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"Become a Biographer" - A Product Review

Available on Amped Up Learning
"Become a Biographer" from Homeschool Holiday and Happy Hive Homeschool is a fantastic multimedia product, especially for your younger learners and English Language Learners (ELLs). Created by Christy Gandara, this resource introduces students to the biography subgenre first as a text to be read, and then as a form of writing and reflection with expression.

About Christy Gandara

Christy Gandara is not only a home school mom of three "bugs" (her term, not mine!), but she is also a California certified teacher with 19 years of classroom experience, all in the K-8 grade ranges. This gives her a unique perspective on resource creation, not only for other home school families, but also for the actively teaching classroom teacher. She both knows and understands the challenges of engaging our students and providing them with rigorous curriculum material that they will WANT to interact with!

Become a Biographer - A Multimedia, Interactive Resource

Okay, first of all, Christy had me at Brad Meltzer! I mean, seriously, anytime you have a writer of his caliber TEACHING your students about his interests, his heroes and heroines, and his craft, you cannot help but win. Using Meltzer's "Ordinary People Change the World" series is already incredibly effective, but pairing the texts with Meltzer's "SAFE" YouTube links of HIS reading of his work takes it to another level. 

Christy didn't stop there though. She created a set of interactive PDFs and a set of interactive PowerPoint presentations to allow students to self-pace, self-guide, and self-select their texts and their assignments. People, can we say instant student buy-in? So, how does it work? Students begin by going to the virtual bookshelf in Mrs. Crabtree's virtual classroom library, and selecting a text. Now, although it is not a requirement, I STRONGLY urge you to have the physical books available for your students as well as these virtual books. The student selects his or her text, clicks on it, and is instantly taken to Brad Meltzer's SAFE YouTube reading of the book!
Mrs. Crabtree's virtual bookshelves

Here is his reading of "I am Amelia Earhart".  NOTE: This is not the linked version, which is SAFE YouTube. That service was unavailable to me when I wrote this! 

From here, Christy has provided students with either a fill-able PPT, PDF, or printout of a facts page that the students complete during the reading of the book.
Fact Sheet for Amelia Earhart
for students to complete during

In addition to the life events that the students fill in, the bottom has the story's theme or moral, in this case, "I will know no bounds."

She then leads your students to scholarship with a fantastic extension. Students are guided through an interview process with a hero of their own choosing, from their own lives. I cannot think of a more meaningful connection to the stories, or the theme that Meltzer introduces our students to...Ordinary People Change the World.

"Become a Biographer". Price: $2.00 (USD)


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