Grade: 3-5

#1019. Awesome authors

Reading/Writing, level: Elementary
Posted Fri Jun 18 09:49:46 PDT 1999 by Connie Zeleny (
Union Community Schools-La Porte Elementary, La Porte City, Iowa USA
Materials Required: Internet access, printer, overhead
Activity Time: 2-1/2 weeks
Concepts Taught: Using bookmarks on Internet, Scavenger hunt for author information, presenting author info'

My Name__________________________*

Teacher Notes for 5th Grade Awesome Authors Project


This is approximately a 2-1/2 week unit designed for 5th graders using these 6 authors: Eve Bunting, Tomie dePaola, Patricia Reilly Giff, Carol Gorman, Daniel Pinkwater, and Jerry Spinelli. This unit could be adapted to any 6 authors.

The standards and benchmarks addressed are:
a. Use technology to research and collect data from the Internet.
1) Search various web sites to locate needed information
2) Use bookmarks
b. Read, understand and respond to a variety of materials for various purposes
1) Develop awareness and appreciation of authors and genres
2) Organize information into a presentation to communicate with others
3) Identify strategies and techniques authors use when writing
c. Work cooperatively with others

Complex thinking skills incorporated into this unit include:
a. Induction - Knowing the pieces of information about this author and his/her works, what generalizations can you make? Would you like this author's works?
b. Inquiry - If this author were to write a new book, predict and describe what that would be like.
c. Classifying - Identify the genre(s) into which the works of this author would fit.

The essential learnings that this unit addresses are:
a. becoming a knowledgeable person
b. being a quality producer
c. acting as an effective communicator
d. working to become technologically literate

Teacher Notes, p. 2

NOTE: All items in bold print indicate attachments.

Day 1

Introduce unit
Explain why
Preview activities to be included
Go over Expectations sheet
Choose a working partner - someone who will help you if you get stuck on the computer, and who will help you edit and practice your presentation
Choose 1 of the 6 authors on the Awesome Authors Hunt list (NOTE: This could be adapted to any authors, as long as web sites are searched and bookmarks made.)
Go over Assessment sheet
Letter home to parents

Day 2

Go over Internet copyright tips
Review Internet processes: opening Netscape, using bookmarks, printing from the Internet
Begin Awesome Authors Hunt

Day 3

Continue hunts

Day 4

Complete hunts
Choose presentation model - (See Expectation sheet.)
Begin organizing hunt information on Y-charts

Day 5

Continue organizing information

Day 6

Complete organizing on Y-charts
Begin creating presentations

Day 7

Continue creating presentation
Rehearsing with partners
Conferencing with teacher
Make invitations to parents to attend presentations

Day 8

Invitations home to parents
Teacher Notes, page 3

Day 9


Day 10

Give presentations
Use Rubric assessment

Day 11

Students journal about the 2 questions from step 5 of Expectation sheet, while teacher conferences with each concerning assessment of presentation

Day 12

Make connections
Look for these authors as you browse and try some you might like.
This hooks to these authors that we will be reading together.
Think about the genres that you enjoy, while also considering "tasting" a genre that you have not before.
Think about how an author is developing the story, the characters, etc. as you read.
Compare and contrast authors' styles and methods as you read.
Apply what you learned about web sites to other areas of research.
Share the video and inform staff of the authors available on it.
Change authors another time and add to the video.
Parent feedback and technology contacts are made.

My Name________________________


Awesome Authors Expectation Sheet

_____1. Research one of the authors using the sites and questions on your "Awesome Authors" hunt.

_____2. Help your partner with questions on his/her research.

_____3. Fill in the Y chart.

_____4. Prepare, rehearse, and give your presentation using one of the choices below:

a. A Script with you pretending to be your author, telling his/her information

b. An Interview script with the teacher asking the questions that you have written on your script and you answering as if you are the author

c. A Cartoon Strip showing the information on your author (to be shared using our overhead)

_____5. Listen carefully to all presentations and make notes as you will journal about your author and 1 of the other authors, answering these 2 questions:

a. If this author were to write a new book, what would it be like? (include what genre you think it would be, what it might be about, the characters that might be in the book, and as much else as you can.)

b. Would you like to read books by this author? Why or why not? (Give at least 2 reasons for your answer, supported by the information you have learned.)


