To Dare Mighty Things

12 Feb

Our 4th graders have pretty much wrapped up the research for their biographies. Before the storm I co-taught a lesson on introductions. We’ve taught this before, but it never hurts to review it , and put it in the context of writing a biography. I used several books to show examples of how other authors began their biographies. The kids loved my Elvis impersonation as I read the opening paragraph of Who was Elvis Presley by Geoff Edgers.

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Here it is:

“He was called “The King”. That’s because Elvis Presley ruled rock and roll. There were other         singers in the 1950’s. But nobody like Elvis. He Looked different. He greased up his black hair and grew long sideburns. He wore whatever he wanted. Even pink pants with black stripes looked cool on Elvis. And, boy, could he dance.”

It’s hard to read that aloud without doing an Elvis lip curl, let me tell you. So I did one.

Another thing we talked about was using a quote. Some kids have found a few. The boy researching Robert Oppenheimer found Oppenheimer’s most famous quote, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” He’s using it as his opening line.

A new book about Teddy Roosevelt, To Dare Mighty Things: The Life of Theodore Roosevelt written by Doreen  Rappaport, and illustrated by C. F. Payne is filled with TR quotes.

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The book opens with this quote of the front flyleaf, “It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it.”

One ting we’ve found in teaching the 4th graders to research  the impact a person has, they don’t always understand what type of evidence to look for. This is a great book to read to them to give them examples of impact. The mixture of informational text, quotes from TR, and the excellent illustrations by Payne, help the reader and researcher discover and understand TR.

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It gives us insight into TR as a boy, a father, a presidents and an environmentalist.

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All around, an excellent book for beginning researchers.

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