Easy Biographies: Special People in Black History

"Give them tools, not excuses." 4 Square Writing for Special People in Black History. These mats can help students write early biographies with independence.
If you know me, you know my mantra: "Give them tools, not excuses!" We can't give them excuses, they have enough of those. We need to give them tools. One of my favorite tools for writing is 4 square. Kindergarten students can easily write 4 sentences on a topic with the use of 4 square. The basic 4 square contains a topic sentence in the middle, surrounded by 4 supporting details. When we pair 4 square with biographies, we can teach students to write about a person in history. I used this idea to make a 4 square set about "Special People in Black History." 

When starting with 4 square biographies, choosing one to complete as a whole group writing lesson is a great start. During the week, read a picture book, like this one for President Obama, Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope or this one for Harriet Tubman, Harriet Tubman Freedom Fighter. Show the class the discuss and 4 square and discuss each square. Then, each day Tuesday through Friday collaboratively composing the sentence for one square, then interactively writing the sentence.

Writing Essays

"Give them tools, not excuses." 4 Square Writing for Special People in Black History. These mats can help students write early biographies with independence.

Once the whole group lesson is complete, these 4 squares can be put in a center. Students can complete a chosen 4-square independently. This set includes a 4 square and writing paper for 27 special people in history. Students can a write quick biography by completing a predictable sentence:

Barack Obama
He was born in Hawaii.
He was a senator form Illinois.
He was a president.
He won a Nobel Peace Prize.

Students can elaborate by adding a topic sentence, adding details they know, and/or having a closing sentence. 

Making Books

"Give them tools, not excuses." 4 Square Writing for Special People in Black History. These mats can help students write early biographies with independence.

Another method of using the 4-square templates are making books. You can also use the writing papers as a book cover. On the samples in the picture to the right, I cut the picture and a few lines of the writing paper to make the cover. Each page can be about one square on the 4 square mat. For a special class book, give students different people and make a book to treasure.  Likewise, students can write essays about several special people and make a personal book. 

Special People in Black History


I tried to highlight both historical and contemporary special people in this set. I also tried to be sensitive to the seriousness of their lives. The artwork has been carefully chosen. In addition, I asked a former principal to vet this set. I was honored she approved.  The set also comes with an explanation of each 4 square, so the intent is clear. 

4 Square mats include: Arthur Ashe, Benjamin Banneker, Mary McCleod Bethune, Ruby Bridges, Henry “Box” Brown, George Washington Carver, Bessie Coleman, Frederick Douglass, Dr. Charles Drew, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Kamala Harris, Langston Hughes, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, Garrett Morgan, Barack Obama, Lyda Newman, Jesse Owens, Rose Parks, Jackie Robinson, Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman (2), Tuskegee Airmen, Madame CJ Walker, Booker T Washington, Daniel Dale Williams and Oprah Winfrey.
"Give them tools, not excuses." 4 Square Writing for Special People in Black History. These mats can help students write early biographies with independence.

If you would like to get a 4 Square Special People in Black History sample of the set, click the link or the picture above.
"Give them tools, not excuses." 4 Square Writing for Special People in Black History. These mats can help students write early biographies with independence.

If you would like the 4 Square Special People in Black History full set, it is available in my Blog Store and my TPT store. I'd love to see copies of your student's writing, if you'd be willing to share.





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