Historical Story


Apply the principles of effective story writing to dramatizing historical events or the lives of historical personalities.

Instructional Purpose

To teach the elements of an effective short story and to use that vehicle for understanding and dramatizing a specific event or theme from history. Consistent with California Learning Standards: Language Arts: 2.9.6 - "Write biographical and autobiographical narratives or short stories." Social Science: 4.5.9 - "Students distinguish fact from opinion in historical narratives and stories."




Can be applied to Core Language Arts/Social Studies curriculum or either subject area in which an interdisciplinary approach is applicable and necessary for teaching content standards. Can be used as an enrichment or as a culminating activity for purposes of assessment. Can be an assessment tool for evaluating use of effective composition skills, application of literary devices, research techniques, organizational techniques, and effective publication.


Should not be used with complex historical events or for dramatization of extended historical periods. Should not require extensive research. The short story should have a limited number of characters, involve a single setting, developing one theme, and consider a single event in a limited time frame.


  1. The final product can be a one-act play.
  2. The teacher can create a short story contest and have the students evaluate several stories on specific criteria.
  3. A team of three students can collaborate as Writer, Researcher, Editor
  4. The emphasis can be on historical research.
  5. The emphasis can be on literary form.

This Design Pattern was authored by David Boin