California Local History Writing Guidelines

What Is a Local History?
A local history is a project that your class researches and writes about your community's past. It includes descriptions of the important people and events that shaped your community throughout its history and made it what it is today. Take a look at the sample Local History we've posted.

Why Write a Local History?
Not only is understanding your local history an important part of the California Social Studies Framework, it is also an opportunity to make history and social studies relevant in the lives of your students. As they research their community's history, they will discover events and experiences that are very different and similar to those in their own lives.

We will publish your students' local histories on Education Place with other local histories from around California. Your class can visit at any time to learn about other California communities. You can also also use these published histories in your classroom.

Resources to Get You Started
We have included a directory of Internet Resources that provides information on California's agencies, historical societies, museums, libraries, schools, and other contacts your students can use to find more information on their community's local history. You can also send us listings of any other resources your students used in their research, such as books, videos, software, and magazines, in order to share them with other California students.

Guidelines for Writing a Local History

  1. Brainstorm with your students a list of things they would like to learn about their community. You can also use some of the ideas we've posted for you.
  2. Have individuals or groups of students choose a topic and begin research. Use the Internet Resources we have provided for you, and any others you may have to find out general information such as when the community was established and how the population has grown or declined over time, as well as more specific information on events and people that shaped the community.
  3. Encourage students to explore around the community for information, looking at old buildings, memorials, and street names for added information. If possible, invite long-time residents, local history buffs, members of historical societies, or even local businesspeople to your classroom so that students may have the opportunity to interview them. You may also want to organize field trips to local historical sites and museums.
  4. Have students record the information they find on notecards, which they can use to write their reports.
  5. Visit the Local History Postings page to see other students' published work. Check out the other postings and share them with your class.

Submission Policies

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