Friday, February 15, 2013

Biography Project

We just finished a unit on nonfiction. In the past the kids enjoy nonfiction and do particularly well with expository nonfiction. Our goal this year was to become more familiar with narrative nonfiction because it is a genre they are less familiar with and one they will begin to see more often.

This year we decided to expose kids to more narrative nonfiction by reading biographies. Together we read stories such as Henry's Freedom Box, Marvelous Mattie, Minty, Wilma Unlimited, Sky Pioneer and Rosa.  (By the way, this is also a terrific unit for exposing the kids to famous African American and Women Heros!! The kids were amazed to hear about Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and other heroes from the past.) We focused the kids thinking by asking them questions:


  • Why do you think this person is important? 
  • What questions do you still have about this person? What would you ask them if you were able to talk to them in real life?
The kids chose a biography from our school or classroom library and began reading. After they finished reading, we had them complete a little project. We printed out the head of the person they chose. The student then drew the rest of the person and wrote what they learned. Here's a few examples of the finished product. They had fun.

Louis Armstrong - We printed out the person's head. Some of the pictures we used were colors, others black and white. The kids had a blast!

The students had to make a timeline of important events in that person's life. We asked them to include at least three big events other than the person's birth or death.


The kids also had to tell why the person they chose was important. What was their big contribution? The bottom text box was for the kids to write their questions for that person if they were able to talk to them. 

Another example - Walt Disney

Another example - Jane Goodall (post-it at top covering student's name)

After the projects were completed we put them on display in the classroom. The kids have enjoyed looking at them.

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