I will begin this unit with the questions: What is a biography? Have you ever read a biography? Are biographies fiction or non–fiction, or both? I will chart responses of the students. A discussion will then follow as to what a biography is and how it applies to their lives. As the students are discussing the nature of biography, I will ask them to provide examples of biographies that they have read and would like to read and why. This discussion will serve to provide me with an insight as to what the students need to be taught and what they already know about the genre. I will also tell the students that they have to revisit the idea of "stretching out the truth" when writing. I will also talk about the importance of humor when writing a biography. All of these elements will help the students reach the final goal.
As we move forward with the unit, the students will continue adding to their KWL chart and keeping track of what skills they have learned with their Cornell notes kept in their Language Arts notebook to be referenced later on. The Cornell notes will help the students to organize their notes and be able to retrieve them later on when writing the final product.
Although there will be mini texts that will be used, the two referenced texts are the Social Studies book,
Our United States
, and the shared reading text,
Secret Soldier: The story of Deborah Sampson
. The Social Studies text book provides lessons on the lives of historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington as well as many others, while the
provides students with a chronological journal of a woman disguised as a soldier during the Revolutionary War. Many of the events taking place in the book are focused to align with certain dates of the Revolutionary War. The students enjoy reading this text because of the details that are given about what was happening during the war. It is time ordered and can be a bit boring at times, except for the description of Deborah Sampson being shot in the leg which the students are attracted to. They were fascinated with the description of how she was shot because the author dramatized Deborah's emotions and painted a highly–colored scene filled with suspense.
The social studies book can provide an example of information that includes three specific sections: childhood, young adulthood, and adulthood. This example can point out, whether or not it is important for the writer to include childhood as an important piece of information for the audience to know. These two examples are very different and serve two different purposes in the unit and can serve to provide many examples of the elements of the biography.