Summary and Context:
Today, we will continue with the genre of biographies. As I have shifted with the Common Core State Standards towards incorporating more informational texts in my ELA instruction, I have also realized how much technology and different digital media can ease this transition and make the learning fun for students. They need to learn to be critical users of technology resources, though. That's where we as teachers come in.
One way I am incorporating technology within this lesson to bolster the text reading we will be doing is by starting off the lesson with a short video of Martin Luther King's speech, "I Have a Dream." It is less than 6 minutes long. My intention in showing it is to expand their content knowledge not just about MLK, but also about the genre of biographies and people who changed the world. The students who chose to read about MLK are reading about how he delivered great speeches, and so, in showing the video, I wanted them to experience the speech first hand with more context than they would normally get. In sharing the speech, it also allows me to explain how a speech is considered a text and that speeches have much to teach us as well. Once we are done watching it, I will have a discussion about the message of his speech. Then, the students will write briefly about their own dreams.
I previewed it the speech before showing it. I wanted to make sure the content was appropriate for this grade level/age level, which I would encourage you to do as you strive to include video and other technology in your teaching.
After the video and discussion, I will gather the students on the rug. Today they will design posters of their historical figure based on their texts. I give them the guidelines they need to follow. They will use a bubble map to identify some key details of the lives of their historical figure. Afterwards, some students will share their posters with the class.
I start with students on the carpet. I share the objective. I ask them what they have learned about biographies. I ask them to pair share before a few share with the class.
I bring the students to their tables. I review what the word speech means.
I show the video twice. The first time I want them to just enjoy it. The second time, I ask them to think about the words that repeat themselves because these words are clues that the author gives us about the message his speech is about. I have taught my students to distinguish between high frequency words and content words, so they hone in on words like "freedom" and "justice" rather than "the" or "and."
In this case, I mention the name of the speech and I ask them to pay attention to words that are connected to the title. In reviewing the title of the speech, it gives me the opportunity to help my students notice how titles are useful in helping us make meaning.
Here is the link and video:
After the video is seen the second time, I start a discussion with the question: "What was MLK's dream all about?"
I record their answers on the white board.
Then, I will give my students time to reflect on their own dreams for about 5 minutes. This helps them connect to the speech in a personal way and develop their schema for the important details they just internalized.
In watching this short video, I am showing my students that we gather information through different sources.
Here are examples of their dreams:
I gather the students on the rug to help them identify 3-4 key details about their historical figure. I let them know that they will draw a bubble map to organize their information. Then they will take the information from their bubble map to create the poster.
In order for them to find key details of their historical figure, I tell them that they will need to reread their books.
Before sending them off, finally, I review the video we watched on MLK. I stated how he changed the laws/lives for African-Americans. This would be a good time to model creating the bubble map if you think your students might need that additional support.
As students work, I walk around and offer support in how their historical figure changed the world, since for some this will be challenging.
Here are examples of their bubble maps:
Now they will take the information on their bubble map and create their poster. I bring the students back to the rug.
I explain the Checklist they will be using to create their posters. My students have not designed posters before or had the opportunity to organize information in this manner, and that is why I give them step by step directions.
I ask them to write the years these people lived because I want them to be able to know what that is and how to read it when they come across it.
My students are creating posters of well known figures, such as MLK or Dr.Seuss, and some are creating them of not so known figures, such as George Eastman. I made sure I offered them a wide variety of people to choose.
As I walk around, I check in with my students to make sure they understand the task: changing the lives of farm workers. Some students will need support with where the name of the person goes. Others will need reassurance of what they are doing. Others will need support to stay on task.
Now some of my students get to share their work with the rest of the class.
After the speakers share, they receive feedback. This is the system I use to make the process safe and fun:
Here is one of the speakers for today: MLKchangedthe laws.
This time on the rug allows me to bring closure to the lesson too.