not a fan of the subject. Through my recent experience with the Northern Nevada Writing Project and the Teaching American History Project, social studies has become a passion of mine and my students.

I have found the importance of bringing history alive in my classroom by engaging my students through investigation, research, literature, and writing. Literacy has become the foundation on which I teach the social studies standards. Teaching students to write to learn is probably the most important skill we can give our students once they have become readers. We must write to share our thoughts and ideas, and this is something a multiple choice, true-false, and matching assessment cannot do. If you want a true assessment of your student’s learning, your students must write!

HistoryFix is a website that shares rich lessons created by Washoe County teachers where Social Studies is taught through mentor texts, primary source documents, and writing. All lessons are meant to be adapted to whatever level your students are working. Inspiring students to be inquisitive learners and creative writers is the goal of HistoryFix. We are currently asking for student samples for each lesson from Elementary, Middle, and High School students.

Join our HistoryFix Family! Propose your own lesson to be posted at WritingFix! Below are our two templates for picture book-inspired lessons. Here is the template that teachers may use when submitting lessons for consideration. If we end up using your lesson at WritingFix, we will send you any two of the NNWP's Print Resources as our way of saying thank-you for sharing your ideas with the thousands of teachers who use this website. Lessons can be sent to webmaster@writingfix.com.

Denise's Six Writing Lessons that Launched HistoryFix

Spiritual Waters

inspired by Washoe Seasons of Life: A Native American Story by Karen Wallis, Diane Domiteaux, and Lea Saling

Fly to Freedom

inspired by The People Could Fly by Karen Virginia Hamilton

Civil Rights Warriors

The Story Of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles & The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

A Letter to Me

inspired by "A Letter to Me," sung by Brad Paisley

Moving West

inspired by Covered Wagons, Bumpy Trails by Verla Kay

I Have a Dream

inspired by We Dream Of A World... by various authors

Want an e-mail update when new resources are added to this page?
Join the...

...interest group at our Writing Lesson of the Month Ning!

Check another of Denise's popular picture book lessons:
Top Secret Rule Reasons!

A New W.A.C. Project...

...at WritingFix. Click here to check it out!
A Favorite Book
that Encourages Writing Across the Curriculum here in Nevada:

51 Wacky We-Search Reports by Barry Lane

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R.A.F.T. Writing Assignments & Prompts for History or Social Studies Class

Building a R.A.F.T. prompt for history class?
Click here for our social studies R.A.F.T. builder.

Unfamiliar with RAFT prompts?
Click here to learn about R.A.F.T.s at WritingFix.

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Five Great NNWP Teacher Consultants Share Six HistoryFix-inspired Lessons:

Who Doesn't Want to be a Millionaire

Mentor text: You Wouldn't Want to be a Roman Gladiator by John Malam

Students write: A series of questions for a wacky game show

Lesson from: Rob Stone, Nevada teacher

Beyond the Basic Biography Report

Mentor Text: A. Lincoln and Me by Louise Borden

Students write: A five-part report on a president, each part inspired by a famous quotation from the president they have researched

Lesson from: Christy Aker-Minetto, Nevada teacher

Now & Then

Mentor text: Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta

Students write: Two paragraphs about a comparison & contrast topic

Lesson from: Lisa Larson, Nevada teacher

The Legend
Lives On

Mentor text: "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald," sung by Gordon Lightfoot

Students write: A poem inspired by research of a historical event.

Lesson from: Rob Stone, Nevada teacher

Mentor text: Several "this i believe" podcasts from NPR

Students write: An essay from the voice of a historical person.

Lesson from: Yvette Deighton, Nevada teacher

Primary Source Picture Books

Mentor text: My Tour Of Europe: By Teddy Roosevelt, Age 10 by Ellen Jackson

Students write: An illustrated picture book based on a primary source document.

