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Ready-Set-Tech: Author Contract
Author Contract

This unit allows students to research a favorite author using the Internet. The unit challenges students to read four books by the same author, examine issues of style and craft, and examines recurring themes in an author's work. Students are also required to write an imitation of their author, mimicking their particular style. As a culminating project, students create their own web page which explores their particular author.

As part of the Author Contract, students are expected to read three or four books by a single author of their choice. In response, students write an imitation of their author's writing, interview another person who has read books by their author, write a response comparing and contrasting the author's works, and present a collage inspired by the author's writing. The entire unit is presented in the form of a display board, PowerPoint presentation, or Webpage.

Although this unit was designed for middle school students, and uses Young Adult-genre authors, this is a unit that can be adapted to any grade level.


Objectives:

 

 

 

 


Students will:

1. Evaluate one author's writing by creating a web page to present all the aspects of the Author Contract.

2. Compare and contrast the four books from one author by creating a chart to present the styles and themes of these books.

3. Critically evaluate four books written by one author by writing an imitation of an author's style.

4. The student will evaluate one author's writing by creating a web page to present all the aspects of the Author Contract.


Web sites:


For nearly every author, there is at least one Web site, usually many Web sites. Here is an abbreviated list of popular authors and their Web sites:

R.L. Stine:
http://kidsreads.com/
authors/au-stine-rl.asp
http://scholastic.com/
goosebumps/books/stine

Walter Dean Myers:
http://harpercollins.com/catalog/
author_xml.asp?authorID=12522

Sharon Draper:
http://sharondraper.com

Roald Dahl:
http://roalddahl.com

J.K. Rowling
http://jkrowling.com
http://harrypotter.warnerbros.com/
main/homepage/intro.html

Web Page Resources:

http://pagetutor.com
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/kids


Day One:


Researching the Author's Life

Objective:
The student will evaluate one author's writing by creating a web page to present all the aspects of the Author Contract.

Materials:
Computers with Internet connections, Author Contract

Do Now:
In the student's journals, have students write a list of ten questions they would ask their author (Author Contract author) about their life.   Examples include:   Where did you grow up?   Why did you become a writer?   How did you feel about school?   How many books have you published?   Who has influenced you the most?   Have students share their questions with the class.

Procedure:

(Introduction to project - whole class) Students have read three or four books by one author.   In order to present all of the different elements of the Author Contract on a web page, students will need to know about their author's life.   Have students use the questions they wrote during the Do Now to guide their research.

(Individuals, pairs or group of students) The project is easily organized in groups, pairs or as individual student projects.   To begin researching, students will need to know how to use a Search Engine.   Google.com is popular but there are many others.   Students should begin researching their author's life by typing in the name of their author into the search engine.   Usually this will lead students to many links with biographical information.

Students should answer the questions they prepared during the Do Now.   As they answer questions, they should note where they found their information by writing down the URL and the title of the Web page.   Sometimes on Web pages there are authors of articles listed and copyright or published dates.   Have students include bibliographical information in their notes so that students can return to these Web sites and to be sure material is credited properly.

(As a class)   Read back some of the questions students had at the beginning of class.   Have students share their answers with the class.

Assessment: Research Rubric

Follow Up: Students will use their notes on the author's life to construct an Author Contract web page.


Day Two:


Charting an Author's Style

Objective: The student will compare and contrast the four books from one author by creating a chart to present the styles and themes of these books.

Materials: Author Contract

Do Now:
In the students' journals, have students write a list of five to ten words that their authors writing.

Procedure:

(Mini-lesson) Students have read four books by one author.   In order to understand the similarities and differences between one author's books, students will need to organize their descriptions of the author's writing.   Demonstrate the use of a t-chart by talking about an author the entire class knows about.   Write the names of the books at the top of the chart and along the side write each of the description the students would use to describe this author's writing.   Does each description fit each of the books?   Some descriptions will clearly describe all of the books and some will fit only one or two of the books.  

Tell students they will set up a t-chart using their own author.   They will write the names of their books at the top and the descriptions from the DO NOW along the left-hand side.   Tell students that they not only have to decide whether the description fits each of the books but they need to prove it!   Students will need to write in their chart WHY the description fits each book.

