When looking to tie a library unit to real world applications, African American History Month and biographies went hand-in-hand. Biographies can be used to investigate key figures in African American history that do not always get a chance to be recognized within the school curriculum. By investigating these people, students gain a greater understanding of the African American culture.
This curriculum web is created to help furthur students' understanding of biographies and Black History Month. I want to teach the components of biographies, the origins of Black History Month, and key influential African Americans to students in grades 3-5 so they have a better understanding of the genre and the African American culture.
Many students are not aware of the people and the achievements recognized during Black History Month, regardless of the child's nationality, ethnicity, or background. There are many inventions, art forms, and rights that have come to us from famous African Americans. The best way to learn about biographies is to investigate a person's life - so why not feature individuals students may not be aware of? This curriculum web will help expose children to not only the literary idea of a biography and what they contain but a glimpse into American history.
The learners for this curriculum web would be third and fifth graders within a diverse population in an urban school. Older students would be encouraged to go more in depth with projects, perhaps adding more facts or making projects longer or more detailed.
*Basic computer skills
*Able to read/navigate a website independently
*Use of Glogster/iWeb
The main subject matter of this curriculum web is biographies, Black History Month, and famous African Americans.
Goals and Objectives
Students will identify the components of a biography and how to find one in the library.
Students will collect information on an influential African American.
Students will create a biographical interview with a chosen subject, various written forms, and a website showing a
knowledge of famous African Americans and Black History Month.
Students will investigate the origins of Black History Month.
· First, go over elements of a biography and read biographies of famous African Americans with each class.
o Talk about how to find biographies in the Library
· Introduce the concept of Black History Month.
· Brainstorm names of famous African Americans; provide students with a listing. Have each student choose and name and record them.
· Introduce the curriculum web, explaining how it relates to the previous lessons.
· All learning activities should be explained along with the final project.
· At each table of 4-6, students should pick one of the assigned learning activities.
o Students have been assigned to tables based on behavior.
o Discuss differing attributes of each activity; some may be more appealing to certain strengths.
· Using a projector, walk students through all of the websites: the curriculum web, the Diigo site, all the bookmarked sites, the Glogster site.
o Students are very visual. Make sure to demonstrate and take all questions. Perhaps have students try to navigate for class.
· Explain to students that there will be how-to manuals/packets available for the different sites.
· Students will read through the instructions on the curriculum web after hearing it explained
· Throughout multiple library classes, students should rotate through computers, brainstorming, rough drafts, and final projects.
o Students within the group should rotate through the computer usage. Students should do research then students who can do rough drafts on paper (letter, journal, interview) should allow the student doing the Glogster site to get on the computer.
o This should take at least six library classes; possibly more. It would depend if a laptop cart could be borrowed to supplement the computers. This is also using the entire 45 minute period; if only 30 minutes are used, this may take longer.
· Students should be reminded multiple times to save any work to their folder on the server.
o They should know how to do this from AI class.
o Files should be saved correctly to their space using their name and CWeb – just in case it does get saved to the desktop.
· Students who are finished should be encouraged to read/find biographies in the library about their chosen person.
· Websites can be viewed by whole classes after all are finished.
o Students could rotate through viewing each site or pull them up for the whole class using the LCD projector.
· Students will be assessed by a rubric for each individual activity as well as for the group activity.
The assessments will be the final project of each learning activity. The rubrics follow below.
