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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Biography, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 695
1. Hold Still

This breathtaking memoir, marrying Sally Mann's powerful photography with a personal story so captivating that it rivals great works of fiction, reveals how one's art can become thoroughly intertwined with one's life. Read this book: it's a truly powerful work of art in its own right. Books mentioned in this post Hold Still: A Memoir [...]

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2. The Wright Brothers

In The Wright Brothers, David McCullough spins a history both exhaustive and personal, sharing original correspondence and examining secondary characters like the Wright sister, Katharine. With McCullough's signature depth and thoroughness, The Wright Brothers pays captivating homage to the two men who so exemplified the American spirit. Books mentioned in this post Portland Noir (Akashic [...]

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3. The final years of Fanny Cornforth

Family historians know the sensation of discovery when some longstanding ‘brick wall’ in their search for an elusive ancestor is breached. Crowds at the recent ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ exhibition at Birmingham explored the new resources available to assist their researches, and millions worldwide subscribe to online genealogical sites, hosting ever-growing volumes of digitized historical records, in the hope of tracking down their family roots.

The post The final years of Fanny Cornforth appeared first on OUPblog.

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4.

Gordon Parks: How the photographer captures Black and White America Written by Carole Boston Weatherford; Illustrated by Jamey Christoph Albert Whitman & Company. 2015 ISBN: 9780807530177 Grades 3 thru 12 I borrowed this book out of my local public library As mentioned in the review of The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch, by 1902 the gains African Americans made for equality during the

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5. Why Lincoln’s last speech matters

Lincoln’s last speech, delivered on 11 April 1865, seldom receives the attention it deserves. The prose is not poetic, but then it was not meant to inspire but to persuade. He had written the bulk of the speech weeks earlier in an attempt to convince Congress to readmit Louisiana to the Union.

The post Why Lincoln’s last speech matters appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch written by Chris Barton; illustrated by Don Tate

The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch Written by Chris Barton; Illustrated by Don Tate Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. 2015 ISBN: 9780802853790 Grades 4-8 I received a copy of this book from the publisher. <!--[if gte mso 9]> <![

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7. The life of Colonel William Eddy

Missionaries and US Marines? It did not seem a natural combination. But while working on a book about American Protestant missionaries and their children I came across a missionary son who became a prominent officer in the USMC and one of the most effective agents of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Col. William Eddy was in charge of the OSS operations in North Africa [...]

The post The life of Colonel William Eddy appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Celebrate and Teach About Baseball with Toni Stone

It’s baseball season again. It’s also the 10th anniversary of Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl’s Baseball Dream written by Crystal Hubbard and illustrated by Randy DuBurke. How can you celebrate both?

 catching the moonCatching the Moon was selected by the Screen Actors Guild Foundation for its latest read aloud on Storyline Online, an interactive literacy website where well-known actors read popular, award-winning children’s books to help students fall in love with reading.

Resources for Teaching After Reading and Watching Catching the Moon

Comprehension Questions for the Video or Read Aloud

  • Describe what Marcenia loves about baseball.
  • How does Marcenia feel about the way others treat her as a ball player? How do you know?
  • What does Marcenia do that ultimately changes her father and Mr. Street’s mind about her playing baseball and attending the camp? How will this experience help her when she is an adult trying to play on a men’s professional team?
  • At what point in Toni Stone’s life does the author, Crystal Hubbard, choose to begin? Why do you think she chooses to start there and not when Toni Stone is an adult playing as a professional ball player? What message does author Crystal Hubbard want young readers to learn from this story? Why?

Activity Suggestions

1. Have students compare and contrast Catching the Moon with other baseball biographies. How are their experiences similar? What barriers do they tackle? What character traits do they share that have allowed them to overcome obstacles? What legacies do they leave behind? How do they change people’s minds?

2. Have students research Mo’ne Davis, 13-year-old Philadelphia pitcher in the Little League and compare her experiences in baseball to Marcenia Lyle’s. The Anti-Defamation League’s Current Events Classroom has put together a lesson plan to learn more about Mo’ne Davis and explore gender stereotypes in sports.

3. Science in Baseball? Check out these extension ideas from Science Buddies:

4. Have students discover other women who played and were involved in black professional baseball. Check out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum’s education resources made in partnership with Kansas State University. Students can learn about the roles African American women played at all levels of the league in the NLBM’s lesson plan.

