What is history?  And why do historical accounts differ? In this lesson, students create brief autobiographies and then reflect on the process to better understand how history is written.  Why are some events included and others not? How does their version of events compare to others’ versions of the same event?  Why do two historical accounts differ when both sides believe they are telling the truth?  How would students prove that their version of events was true?  Exploring these questions will give students insight into the nature of history and will prepare them to engage in historical thinking in future lessons.
[Lesson Plan updated on 9/23/14.]

Image: Photo of girl harvesting cotton crop by Howard R. Hollem, 1942. From the Library of Congress.


During the sharing of an important life event, I was amazed! The events that were shared were amazing. We had tears and we had was a day I will mark down as one of my best as a teacher. The students learned about each other and I learned about the students. I was able to even share an event about me so the students could get to know me better. Great lesson.
The third year utilizing this fantastic lesson and once again it floors me when reading my students autobiographies. This lesson introduces me to my students in ways that just cannot be compared to in the classroom. It individualizes each of them early in the year and offers insight to them as people rather than September grade book entries. Highly recommended along with the other introductory lessons, the two-three weeks spent on these lessons more than pays hefty dividends throughout the year!
We are currently covering primary and secondary sources, and this lesson was wonderful. I only wish I had discovered it earlier to utilize for the start of the school year. This will be an excellent way to not only get to know students next year, but to help students make personal connections with content standards. The SHEG resources have proven invaluable! I look forward to even more.
This lesson plan seems like a great way to introduce students to historical thinking.
I agree that this is a great first week of school lesson. It really sets the stage for the year of how we will be investigating history, but also provides a great venue to get to know my students (140) individually. Much better than a superficial get to know you activity.
This was a great way to start the year. Not only did it get students thinking about history, and how to be critical thinkers, it allowed me to get to know them well and get an good idea of their writing skills. It was a lot of fun and they enjoyed it, especially once we added in the interview portion of the activity.
This is a rockin' lesson for the 1st/2nd day of school!
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