Lesson from: Corbett Harrison, Nevada teacher

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Meet Christy Hodge, Our Most Prolific HistoryFix Contributor:

Christy Hodge is an amazing teacher who has taught both elementary and middle school in Northern Nevada. We first met Christy when she took our Chapter Book Excerpts as Mentor Text inservice back in 2006. Her lesson, which was inspired by Elvira Woodruff's George Washington's Socks (see link below), demonstrated her genuine love for the social studies curriculum. When HistoryFix launched in 2007, Christy began submitting lessons on her favorite social studies-inspired picture books.

In 2009, Denise (this page's coordinator) encouraged Christy to enroll in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Summer Invitational Institute, and Christy officially became a Consultant with the NNWP.

Below, you can access all nine of Christy's lessons by clicking on the lesson's titles or on the picture of the book covers.


Gotta Go Back in Time

Mentor text: George Washington's Socks by Elvira Woodruff

Students write: A story about traveling to a historical period

The Preamble: More than an Intro

Mentor text: We the Kids by David Catrow

Students write: A found poem

You Decide:

Mentor text: Roanoke: The Lost Colony by Elisabet Yolen Stemple

Students write: A thoughtful theory

Perilous Journeys: My Experience

Mentor text: The Perilous Journey of the Donner Party by Marian Calabro

Students write: A nine-entry journal in the voice of a Donner Party survivor

Riding the Train of States

Mentor text: The Train of States by Peter Sis

Students write: A class book that celebrates the fifty United States of America

Lady Liberty: A Symbol of America

Mentor text: Lady Liberty: A Biography by Doreen Rappaport and Matt Tavares

Students write: An explanation of what American symbols mean to them

The American Revolution: Heroes

Mentor text: Heroes of the Revolution by David A. Adler

Students write: A foldable book about a heroes of the American Revolution

Two Sides of the American Revolution

Mentor text: George vs. George by Rosalyn Schanzer

Students write: An evaluation of historical leaders

The Drinking Gourd

Mentor text: Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter

Students write: A symbol poem about a personal goal


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Seven Lessons from Teachers Who've Taken NNWP Writing Across the Curriculum Inservice Classes

Giving Credit Where Credit Might Be Due

Mentor text: Ben and Me: An Astonishing Life of Benjamin Franklin by His Good Mouse Amos by Robert Lawson

Students write: A creative story inspired by research

Lesson from: Dayna Ayers, Nevada teacher

Selling our Nation's Symbols on ebay!

Mentor Text: O, Say Can You See? by Janet Keenan

Students write: An ebay advertisement of "for sale" sign for a researched national symbol or landmark

Lesson from: Kristen Conway, Nevada teacher

American Flag History

Mentor text: America : A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney

Students write: Trading cards about American symbols

Lesson from: Paula Larson, Nevada teacher

Nevada, A to Z

Mentor text: S Is For Silver: A Nevada Alphabet by Eleanor Coerr

Students write: Students will contribute to a class A to Z book about their home state

Lesson from: Kristin Setty, Nevada teacher

Pompeii, I See

Mentor text: I Was There: The Buried City of Pompeii by Shelly Tanaka

Students write: An I See... Poem

Lesson from: Janet Lundy, Nevada teacher

Historical Journal Entries

Mentor text: Pedro's Journal: A Journey with Christopher Columbus by Pam Conrad

Students write: A historically-researched, fictional journal entry

Lesson from: Dayna Ayers, Nevada teacher

Proposal Form for a HistoryFix Lesson

Boogie Woogie
with a B

Mentor text: "The Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" as sung by the Andrews Sisters

Students write: A new verse about patriotic WWII Americans that can be sung to this famous song's tune

Lesson from: Marie Johnson, Nevada teacher

Proposal Form for a HistoryFix Lesson



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Please, share the resources you find on these pages freely with fellow educators, but please leave any page citations on handouts intact, and please give authorship credit to the cited teachers who created these wonderful lessons and resources. Thanks in advance for honoring other educators' intellectual property.

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