5. Put Marcenia Lyle’s story in further context. With students, create a timeline of critical moments and milestones of women in American baseball. The National Baseball Hall of Fame has created a five lesson unit on women in baseball history.

If Youtube is blocked or unavailable at your school, find Storyline Online’s Catching the Moon read aloud video at:

How have you been teaching and celebrating Catching the Moon all these years? What lessons and activities did we miss? Share with us!

img_1587Jill Eisenberg, our Senior Literacy Expert, began her career teaching English as a Foreign Language to second through sixth graders in Yilan, Taiwan as a Fulbright Fellow. She went on to become a literacy teacher for third grade in San Jose, CA as a Teach for America corps member. She is certified in Project Glad instruction to promote English language acquisition and academic achievement. In her weekly column at The Open Book, she offers teaching and literacy tips for educators. 

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9. The life and legacy of Lucy Stone

A gifted orator, Lucy Stone dedicated her life to the fight for equal rights. Among the earliest female graduates of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Ohio, Stone was the first Massachusetts-born woman to earn a college degree. Stone rose to national prominence as a well-respected public speaker – an occupation rarely pursued by women of the era.

The post The life and legacy of Lucy Stone appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. A woman’s journey in Kashmiri politics

Nyla Ali Khan’s recent book The Life of a Kashmiri Woman: Dialectic of Resistance and Accommodation, though primarily a biography of her grandmother Akbar Jehan, promises to be much more than that. It is also a narration of the story of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the charismatic political leader who is still recognized as the greatest political leader that Kashmir ever produced.

The post A woman’s journey in Kashmiri politics appeared first on OUPblog.

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11. Drum Dream Girl (2015)

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl's Courage Changed Music. Margarita Engle. Illustrated by Rafael Lopez. 2015. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]

On an island of music
in a city of drumbeats
the drum dream girl
dreamed
of pounding tall conga drums
tapping small bongo drums
and boom boom booming
with long, loud sticks
on big, round, silvery
moon-bright timbales.

 Margarita Engle's Drum Dream Girl is a picture book biography of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga. Millo and her older sisters formed Cuba's first all-girl dance band. (The historical note adds that she performed at a birthday celebration for FDR.)

She grew up at a time and in a place where women were not allowed to play drums, or professionally play drums. The book highlights her ambitious dreams, her diligence and perseverance. It is a beautifully written biography. I've always been a fan of Margarita Engle's narrative style, her rhythmic way with words. Drum Dream Girl did not disappoint!

I loved the bold, colorful illustrations by Rafael Lopez. This one is easy to recommend!

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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12. Jonas Salk and the polio vaccination

Today, 12 April 2015 marks the sixtieth anniversary of the announcement that Jonas Salk’s vaccine could prevent poliomyelitis. We asked Charlotte Jacobs, author of Jonas Salk: A Life, a few questions about this event.

The post Jonas Salk and the polio vaccination appeared first on OUPblog.

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13. Lincoln’s eleven greatest speeches

Leaving behind a legacy that transcends generations today, Abraham Lincoln was a veteran when it came to giving speeches. Delivering one of the most quoted speeches in history, Lincoln addressed the nation on a number of other occasions, captivating his audience and paving the way for generations to come. Here is an in-depth look at Lincoln’s eleven greatest speeches, in chronological order.

The post Lincoln’s eleven greatest speeches appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. Life in the Ocean, The Story of Oceanographer SYLVIA EARLE – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Life in the Ocean, The Story of Oceanographer SYLVIA EARLE Written by and illustrated by: Claire A. Nivola Published in Canada by: D&M Publishers, Inc., 2012 Themes/Topics: women marine biologists, biography, women explorers, the ocean Suitable for ages: 7-11 Opening: Seen from … Continue reading

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15. What I'm Working On Now

I haven't forgotten about you, little blog. I've just been knee-deep in revisions, and now final art (yay!) for Charles Around The World.

I'm posting a lot more frequently over on Instagram, if you'd like to follow along...



























































(My hairy little assistants... always good for adding hair to the watercolors...)

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16. Enormous Smallness

 

Enormous Smallness

by Matthew Burgess and Kris Di Giacomo (Enchanted Lion, 2015)

This book is the author’s debut picture book, and as a poet and creative writing teacher he found a perfect venue for these words. And here’s a great look at the illustrator’s work over at This Picture Book Life. (If you haven’t seen Brief Thief, RUN to the library. Now.)

Then there’s Enchanted Lion. Smart, beautiful, well-crafted books. This small Brooklyn publisher is fresh off a huge and deserved recognition in Bologna.

