Engaging Scenario: Diary Entries on the Cold War at Home

In this project, you will pretend to be either a diplomat or a citizen of the U.S. during the Cold War. The assignment is to write about your experiences in a fictional diary. Writing should reflect knowledge of the Cold War, as well as your character’s feelings.

Diary should read “real” (include emotion, observations, fears, hopes, etc.).

(This entry is number 3 in a series. The focus of this entry is The Cold War at Home.)

Step 1: Explain to students that they will be completing another diary entry. Explain that they should draw details from their graphic organizers, such as the KWL, Word Association, Characterization Chart, and Socialism Definition Map.

Step 2: Review rubric noting the importance of using “Power Words” (The SAT Top 100)

Step 3: Display slide with requirements and read them aloud to students
Diary Entries

Diary Prompt: Handout this worksheet (diary prompt) to help students sketch out their assignment.

The Cold War At Home p. 616 – 621


  • Must include terms: Blacklist AND HUAC
  • PLUS: Alger Hiss OR the Rosenbergs
  • PLUS “McCarthyism”

Step 4: Distribute requirements/sentence starters on 1/4 sheet (last two pages of presentation) so every student has a copy.

Sentence Starters
Step 5: Remind students that diaries can include pictures, maps, drawings; examples or self written pieces of poetry or music; other examples in a non-written format.

Step 6: Students work on diary entry with final product due following class session.

Note: Teacher may wish to create an alternating cycle of silent work time and work time with no talking allowed. For example: 10 minutes of silent time followed by 5 minutes of sharing followed by 10 minutes of silent time.

Assessment: Peer Evaluation based on Rubric

(Diary Rubric extended version ppt)

Step 1: Project rubric on screen

Step 2: Ask students to exchange entries with a peer.

Step 3: Students review entries checking for specific requirements (names, etc.). Students provide feedback (written and/or oral) and a score based on rubric.