Teacher's Notes

Lesson Plan


After completing this unit students should be able to:

  • Identify the elements of a biography.
  • Write a biography about an author.
  • Use various types of maps to locate specific information.
  • Identify areas on a map using their knowledge of map skills.
  • Identify various types of illustrations when presented five different types, 100% of the time.


Computers with Internet access. Presentation software such as PowerPoint/HyperStudio. Library access for hardcopies.

Prerequisite Skills

Technology: have a basic understanding of Internet searching, PowerPoint and HyperStudio.


One to two weeks.

Activity One: Language Arts

  • Motivation/Orientation - The teacher starts the lesson by reading an excerpt from the book Charlotte's Web. As the excerpt is read, have the cover of the book projected on the board. After reading tell the class that this is one of the teacher's favorite books. Some of the students may laugh or think that it is a children's book, explain how the story is loved by many because of its representation of friendship. Then explain to the class that the reason for choosing E.B. White as the author to do a biography on was because you like his books. Next show pictures of the covers of other books E.B. White has written, Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, giving a short synopsis of each.


  • Information - Project a time line on the board showing specific dates in E. B. White's life. Explain to the class that important dates are a necessary part of an author's biography. Dates considered to be important would be: the author's date of birth, the author's date of death, if deceased, and the dates of the author's written works. Also, included in the biography should be other important dates that signify a milestone in the author's life. These could include: when they were married (if applicable), when they attended college (also if applicable), and when and where they moved throughout their life. A biography should also include any awards that the author may have received for their writing. How the author began their writing career is another piece of information that could be contained in a biography. Any important quotes stated by the author may be included in the author's biography, along with important insights or ideas that may be associated with the author. These points could be mentioned by the class and written on the overhead projector for class to use as a reference when they are doing their biographies.


  • Application - To give the students an opportunity to create a biography, one or two students could volunteer to have the class write their biography. As a class the student's biography would be written using the overhead projector. Draw a time line showing the day they were born and other important dates in the child's life. These may include the day they started school, the day they moved, or any other significant dates in the student's life. A short biography would be written on the board including any awards the student might have earned. The paragraph would also include any hobbies or other interests the student may have. At this stage of the lesson show the procedure the teacher went through when writing their biography on E.B. White. This should include Web sites visited to find the information on the author. Explain to the class that it is like a treasure hunt, that one site may not immediatedly show the information they are looking for on their particular author but, with a little searching some "treasure" may be found. Sometimes it is best to search by using the author's name, and other times more information may be found searching by the title of the book. Tell the students to, "Have fun exploring and see what interesting information you can find about your author."


Activity Two: Social Studies

  • Motivation/Orientation - Teacher introduces the lesson "Where in the World are Your Authors?", a map skills based activity, through discussion and visual of "author map" to be completed by the class.


  • Information - Class is given various types of maps and atlases then led through an exercise to help locate where two authors, chosen by the teacher, reside. (Chose authors which would not be selected by the students). Teacher will also provide a bookmarked site using maps found on the Internet, to print out specific information regarding where the authors live. Class will then locate and mark the teacher's authors on the author map.


  • Application - Students will help to complete the class "author map" entitled "Where in the World are Your Authors?" . Students will locate the two authors using the various tools. They will then add their findings to the class map. Finally, they will provide information regarding the area (points of interest, brief history, etc.) in their final presentation/report.

Activity Three: Art

  • Motivation/Orientation - Teacher leads a discussion about illustrators. She shares books with attractive illustrations. She also presents books in which the authors are the illustrators.


  • Information - Using a PowerPoint presentation the teacher connects types of illustrations to books. For instance, pencil drawings, watercolors, etc.


  • Application - Students create an illustration from the book they have chosen for the author's tea. It must be original, not a replica of one already in the book. Students will scan illustrations and include them in the class presentation.

What is a WebQuest, anyway?

According to its creator, Bernie Dodge (1997), it is an "inquiry-oriented activity" which may be used by and or developed by educators for classroom use. Its main purpose is to expose students to technology by way of searching preselected links as per project. Its beauty is the amount of world wide integrated information to which students can be exposed. The highlight is the motivation it brings to the learning forefront. A WebQuest may be designed as short or long term. Componets suggested by Dodge are: introduction, task, information sources, process, guidance, and conclusion. Designers use these as a foundation to build from and many times add or eliminate depending on the nature of the Quest.

If you are interested in reading our reflections and comments regarding the collaborative creation of this WebQuest, follow this link to ETEC 602 Comments and Reflections.

Follow this link back to the International Author's Tea start page.