So. Let’s take a look.

Enormous Smallness

Layers of letters and piles of words make up some of the best endpapers I’ve seen this year.

Before I flip another page, I’m keenly aware of this texture. What an exceptional way to visualize the poetry of E.E. Cummings. It makes perfect sense. A jumble of words and sounds and feelings are the foundation for E.E.’s work.

Words as art themselves.

Enormous Smallness Enormous Smallness

Here’s a simple sentence, spare but lovely, stating facts and straightening out his family tree. Understated, but lively is for sure in that ensemble. Can you see rambunctious Uncle George there, turning a cartwheel or just plain standing on his hands?

The handwritten labels, the cattywampus text layout, the warm texture. All so inviting.

Enormous Smallness

A happy home for spilling words.

Enormous Smallness

A poet, catching words like a bunny through a hoop.

An author, echoing exactly what young E.E. loved.

Estlin looked around

as if his eyes were on tiptoes

and when his heart jumped,

he said another poem.

Enormous SmallnessEnormous Smallness

An illustrator, wrapping it all up in carefully crafted texture that smacks a bit of haphazard beauty.

It’s pretty. It’s intentional. It’s rich and wonder and a treat to take in.

Enormous Smallness Enormous Smallness

A remarkable slew of back matter includes a timeline, additional poetry, a fascinating author’s note, and another really great elephant illustration.

Magic.

Lots to see and learn and celebrate here.

Out today.

ch

I received a copy from the publisher, but opinions are my own.

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17. A Girl from Yamhill (1988)

A Girl from Yamhill. Beverly Cleary. 1988/1996. HarperCollins. 352 pages. [Source: Library]


If you grew up reading Beverly Cleary, you should make time to read her autobiography, A Girl From Yamhill. This first autobiography covers her life from her earliest toddler memories through high school.

In Cleary's books for children, she often focuses on what it's like to BE a kid: to go to school, to spend time with friends, to encounter not-so-friendly kids, to play, to 'get along' or not with your family. But also to THINK like a kid. I thought she was always really good at capturing childhood anxieties and worries. So in A Girl from Yamhill, readers get a chance to find out what Cleary's own childhood was like, what her home life was like, what her school experiences were. Reading A Girl From Yamhill gave me a greater appreciation for the Ramona books. It's not as if you could say that Beverly was Ramona. She wasn't. Though she did play BRICK FACTORY. (Also Beverly had a doll named after a car.) But I could see some correlation between the two certainly. For example, she writes of the financial difficulties, and of the stress her father was under when he was in-between work or out or stuck in a miserable job. So there were certain things that reminded me of the Ramona books. I do feel the Ramona books are timeless.

This one covers so many years. I'm not what the 'perfect' audience age would be. It isn't a light read or a funny one.

So I really enjoyed reading this one. Perhaps I enjoyed it so much because I read and reread Cleary's books so often.

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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18. Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker, illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss

At the start of World War I, a young lieutenant named Harry Colebourn, who also happened to be a veterinarian, is on his way with his regiment to a military training camp in Quebec, when he sees a baby bear on a station platform.  He discovers that the baby bear is for sale, for only $20.00, and Harry decides he has to have it.

The little cub, whose mother had been inadvertently shot, is named after the regiment's hometown of Winnipeg, but immediately shortened to Winnie.  Winnie quickly becomes Harry's constant companion and his company's mascot.  Walker depicts Harry and Winnie playing their own version of hide and seek, Winnie sleeping directly under Harry's cot, and exchanging big bear hugs.

Even when the war worsens and Harry's regiment is sent overseas, Winnie goes, too.  And proves to be a good sailor all the way across the ocean, while Harry lies in bed seasick.  But when it is time to go to the battle front in France, Harry realizes he can't bring Winnie along, after all, she could get seriously hurt on the battlefield.  So Harry makes a tough decision - to place Winnie in the London Zoo for safekeeping.

Winnie and Harry playing
Winnie proves to be such a gentle bear, that children are allowed to play with her and ride on her back.  The war lasts four years, and at the end of it, Harry has another tough decision to make - to take Winnie home with him or let her stay at the zoo, where she has so many friends.  He decides to let her stay at the zoo.  Winnie has one very frequent visitor named Christopher Robin, loves Winnie so much that he renames his teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh, after which his father begins to make up bedtime stories about the adventures of Christopher Robin and Winnie-the-Pooh that eventually grow into a book.

