And The Award Goes To...Biography Wrap Up Craftivity

Some of our best lessons come as a 'spur of the moment' moment. This end of unit lesson/activity was the perfect way to end our biography unit with little prep on my end, sparked creativity from my students, assessed some of the major skills we had been learning, and provided a TON of engagement! That is why I...


I didn't take pictures of the process... sorry! The reason: I truly was flying by the seat of my pants! I had no slides prepared with directions, I was modeling and making my own example for them to reference, and I was helping some of my students with communicating clear thoughts. However, I took pictures of their final projects and will walk you through the steps on how we did this! I did it over 3 days during the mini-lesson portion of our day for Reader's Workshop because it allowed nice natural pauses but you could do it start to finish in a day if you really needed to.





Background:
We've done a lot of work in this unit on identifying bold choices that help us define our subject's traits. We also focused on life lessons our subjects taught us. Typically 3rd graders are pretty cliche on their life lessons (Don't give up; follow your dreams) and actually, that is pretty developmentally appropriate. I was shocked with how unique, yet accurate life lessons students were able to identify and explain (see below some of their examples).

Here's some screen shots from some of the lessons leading up to this final activity. These are all examples/me modeling with our mentor texts.



This project was design to showcase that they were able to identify bold choices and life lessons of a person they read about in their biographies and create an award to give them.


Step 1: Pick your Subject & Prep
Students picked a person they had read about in their biographies. They then brainstormed the bold choices that defined their legacy, and thus, traits to match. Then, we came up with and named an award. This was the hardest part for them. They were pretty stuck. I then started pushing trying to use alliterations to help and some came up with some clever awards.


Step 2: Assemble Awards
I got real fancy for this part. I traced a lid of a huge animal crackers container we had left over from testing to make a template of the "medal." I then traced some "ribbons" and sent them to be copied on my favorite Michael's Card Stock paper (this paper has two different colors- one on each side- so you have a lot more options for colors without buying a ton of extra paper). Students cut them out, put the name of the award and the recipient and who it was given by on the medal. They could come up with a symbol too if they wanted to. Then on one ribbon, they wrote bold choices that helped that person 'earn' that award. On the other ribbon, they wrote life lessons that person taught them.


I was really impressed with their life lessons!


(I love this friends choices and lessons)

Step 3: Present
This part was fun! Each student came up and presented the award. I have 10 ELs. Any chance at practicing speaking clearly and loudly, I take. I've seen some of my kiddos really blossom this year with using stronger speaker voices. Even some students who are not ELs struggle with speaking loud enough for others to hear. So we reviewed expectations before we presented our awards.


Here's the fun part: they could not tell who their subject was. They just had to read the award title, bold choices, and life lessons. Then, the audience had to guess who the person was. It was really fun and made the other students who were not presenting pay attention to the speaker.

It wasn't the fanciest, and yes, there are grammatical errors here and there, but it gave me good insight into their work over this unit, was fun, and allowed for some creativity! Loved it!



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3 comments

  1. This lesson is AWESOME!! Wow! Your third graders were doing some DEEP thinking throughout this entire activity! I love the diagram, too. How cool that they presented the awards without stating the name. What a fun activity to do when reading biographies! I can't wait to try it! Thank you!!

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  2. I agree, some of the best lessons are those spur of the moment ones! I am tucking this idea away for next year, and I love your slides too!

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  3. This is such a great lesson! I loved seeing the deep thinking they were doing about their person in order to create the award! I'm definitely saving this idea for next year! Thank you!
    ~Kristen
    Chalk & Apples

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