In this article, we explore writing as a recurring and structured practice in the teaching of history. A teacher and her Grade 6 students were followed for 12 weeks’ teaching about the Vasa era. The material consists of field notes, transcribed voice recordings, teaching material, and samples of students’ writing. Drawing on the sociology of education, functional theories of writing, and concepts of historical thinking, the result shows that the teacher prioritized organizing information about the era while also, through writing based on images, creating opportunities for imagining, exploring and participating in content-related interaction. Social semiotic analysis highlights how the students employed different ways of taking notes explicitly modelled by the teacher. While the writing practices created some opportunities for learning about important events, understanding the historical significance of the Vasa era, and approaching a historical perspective, ethical dimensions and critical examination of evidence were de-emphasized. Implications for using writing in critical literacy practices of school history are discussed.