What is a Biography?

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SWBAT conduct research about a famous person by learning the elements of a biography.

Big Idea

In preparation for our Biography Tea project, students explore various books about famous people to locate specific elements.

Modeling and Guided Practice

20 minutes

I explained that we are going to have a Biography Tea where students will dress up as a famous person and be able to tell others about that person’s life. That will require them to conduct a research project over several weeks. They will read books about the person’s life. They will also conduct research online and read other print material.

I showed students the biography PowerPoint to introduce this new (new to them) genre. After the presentation, I displayed a biography book using the document camera so that all students could see. I introduced the famous person on the cover. I also introduced the Biography Scavenger Hunt. I modeled skimming the book to find the required information. For example, since I knew biographies were written sequentially, I would find the date of birth at the beginning of the book and the day they died (if applicable) at or near the end. I modeled writing the information on the scavenger hunt sheet.

Independent Practice

20 minutes

For independent practice, students selected a biography and completed a scavenger hunt sheet. Students had the option of working alone or with a partner. I did this to meet the social and academic needs of my students. I partnered some students strategically. I partnered low readers with advanced readers to aid with decoding. I partnered English language learners with proficient English speakers to provide support with the content. Students with strong interpersonal skills prefer working with others regardless of skill level. My gifted students usually elect to work alone because they work at a faster pace. 


15 minutes

Students shared the information they found with the class. They displayed their sheet on the document camera and spoke into the class microphone. I did this so that all students would hear information about a variety of famous people. This would aid them in choosing a notable person to research for the Biography Tea. It also gave them a bit of practice speaking in front of a group as required for the Tea.