Thanks for being my ally, Jean Fritz

Once when I was being considered for a K-8 elementary Social Studies Product Manager’s position, a colleague protested that I was unqualified, not having had any sales experience.

Although I really didn’t want the job–at the time--I really did want to set the record straight, out of justice and self-pride–and to leave open the possibility of future candidacy.

Never had any sales experience? Seriously? You try selling social studies to hundreds of middle and high school students one hundred eighty times a year. Then you come back and tell me whether or not I have any sales experience.

End of conversation.

Seriously…. Motivating students to relate to historical figures and events was no easy undertaking. That is why I so appreciate and admire the work of Jean Fritz, whose narrative nonfiction American history titles made her my greatest ally in selling social studies to students each year.

Thinking on September 17th, this past week, about the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution and how challenging it is to get students to become excited about its back story, reminded me how much of a master storyteller and impeccable historian is Jean Fritz.

The title of hers that is a perfect fit for garnering students’ appreciation for the task that faced the writers of the Constitution is Shh! We’re Writing the Constitution, which even contains the document itself for end-of-book reference. Whether used in conjunction with the September 17th commemoration, within a US government unit, or  as part of the study of the historical development of the United States, this title is a gem.

Additionally, the title can be used to prompt dialog and practice in life/negotiation skills, as well as the writing process.

With more than a dozen other titles to choose from, Fritz’s books easily can be connected with a variety of Patriotic holidays like Columbus Day and Presidents’ Day, themed studies like Black History Month and Women’s History Month, or historical time periods, like the American Revolution or the Civil War.

A veritable pioneer in writing these kinds of engaging nonfiction narrative history titles, Ms. Fritz is one of a kind. Do yourself a favor. Make her your teaching ally, too!

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