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Item description

80 famous and important African-Americans who were pioneers in their fields are profiled in this resource. Included are 15 ways to use these biography task cards to help your students develop their writing, speaking and listening skills.

Resource at a Glance:
What will students learn?
* Basic facts about the lives of 80 influential Black Americans who were born between 1720 and 1960.
* How to use facts and phrases to write a short biography.
Who is it for?
* All students, including English Language Learners.
How does it help teachers?
* Students learn about famous and not-so-famous African-Americans who had an impact on American history.
* Students practice their skills in writing, grammar and mechanics by transforming the information on task cards into complete sentences and paragraphs.
* 2 models of biographies are provided for students at different levels of writing proficiency.
* Suggestions for other activities extend students’ learning.
* An included rubric saves teachers time if they want to assess their students’ work.


What you get in this product:

★ A table of contents for easy reference (1 page)
★ A Notes to the Teacher section with explanatory information (1 page)
★ A list of the ELA Common Core standards addressed (1 page)
★ 4 sample WIDA Model Performance Indicators (1 page)
★ 15 ideas for using the task cards (1 page)
★ Student materials for the 2 game activities (2 pages)
★ An evaluation rubric for writing tasks (1 page)
★ Model task card biography with 2 example paragraphs at different levels of writing complexity (1 color page and 1 black-and-white page for a total of 2 pages)
★ 80 biographies of important African-Americans, 4 per page (20 pages)

More Info:

Every task card presents basic biographical information plus some interesting facts about an African-American who was born in the 18th, 19th, or 20th century.

Simple instructions for doing 8 types of activities are included.  Activities such as writing various types of paragraphs, categorizing the task cards, giving presentations, creating posters, doing research, doing map and timeline activities, practicing note-taking, and playing games are all described.  The versatility of these task cards makes them ideal not just for Black History Month but also Language Arts, Social Studies, and even Science classes any time of the year.

Your students will be inspired by the achievements of these African-American scientists, diplomats, inventors, aviators, doctors, educators, businesspeople, politicians, athletes, soldiers, musicians, lawyers, nurses, abolitionists, novelists, singers, civil rights activists, explorers, poets, mathematicians, journalists, women’s rights activists, and judges that are highlighted on the task cards.

The information on the task cards is not presented in complete sentences because one of the suggested activities is for students to write paragraphs about the people. By transforming the keywords and fragments into complete sentences, and including a topic sentence and a closing, students practice writing good paragraphs and learn some history at the same time. You can use these task cards to do other types of writing activities, too. An evaluation rubric is included so you can easily assess your students’ writing.

To use the task cards, just print them out and cut them apart on the dotted lines. Laminating the task cards so they last longer is recommended but not required. Some activities can take up an entire period and some can be implemented in shorter amounts of time. Depending on the activity, students can work on their own, in pairs or small groups, or as the whole class. Some of the activities can also be used in writing centers.

This resource is appropriate for ELLs at an intermediate level of language proficiency (such as WIDA Levels 3 and up) and if you work in a WIDA Consortium state, 4 sample Model Performance Indicators are included. ELLs at a lower level of language proficiency (such as WIDA Level 2) may be able to do a few of the suggested activities and these are listed in the teacher notes. In addition, if you work in a Common Core state, a list of ELA standards this resource addresses is included.

Some of your students may be familiar with several of the 80 people profiled but there are probably many other African-Americans included in this resource whom they have never heard of before!


Thank you and happy teaching!

Common Core Standards © Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved. Any claims of correlation or alignment to the CCSS Standards are solely those of The ESL Nexus and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the NGA. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the CCSS standards.

Any claims of correlation or alignment to the WIDA ELD standards are solely those of The ESL Nexus and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the WIDA Consortium. The ESL Nexus is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the WIDA standards.