Author Studies with BrainPOP Lesson Plan: Choose Your Favorite Writer!

Submitted by: Angela Watson

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12, K-3

In this author studies lesson plan, which is adaptable for any grade level, students use BrainPOP resources to explore the life and works of their favorite writer. Students will read two or more books by their selected author and compose their own original book inspired by the author they researched.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Explore the life and works of a self-selected author.
  2. Read two or more books by the selected author.
  3. Compose their own original book inspired by their selected author.

Materials:

  • Access to a computer and BrainPOP
  • materials for students to create their own books

Preparation:

Determine whether students will work alone or cooperatively to complete their projects. You may wish to provide written directions or an assessment rubric for students to guide them in their projects. Preview the BrainPOP Jr. and/or BrainPOP author movies (listed at the top of this page) to determine which ones are appropriate for your students, and list them for children to choose from.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Tell the class the name of one of your favorite authors (of either childrens' books or adults' books.) Show copies of his or her books if possible. Explain what you like about the author's writing, and read an excerpt of it. You might also want to share a few sentences that you've written that were inspired by the author's writing style.
  2. Show students the names of all the reading level-appropriate authors featured on BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. Facilitate a discussion around these authors' works. Have students read any books by these authors? What are the books like?
  3. If students are not familiar with many of the authors, show some of the movie features (FYI and Q&A for BrainPOP movies or Background Information page for BrainPOP Jr. movies) to familiarize the class with various author's lives and backgrounds. You can also provide time for students to explore these resources on their own to find an author that is relevant to them.
  4. Ask students to select an author whose life or books are intriguing to them, and provide the guidelines for their projects. If you have used mentor texts in your writing instruction previously (studying the techniques of famous authors and using them in students' own writing,) discuss these experiences with students, and encourage students to use the same strategies during this project. Provide time for students to visit the school or neighborhood library to check out books by their selected author.
  5. Allow students to watch the BrainPOP movie on their chosen author and explore the related resources. Students should use this information to guide them in creating their author-inspired writing.
  6. Conference with students as they begin to compose their author-inspired book. Guide them to understand qualities that make the author's voice and ideas unique, and talk about how students can build upon those qualities with their own writing.
  7. Students may compose and publish their books using any resources you make available. Their books make be typed and printed out, or created entirely online using digital storytelling and publishing tools. Younger students may simply write and illustrate their story on paper and staple the pages together. Encourage students to select tools that are most useful for them.
  8. When all the students' books are 'published', allow the class to spend time exploring one another's books. You may wish to have students do author readings, in which they read a selection from their book to the class and talk about it with the 'audience'. Invite other faculty and parents to attend and celebrate your students' writing!

Extension Activity:

Find online bookmaking software and complete the project digitally!