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Program Information

[Lesson Title]
Outstanding Women

Stacey Jones

Mid-East Career & Technology Centers

[Unit Title]


120 – 180 minutes over multiple class days


ABE/ASE Standards – English Language Arts and Literacy

Reading (R)

Writing (W)

Speaking & Listening (S)

Language (L)

Foundational Skills

Text Types and Purposes

Comprehension and Collaboration

Conventions of Standard English

Key Ideas and Details


Production and Distribution of Writing


Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas


Knowledge of Language

Craft and Structure

Research to Build and Present Knowledge


Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas


  • Using guided inquiry; students will research about the lives of famous women and choose a method (bio poem, poster, multi-paragraph essay, or diary entry) of presenting their information to the group.


  • Women Making Decisions Anticipation Guide

  • Knowing the Person by the Decisions She Made Decision Chart

  • Famous woman biography shared in student’s choice of writing products.

  • Bio Poem Checklist, Poster Checklist, Multi-Paragraph Essay Checklist, or Diary Entry Checklist


  • Students may have heard of famous women, like Roosevelt, but they may not realize what these women have done. Students will be familiar with using the Internet to conduct research.


  1. Open with the following description about Eleanor Roosevelt and see if learners can guess who this famous woman is: “She grew up thinking she was the least attractive girl in New York. Her mother reminded her daily of her buckteeth, weak chin and misshapen body. She was afraid to meet anyone, afraid to draw any attention to herself. All her life she struggled to overcome an unhappy childhood, betrayal in her marriage, a controlling mother-in-law and gripping depressions. And yet, she is one of this century’s most influential women.”

Ask students to work individually or with partners to complete the anticipation guide Women Making Decisions Anticipation Guide about Eleanor Roosevelt. This guide includes some general issues relevant to famous women, but learners may want to develop their own statements as well.

Teacher Note The Women in History Thematic Collection and the list of Internet resources will provide you with an excellent selection of materials you can have ready before class for students to use during their research. The Right Way to Research: Online Resources Teacher Information Sheet can also provide you with background information on how to help your students choose appropriate pieces for their research.

  1. Choose 2-3 print or Internet resources before class so learners can begin their research about Eleanor Roosevelt as a group.

Using the Knowing the Person by the Decisions She Made Decision Chart, begin building the matrix on the wall or bulletin board for the group to see. Students can fill out their charts first and then share with a peer or as a group. Complete the large chart of Eleanor together.

As the students read from several sources, they will be answering the following guided inquiry questions:

  1. What is some basic biographical information that you know about your outstanding woman? i.e. When was she born; when did she die; where did she live; was she married or not; did she have children or not, etc…

  2. What important choice(s) did each woman make?

  3. What responsibilities went along with these choices?

  4. What consequences were tied to these choices?

  5. How did these choices affect important people in their lives?

  6. What was happening in the world at the time this woman made this choice?

  7. What makes this woman great? What qualities did she exhibit?

  1. Each student selects a biography of another famous woman to research independently. Choices might include: Harriet Tubman, Jane Addams, Elizabeth Blackwell, Helen Keller, Clara Barton, Nellie Bly, Amelia Earhart, or anyone from one of the Internet resources that they find interesting.

Return to the decision chart and anticipation guide after completing the research for the student’s chosen famous woman; complete both worksheets. Each student can share his or her decision chart information with the class in small group discussion. Collect these worksheets and return them.

  1. Students will use the inquiry guiding questions and take notes on their answers to these questions. Students may also come up with additional inquiry questions if they wish.

  1. Students can choose how they demonstrate the application of their research, or the teacher can choose appropriate writing products based on each student’s knowledge level. Provide students with the Checklist Criteria from the appropriate tool to guide the development of their chosen evaluation product. Some choices might include:

  • Compose a Bio Poem to demonstrate personal characteristics of their selected famous woman.

  • Create a poster which depicts the woman’s pivotal life events and decisions; students may be as creative as they wish.

  • Write an informative multi-paragraph essay.

  • Diary entry from the famous woman’s perspective using all of the information in the guided inquiry portion of the lesson plan.

  1. Students can have peers or instructor read their work and students can revise accordingly before developing a finished product. Use the checklists to guide the writing and editing process.

  1. Students can share their writing products with other group members as a culminating activity. Students must be ready to address reader/listener questions as appropriate. For example, a student may wish to ask another student what was another fact he/she learned but didn’t share.

  1. Students may engage in informal discussion about the women they chose for the remainder of the period.

Teacher Note Students will have a day to choose their woman and conduct research while answering the inquiry questions; a day to develop their presentation; and a day to present their final products.
Whatever is not completed during class must be taken home and finished for homework. Students must show and report their progress to the instructor daily.

Student copies of Women Making Decisions Anticipation Guide (attached)
Women in History Thematic Collection. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://literacy.kent.edu/eureka/tradebooks/matrices/MatrixWomeninHistory.doc
The Right Way to Research: Online Resources Teacher Information Sheet (attached)
Student copies of Eleanor Roosevelt Biography

Eleanor Roosevelt Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.biography.com/people/eleanor-roosevelt-9463366

Eleanor Roosevelt Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ro-Sc/Roosevelt-Eleanor.html
Student copies of Knowing the Person by the Decisions She Made Decision Chart (attached)
Websites for student research:
Top 100 Famous Women •. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.biographyonline.net/people/famous/100-women.html
Women who changed the world •. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.biographyonline.net/people/women-who-changed-world.html
Women's biographies: Distinguished Women of Past and Present. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.distinguishedwomen.com/

Lewis, J. J. (n.d.). Women's Suffrage Activists - Notable Women Suffragists. Retrieved from http://womenshistory.about.com/library/bio/blbio_suffrage_list.htm

Student copies of Bio Poem Checklist (attached)

Student copies of Poster Checklist (attached0

Student copies of Multi-Paragraph Essay Checklist (attahced0

Student copies of Diary Entry Checklist (attached)

Biopoems [PDF file]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://literacy.kent.edu/eureka/strategies/biopoems.pdf


  • Students may enlist the instructor’s help or a classmate’s help to help them find research or to develop their answers to the inquiry questions through informal discussion.

  • Other students may work independently from start to finish on this project.

  • Students are given a choice of reading materials and final assessment projects.

  • Rubrics are provided to evaluate the writing process.




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