Monday, March 03, 2014

What's Developing - Student Interviewing and Biography Writing

My fourth grade ELLs are currently working on comparing firsthand and secondhand accounts. We started the multi-day lesson with primary sources vs. textbook literature to tie Social Studies into our ELA course work. We also looked at news interviews. We've reviewed the pronouns and noun usage that indicate the different perspectives. We also read different passages to find the firsthand and secondhand accounts of the same event. I will use this activity as a closure to our lesson. Not only will it spiral back to lessons on perspective, but it's a great project for the kids. If I continue to have fourth graders every year, these will be a fantastic collection for my scrapbook. I did this last year, and it was one of my favorite activities.

First, I will have the students interview each other. I have created the interview sheet and the biography template for this lesson. I love having the student interact, and I love that through interviewing each other, they will learn what they might have in common with each other. My ELLs have such histories, and I love having a record of this. Here are what my pages look like. The files in my packet are more generic for your use. With this summative piece, I will differentiate and decide that each student chooses "x" questions out of the 21. As always, I model for them how to ask the questions, record the answers, and creatively write the biography.

Once they have finished writing, they will share their biography writing with the class. After this time, we will discuss how the accounts of the interviewer and the interviewee were different, and I will show them examples of biographies I have in my library! With luck, this will tie it all together for them. Time-permitting, they would choose a book and take an AR test on it sometime during the week. Fun, informative and cohesive, just how I like it!  

Click on the packet cover above to preview the entire packet of original material that I created. It's truly a helpful packet, but is used best if you do include the primary sources and integrate the other subjects. For my ELLs, it is seriously crucial that I tie in Social Studies as often as possible. Best of luck! I hope you can find good use for this product. It's one of my favorites!!


  1. Love this idea. Will be using this 4th quarter! Hope you have a fabulous day!
    Come Visit Readbox!

  2. Thanks for dropping a line. I'm following you on TPT and Pinterest. Look forward to sharing ideas!