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May 14, 2017

Historical Figure Biographies All Bottled Up

By Nicole Kent
Grades 1–2, 3–5

    Open House madness is going on right now at our school and in my classroom. This is the time of year to showcase my students and their amazing accomplishments. After spending months working on writing and research projects, it’s time for my students to show off what they have learned. A wonderful way for them to express their creativity is with our Bottle Buddy Biography Project.

    Our biography journey began in January when students learned how to research and write about information they found. It was important that my students had an understanding that biographies give an account of a person’s life, achievements, and accomplishments.

    Choosing the Subject

    I hold a one-on-one conference with each student to learn about each one’s hobbies and interests. This helps me guide them towards a good match for their biography subject. Ultimately though, each student is allowed to choose the person they would like to learn more about.

     

    Since this project requires students to read a biography, it is important you have a large selection in your classroom or school library. A trip to your local library might be an option for students who are bent on a person not represented on your own library shelves.

    For the research part of the project, students will need to take notes from which they will write their report. I have created a graphic organizer to help them with their research. It guides them through the essential elements needed for their report starting with their famous person’s name, date of birth and date of death.

    The Biography Report

    Students write a mini-biography about their famous person, using information from the book that they read. The mini-biography needs to include important information from the person’s life and should be at least 12 sentences long. It should be written in the student’s best handwriting. The biography will eventually be attached to the replica part of this project.

    Famous Person Replica Bottle Buddy

    Students create a replica of their famous person using recycled materials and craft objects. They must use a two-liter soda bottle (empty and clean) for the body of the person with the neck of the bottle serving as the neck of the famous person. They then add a head and arms to make it look more life-like. Also, it needs to be able to sit on a desk. The bottle/body should resemble the famous person in terms of clothing, hair color, facial features, etc. The name of the person should be included clearly on the front of the body as if they are wearing a nametag. The biography, written on a separate piece of paper, gets attached to the front of the replica.

    You can see that my students were allowed a variety of material to construct the head and arms from paper mache to styrofoam. Some of them were very elaborate clothing their figures including details from neckties to necklaces.

     

     

    I love teaching this amazing unit. It appeals to many levels of ability and learning styles. It allows each student to shine in so many different ways. This rubric indicates the weight of each element of the project. Just click on the image to download it for your own use.

    I hope this gives you some ideas to do with your students. For a slightly different spin on this idea, take a look at what fellow blogger Christy Crawford did in her class using cans!

    Thanks for reading. Have fun with your teaching and your students. Remember, teaching is the best job in the world!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Nicole

    Open House madness is going on right now at our school and in my classroom. This is the time of year to showcase my students and their amazing accomplishments. After spending months working on writing and research projects, it’s time for my students to show off what they have learned. A wonderful way for them to express their creativity is with our Bottle Buddy Biography Project.

    Our biography journey began in January when students learned how to research and write about information they found. It was important that my students had an understanding that biographies give an account of a person’s life, achievements, and accomplishments.

    Choosing the Subject

    I hold a one-on-one conference with each student to learn about each one’s hobbies and interests. This helps me guide them towards a good match for their biography subject. Ultimately though, each student is allowed to choose the person they would like to learn more about.

     

    Since this project requires students to read a biography, it is important you have a large selection in your classroom or school library. A trip to your local library might be an option for students who are bent on a person not represented on your own library shelves.

    For the research part of the project, students will need to take notes from which they will write their report. I have created a graphic organizer to help them with their research. It guides them through the essential elements needed for their report starting with their famous person’s name, date of birth and date of death.

    The Biography Report

    Students write a mini-biography about their famous person, using information from the book that they read. The mini-biography needs to include important information from the person’s life and should be at least 12 sentences long. It should be written in the student’s best handwriting. The biography will eventually be attached to the replica part of this project.

    Famous Person Replica Bottle Buddy

    Students create a replica of their famous person using recycled materials and craft objects. They must use a two-liter soda bottle (empty and clean) for the body of the person with the neck of the bottle serving as the neck of the famous person. They then add a head and arms to make it look more life-like. Also, it needs to be able to sit on a desk. The bottle/body should resemble the famous person in terms of clothing, hair color, facial features, etc. The name of the person should be included clearly on the front of the body as if they are wearing a nametag. The biography, written on a separate piece of paper, gets attached to the front of the replica.

    You can see that my students were allowed a variety of material to construct the head and arms from paper mache to styrofoam. Some of them were very elaborate clothing their figures including details from neckties to necklaces.

     

     

    I love teaching this amazing unit. It appeals to many levels of ability and learning styles. It allows each student to shine in so many different ways. This rubric indicates the weight of each element of the project. Just click on the image to download it for your own use.

    I hope this gives you some ideas to do with your students. For a slightly different spin on this idea, take a look at what fellow blogger Christy Crawford did in her class using cans!

    Thanks for reading. Have fun with your teaching and your students. Remember, teaching is the best job in the world!

    Have a wonderful day!

    Nicole

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