The real events surrounding the relationship of Harry and Winnie are remarkable enough, but Sally Walker has told it in language the is simply and straightforward for even the youngest of readers to understand.  Jonathan Voss's soft watercolor and pen and ink illustrations done in a palette of browns and greens reminiscent of nature and the military compliment and provide a visual extension of the story.

Walker includes an Author's Note about Harry and Winnie, as well are sources and websites for further exploration.  Be sure to look at the photo's of the real Harry and Winnie on the endpapers.

This is a story the will delight young readers some of whom are already fans of the Winnie-the-Pooh books and perhaps make a few new ones.

This book is recommended for readers age 5+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL

Today is Nonfiction Monday - be sure to visit this week's roundup


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19. Unbossed, unbought, and unheralded

March is Women’s History Month and as the United States gears up for the 2016 election, I propose we salute a pathbreaking woman candidate for president. No, not Hillary Rodham Clinton, but Shirley Chisholm, who became the first woman and the first African American to seek the nomination of the Democratic Party for president. And yet far too often Shirley Chisholm is seen as just a footnote or a curiosity, rather than as a serious political contender who demonstrated that a candidate who was black or female or both belonged in the national spotlight.

The post Unbossed, unbought, and unheralded appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Into Thin Air

A deadly storm striking tragedy on unsuspecting climbers isn't subject matter I would typically expect to inspire adventure. Yet Jon Krakauer's riveting account of a disastrous 1999 ascent of Mt. Everest did just that. At its heart, this outstanding book thrillingly recounts an ill-fated and deadly climb. But the remarkable reportage also captures the striking [...]

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21. Pilgrim’s Wilderness

Tom Kizzia's Pilgrim's Wilderness is a riveting blend of true crime and environmental studies set in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in remote Alaska. In 2002 a bearded stranger and his wife and fourteen children arrived in McCarthy, Alaska, to claim in a deserted mining camp deep in the wilderness, and proceeded to blaze roads [...]

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22. Selfies, Memoir, and the World Beyond the Self

When I was a teenager in Colorado during the late '90s, I liked to climb 14ers — 14,000-foot mountains. I'd often hike with friends, and at the top we'd take a photograph of ourselves standing on the summit. We'd set the camera on a rock and use the timer function, or, if another hiker happened [...]

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23. Heroes of Social Work

Few professions aspire to improve the quality of life for people and communities around the globe in the same way as social work. Social workers strive to bring about positive changes in society and for individuals, often against great odds. And so it follows that the theme for this year's National Social Work Month in the United States is "Social Work Paves the Way for Change."

The post Heroes of Social Work appeared first on OUPblog.

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24. Heroes of History, Part II

In an earlier post I shared how students used biography picture books to practice summarizing, recognizing opposing viewpoints, and citing textual evidence. Using the four-step process modeled there, students cut to the chase to tell what was "most needed to know" about their famous man or woman from history. So what's next?

Below I've shared some of the biography extensions and report options which students have completed over the years in my classroom. I'm sure you'll find a new one to try out!

Time Machine

As students read their biography, they take the usual notes, either on a prepared outline or free hand. When writing the report, however, the students pretend that they're able to travel back in time to interview this famous person. The most important details are then summarized in a question-answer format which reads in a more interesting way than a standard report. The paragraph students generated in the four-step summary process (above) serves nicely as the interview's introduction.

I've provided a sample of the interview format, but I highly encourage you to have students brainstorm their own interview questions as well. The brainstorming and sequencing process is an excellent introduction to the research process where students will need to formulate inquiries for themselves. Students will also discover that the unique experiences of any given person will in large part dictate the type of questions which should be asked. When reading Who Says Women Can't be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone, for example, one of my students was amazed to discover that Elizabeth Blackwell was turned down by twenty-eight different schools in her pursuit of attending medical school. "I think I would have quit trying after the first ten schools said no," the student remarked, and I wondered what Elizabeth Blackwell herself would have said to her in return.

Some years we presented these in a talk show format, with partners playing the role of interviewer, and other years students chose to dress as the person they were portraying. 

Journal

24 Ready to Go Genre Book Reports is a wonderful teacher resource full of ideas for responding to books, and one project from this resource which students have enjoyed is creating a journal.

When I first began teaching, I assigned students a similar journal format, requiring at least three entries that reflected events from the person's childhood or teen years, university or training years, and years of notable achievement. Additional entries could be written at students' discretion.

