Inspire, Reach, and Teach Through Biography

byLisa Christenson

This unit uses autobiography, biography, and realistic fiction to teach the American Revolution. The unit utilizes an assortment of Common Core requirements and academic skills such as reading, writing, researching, and the presentation of written and studied material. Strategies discussed from the YNI seminar, will be modeled and discussed about the roles and responsibilities of the biographer throughout the lessons. Students will learn about African American heroes of the American Revolution as well those traditionally found in textbooks. Autobiographies and biographies will be assigned to students and as well, they will also self-select autobiographies and biographies to read in class and at home. Students will use graphic organizers to organize their findings from research on a person of choice from the American Revolution. This will culminate into a written multiple paragraph 'bio' on that individual and will be finally presented in Power Point to the classroom. The use of realistic fiction novels that reflect the lives of children of the 1700's will also be used to connect students to and draw them deeper into what life was like in early America. In addition to in-class readings and discussions, the use of educational DVD's will provide dramatic and visual support to deepen understanding of content. Lastly, a field-trip to the Museum of African Diaspora in San Francisco is scheduled where students will learn about the history of Africa, its culture, and its people.

(Developed for Language Arts and Social Studies/History, grade 5; recommended for Language Arts and Social Studies/History, grade 5)

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