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Monday, June 02, 2014

Biography Framework: 5th Grade

"Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom."
George Washington Carver


George Washington Carver will be our first focus of the new
year biography framework. Photo Credit
In many ways, the fourth grade curriculum framework was culture. Now that I'm moving to fifth grade, I'm recognizing that a fine framework is biography.  As fifth graders continue to develop self knowledge, content, process, and "learning to learn skills," the stories of successful individuals inspire their growth. Plus, the culminating project in our school's fifth grade curriculum is a biography project. I like to have a framework or thread that pulls the year together, and I also like to start the year with a topic or project that is exciting and motivating for me too.

How will I develop this framework? I'll mostly use picture books as I match the stories of famous scientists, technologists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians to current units of study.  I'll start with one of my favorite people in history, George Washington Carver, since he is such a good match for our "Favorite Place in Nature Share."

Carver's story is a perfect story for the start of the school year too since it's a story of perseverance, strength, intellect, courage, and passion. Throughout the year I'll make a conscious effort to vary the gender, culture, and discipline of the famous people we draw inspiration from.

Over the summer, I'll read up on this topic, and spend some time organizing my biography collection. Our school has a terrific biography collection too. I'll also have students create a biography inspiration notebook where they copy quotes from the famous person we're studying, and write short reflections about the famous STEAM persons.
Note: We started the year with this idea, and we interjected stories of famous STEAM stars all year. We ran out of time, however, to reach the depth of this work that I imagined.