This hands-on biography unit with critical thinking responses is written to be self-guided and independent for your GATE kids. Use it as a whole class project, as I did, or as an extension lesson for your advanced students.
Level: 3rd through 8th grades
Time: about 5+ hours and then some . . .
Materials: common classroom items or craft box materials
To be used with any length biography or autobiography…
In “physicalizing” language with metaphors and hands-on creative projects, we’re connecting the brain’s right and left hemispheres again. The critical thought which goes into the process represents outstanding kid literary analysis and requires that extra magical mental leap which makes this GR8 for GATE.
You get everything you need to get started today: activity sheets and planning sheets, instructions for students, Common Core State Standards references, and examples of projects.
Note: some of the Common Core Standards actually fit better for literature than reading for information. One grade level is typically cited, but similar standards can be found across other grade levels.
An overview of the case file is below. All instructions are written for the students, and there is no need for further “teacher” instructions.
Cover Sheet: Every case file needs a cover/data sheet. With ours, we start our critical thinking journey right away—including art—in this big picture summary.
Doubts and Fears Diary: A tattered and torn diary page has been found which will be placed inside the case file. How could a person so successful in life have so many doubts and fears? Let’s be creative and re-create this diary page. Use your imagination. Try to get inside your subject’s mind.
Award Certificate: What? Harriet Tubman once received an award as a child for the best hide and seek player on the plantation? We get both artistic and creative with this section of the unit.
What is in the Pockets? Students craft items that were found in their subject’s pockets and cite textual evidence to support their inferences. GATE at its best! Thoughtful, creative, fun, critical thinking . . .
Prized Childhood Possession: News flash! Your subject’s prized childhood possession has been found! What is it? Build a model of the item which you’ve made strong inferences to create. Students get to be creative, analytical, artistic, inferential, and have fun and explore. Watch these little projects grow big!
Prized Childhood Possession Extemporaneous Speech: Share your project with your classmates in this public speaking opportunity. A template will help guide and organize the speech, and don’t forget to read the public speaking tips in preparation.