(Individuals)   Students will use the time in class to fill out their t-chart, referring back to their books to find evidence as to why each description fits each book.   Students will also be able to add to their list of descriptive words.

(As a class) Have students share charts with the class.   What are the similarities and differences between students' charts?   What was easy or difficult about describing an author's style?

Follow Up:
Students will use their charts describing the author's style to begin writing an imitation, finding related nonfiction materials, or to write a response paper.


Day Three:

Writing an Imitation

Objective: The student will critically evaluate four books by written by one author by writing an imitation of an author's style.

Materials: Chart comparing the author's books (see Day Two), Author Contract

Do Now:
Students will brainstorm a list of possible titles their author would use if their author were to write another book.   Why would each title suit the author?   Are some titles better for an author than another? Why?

Procedure:

(Mini-lesson) Students have read three or four books by one author and have compared the books' styles and themes in a chart.   After the DO NOW, ask students to see if their titles match the descriptions they put together of their author's writing.   Use an author the class is familiar with and list titles that may or may not suit the author.   Have students describe why a title for a new story sounds like it might or might not have been written by the author.  

Then, choose a title that does fit the author.   Who would the main character be and what would be the main conflict?   What would the setting be?   What would the tone and mood be?   What would the story sound and look like?   Would there be a lot of dialogue or a lot of description?   Look back at the chart the class put together describing the author

(Individuals) Students will choose one title that fits their own author's style from their DO NOW brainstorming.   Using the same method and questions modeled in the mini-lesson, students will begin to outline and draft their own imitations based on their chart of their author's style.

(As a class)   Ask students to read the beginnings of their drafts.   Is it obvious who the student is imitating?   Why or why not?

Assessment: Imitation Rubric

Follow Up:
Students will continue to draft their story imitating the author's style and later revise and edit their work to produce a final, published piece of writing.


Day Four:


A Web Page Presentation

Objective: The student will evaluate one author's writing by creating a web page to present all the aspects of the Author Contract.

Materials: Computers with Internet connection, All of the elements listed on "My Author Contract"

Do Now:
In the students' journals, have students respond to the following question: "Have you ever wished you could speak another language?   If so, which language and why?"

Procedure:

(Introduction to project - whole class) Web pages sound like they would be impossible to create.   However, they are created using a fairly simple language called HTML.   There are many websites that can take students through the process of developing a web page. One is http://pagetutor.com and another is http://hotwired.lycos.com/
webmonkey/kids
.

(Individuals, pairs or group of students)   Depending upon whether the project is organized in groups, pairs or as individual student projects, students should begin to set up their web page using web sites listed under Web Resources.   Students should be sure to plan and to include all of the elements of the Author Contract.

(As a class)   Students will share some of the discoveries they made while starting their web pages.   What was easy?   What was hard?   What questions do students have as they continue to develop and put together their web page?

Assessment: Web Page Rubric

Follow Up: Students will complete their Author Contract web pages and present their web pages to the class.



Standards:

 

  • The student reads and comprehends at least four books by a single writer and produces evidence of reading that evaluates writing strategies and elements of author's craft.
  • The student reads and comprehends informational materials to develop understanding and expertise and produces written or oral work that makes connections to related topics or information.
  • The student produces a response to literature.
  • The student responds to fiction using interpretive and critical processes.
  • The student produces a response to literature that supports a judgment through references to the text, references to other works, authors, or non-print media, or references to personal knowledge.
  • The student prepares and delivers an individual presentation in which the student shapes information to achieve a particular purpose and to appeal to the interests and background knowledge of audience members.


 
   

Jeanne Bauer


Jeanne Bauer is an English Language Arts teacher and Literacy Coach at Ditmas Intermediate School #62 in Brooklyn, NY. She is involved in many different projects through school and teaching but the best part of her school day is still in the classroom, reading and writing with students.

geekneebee@earthlink.net


Subject:

English Language Arts, Technology

Grade Level: 6-8

Materials: Computers with Internet access, Microsoft Publisher software, printer, business card stock.

 

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