K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Beginning biography research
Encyclopedia research skills will be taught using biographies of famous people. This is one lesson in a collaborative unit taught by both the classroom teacher and the library media coordinator.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2–3 English Language Arts and Information Skills)
By Joan Milliken.
Graphically organize a biography
This lesson is a good ending to a unit on biographies. The students will work together in small groups to create a poster that displays the information from a biography in a graphic organizer.
Format: lesson plan (grade 3 Information Skills and Social Studies)
By Ellen Benton.
The life and works of Edgar Allan Poe
Students will evaluate a sampling of literary selections by Edgar Allan Poe and assess the influence of Poe's life on his works.
Format: lesson plan (grade 8 English Language Arts)
By Peggy Stanley.
My favorite women: My Great Aunt Arizona
These three (or four) 45-minute lessons will introduce kindergarteners and first graders to Women's History Month. The students listen to the story of author Gloria Houston's great-aunt, Arizona Houston Hughes. During and following the listening and viewing experiences, the students will discuss their experiences with women in their own history who are helping them become good citizens and grow up well.
Format: lesson plan (grade K–1 English Language Arts and Information Skills)
By Floanna Long.
Strategy lesson: KWL
This lesson activates students' prior knowledge about famous North Carolinians and helps them organize thoughts and questions before they read biographies.
Format: lesson plan (grade 4–5 English Language Arts and Information Skills)
By Alisa McAlister, Sherry French, and Harnetha Hudgins.
Who's Theodor Seuss Geisel?: Meet the real Dr. Seuss
Students will search internet resources, print and multimedia encyclopedias to research information on Dr. Seuss. Students will use a "Biography" template to document information, site resources, and write a simple biography report.
Format: lesson plan (grade 2 English Language Arts and Information Skills)
By Amy Rhyne, Paulette Keys, and Sarah Carson.

Resources on the web

Academy of Achievement
Provides an online Museum of Living History that focuses on contemporary individuals as role models and mentors. Each individual's exhibit includes a biography, an interview (often an audio version is available), and a profile. (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: Academy of Achievement
African American World
A multifaceted resource providing information from PBS, NPR, and the Encylopaedia Britannica about African Americans. This website targets many audiences and age groups and encourages discussion of their materials via online forums. (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: PBS
American Experience
Over 75 features that accompany the PBS series The American Experience, that document people and events that shaped United States history. Find video, audio, maps, images, and other resources that explore Presidents, Biographies, War and Politics,... (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: PBS
American Masters
From children's book authors to jazz greats, this series presents the biographies of America's great creative talent. (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: PBS
The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden
Incorporates presidential artifacts with informative articles that address many common and uncommon aspects of the ever-changing American presidency. (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History
Author study: Improving reading comprehension using inference and comparison
In groups, students read books by Paul Goble and discuss their impressions of the author. Then, as a class, students present their impressions of the author based on the content of his books. After explaining that authors tell stories that interest them... (Learn more)
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–5 English Language Arts)
Provided by: ReadWriteThink
Benjamin Franklin: An Extraordinary Life, An Electric Mind
A rich, diverse website that examines the life of Benjamin Franklin from many angles using a variety of activities to engage the learner. (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: PBS
Biographies: Creating timelines of a life
Studying biographies is of interest and value to young learners. This lesson from ReadWriteThink supports students' exploration of sources to create a timeline about the life of a person. The experience requires students work together and research and resolve... (Learn more)
Format: lesson plan (grade 3–5 English Language Arts)
Provided by: ReadWriteThink
Biography project: Research and class presentation
In this lesson from ReadWriteThink, students brainstorm about famous people and each selects one to research by reading a biography and doing Internet research. Students then create a graphic organizer (a web) to teach the class about the person's life.... (Learn more)
Format: lesson plan (grade 6–8 English Language Arts)
Provided by: ReadWriteThink
A biography study: Using role-play to explore authors' lives
In this ReadWriteThink lesson, students select American authors to research. They create timelines and biopoems about their authors and then collaborate in teams to design and present a panel presentation where they role-play their authors. The final project... (Learn more)
Format: lesson plan (grade 9–12 English Language Arts)
Provided by: ReadWriteThink
Biography Writer's Workshop
Learn to write biographies with children's authors Patricia and Frederick McKissack. Use the online tool and submit your work for publication! (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: Scholastic.com
Diagram it! Identifying, comparing, and writing about nonfiction texts
This ReadWriteThink lesson introduces second-grade students to different types of nonfiction writing. Students explore a variety of nonfiction books and compare them to fiction. Students also learn about different categories of nonfiction writing and practice... (Learn more)
Format: lesson plan (grade K–2 English Language Arts)
Provided by: ReadWriteThink
Music teachers and students come on into this magical website and create instruments, listen to music, consult the instrument encyclopedia, study the orchestra seating chart, and find out about the life of musicians! (Learn more)
Format: website/lesson plan
Provided by: Dallas Symphony Orchestra
Edgar Allan Poe, Ambrose Bierce, and the unreliable biographers
In this EDSITEment lesson, students become literary sleuths, attempting to separate biographical reality from myth. They also become careful critics, taking a stand on whether extra-literary materials such as biographies and letters should influence the... (Learn more)
Format: lesson plan (grade 11 English Language Arts)
Provided by: EDSITEment