Final Website Rubric
|Background||Background is exceptionally attractive, consistent across pages, adds to the theme or purpose of the site, and does not detract from readability.||Background is attractive, consistent across pages, adds to the theme or purpose of the site, and does not detract from readability.||Background is consistent across pages and does not detract from readability.||Background detracts from the readability of the site.|
|Fonts||The fonts are consistent, easy to read and point size varies appropriately for headings and text. Use of font styles (italic, bold, underline) is used consistently and improves readability.||The fonts are consistent, easy to read and point size varies appropriately for headings and text.||The fonts are consistent and point size varies appropriately for headings and text.||A wide variety of fonts, styles and point sizes was used.|
|Graphics||Graphics are related to the theme/purpose of the site, are thoughtfully cropped, are of high quality and enhance reader interest or understanding.||Graphics are related to the theme/purpose of the site, are of good quality and enhance reader interest or understanding.||Graphics are related to the theme/purpose of the site, and are of good quality.||Graphics seem randomly chosen, are of low quality, OR distract the reader.|
|Links (content)||All links point to high quality, up-to-date, credible sites.||Almost all links point to high quality, up-to-date, credible sites.||Most links point to high quality, up-to-date, credible sites.||Less than 3/4 of the links point to high quality, up-to-date, credible sites.|
|Spelling and Grammar||There are no errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar in the final draft of the Web site.||There are 1-3 errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar in the final draft of the Web site.||There are 4-5 errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar in the final draft of the Web site.||There are more than 5 errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar in the final draft of the Web site.|
|Content||The site has a well-stated clear purpose and theme that is carried out throughout the site.||The site has a clearly stated purpose and theme, but may have one or two elements that do not seem to be related to it.||The purpose and theme of the site is somewhat muddy or vague.||The site lacks a purpose and theme.|
|Layout||The Web site has an exceptionally attractive and usable layout. It is easy to locate all important elements. White space, graphic elements and/or alignment are used effectively to organize material.||The Web pages have an attractive and usable layout. It is easy to locate all important elements.||The Web pages have a usable layout, but may appear busy or boring. It is easy to locate most of the important elements.||The Web pages are cluttered looking or confusing. It is often difficult to locate important elements.|
|Learning of Material||The students have an exceptional understanding of the material included in the site and where to find additional information. Can easily answer questions about the content and procedures used to make the web site.||The students havve a good understanding of the material included in the site. Can easily answer questions about the content and procedures used to make the web site.||The students have a fair understanding of the material included in the site. Can easily answer most questions about the content and procedures used to make the web site.||Students did not appear to learn much from this project. Cannot answer most questions about the content and the procedures used to make the web site.|
|Work Ethic||Students always uses classroom project time well. Conversations are primarily focused on the project and things needed to get the work done and are held in a manner that typically does not disrupt others. Everyone contributed.||Student usually uses classroom project time well. Most conversations are focused on the project and things needed to get the work done and are held in a manner that typically does not disrupt others. Most of the group worked together well.||Student usually uses classroom project time well, but occasionally distracts others from their work. Only two people worked together well.||Student does not use classroom project time well OR typically is disruptive to the work of others. The group did not work together well.|
|Originality||Product shows a large amount of original thought. Ideas are creative and inventive.||Product shows some original thought. Work shows new ideas and insights.||Uses other people's ideas (giving them credit), but there is little evidence of original thinking.||Uses other people's ideas, but does not give them credit.|
|Attractiveness||Makes excellent use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance the presentation.||Makes good use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance to presentation.||Makes use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. but occasionally these detract from the presentation content.||Use of font, color, graphics, effects etc. but these often distract from the presentaion content.|
|Mechanics||No misspellings or grammatical errors.||Three or fewer misspellings and/or mechanical errors.||Four misspellings and/or grammatical errors.||More than 4 errors in spelling or grammar.|
|Content||All 10 elements of a biography are included as well as at least five persuasive reasons.||At least 8 elements ofa biography are included as well as at least four persuasive reasons.||At least 5 elements of a biography are included as well as at least 3 persuasive reasons.||Less than five elements of a biography are included as well as less than three persuasive reasons.|
|Preparation||Before the interview, the student prepared several in-depth AND factual questions to ask.||Before the interview, the student prepared a couple of in-depth questions and several factual questions to ask.||Before the interview, the student prepared several factual questions to ask.||The student did not prepare any questions before the interview.|
|Videography||Video does not rock/shake and the focus is excellent throughout.||Video does not rock/shake and the focus is adequate throughout.||Video has a little rocking or shaking, but the focus is excellent throughout.||The video rocks/shakes often OR the focus is not adequate.|
|Knowledge Gained||Student can accurately answer several questions about the person who was interviewed and can tell how this interview relates to the material being studied in class.||Student can accurately answer a few questions about the person who was interviewed and can tell how this interview relates to the material being studied in class.||Student can accurately answer a few questions about the person who was interviewed.||Student cannot accurately answer questions about the person who was interviewed.|
