Welcome to a series of lessons I've created to accomplish Common Core Standards relating to reading biographies, taking relevant notes, and publishing a collaborative technology slide presentation. This is a culminating project to finish up the last two weeks of a six week unit on creative, inventive, and notable people of the turn-of-the-century. This set of lessons could be easily adapted to meet the needs of other biographical subjects in a different time period, or used with other types of informational text.
I chose to use the Who Was? series of books for my researchers. This series worked very well into the upper range of our Lexile band, provided text feature support, had many biographical subjects of the time period we are studying, and were just the right length to read in a week. One advantage of choosing to use books within the same series is the text structure. This made it easy when completing my daily lessons on reading and note taking.
Please watch this short introduction video to hear more about this lesson. Thank you!
Ahead of Time: To prepare for our class Google presentations, I first made a presentation outline. Then, I copied that presentation and gave it a name of the biographical subject and student names in that group. For example, the Amelia Earhart group's presentation was called "Biography Presentation-Amelia Earhart Jackson, Michael, Nicholas, and Courtney". Then, I shared it with each student within that group. The teachers on my third grade team also created picture folders on Google Drive for each biographical subject. We didn't want the students doing their own search on the internet at this time, so we collected about 20-40 pictures online that had to do with each biographical subject. We put them in folders on Google Drive labeled with the biographical subject's name and shared the picture folders with each group, just like the presentation document.
Set Purpose: Before we begin our lesson, we read through the biography rubric to identify our objectives for today. We read through the "Google Presentation Creation". The students are to create slides that group their information correctly, revise and edit, use technology to publish the biography presentation, and perform basic keyboarding skills (we call this using our home row). (See Resource File: Biography Research Rubric)
Log-in: Using our computer lab's projection system, I display my computer monitor for all students to see. I model for the students how to log in to their Google accounts and access their presentation document on Google Drive.
Getting Around on Google Presentation: I teach students how to type inside an existing text box, as well as how to add a text box. We also learn how to change the background color, insert an image, move, and resize it from a shared file (our files of pictures mentioned in the "Ahead of Time" section above). Lastly, I teach them how to spell check. I show them how a word is underlined in red if spell check thinks there is a problem. We review how to see where your group members are, and what they're working on by looking at their name at the top of their screen, and seeing that color cursor on a particular slide. Before we begin I caution students to be careful not to delete or change someone else's work on the document. I found it helpful to let the students try each action after I modeled it for them.
Presentation Creation: The students work to type in the information from their rough draft. I move around the room and help as needed. I'm also taking note of students' keyboarding skills, so I can mark that item on the rubric later. My students have been working on keyboarding since the beginning of the year, so the use of home row is an expectation. I also had our computer aide assisting us, which was helpful for our first time with Google presentation.
*My students will be finishing their slide shows during their computer lab time later today. They'll have another thirty minutes, which I did not include in the time for this lesson. You may want to add an additional day for your students.
Before Tomorrow: When my students finish their Google slide show presentations, I make comments right on the document for them to edit. I'll talk about this in the next lesson.
I'm always trying to continue to reinforce Common Core standards we're working on, or standards I've covered in previous lessons. Below are some additional documents I've created to support some of the standards covered within this unit. I hope you find these resources helpful when planning future instruction, literacy centers, home activities, content area lessons, digital articles, etc.
Question Stem Flip Book: This is a question stem flip book that my students completed earlier in this unit. Fold the paper in half (hot dog style - the long way) and cut along the dotted lines to create tabs. I found it helpful to have students write the question below the question stem word on the front flap when they were first learning how to accomplish this standard, and then flip open the flap to write the answer to their question in a complete sentence. It took us a few weeks to get to the point of taking multiple notes beneath one questions stem, like we did in the Biography Research Unit (See Resource File: Biography Flip book)
Question Stem Ask and Answer: This is an activity that can work with almost any kind of informational material to practice using question stems to ask and answer questions about relevant information. My class used it in our computer lab after reading an article on the Wright Brothers on Ducksters.com (http://www.ducksters.com/biography/wright_brothers.php). Practicing reading shorter informational articles and responding to questions is similar to the types of sample tasks they have on the Smarter Balanced and PARCC websites. I'm trying to integrate more digital literature with written response. (See Resource File: Question Stem Ask and Answer)
Biography Note Taking Sheet: As I mentioned in one of my videos las week, the students have been practicing taking notes with question stems throughout this unit. We completed other shared and independent reading about turn-of-the-century people. This is a sheet the students used as we were learning how to take notes using the question stems. (See Resource File: Biography Note Taking Sheet)
Literature Analysis: We also read the literature selection More Than Anything Else. This is a sheet I created to help students with standardized questioning. I try to have them complete these kinds of activities weekly to prepare for our PARCC testing. (See Resource File: More Than Anything Else Literature Analysis)
My Name is Georgia: Another shared reading selection we complete is about turn-of-the-century artist, Georgia O'Keeffe. After reading, my students completed this paper. You'll notice how I was integrating our question stem focus standard within this assignment. (See Resource File: My Name is Georgia Questions)
Balloons Over Broadway: The students also read the book Balloons Over Broadway which also follows our unit theme of creative, inventive, and notable people of the turn-of-the-century. This is an assignment they completed, again to practice question stems. (See Resource File: Balloons Over Broadway Question Stem Assignment)