With the popularity of scrapbooking, students began asking if they could include artifacts in their journals. Projects soon included replica photos, sketches, tickets, maps, currency, and so on. The journal covers likewise became more creative, with students creating covers that resembled television sets, suitcases, trading cards, shipping crates, cars, space shuttles, hats, jerseys, and wanted posters. 

A wonderful set of biography books which rely upon a similar concepts of "snapshots" from a person's life is the 10 Day series by David Colbert, which so far includes books on Anne Frank, Abraham LincolnThomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin, and Martin Luther King, Jr. If all students in your classroom read the same biography or autobiography, they could likewise focus on the ten most pivotal days of that person's life, with students possibly pairing up and writing a first-person account of one of these days.

As mentioned above, the paragraph students generate in the four-step summary process can serve as an introduction to the diary, as the entries themselves may not provide ample information for some readers to understand the importance of the subject's achievements.

Made in Quotes Cover
Lessons Learned

One of my students' favorite parts of the Time Machine assignment (above) is when they, in the guise of their famous person, are asked to give advice to future generations. Putting themselves "into the shoes" of this famous person and distilling the experiences of a lifetime into a bit of sage advice is a difficult yet rewarding task.

In Lessons Learned, students generate eight to ten tips that their hero might pass on to future generations. The advice can be published as beautiful quotes, using a quote making site such as Quozio, Quotes Cover, ReciteThis, or ProQuoter.

Here, the four-step biography summary is used as an introduction piece that acquaints the reader with the giver of wise counsel. The quotes themselves can be printed, or embedded into a Google Slides or similar sharing platform.

Timeline

Since most students best understand a biography in strict chronological order, creating a timeline would be a good way for them to explain and illustrate important life events.


For creating an online timeline, I highly recommend Hstry.co, which I discussed at length in a previous post. Check out that post to see how easy it is to get started with Hstry.


Telescoping Story

Telescopic Text allows writers a chance to share a story just one bit at a time, while revealing small and large thoughts alike in a measured manner. You can best understand this site by checking out the site creator's example. To see how a text is entered and edited, and to see a pretty impressive Telescopic Text created by a seven year-old, check out the video below.



Students could use this site to create a slowly expanding narrative of their hero's life. What's great about the site is that it encourages elaboration, a tough topic to teach students who are often trying to write as little as possible.

Caveat: Students should register for their own accounts and learn the difference between saving and publishing (saving allows for future edits; publishing does not).

Newspaper Clipping


A newspaper clipping describing an important event from a person's life is a terrific way to get students to focus upon what really merits attention. The Fodey Newspaper Generator provides a very short format clipping (about 1000 total characters), which is just enough to provide facts without the clutter of details. The clipping to the right, for example, was created in response to A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis, written by Matt De La Peña and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. While the picture book chronicles Louis' rise as a fighter, the newspaper clipping captures just a highlight of that life.


This newspaper generator (which I found at the Learning Never Stops blog) allows for more space and also an image, but fills in the rest of the front page with two nonsense articles. Students would need to screen shot and crop out the other articles if they didn't want them to show.

In addition to a stand-alone activity, the newspaper clipping could also be used as an artifact in the Journal assignment above (some students have also used the movie clapboard generator at the Fodey site for their journal project). 


He Said, She Said 

I previously discussed Google Story Builder in another blog, and I'm still a fan. It's a very neat way to show differing points of view. Take a second to check out my review.  

Here's a short Google Docs Story I created after reading Mary Walker Wears the Pants: The True Story of the Doctor, Reformer, and Civil War Hero, written by Cheryl Harness and illustrated by Carlo Molinari. Note that activist Mary Walker disagrees with what a fabricated nemesis named "Nathan Properbody" has to say.  


Students can create both sides of such a fictional dialogue, or two students can take on opposing roles and write from each viewpoint. The process will need some trial and error, and the resulting pieces can't be long, but it's a very different type of writing requiring some critical and creative thinking.

Looking for more tech tools to assess student learning? Be sure to check out this collection of over thirty of the best free sites I've found to assess students at all stages of learning process.

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25. Growing Up Pedro

Growing Up Pedro   by Matt Tavares Candlewick Press, 2015 ISBN: 9780763668242 Grades K-5 The reviewer borrowed a copy of the book from her school library. Red Sox fan and author/illustrator, Matt Tavares, has released a new baseball biography just in time for opening day. Growing Up Pedro follows the rise of pitcher, Pedro Martinez, from a childhood of poverty in the Dominican Republic to

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