Contando Vidas/Telling Life Stories: The Biographies of Influential Hispanics in Our Community

byBarbara Prillaman

In this unit, students will become familiar with the genre of biography and how biographies are constructed, learning about the components necessary to "tell" a person's life story. This will be modeled by using a case study on the life of Cesar Chavez, a person who has many things in common with these Hispanic, middle-school English Language Learners (ELLs). In teams, these Hispanic youngsters will interview prominent community members and these members' additional personal and professional sources. Interviewing skills will be modeled and practiced before going out into the community to meet with their community members. Students will also be required to analyze various written documents about these people's lives. Then, they will synthesize the information from their interviews and written document evaluations and write a short biography about their selected person. This unit, although geared toward a particular group of students and community, could easily be adapted to fit the needs of many other groups/communities.

(Developed for English Language Arts for English Language Learners, grades 6-8; recommended for English Language Arts and Social Studies, grades 6-12)

Comments (1)

    Justine Busto (East Mecklenburg HS, Charlotte, NC)
    Subject taught: ESL - all grades of high school, Grade: 11
    Contando Vidas: Telling Life Stories...
    I've noticed in teaching ESL students that they really respond to biographies about successful immigrants to this country. My classes are composed of students from countries all over the world, with many language backgrounds, but I do have a number of hispanics in that mix. I found your topic very intresting, as I'm writing my own unit on using digital recording in the ESL language classroom. My students will be using digital voice recorders to to interviews inside and outside the classroom. Gracias por su trabajo!

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