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Lesson Plan

Not Your Usual History Lesson: Writing Historical Markers

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Not Your Usual History Lesson: Writing Historical Markers

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Marcea K. Seible

Marcea K. Seible

Waterloo, Iowa


National Council of Teachers of English


Materials and Technology






  • Projector or interactive whiteboard to display images of historical markers and studentsí work
  • Computers with internet access for class research (not needed if using books or textual resources)
  • Digital cameras (optional)

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  • The Historical Marker Database

    This website provides a catalog of historical markers and information. It showcases photographs, inscription transcriptions, marker locations, maps, additional information and commentary, and links to more information. Viewers can add markers to the database and update existing marker pages with new photographs, links, information and commentary.

  • This marker is listed as an example in Session 1. This site provides a picture of the historic marker in place and enlarges the content so it is readable by viewers of the site.

  • Historical Marker Society of America

    This site offers historical marker information organized by city and state for easy searching

  • Historical Markers and Local Sightseeing Guide for the US provides travelers with historical marker information as well as other points of interest. It is less comprehensive than The Historical Marker Database or the Historical Marker Society of America, but it may afford some different examples.

  • In his article, author William Lee Anderson III shares information about the history of historical markers in the United States. This article is a good resource for teachers to learn more about historical markers before the lesson. It may also work well as a class reading for the students.

  • This site provides a list of important questions to ask when considering creating a historical marker.

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  1. Research information and prepare any handouts/overheads showing pictures of a variety of historical markers in your town or greater community.
  2. Research other historic areas or buildings in your town, noting ones that are historical but that do not already have a marker designating them as such. Select 5-10 to use as class writing practice or for students who have difficulty finding topics of their own. Photocopy, print or record website information for sharing with the class.
  3. Gather books, articles, and other resources describing the history of your town or community. Collect copies of materials for the classroom, make copies available for student use in the school or town library, and/or prepare a bibliography of web sources and post in the classroom or on a class website.
  4. Secure cameras (digital or camera phone work best) for students to photograph their historical sites or provide pictures for them (optional).

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