This 6-8 day mini-unit is a great way to address the Common Core standards of comparing two texts and reading a variety of texts. I do this unit at the end of the year when students are fairly proficient at reading non-fiction and determining main ideas. Therefore, you will see a lot of strategy practice, but not intense direct strategy instruction.
In this unit, students will learn why authors write biographies and how to read a biography. Students will identify important details/events in the individuals’ lives and determine appropriate character traits for their subjects. Students will use evidence to support each character trait. After going through this process as a whole class students will then choose to study what makes either scientists or leaders great. First they will practice the reading strategies in a small group with one biography. Then, they will choose a second biography to read independently. As students read, they will determine each scientist’s and leader’s major traits. Then, they will compare the two and determine common traits that make a great scientist or great leaders. You may finish off this unit with presentations, essays, group discussions, or debate about what it takes to be a successful scientist or leader.
Structure of the Unit
This unit is broken into two parts:
(1) Read The Life of Cesar Chavez as a whole class (2-3 45 min blocks)
(2) Students read biographies of either scientists or leaders independently and/or in groups (3-4 45 min blocks + some homework time)
All reading materials can be printed from readinga-z.com!