Hand writing on graph paper

The Biography Ratio

Hi. My name is Melissa. I was trained by you last school year with junior high and high school teachers of Ennis ISD. My seventh-grade students are writing a biography about an author. I’m requiring them to use the Jane Schaffer expository format, but most of them are struggling to form a topic sentence, commentary, or concluding sentences for their chunks. They seem to want to fill their paragraphs with nothing but concrete details. Is the Jane Schaffer format appropriate for a biography?

Dear Melissa,

Yes. Use the 2+:1 ratio for the paragraphs, Melissa. Also, think of the biography in terms of a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end..

Above the introduction: Title and Quote from the author (The title must be something from one of her works – it may not be her/his name)

Introduction
• Broad statements – Why do people read? Why do different people resonate with different authors?
• Introduce author – name, century s/he lived, known best for
• Thesis: Her/his life is meaningful because . . .

Body Paragraph 1:
TS – Early Life
CD – Details
CD – Details
CD+ – Details
CM – What is interesting, odd, unusual? Impact?
CS – Unexpected, Defied the odds, Impact on society

Body Paragraph 2:
TS – Education, Mid-Life, First Book or Poem
CD – Details
CD – Details
CD+ – Details
CM – What is interesting, odd, unusual? Impact? Does first writing relate to her/his hardships, relationships?
CS – Unexpected, Defied the odds, Impact on society

Body Paragraph 3:
TS – Late in Life
CD – Details – Awards
CD – Details –
CD+ – Details – Death
CM – What is interesting, odd, unusual? Impact? Does first writing relate to her/his hardships, relationships?
CS – Unexpected, Defied the odds, Impact on society

Conclusion – why out of all the authors you could have chosen did you choose this one? What makes him/her stand out above the rest?

 

Keep reading and writing!

Best regards,

Dr. Louis

Dr. Deborah E. Louis

Ph.D. in Humanities

Dr. Deborah E. Louis' passion for educational excellence began as a classroom teacher. For sixteen years, Deborah taught On-level, Pre-AP®, and Advanced Placement® English Language Arts to secondary students of diverse ethnicities and learning styles. In 2010, Deborah purchased the Jane Schaffer Writing Program®, and along with her non-profit organization, Center for Educational ReVision (CerV®), her goal and that of her national team of experts is to provide the highest quality professional learning and mentoring to teachers in the areas of writing, advanced academics, high-stakes testing, and educational technology. Through webinars, workshops, job-embedded training, and teaching materials, Deborah strives to ReVision the educational system, combining traditional and flipped approaches to professional learning for teachers of grades K-12; and differentiating for Special Education, English Language Learners, and Gifted and Talented. Although her mission takes her all over the United States and abroad, Deborah lives in Dallas, Texas USA. She loves music, dancing, archetypal psychology, and continuous learning opportunities.