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November 29

Louisa May Alcott was born in 1832.

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Louisa May Alcott was born in 1832.

Grades 7 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text

 

EVENT DESCRIPTION

 

 

Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women and other novels, was born on this date in 1832. Alcott wrote several novels under her real name and also penned works under a pseudonym. Her very first novel, The Inheritance-written when she was 17-wasn't published until 150 years after she wrote it, when two researchers discovered it in a library in 1997.

CLASSROOM ACTIVITY

 

 

Little Women is partly autobiographical. Alcott used many of the events of her own life as fodder for her writing of this and her other novels. In fact, most scholars believe that the character of Jo March closely resembles Louisa May Alcott. It is not unusual for authors to take incidents from their own lives and use them in their fiction.

Ask students to brainstorm and write in their journals important events and names of people from their lives that might serve as the beginning point for an interesting story, poem, or longer work. Students can then use the interactive Bio-Cube to plan their story. There are more tips available to learn more about the Bio-Cube. An alternative might be to ask students to write about a memorable person in a nonfiction essay format. (This could be submitted to Readers' Digest, which has a feature of this type in each issue). Another alternative would be to have students research the life of Alcott and then read some of her novels to develop a list of those people and incidents from her own life that appear in her fiction.

WEBSITES

 

 
  • Louisa May Alcott

    Information about Alcott's life and work is found at this site. Links provide information about various aspects of her life. The site also includes a virtual tour of the house where Louisa May Alcott grew up.

  • Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

    From the textbook site for the Heath Anthology of American Literature, this site provides complete biographical information, critical material, and links to related resources.

  • Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women

    This site for the American Masters film biography of Louisa May Alcott offers extensive information about Alcott's life and work, including historical photos and a multimedia timeline.

  • Daughter of the Transcendentalists

    The Library of Congress offers this resource with information about Alcott's life, images, and excerpts from the writings of Alcott's father regarding her birth and early childhood.

RELATED RESOURCES

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Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

A Biography Study: Using Role-Play to Explore Authors' Lives

Students read biographies and explore websites of selected American authors and then role-play as the authors.

 

Grades   K – 2  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Telling a Story About Me: Young Children Write Autobiographies

Students tell their life stories in this lesson about autobiographies based on family photographs.

 

Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Writing and Assessing an Autobiographical Incident

Students build upon their knowledge of biographies to write their own autobiographical incident. After going through a process of revision, they use a rubric to assess their work.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Critical Literacy: Women in 19th-Century Literature

Reading historical selections will give students the perspective they need to compare the author’s purpose and voice of two separate writers.