Posts tagged biography project
Every other year our middle school students work on biography writing. This year we had an opportunity to start our biography project with a visiting author, Mary Dodson Wade. She is known for writing many biographies on persons of importance in U.S. and Texas history.
My colleague and I created a project based around her visit. The students will research a person of note from the Revolutionary War era for a target audience of grades Kindergarten through Second. The students will use the Big6 research model to organize their research and compose draft biographies using Mary Dodson Wade’s biography of Wilma Rudolph as a model. Mrs. Wade has agreed to read the student’s drafts and make comments and suggestions for them. Once the biographies are complete the students will create a presentation using a digital tool of their choice. And finally, the projects will be shared online, with the K-2 students, and with the middle school students from our sister school.
Links to documents:
At this point, we reviewed the biography Wilma Rudolph by Mary Dodson Wade. This title was written for grades K-2 and kept to about 350 words. I reminded the students to look for the five W’s and to note the organization (introduction, 1956 Olympics, 1960 Olympics, and life after the Olympics) and information provided in the introduction to guide them as they wrote their own drafts.
Once they felt they had enough notes to work on the project, as outlined in the assignment sheet, they filled in the same graphic organizer they used for their earlier investigation of biographies. This was so they could find any gaps in their research; several had to go back and research some missing details.
By Thursday most of the students had begun their drafts. The original plan was to wait for the drafts to be done and peer reviewed before talking about digital tools, but they needed a break and exploring tools seemed like the best idea. I reminded them that one of the objectives for this project was to present the biography using a digital tool that needed to be viewed online and allowed for comments. We went through some of the tools they had used previously. Then I briefly discussed Vuvox, Voki, and StoryJumper. They I had about 45 minutes to explore the tools and come up with any of their own discoveries, which we added to the list.
By the end the day on Friday, all but one student had completed his or her draft, many had chosen his/her digital tool, several had begun gathering images or creating avatars, and one has peer edited with a partner (the partner was from 7th grade, thus only one from my class).