Awesome Authors Hunt

Awesome authors can scare us, make us cry or laugh, and help us understand ourselves. Have fun finding some very interesting information about your author.

Authors and bookmark sites

Eve Bunting Bookpage Children's Interview: Eve Bunting
Eve Bunting and Ann Rinaldi
The Scoop-Eve Bunting biog.

Tomie dePaola childsplay
Penguin Putnam Catalog Biography
Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola: Teacher Resource Unit

Patricia Reilly Giff 1998 Award Winning Literature=Book Collecting
Author Index for Listening Library
Random House/Patricia Reilly

Carol Gorman 1990-91 ICC Masterlist
1997 Stars Program: Carol Gorman
Carol Gorman
Carol Gorman's Web Site
Literacy=Authors with an Iowa Connection

Daniel Pinkwater Hoboken Chicken Emergencyclopedia
IPL Youth Division: Ask the Author
The (sort of) Official Daniel P

Jerry Spinelli Biography of Jerry Spinelli, 1991 Newberry
Jerry Spinelli Biography
Jerry Spinelli Bibliography

Awesome Authors Hunt, page 2

My awesome author is_________________________.

Directions for my awesome author hunt.
1. Open netscape (Internet) on your computer.
2. Go through the author hunt below, using the bookmark sites for your author to find the answers. You may not find an answer to every question, but search as hard as you can.
3. Work with your partner when you get stuck.
4. Write your answers on this sheet.
5. If there is a picture of your author that you want to print, do so when that screen is up.
6. Remember our copyright tips.

* Part 1 ________________________, this is your life.
(author's name)

1. When were you born?____________So how old does that make you?

2. Where were you born?

3. What was your family like?

4. What were some of the things that happened to you as you were growing up?

5. Are you married?_________ Do you have children/how many?

6. Do you have pets/what kind?

7. Where do you live now?

8. What do you like to do besides write?

9. What do you look like? (Print picture, if available)

10. Where can I e-mail or write you?

11. What other things can you tell me about your life?

Awesome Authors Hunt, page 3
* Part 2 ________________________, this is you at work.
(author's name)

1. When did you start writing?

2 What kinds of things did you write at first?

3. Why did you decide to become an author?

4. Where do you get your ideas?

5. Where do the ideas for your characters come from?

6. How do you develop a story once you get an idea?

7. In what genre(s) do you write?

8. Do you do your own illustrations?___________ If not, who does?

9. Do you work at home or at an office?

10. Do you use a computer as you write?__________________ If not, how do you write?

11. What else can you tell me about how you do your writing?

Awesome Authors Hunt, page 4
* Part 3 ________________________, these are your works.
(author's name)

1. How many books, poems, or articles have you written?

2. For what age(s) do you write?

3. Have you won any awards?______________ If so, what awards and what were they for?

4. Name 6 of your books.

5. Tell me about 1 of these books (setting, characters, genre, a little of the plot)
Title of book

6. Does our school library have any of your books?____________ If so, what are some of the ones we have (list at least 3, if available in our library)?

7. What else can you tell me about the materials you have written?

Fifth Grade Awesome Authors


Mrs. Zeleny
Fifth Grade Title 1 Reading
La Porte City Elementary

Dear Parents,

We are beginning a unit on 6 awesome authors that will last for about the next 2-1/2 weeks. During that time your child will be researching the author that he/she chooses using sites on the Internet. Those sites are listed on the attached pages. Your student will have class time to gather information, but if you have access to the Internet, and you would like to help at home, feel free to review the web sites. It might be especially helpful for you to look at a picture of your child's author, if your student wants to dress up like the chosen writer.

Your child will develop a presentation on his/her author. Students may dress like the author, if they choose. Each is to memorize his/her presentation. The students will choose from 3 presentation methods. They may tell the information they gathered about the author, as if they were the author himself/herself talking to us. They may be interviewed by the teacher, using questions and answers that they themselves have written, answering the questions read by the teacher as if they were the author. Or they may choose to put all the information they want to share into a cartoon format, which they will share using the overhead.

You are invited to attend the presentations, which will be given on _______________
_______ at __________ in the Title 1 room. We will be videotaping these to make a resource for other teachers and students to use if they study one of the authors. Your child, _____________________, has chosen the author _____________________.

Feel free to contact me at school (; 319-342-3033) or at home (319-341-2758) if you have questions.

We'll look forward to having you meet our "Awesome Authors."


