Lesson 2: Dramatizing History
Time required: 40 minutes, plus rehearsal time
Materials: Dramatizing History Student Worksheet B , War Horse by Michael Morpurgo or another work of historical fiction
1. Explain: Historical events are often dramatized through movies, television shows, and plays. The actors, costume designers, set designers, and others work to make the scene as authentic as possible. Nevertheless, every dramatic interpretation of a historical event will be different.
2. Tell students that they will be dramatizing a scene from a work of historical fiction.
3. Distribute copies of Dramatizing History Student Worksheet B to each student and divide the class into groups. Ask each group to choose a scene from a book to dramatize.
4. Tell students that their dramatizations can be done in many different styles, including creating a short film, a staged reading, a play, a blog, or a podcast.
5. Give students a day or two to work on their performances. Tell the groups that they need to be as accurate to the time period as possible. How should the dialogue sound? Will they dress in costumes that mimic the time period? Will they use any background music appropriate to the time?
6. During the performances, have the audience write down questions to ask the performers.
Have students research the Christmas truce—a friendly meeting of enemy soldiers (mainly British and German) in 1914. During this unofficial truce, soldiers who had been fighting each other put down their weapons and came together in a moment of peace to celebrate the holiday.