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!
Objectives: Before we begin our presentations, we review the objectives on our rubric. We read through the section titled "Group Presentations". The students will be following rules for speaking and listening, asking appropriate questions about presentations, speaking clearly and understandably, and responding to questions accurately. (See Resource Files: Biography Research Rubric and Engage in Discussions Poster CCSS SL3.1)
Before the Presentations: My class has a special way of welcoming presenters. We give them a "Lights, camera, action!" before we begin. When we say "Lights" we hold out one arm directing in front of us horizontally. Then we say "Camera!" holding our other arm up vertical over our heads. Lastly, we say "Action!" and snap down the arm that is up in the air onto the one in front of us.
During the Presentations: I'm watching to make sure students are following the expectations for speaking and listening. I'll take any notes as needed to record later on their rubrics for assessment. I'm also checking to see that the edits and revisions were made on the Google presentations. I did record some video while my students were presenting, and have some short clips to share with you. (See Resource Files: Biography Presentations)
Following the Presentations: As part of our speaking and listening standards, the students ask and answer questions about the biographical subjects presented. My students give appropriate applause when the presentation is complete.
Review of Learning: I let my researchers know what a terrific job they've done, and that we've all learned so much about Annie Oakley, Dr. Seuss, Roald Dahl, Walt Disney, Amelia Earhart, Maria Tallchief, Albert Einstein, and Harry Houdini. We've also worked toward mastery of many standards and we discuss how many of our posters on our wall we accomplished! Also, this was our very first Google activity, and the students are very proud of that!
Revisit Essential Question: We also take time to revisit our essential question. I keep this posted throughout the unit, and we refer to it often. We also reflect on it at the end of a week, or set of lessons, like this biography research unit. This is my district's first year with these new units and essential questions, so I've been trying different things with each unit. For this unit, I copied the essential question page for each student, and then had student add to the page as we completed texts and units of study. (See Resource Files: Unit Three Essential Question Map SMART Notebook File; Two Student Samples; *Picture of Notebook File)
Way to Go!: I like to end larger units like this with a little something for my students. It doesn't have to be much, just something to say "Nice job! I know you worked hard!". Some ideas I have for this unit are certificates with the picture of the Oscar statue saying "Best Biography Documentary", and old-fashioned oatmeal cookies with vanilla ice cream between (to go along with our turn-of-the-century theme).
*Note: I included a screenshot (picture) of my Unit Three Essential Question Map in case you don't have a SMART Board and SMART Notebook software.
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)