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Biography Main Lesson

Year 8

The lesson was started with a teacher lead discussion on what a biography
actually was. The students were asked to give their interpretation on what
they thought the word biography meant with further clarity gained from the
use of a dictionary. The main points of the discussion were how an account of
someone’s life can be either visual, verbal, written, filmed sculpted or through
the use of a combination of these elements. The lesson was started this way
with the aim of freeing up the students from the more formal parameters of a
biography to give them different ways of presenting their biography
assignments. ( Glasser’s multiple intelligences. )

The class was then asked to create a title page using a template of late gothic
illuminated lettering for the cover of their books using their name.
The second task the class had was to create a sub–title page using the words:
“Biography, the Course of a Life” using the same script in addition to being
asked to came up with images from the European medieval 12th century
“illuminated script” period. (some examples were given then they had to
research, and resource for themselves through the use of the library and

The class was then presented their first biography on Joan of Arc.
This was done in the following way.
1. The teacher with visual aids recited the story of her life.
2. A discussion was then held with the leading question being: How would
you have reacted had you known her, had you been her.
The discussion was only partly teacher led as the class came up with
their own interest points, e.g. were her visions form god or not.
3. A title, picture and a synopsis of her life were given to the class via the

The second biography was given on Gandhi is a similar style. The discussions
here focussed on his passive approach to demonstrating and how that kind of
approach could be adopted for us in our day-to-day lives.

The fourth biography was given on Mother Teresa, with the discussion based
on one of her quotes:
“No matter who says what, you should accept it with a smile and do your own
What this could mean, in light of her life and in the relevance to ours was a
main talking point.
The fifth biography was given on Jesus. The same format as the others was
used here with a larger presentation and discussion of how his life coincided
with the end of the Roman Empire.

The last biography was on Leonardo da Vinci. Details of his inventions were
given along with the regular format of presentation. Discussions here centred
on how this individuality was able to study and practice many dissaplines and
at the same time connect them through the activity of his life. For example
how his study of anatomy reinforced his understanding and skills in natural
science, philosophy, inventions, painting, drawings and sculpture.

Throughout this lesson time was given to do research on their homework

assignments using the library and the internet.