We have:

Example phrases cheat sheet

Handouts with example phrases

Each lesson has an associated handout with example phrases that you might find useful whether or not you use the lesson:

🏯 What's a historical description?

Historical description is a basically a form of report or recount.

It's a set of factual statements, possibly organised in a compositional hierarchy (e.g. when writing about historical artifacts).

Any valuational statements tend to be attributed to other sources (unless they can be considered accepted facts).

Snippet discussing what the Black Death meant in 14th C Egypt

The three lessons have similar structures

The assumption is that you would choose a lesson to match the type of subject you are studying in a term (technology, figure, or event).

Each lesson begins by introducing the most basic questions of historical writing about any historical subject:

  • When
  • Where
  • What
  • So what

Snippet about Madame CJ Walker with the "When" phrases highlighted

While those questions are identical across the lessons, they use different examples and have different writing activities.

Each lesson then takes a slightly different approach depending on the subject.

  • Arts & technologies: general vs compositional description, artifacts vs technologies in general, and descriptions of processes and daily use.
  • Figures & events: descriptions on different time scales, from decades to days.

The writing activities ask students to use historical form & made-up facts

Futuristic museum display of a skeleton holding a smartphone

As with our argument lessons, we want students to focus on style and structure of language without worrying about whether their facts are correct.

So the writing activities in these lessons are often about writing about present-day or completely made-up subjects as if you were a historian in the future.

Note: These aren't the closely-scaffolded lessons we usually do in Writelike

Lately, with Writelike lessons, we've been trying to cover more general concepts before drilling down into language specifics.

These history lessons involve reading more source snippets than usual and the activities are more open-ended.

This means they are probably more suited to older students in grades 8-9+ (but as usual it depends on your context).

Even then, you may want to pick and choose activities rather than tackle entire lessons.

We will create some close-writing lessons at some point, but we have a lot on our plates so not sure when.

🤖 In other news, we're finalists in the MIT Solve AI Assessment challenge

MIT Finalists

We've mentioned a few times that we are doing some background work on ways that post-GPT4 LLMs might be helpful in Writelike & Frankenstories.

We shared some of our thinking with the MIT Solve Learner//Meets//Future AI Assessment challenge and we're honoured to be among 16 finalists (out of 100!).

There are some heavy hitters in the group, including the great teams from CommonLit and Quill.org, so it's nice to even be included!

Coming up next 🚽👀🚨

Those three emojis tell you everything you need to know for now!

Meanwhile, happy teaching & writing!