After reading My Name is Gabriela, by Monica Parra Brown, we jumped into the genre of biographies. This was an amazing opportunity for students to practice close reading with complex texts.
The process began by reading several different biographies. Students collaboratively decided what a good biographer would include in an article. Once important elements were identify, they were used to create a basic format.
Students chose a person to research and identified texts. Pupils used Thinking Maps to record important information. Peer discussions about their notes lead students to determine whether or not additional information was needed. Internet resources were utilized to fill in missing elements and locate appropriate illustrations for final projects.
Differential supports were used to scaffold this lesson. Both of these examples utilized dictation. The example on the left illustrates dictation followed up by the student tracing and reading aloud text. Here the student needed physical support to get the information on the paper. The second example is from an emergent reader. This student had adequate verbalize skills, but lacked the repretoire of written language and reading skills needed. Both students participated in the writing process and followed the basic format for research and reporting.