Mrs. Zeleny

Parent Letter, page 2

Author Sites

Eve Bunting
Scroll down for an interview of Eve Bunting. No photo
A page specifically about Eve Bunting with a photo, a list of her books to scroll-Link on a book to go to a shopping cart which lists reading levels, illustrators, and provides a review of the book
Interview with EveBunting, including photo

Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola's web page, including photos-Click on any of the blue words to learn more about the author.
Although titled as teacher resource, has good biography of the author-If you scroll down, you will find a list of awards near the bottom of the page and a number of links to click on.
Scroll to read interview with Tomie DePaola
Has more recent photo and biography-You can also link on the words "Author Q & A" on the left side, as well as many of the books listed all the way down the left side.

Carol Gorman
Photos and a brief article from the author-Some of her books are listed and you can link on those for a picture and summary of each book.
Scroll down to Carol Gorman for a very brief sketch, and then you might like to look at the very next person just below her, who is her husband, Ed.
Names her book which made the Iowa Children's Choice Award
Short review of an appearance Ms. Gorman made in Vinton, Iowa in 1997, and some background on the author
Photo and biography, as well as her address and a list of some of her books

Parent Letter, page 3

Daniel Pinkwater
Photo and an interview in question and answer format
Scroll to click on many choices on the left about Daniel Pinkwater and in the full text-Click on the word "biography"to find his background information.
Many links to make-You can scroll down and click on any letter to find some of his characters and you can also click on "Books by Title" to find a listing of his books.

Patricia Reilly Giff
Has author photo-You can scroll to read about the author and discover fun facts about her.
Must scroll about half-way down the page to find the name of the book for which she won a 1998 Newberry honor-There is no personal information on her at this site.
Authors and their books listed alphabetically-Scroll to the G section for a lengthy list of this author's books. You can link on each of her titles to find the reading and interest levels, as well as a brief review.

Jerry Spinelli
Has photo, an article by the author, and a few of his titles to click on
Lists many of his books, some of which are highlighted to provide links
Find a photo, a biography with interview questions, and 3 other links to make, including a list of his books.

Y Chart for __________ about ___________________
(my name) (my author's name)

1. Look over your search and think about the important things from each area that you would like others to know about your awesome author.

2. Write 1 or 2 paragraphs in each section of your Y-chart, about the important items that you chose. Remember to use our strategies for writing good paragraphs.

3. Edit your paragraphs with your partner. Then meet with the teacher for editing.

4. Use your Y-chart to develop your presentation.
a. If you are going to give a talk as if you were this author, decide in what order the author might share the information. Read your paragraphs into the tape recorder and listen back to evaluate your choice. Give the tape to your teacher. Once you have conferenced with the teacher, memorize your presentation as much as possible. You may have your script with you for the presentation, but it will seem more real if you do not have to look at it. You may try to dress up like your author, if you wish. Keep practicing daily, and practice at home, too.

b. If you are going to do an interview, look at the paragraphs from your Y chart and decide what questions someone might ask the author in order to get these answers. You may get ideas from your "Awesome Authors" hunt, but do not copy those questions. Write your own questions and your own answers in a form that will make it easy for us to use. Think about the script for a play, and look at some of our readers' theater scripts to help you with the form of your interview. Have your partner read the interview questions, when you are ready, and you give the answers the author would give. Tape record this and give the tape to your teacher. After you have conferenced with the teacher, memorize your answers to the interview questions. When you present, the teacher will pretend to be the interviewer and you will pretend to be the author. Dress up like the author if you wish. You may have the script with you if you need, but your presentation will seem more real if you do not have to use it. Keep practicing daily, and practice at home, too.

c. If you are going to do the cartoon, look over your paragraphs and think about how you might put this information into a cartoon strip for each section of your Y chart. You can get block paper from the teacher. Sketch in pencil, putting your information into character speaker balloons. Once you are done, edit the cartoon with your partner. Turn the cartoon in to your teacher. After you have conferenced with the teacher, go over your cartoon with the black line marker, and give to your teacher for making a transparency. Practice presenting your cartoon on our overhead. Have your partner give you tips, and have your partner videotape you doing your presentation at the overhead. Watch to evaluate yourself.

Remember, we will be videotaping our presentations for other classes that study these authors, so the more you practice ahead, the better "awesome author" you will be. Parents will be invited when you present your author.