My students' historical letters were due today, and I couldn't have been happier with them (the letters or the students). They had to write a historical letter from the point of view of one of the European Explorers we had studied in class. I wrote the success criteria in the format of a friendly letter, so the students could see the letter format they were to use (wish I had taken a picture of this for you). Basically, they needed to write a 3 paragraph letter to a family member back home: the first paragraph was to discuss their journey, the second paragraph explained what they discovered, and the third paragraph discussed their plans for the future. Students were to use historically accurate facts that they had researched from their textbook, but also throw in some fictional details (which gave us a great opportunity to discuss the genre of historical fiction). Lastly, they were to age the letter in some way to give it an authentic look. It's funny how this last little requirement completely excites the students. They couldn't wait to get home and burn some paper. Every year I worry that this assignment will lead to household disaster, but as far as I know, I haven't been responsible for any real fires ... yet.
This was one of my favourite letters. This student chose Henry Hudson, and wrote a 3 page letter! He even hand-made an envelope for the letter (and the envelope had a wax seal!).
The letters look great displayed on the bulletin board just outside my door. And the best part is I get this fabulous whiff of coffee or tea every time I walk into my class.