Composing a BioPoem for a Character in Of Mice and Men

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SWBAT identify and write character traits of characters in Of Mice of Men by using a graphic organizer to create a BioPoem on one chosen main character.

Big Idea

How much do my students know about a character's thoughts, feelings, desires, and dreams? Filling out a character BioPoem will let me know.


10 minutes

To get students' minds active and engaged and to help them retrieve prior knowledge about the stories events, they view short illustrated video of Chapter3.

Why Video?

Integrating videos into my lessons has it's advantages but also can bring up some concerns.

Building Knowledge

30 minutes

I begin by reminding students that they wrote "I AM"  poems in the beginning of the year for themselves and Langston Hughes which are similar to the Biopoem that they will be writing today.  I review by saying that a Biopoem is a specific kind of poem that follows a specific formula and that this formula will be used for today’s activity. Next using a BioPoem power point I review the formula by projecting slides #1-3 which gives examples of feelings, thoughts, and dreams of characters in the novella.  

I introduce the Biopoem activity at this point in the unit as another learning activity which can deepen their understanding of a character as provide me with a formative assessment of their knowledge and analysis of the character they choose. 

After checking for understanding, I then explain that there are a few characters that we have been introduced to but have not been analyze on a character map.  I hand out another two sided character map and instruct students to write in the names, Crooks and Candy on their maps.  They then begin finding the trait information necessary to complete each map.  I write the page numbers  from the text on the board for those who need to re-read about each character RL.9-10.1.  As students complete their maps I circulate among them checking for understanding and keeping them engaged in the task buy putting a blue dot on top of their parers as they complete it.

Student Learning Activity

25 minutes

I ask students to refer to all the character maps they have completed on the characters in the story for the next activity.  I project the formula on the screen as well as hand out the BioPoem template for their character's BioPoem.

I explain that they can write their BioPoem about any major character of their choice in the novella but suggest that they use their character maps as a guide W.9-10.9.  I tell them that the goal of the assignment is to get to know their chosen character better by having a chance to closely think about the different aspects of him or her RL.9-10.3.  I remind them to follow the directions step-by-step so that they maintain the formula.  But I also encourage the students to be creative in the words they choose to use.  If there is a detail they do not know, I suggest making something up that would be appropriate to the character.

As they write their BioPoems I circulate among them encouraging them to be creative with their words and stay with the poems formula.


Wrap Up

10 minutes

Pair Share

Students now work in pairs sharing their Biopoems with a partner SL.9-10.1.  I then ask a few students depending on the time we have left, to read their BioPoems to the class.  Students pass in their completed BipPoems which will be posted on the Student Work bulletin board for the class to read the following day.