|Biography Elements||All ten biography elements are included.||At least eight biography elements are included.||At least six biography elements are included.||Less than five biography elements are included.|
|Questions||Questions and answers are well thought out and relevant to what the historical figure would answer.||Questions and answers are well thought out but do not always relate to the historical figure being interviewed.||Questions and answers are very basic and do not reveal or relate to the historical figure being interviewed.||Questions and answers do not relate to the historical figure being interviewed.|
|Setting Up the Interview||The student introduced himself and explained why he wanted to interview the person.||The student introduced himself but needed a reminder to explain why he wanted to do the interview.||The student needed multiple reminders to introduce himself and to tell why he wanted to interview the person.||The student did not explain why he was doing an interview.|
|Sentences & Paragraphs||Sentences and paragraphs are complete, well-constructed and of varied structure.||All sentences are complete and well-constructed (no fragments, no run-ons). Paragraphing is generally done well.||Most sentences are complete and well-constructed. Paragraphing needs some work.||Many sentence fragments or run-on sentences OR paragraphing needs lots of work.|
|Salutation and Closing||Salutation and closing have no errors in capitalization and punctuation.||Salutation and closing have 1-2 errors in capitalization and punctuation.||Salutation and closing have 3 or more errors in capitalization and punctuation.||Salutation and/or closing are missing.|
|Grammar & spelling||Writer makes no errors in grammar or spelling.||Writer makes 1-2 errors in grammar and/or spelling.||Writer makes 3-4 errors in grammar and/or spelling||Writer makes more than 4 errors in grammar and/or spelling.|
|Ideas||Ideas were expressed in a clear and organized fashion. It was easy to figure out what the letter was about and the letter is persuasive.||Ideas were expressed in a pretty clear manner, but the organization and persuasion could have been better.||Ideas were somewhat organized, but were not very clear. It took more than one reading to figure out what the letter was about and the letter was not very persuasive.||The letter seemed to be a collection of unrelated sentences. It was very difficult to figure out what the letter was about and was not persuasive.|
|Format||Complies with all the requirements for a business letter.||Complies with almost all the requirements for a business letter.||Complies with several of the requirements for a business letter.||Complies with less than 75% of the requirements for a business letter.|
|Content Accuracy||The letter contains at least 5 accurate facts about the topic.||The letter contains 3-4 accurate facts about the topic.||The letter contains 1-2 accurate facts about the topic.||The letter contains no accurate facts about the topic.|
|Envelope||Complete, accurate return address and recipient address. Addresses in correct positions.||Complete, accurate return address and recipient address. Position may be slightly off.||1-2 errors in return address. Recipient address is correct.||Addresses are incomplete and/or inaccurate.|
|Picture/Diagram||A picture/diagram of the memorial is included and is original, neat, and detailed.||A picture/diagram is included and is original and neat but not very detailed.||A picture/diagram is included but is not original, neat, and/or detailed.||No picture or diagram is included.|
|Focus on Assigned Topic||The entire story is related to the assigned topic and allows the reader to understand much more about the topic.||Most of the story is related to the assigned topic. The story wanders off at one point, but the reader can still learn something about the topic.||Some of the story is related to the assigned topic, but a reader does not learn much about the topic.||No attempt has been made to relate the story to the assigned topic.|
|Organization||The journal is very well organized. One idea or scene follows another in a logical sequence with clear transitions.||The journal is pretty well organized. One idea or scene may seem out of place. Clear transitions are used.||The journal is a little hard to follow. The transitions are sometimes not clear.||Ideas and scenes seem to be randomly arranged.|
|Spelling and Punctuation||There are no spelling or punctuation errors in the final draft. Character and place names that the author invented are spelled consistently throughout.||There is one spelling or punctuation error in the final draft.||There are 2-3 spelling and punctuation errors in the final draft.||The final draft has more than 3 spelling and punctuation errors.|
|Accuracy of Facts||All facts presented in the story are accurate.||Almost all facts presented in the story are accurate.||Most facts presented in the story are accurate (at least 70%).||There are several factual errors in the story.|
|Creativity||The story contains many creative details and/or descriptions that contribute to the reader's enjoyment. The author has really used his imagination but ties in facts.||The story contains a few creative details and/or descriptions that contribute to the reader's enjoyment. The author has used his imagination but ties in facts.||The story contains a few creative details and/or descriptions, but they distract from the story. The author has tried to use his imagination and has included some facts.||There is little evidence of creativity in the story. The author does not seem to have used much imagination or facts.|
|Setting||Many vivid, descriptive words are used to tell when and where the story took place.||Some vivid, descriptive words are used to tell the audience when and where the story took place.||The reader can figure out when and where the story took place, but the author didn't supply much detail.||The reader has trouble figuring out when and where the story took place.|
|Requirements||All of the written requirements (# of pages, # of graphics, type of graphics, etc.) were met.||Almost all (about 90%) the written requirements were met.||Most (about 75%) of the written requirements were met, but several were not.||Many requirements were not met.|
- Computers with the iLife suite (at least 4 desktops plus additional laptops)
- Scratch paper (for notes)
- Supplementary print materials
- Video camera (if computers are not web cam enabled)