CC-Basics pages 164 - 171
Identify the form and characteristics of a biography
Understand how the characteristics of a genre affect an excerpt’s meaning of purpose
A biography is the true story of a person’s life, written by another person.
Ask students if they have read a biography, which is the true story of someone’s life. If so, ask: Who was it about? What information did it contain? Show students a brief biography of a world leader, such as Mahatma Gandhi. Point out that the biography contains facts about the person’s life. Then discuss the organization of the biography (for example, chronological order, list of accomplishments).
Tell students to remember that a biography is written not by the person it is about, but by another person. Have students take notes as they read each excerpt in the lesson. Notes should indicate which details or events the author emphasizes in each passage.
Summarize Supporting Details: Say a few phrases and have students identify them as facts or opinions. Read the passage on page 166 with students. Make a two-column chart on the board and label one column Facts and the other column Opinions. Have students tell you facts and opinions from the passage and write them on the chart. Tell students to use the information from the Facts column as well as other facts from the passage to write their summaries. Have students share their summaries in small groups. Remind them to avoid including opinions in their writing.
Gather Information from Different Media: Show an example of each type of reference source and discuss its contents. Then draw a five-column chart on the board and label the columns Newspapers, Magazines, Encyclopedias, Almanacs, and Atlases. Have students copy the chart in their notebooks. After they have chosen a topic, have them fill in their charts with the information they could find in each reference source. Have students discuss their completed charts in small groups and adjust their charts as needed.
Language: To help students identify opinions, create a list of opinion words and phrases on the board (think, feel, believe, perceive, seem, view, personal, understand, claim, admit, imagine, suppose) . Read through some biographies to identify opinions, and list them on the board. Use sentence frames to have students summarize the opinions.
Compare Biographies: Have students bring in biographies they have read, and supplement these with additional biographies. Have students work in small groups to compare two of the biographies to determine the organization and the details that are emphasized. Have them present their research to the class.
Write to Learn: Explain to students that when they state an opinion, they need to support it with details. Give an example of an opinion, such as Cooking is a useful skill that everyone should learn. Have students discuss ways to justify this opinion with logical reasons. Have them apply this strategy to their writing.