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Lesson Plan

Blending the Past with Today's Technology: Using Prezi to Prepare for Historical Fiction

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Blending the Past with Today's Technology: Using Prezi to Prepare for Historical Fiction

Grades 6 – 10
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Fifteen 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathy Wickline

Kathy Wickline

Tolono, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology






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  • Prezi

    This free Website is where students will create zooming presentations to share their information.

  • News and Events Year by Year

    Starting with the year 1900, this website provides short descriptions of events in the following categories:  world events, U.S. events, sports, economics, entertainment, and science.

  • Library of Congress

    Students can use the American Memory section for their notes and the Prints and Photographs section for finding images for their presentations.  This website is a great source for primary resources.

  • History Timeline of the Twentieth Century

    This website provides a short summary of each decade and then links to a more detailed timeline for each year of the decade.

  • Primary Source Nexus

    This website analyzes primary sources from the Library of Congress.  It might be easier for students to find information on this site than on the Library of Congress website.

  • Digital History

    Under the section labeled "Eras," students will find the century divided into nine sections, several of which have links to detailed articles.

  • A Decade-by-Decade Look at Fashion

    For students who research the fashion trends, this site will be valuable.

  • Biography.com

    Students can use this website to find information about famous people who influenced life during their target decade of study.

  • Multimedia Biographies

    This website will also provide information about influential people of the decades.

  • Easybib.com

    Students can use this website to cite their sources using MLA format.

  • BibMe

    Students can also use this free website to cite their sources in MLA format.

  • FactCite

    This subscription-based database has several useful sections, including World Biography, Shapers of Society, and American History, that provide facts in easy-to-understand language.

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  1. Before these sessions, students should have learned notetaking skills.  They can be taught notetaking skills through the mini-lesson Research Building Blocks:  Notes, Quotes, and Fact Fragments as well as learn the importance of citing sources through the standard lesson Research Building Blocks:  “Cite Those Sources.” Furthermore, if this is the students’ first project citing sources, then using Exploring, Plagiarism, Copyright, and Paraphrasing prior to this project would be beneficial.
  2. Prior to this lesson, students should have given presentations of some type or have written essays that require an introduction, conclusion, and transitions.  Therefore, they will only need the printout Presentation Tips to prepare for their oral presentations.
  3. Before this lesson, work with the school librarian so that print materials are available.  The books from the Suggested Print Materials are good starting points for the decades in general, but other books on specific topics during the decade may also be added. Have these books available during the research sessions. Also, discuss with the librarian access to available databases for the students to utilize.
  4. Reserve time in the school’s computer lab or library for approximately five days to research and approximately three days to create Prezis.
  5. If possible, have the research websites and Prezi bookmarked on the computers.  If that is not feasible, sign up for a wiki at Wikispaces or create a class website using Google Sites or Wix where you can post links and later use this site to showcase students’ Prezis.  If that is not possible, make copies of the Decades Websites printout, one per computer.
  6. Make copies for each student of Creating a Prezi and the Decade Rubric.  Make one copy of the Presentation Tips for each group.  Make enough copies of the printout Life in the... so that each student will have one chart for each decade.
  7. Download the Historical Fiction definition to project in Session 1 for students to see.
  8. Familiarize yourself with Prezi by using the website’s tutorial, the printout Creating a Prezi, and the Strategy Guide Teaching with Zooming Slideshows through Prezi.  Because this tutorial is a Youtube video, check that it is not blocked by theschool filter, as you will show it to your students during Session 9.  If it is blocked, use the Prezi Cheat Sheet instead.
  9. Practice the steps of making a Prezi and create a sample or use this abbreviated sample Prezi on "The First Decade of the Twenty-First Century: US Events and Science."
  10. Use the Suggested Literature Circle Novels to decide which novel each decade group will read.  Secure four copies of each novel so that your literature circles will have no more than four students per decade.
  11. If the students are 13 and over, check that all students have e-mail addresses to create Prezi accounts. Those who do not should sign up for accounts at any reputable email provider, so that they can create Prezi accounts.


  12. If students are under 13, this lesson can also be done by using Microsoft PowerPoint.

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