ERIC Number: ED349562
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
People from the Past: Writing Biographies.
Insights into Open Education, v25 n2 Oct 1992
Teachers have allowed the social studies and science areas of instruction to become isolated from vibrant language arts skills, resulting in deficiencies in reading and writing skills within the different content areas. An 8- to 10-week biography unit was developed for a fourth-grade social studies course in an attempt to give students a stronger personal connection with social studies. Such a personal involvement fosters self-expression, the ability to make inferences and think critically, and the promotion of student interest and involvement in learning. A major challenge in teaching biographical research is finding some way of organizing a vast amount of material. This can be done by using the "snapshot" approach, which emphasizes a common theme among the materials studied. The choice for a first biographical subject demanded some emotional involvement, suggesting Martin Luther King, Jr. Reading aloud from various biographies, class and small group discussion, and sharing questions and feelings about the material were the main activities. Student groups were asked to select eight important events in King's life and try to determine a common bond among all of them. The next step in the unit involved having each student choose a person to research on his/her own. Similar activities followed, resulting in some excellent work, as a student sample about Harriet Tubman demonstrates. In short, such a biography unit develops language skills, a knowledge of narrative, and invites critical thinking and analysis. (HB)
Descriptors: Biographies, Classroom Techniques, Content Area Reading, Content Area Writing, Grade 4, Intermediate Grades, Social Studies, Student Research, Units of Study, Writing Assignments
INSIGHTS, Center for Teaching and Learning, Box 8158, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, ND 58202 ($7 for annual subscription--8 issues).
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: North Dakota Univ., Grand Forks. Center for Teaching and Learning.