Biography: Taking Brief Notes (Day 3)

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SWBAT gather information from print sources, take brief notes, and sort evidence into provided categories in a step book.

Big Idea

Students continue gathering information to learn about their chosen famous person and write an informational essay. In this lesson, they focus on interesting facts.

Modeling and Guided Practice

15 minutes

I started the lesson by directing student’s attention to the plagiarism poster posted in front of the room. I wanted to remind them of its definition and how to avoid it. I continued the lesson by telling them that sometimes, authors include interesting facts about a topic to make it more interesting to the reader. An interesting fact should be something that piques the reader’s interest. It may make them think, “Wow, I didn’t know that! That is interesting!”  

I continued the lesson by modeling reading from a biography about Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla and writing brief notes on the corresponding section of my step book. (I’d identified some facts before the lesson in order to save time.) I focused on adding to the Interesting Facts step. I used a transparency and dry erase marker to underline the information. Students helped me identify information that could be included and helped convert sentences into brief phrases. If I read information that could be included on other steps, I added it to the appropriate step to demonstrate that research is not linear. Information can appear any place in the book. This required students to evaluate information to determine its placement within the provided categories.

Independent Practice

40 minutes

For independent practice, students read their biographies and took brief notes on their step book. They used transparencies and dry erase makers to underline the information. I walked around the room assisting students as needed.



10 minutes

I used a rubric to assess students’ ability to take brief, legible notes and sort evidence into provided categories. I focused on legibility so that it would be easier for students to decipher their notes when they began writing their essay. Students worked with multiple steps in the step book during this lesson, so I also assessed their ability to sort evidence in provided categories. Grouping notes effectively will aid students in meeting CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.3.2.A, which dictates they group related information together when writing informative text.