"Students, as you begin to learn about the people, places, and events during the time period of the 13 colonies and the American Revolution, remember to be aware of how history is being presented to you. Remember to consider who is writing the book and what their purpose is. History is the retelling of events, so it is necessary to be aware of who is doing the telling.
As an example of this, I want you to think about what you know about the explorer Christopher Columbus. Give the students time to think.
Here is a Youtube video on Columbus.
Have students share out words to describe the discovery of these new lands from Christopher Columbus's and Spain's point of view. Type students ideas into a word document and then paste into Tagxedo and create a word cloud.
Now, I going to read you the story Encounter by Jane Yolen.
The main character in this book is a boy from the Taino tribe who were living on the island when Christopher Columbus and his ships landed.
Read the book to the students.
After students hear the story, ask them to now suggest words that describe Columbus's impact on the Taino people from their point of view. Type the students words into onto a word document and paste into Tagxedo and make a new word cloud.
Ask the students to share what they have learned from this activity. Remind students to use our agreed upon discussion norms so that all perspectives in the class are heard and respected.
Say to the students, "As you are reading historical fiction during this unit be aware of the characters points of view, notice when characters agree and disagree and think why.
In the same way, when you are reading nonfiction books, be aware of whose point of view is the book is presenting."
As a closure, show the students the book, George vs George. Read the cover and the introduction to the book.
There were once two enemies who were both named George. George Washington was the man who freed the American colonies from the British, and George III was the British kind who lost them.
Was King George a "Royal Brute?" American patriots said so. But others hailed hims as "The Father of the People." Was George Washington a traitor? The king's supporters thought so. But many celebrated Washington as "The father of his country." Who was right?
There are two sides to every story.