Lesson Plan #4
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People who Inspire Us: A Biography
Grades 7 to 12
Language Arts, Journalism, Social Studies, History
OVERVIEW OF LESSON PLAN
In this lesson, students explore people that inspire them - whether
it is a national leader or hero, a parent or someone in their
community. Students can learn about the incredible obstacles
they have faced, their leadership, their personalities. The teacher
will review with the class a biography on Terry Fox which
will act as a springboard to further investigating qualities
of people whom they admire. Each student then chooses a person
whom he or she admires as the subject of a "Man in the News"
or "Woman in the News" article, focussing on the laudable
qualities demonstrated by this person in his or her lifetime.
MATERIALS AND PREPARATION
1. WARM-UP/ DO-NOW: In the first five minutes
of class, students respond to the following questions (written
on the board prior to class):
- What does it mean to admire another person?
- What qualities do you find particularly admirable?
- Whom can you think of, either alive right now or not, who
embodies these admirable characteristics, and how?
Students then share their responses. Jot down the admirable
qualities listed by students on the board. Discuss why many students
in the class view some of the same qualities as admirable.
2. As a class, read and discuss biography on Terry
Fox and article on Grandma' by SNN Reporter focussing
on the following questions:
- What obstacles did this person overcome in his/her life?
- What personality traits are attributed to the person in this
article, and how might they have helped him/her to succeed in
the face of adversity?
- What qualities does this person exemptify?
- How did this person fulfill their dreams?
3. Ask students to each select a person, either whom they
know or don't know, and whom they greatly admire. Tell students
to write this person's name at the top of a blank piece of paper.
Ask students to brainstorm, for approx. ten minutes, what they
know about their subjects. Ask students to include qualities
that they find admirable in this person, along with specific
stories, examples and facts about the person to support their
4. Explain to students that they will be learning more
about their selected admirable people and writing biographical
profile articles about them. As a class, brainstorm the questions
that students feel they should answer about their subjects. Decide,
as a class, the most important five to eight questions, and be
sure that all students jot down the questions before leaving
class, as they will be responsible for finding out the answers.
5. WRAP-UP/ HOMEWORK: Each student researches
the admirable person selected in class. If the student knows
their subject personally, he or she should arrange an interview
based on the questions developed in class. If the student has
chosen someone who he or she does not know, such as a celebrity,
then the student should use his or her research skills to find
the answers to these questions. (The Internet will be the most
useful way to locate this information.)
6. After students complete their research, each student
writes a "Man in the News" or "Woman in the News"
article about their subject, focussing on the admirable qualities
demonstrated by this person in his or her lifetime. Student articles
should answer the 5 W's: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and sometimes
How). Tell them about the inverted pyramid. This means that articles
should be written with the most important information first and
the least important last. Review SNN Writing
Guide with the students.
7. Once profile articles are written, students can share
their articles, either by reading them aloud, by posting them
on their school web page, and by submitting them to their school newspaper
or an online youth ezine for publication.
Back to lesson plans
Students will be evaluated based on written journal responses,
participation in class discussion, and all levels (pre-writing,
writing, and editing) of creating their "Man in the News"
and "Women in the News" articles focussing on people
whom they admire.