- Research the candidates
- Write biographies in the form of talk-show interviews
- Meet the Candidates section of Scholastic News Online
Step 1: Explore the word "biography" with students. Explain that the word means "writing about life." When we write a biography, we write about a person's life — usually a person who has done something important or interesting. Invite students to tell the class about any biographies they might have read.
Step 2: Explain that students will be researching and writing biographies of the main presidential candidates. But instead of writing traditional essays, they will pretend to be a talk-show host interviewing a candidate. They will write biographical questions that a talk-show host might ask, and then, after doing some research, write responses that the candidate might give. Have students choose the candidate they will write about.
Step 3: Have students use Scholastic News Online and other resources to research their candidate's life, focusing on areas such as childhood, hobbies and interests, education, pets, career, achievements, and family. Students can also gather other interesting facts about each candidate's life, and what was going on the world as they were growing up and moving into their careers.
Step 4: When students have completed their research, demonstrate how to use the information to create a talk-show-style question and answer. Use these facts about an imaginary candidate, "Frank Smith," as an example:
Born August 12, 1949
Grew up on farm in Kansas, had chores
Played baseball and other sports
Question: Mr. Smith, what was your childhood like?
Answer: I was born in Kansas on August 12, 1949. I grew up on my parents' farm. I did a lot of chores, but I still had time for my favorite pastime, baseball!
Step 5: Invite students to turn their facts into questions and answers, and create a clean, polished copy on the computer. Encourage them to come up with a creative name for their talk show. They may use their own name for the host or create a fictitious name.
Have students work in pairs to present their biographical interviews to the class.
EXPLORE THE ELECTION ON SCHOLASTIC NEWS ONLINE