Monday, February 11, 2013

Launching a Biography Study


Today I launched our biography study with a new biography find. I read Noah Webster & His Words. Next year I  will introduce spelling and word study with this book. It is the tale Noah Webster, the man who wrote the first American speller, many of the first American schoolbooks, and most importantly wrote our first American dictionary. We learned that Noah had a big motivation behind writing these books. He wanted to unite American with a shared language, and with shared spellings. Realizing the dictionary was written and created to unite a country of citizens was a powerful lesson for third graders!

Some talking points we discussed...

Thinking within the text
Chunk up main ideas and key details about Noah's childhood.
What was Noah's biggest accomplishment? 
Discuss the key details of his biggest accomplishment using who? what? where? when? why? how? to guide your thinking
Find a cause and effect relationship between two events in Noah's life. 

Thinking beyond the text
Develop a theory about Noah. What kind of person was he?
What motivated Noah?
Infer how Noah's job of writing the dictionary might be different in this time period, or setting than the work of an author today?
What was a big idea or lesson learned? 

Thinking about the text
Why did the author use dictionary definitions and parts of speech within this text?
Why did the author use a giant head to illustrate Noah Webster?

I'm excited to begin our journey with biographies. I'm always inspired when reading about influential people, and I'm hoping my students will be able to gain big ideas from the texts we share. 

Do you have a biography you love to read to students? 

1 comment:

  1. I love reading Candy Bomber and Balloons Over Broadway! Thanks for sharing your thinking using the continuum :) Our third grade is discussing biographies at this week's team meeting! Perfect post...perfect timing!