Beacon Lesson Plan Library


Kathy Peters
Bay District Schools


During the month of October, students are encouraged to read biographies of famous individuals from the past. Students pretend to be the character and give a short video-taped presentation.


The student speaks clearly at an understandable rate and uses appropriate volume.

The student uses eye contact and gestures that engage the audience.

The student organizes a speech using a basic beginning, middle, and ending.


-Selected biographies for students to read (or approve student choices)
-One Boo-ography Information Sheet per student (see Associated File)
-One Tombstone Sheet per student (see Associated File)
-One Boo-ography Grade Checklist per student (see Associated File)
-One empty cereal box per student (small size works well)
-Colored pencils or crayons
-Video camera
-Blank videotape
-Snacks for video preview (optional)


1. Collect the needed amount of biographies, which meets the teacher's criteria, or create a list of approved biographies that students can access.
2. Collect materials: empty cereal boxes (one for each student), colored pencils (or crayons), video camera, and blank videotape.
3. Print Boo-ography Information Sheet, Boo-ography Grade Checklist, and Tombstone Sheet then make a copy for each student. (See attached file.)
4. Create a schedule for students to be videotaped during the final week.
5. Adapt activity to meet individual classroom objectives and time constraints, as necessary.


Gain Attention, Present Objectives:
Say to students: During the month of October, we are going to work on Boo-ographies. These are video reports of important figures from the past. First, you are going to choose the person you admire most from the selected biographies (or choose a biography and let me approve your choice). Then while reading your biography, you will fill-in the Boo-ography Information Sheet with the data relating to your person. (See attached file.)After completing the book, you will begin making a tombstone in memory of your person and work on a speech for the video presentation. (See attached file.) In your speech, you will dress appropriately and pretend to be the character. Then you will give a short history of the character's life showing three items representing different aspects of that person's life. You can make these items, or you can find something around your home. Our culminating activity will be a preview of the newly created video. You will be graded using the Boo-ography Grade Checklist. (See attached file.) Pay special attention to the checklist, as it will guide you through preparing and performing your speech.
Engage in Learning:
(1) Allow students to peruse biographies and select a person of interest. This can be from a group of individuals selected by you related to your current curriculum, or you can allow students to select an individual and get your approval. (2) Pass out the Boo-ography Information Sheet and review with students the type of information needed to complete the sheet. (See Materials list.) This will serve as an information guide to complete the rest of the project. Also, hand out a copy of the Boo-ography Grade Checklist and review the grading guide. (See Materials list.) (3) Permit class time to read biographies and answer questions on the Boo-ography Information Sheet. (4) As students complete the biography and Boo-ography Information Sheet, give them copies of the tombstone. (See Materials list.) Have students complete the information on the tombstone and color as they choose. Tombstones can then be cut out and attached to the face of a cereal box. The completed tombstone can be placed on a bulletin board and makes an excellent backdrop for the videotaping. Encourage students to manage time responsibly to insure being ready to videotape. Provide two weeks of in-class time (30-minute blocks) to complete the biography, information sheet, and tombstone.
Relate to Present Knowledge:
During week three, review with students the elements that make up a quality speech. Students can then relate to their present writing the knowledge which they can use to begin writing a speech which has a quality beginning, middle, and end which includes the necessary information on the selected individual.
Provide Opportunity for Practice/Feedback:
As individual students complete speeches, allow for practice time. Students can work together to critique speeches. The teacher can move throughout the room and consult individually with students as needed. If time and resources allow, the teacher may elect to provide students the opportunity to do practice takes with the video camera. Also, encourage students to use this week to gather materials from home for the actual videotaping. During the week, students should sign up for a time to be videotaped during week four.
Provide Feedback:
At the beginning of week four, use the 30-minute time period to begin taping each student's speech. Students not being filmed that day can be helpful in setting up any props and doing the actual videotaping of other students. On Friday, the room can be set up for a previewing of the video. The teacher may want to provide popcorn to make it more like a movie preview or have some holiday/theme-related treats.


The Boo-ography Grade Checklist contains the criteria for performance and serves as a feedback sheet for students. A minimum of 80 of the possible 100 points represents mastery.


This lesson requires a basic knowledge of expressing thoughts and facts (written and orally) in an organized manner.
Modifications can be made in the amount of class time used for the activity. The reading could be assigned for out-of-class time and then the remaining parts of the lesson could be completed in class.
An extension would be to continue to improve speech-writing skills by engaging in opportunities, such as a local speech contest.
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