Logo Top Banner
slogan Alaska Timeline Alaska Kids About
Peer Work
Family & Community
History & Culture
Digital Archives
Narrative & Healing
Reading & Writing
Libraries & Booksellers
Teaching & Learning
Reading Workbooks

Multiple Skill Levels

Elementary School

Middle School

High School

Writing Workbooks

Two Old Women

Difficult Dialogues

Ordinary Wolves

Shopping for Porcupine

UAA and APU Books of the Year

Educators' Perspectives

Contact Us

Search Peer Work Only
Sign up for newsletter
Find us on Facebook

Teaching and Learning

Home  >  Teaching and Learning  >  Reading Workbooks  >  Elementary School
Biography Exercise
By Alice Knapp

Alice Knapp, Librarian
As part of a unit on the Civil Rights Movement, I divided third and fourth grade students into pairs. Each pair read a biography about a famous Black American. After reading the book, I asked them to write a paragraph focusing on the ways this great person made a difference. I was not looking for a traditional book report, but rather, I really wanted the students to get to the essence of the contribution made by the American. In the process, I focused on the concepts of writing effective paragraphs -- including the creation of a topic sentence and how each following sentence in a paragraph should relate back to the idea expressed by that first sentence.

I started them off by creating an example for them on the contributions of Rosa Parks. We discussed Rosa Parks and her experiences during the Civil Rights Movement. I then wrote up a paragraph for students to use as a model.

The biographies read by these students were:

Wilma Rudolph, by Victoria Sherrow
Keep on Singing: A Ballad of Marian Anderson, by Myra Cohn Livingston
Jackie Robinson: He Was the First, by David A. Adler
A Picture Book of Martin Luther King Jr., by David A. Adler
Barbara Jordan, by Diane Patrick-Wexler
Faith Ringgold, by Robyn Montana Turner

Student Examples:

About the Author: Alice Knapp is a Librarian at Chugach Optional Elementary School.

  Contact Us       LitSite Alaska, Copyright © 2000 - 2015. All rights reserved. University of Alaska Anchorage.
University of Alaska Anchorage