Lessons & Units :: Theme 4th Grade Unit

Lesson 2: Identifying Themes in Biographies

Lesson Plan

A Picture Book of Anne Frank | AD800L

A Picture Book of Anne Frank
Learning Goal
Identify a theme in a biographical text.
Approximately 50 minutes
Necessary Materials
Provided: Direct Teaching Passage, “Honoring King;” Direct Teaching Example Chart; Guided Practice Example Chart; Independent Practice Worksheet
Not Provided: A Picture Book of Anne Frank by David Adler, Sojourner Truth by Gwenyth Swain, chart paper, markers
  • Teacher Modeling

    will explain that universal themes can be found in nonfiction stories about a person’s life. By reading articles, biographies, speeches, and other informational texts, we can identify the universal theme of a person’s life. We can use the major events and accomplishments of a person’s life to identify what the theme of their life has been. I will read aloud the article “Honoring King” (provided in Books and Passages) and will list the major events and/or accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. on a chart. (Direct Teaching Teacher Example Chart is provided below in Teacher and Student Materials.) I will identify the universal theme of “Honoring King” as peace and equality. Martin Luther King led peaceful boycotts and won the Nobel Peace Prize. He wanted equal rights for all people regardless of race.

  • Think Check

    Ask: How did I identify the theme of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life? Students should respond that you read factual information about him and used major events and accomplishments from his life to draw a conclusion about a theme in his life.

  • Guided Practice

    will read the biography, Sojourner Truth by Gwenyth Swain and chart significant events from the biography in a graphic organizer. (Guided Practice Teacher Example Chart is provided below.) We will identify a universal theme from the book that represents Sojourner Truth’s life. Throughout Sojourner Truth’s life, she took many risks. She ran away and risked being caught and punished. She traveled all over the country and taught other people about God and freedom. The theme of Sojourner Truth is courage.

  • Independent Practice

    will read A Picture Book of Anne Frank by David Adler (also from the Genre unit) and identify the main events or accomplishments of Anne Frank’s life. You will identify the theme based on these events. (Student Independent Practice is provided below.) Note: You will need to provide your students with the story for the Independent Practice.

Build Student Vocabulary property

Tier 2 Word: property
Contextualize the word as it is used in the story Bell’s baby, Diana, was Master Dumont’s property, to keep or to sell.
Explain the meaning student-friendly definition) Property is something that someone owns. Master Dumont owned his slaves in the same way he owned his other property—his land, house, and furniture.
Students repeat the word Say the word property with me: property.
Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts It is against the law to steal someone else’s property. That desk is school property. It belongs to the school. Your backpack and everything that is in it is your property. A person’s cell phone is his or her property. He or she owns it. Property sometimes refers to land. I own property in the mountains.
Students provide examples Tell us about property that you have. Tell us about it by saying, “My property includes ______________.”
Students repeat the word again. What word are we talking about? property
Additional Vocabulary Words bound, rights

Build Student Background Knowledge

After reading the book Sojourner Truth, explain to your class that African Americans received the right to vote after the Civil War in 1870 through the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (though they still faced challenges from states that tried to keep them from voting). Even though the 15th Amendment was passed, not all African American adults received the right to vote in 1870. Women did not receive this right. White and African American women did not earn the right to vote until 1920—50 years later. Sojourner Truth had passed away by then, but her political speeches were among the first that demanded women's equality in the U.S. Time permitting, share Sojourner's famous speech, "Ain't I a Woman" with your class.

Texts & Materials

Standards Alignment

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User Comments

I'm looking forward to beginning my "Biography" unit, and the materials that I have found on READWORKS.org will make for a great start!
Thank you.

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