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The Living Biography

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Keywords: Podcasts
Subject(s): Writing, Reading, Social Studies, English/Language Arts, Spelling, Grammar, Science
Grades 4 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Challenger 7 Elementary School, Cocoa, FL
Planned By: Trelawney Wise
Original Author: Trelawney Wise, Cocoa
Elementary School
Lesson Plan: The Living Biography
Recommended: 5th/6th grade:

Objective: Use podcasting to have students create a living audio biography of someone they've studied.

For this, divide your class into groups of 5 students, depending on the size of your class. Most teachers have found that odd-numbered groups provide a better dynamic for dramatic situations and you probably don't want more than 4 groups to try and manage as each group will be reading and presenting a different biography.

Each group should study the biography of someone you'd like the class to learn about. The students will focus on astronauts since we are located on what is known as the Space Coast. The students will most of their research in media.

As they read the biography, students should take notes for the reader's theater they will be presenting. They should have one student be the narrator, telling listeners about important events in the life of the person, and have other students be the actors and actresses, performing speeches and reciting from the works of that person.

In addition, encourage them to imagine things such as interviews and conversations and create dialog to bring the person to life. (For example, what might Amelia Earhart have talked about on her last flight? Students can use what they've learned through reading, along with their imagination with some close guidance from you.)

Students will then create a podcast using the script they've produced during their study. They can select some music from the period if they like, have sound effects, even use others in the class who aren't members of their groups to provide background noise for crowd scenes.

Possible extension: When the podcasts are uploaded, write to the hometowns, museums, or societies devoted to studying the person whose life has been treated in their podcasts, and ask them to link your students' work on their own websites!

No budget is needed if you have ipods.
Materials: Point and Shoot, MP3 Players, Flash/USB Drives