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Who's Your Favorite Author?
This lesson is designed for fifth-grade students and will be completed as part of a year-long reading and language arts unit in collaboration with the classroom teacher. Students will select their favorite author, and then use library resources to complete a biographical research project on their subject.
Goals & Objectives:

Instructional Goals:
Students will:

-Use and become familiar with a variety of print and electronic resources.
-Become familiar with the life and works of a specific author.

Learning Objectives:
Students will:

-Review biographical information about a selected author from a variety of print and online resources.

-Read and evaluate selected materials to obtain answers to specific questions.

-Use writing skills and strategies to complete a biographical essay about their author.

Motivational Goals:

-Generate interest in the research process.

-Promote the value of learning information skills.

-Build confidence in students' research abilities.

-Promote student satisfaction in their research accomplishments.

-Motivate continuing information exploration

Materials & Sources:
Lesson Plan Handouts including:
-Author Worksheet Part 1 & 2
-Resource List
-Essay Rubric
-Research Process Reflection
-Presentation Ideas

This lesson is designed to conclude a year-long classroom reading program. Each marking period, fifth-grade students worked with their classroom teacher to set a reading goal for that period. Students agreed to select and read a pre-set number of chapter books of various genres. Students were held accountable for their efforts through the use of journal entries on each book read. It is now close to the end of the school year, and each student read at least 28 different books of various genres and by various authors.

Before the students come to the library for the lesson, ask the classroom teacher to have each write down the name of at least one of their favorite books and/or authors. Create a list from the student suggestions and post it on the board or flip chart. Then create a “Favorites” book display in the library media center consisting of the works listed by the students, as well as additional titles by the authors mentioned.


-The library media specialist introduces the lesson in the library media center.
Review the list of "Favorites" that is posted on the board. Explain to students that it is a compilation of the works they selected and suggested to their classroom teacher. Ask students to brainstorm any other titles they would like to add to the list. Add student suggestions to those posted.
Ask the students to think about why a particular book on the list is their "Favorite." Allow time for students to think about and form their responses, then solicit student volunteers to share their experiences and opinions on a particular title with the class.

Return to the posted list and ask students to help you determine the name of the author of each title. write the author's name next to the book title. Ask students if there are any other authors they would like to add to the list.
Ask students to brainstorm other titles by the authors listed. write the additional titles on the list next to the author's name.

Review the items now on the list and explain the purpose of the previous brainstorming and discussion sessions. Give students a complete overview of the following lesson by briefly describing the entire process as outlined below. Clearly explain your expectations for student completion of the process and final product.

Distribute the list of Presentation Ideas to students so they may begin to think about what they would like to do for their final project.

Part I "Task Definition"

-Students select an author to research, then consider what they already know about their author and what they would like to know.

-Ask each student to select one author from the Favorites List that was created above on which to do further research.

-Distribute the Author Worksheet “Part 1: What I know about my author to students." Review the questions on the worksheet. Allow time for students to complete the worksheet and provide assistance where necessary.

Part II Information Seeking Strategies

-Students explore a list of resources to locate biographical information on their author, then select three resources from the list to use to support their research.

-Distribute the Resource List to students and assist them with locating and accessing each of the resources shown. Inform students that they may not find information about their author in some of the sources listed.

-Distribute the Author Worksheet “Part 2: What I learned about my author to students." Review the information required and answer any student questions before proceeding.

-Allow time for students to explore and review each source on the list to locate information on their author. Ask students to select three resources from the list to use to complete their research.

-Provide continually guidance and assistance throughout the selection process.

Part III Location and Access

-Students locate the required information within their selected resources.

-Demonstrate, instruct, and/or review with students the use of note-taking techniques as necessary (based on previous instruction).

-Assist students in the location of the information required to complete Part 2 of the Author Worksheet within the three resources selected.

-Provide continually guidance and assistance during the location and access process.

Part IV "Use of Information"
-Students extract information from their selected resources.
Demonstrate, instruct, and/or review with students technique for extracting information and avoiding plagiarism as necessary (based on previous instruction).

-Assist students with the extraction of information necessary to complete the Author Worksheet “ Part 2 : What I learned about my author."  Continue to provide guidance and assistance during the extraction process.

Part V "Synthesis"

-Students use the information gathered to complete a biographical essay about their author.

-Distribute the Essay Rubric to students and clearly explain the expectations for completing a written biographical essay. Provide an example of a previous student's essay (where available) to help guide students in their efforts.

-Allow time for students to work on their essays and provide continual assistance and support during the writing process.

-Upon completion of the biographical essay, ask students to select a final presentation project from the list of Presentation Ideas (distributed at the beginning of the lesson). Allow students to consider options not on the list as long as they are reviewed with the instructor.

-Allow students to work individually or in groups to complete their final presentation project.

-Provide time for students to work on their projects and provide assistance where required.

-Conclude the project by holding a "Favorite Author Day." Invite other students, teachers, parents, etc to come to see the student presentations and talk with the students about their favorite authors.

-Use a digital camera and/or video recorder to capture the student presentations and share the experience with the class.

Part VI "Evaluation"

-Students judge the effectiveness and efficiency of the product and the process.

-Distribute the Research Process Questionnaire to students. Review the worksheet with students and assist them with completion. (Note: this is best done upon completion of the writing part of the lesson plan.)


-Conclude the lesson with an discussion session among students to allow time to reflect on their efforts and share their experiences.

-Immediately upon the completion of the Research Process Questionnaire, (or as soon as possible) hold a discussion session with the students to review their research experiences. And ask them to share their personal anecdotes about their research process.
Upon completion of the "Favorite Author Day," (or as soon as possible) meet with students as a group to share the video and/or photos from the day. Use these visuals to stimulate discussions about student experiences.

-Offer additional activities for students to further explore their author or another author. Provide a copy of the list of books and authors created during the brainstorming session, as well as other suggestions for future reading options.

-The students will respond to questions and participate in the discussion and brainstorming sessions.

-The library media specialists and the classroom teacher will observe the students accessing and using the resources provided to obtain information.

-The library media specialist and classroom teacher will observe students completing the Author Worksheet.

-The LMS and/or classroom teacher may choose to review the student worksheets prior to the completion of Part III – writing the essay.

-The LMS/teacher uses the Essay Rubric to assess student learning achievement for the writing portion of the lesson.

-The LMS and teacher will interact with the students throughout the lesson.

-The LMS and teacher will observe ongoing learning and motivation throughout the lesson.

The LMS and teacher will observe student excitement and confidence by their contribution and participation in the Favorite Author Day activity.
-The idea for this lesson grew from a lesson currently being taught in the FM- Eagle Hill Middle School by fifth-grade classroom teacher, Anita Davis.
-Ideas for resources to use to support this lesson were stimulated by a lesson created by Ester Small entitled Getting to Know Young Adult Authors, published in a Jan 2003 edition of School Library Media Activities Monthly. (19:5; p17).
-The rubric designed for this lesson is based on one accessed through the Educators Page of the Website:
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