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Lesson Plan

Book Report Alternative: Character and Author Business Cards

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Book Report Alternative: Character and Author Business Cards

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two

Student Assessment/Reflections

 

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will

  • identify appropriate symbols that relate to their authors or characters.

  • interact with classmates to give and receive feedback.

  • explore how audience and purpose shape their writing.

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Session One

  1. Introduce the writing activity, sharing the planning sheet, rubric, and example business card.

    1. Generally explain that students will be making business cards that include elements from the list of options on the planning sheet that are appropriate for their character or author. The business cards can be given away or traded with other students. One copy can also go to the librarian who can share them with other students at the school.

    2. Share the example business cards with students and explain the assignment, pointing out each of the parts that are included. Discuss other elements that could be added to the cards. You may also want to let students explore some business card sites on the Web to see examples, including Business Card Designs by Daniel Will-Harris and Rethink Your Business Card from Ideabook.

    3. Lead students through discussion of the key elements for each part. Sample discussion questions can include the following:

      • What are the important characteristics of a tagline or description of a business or professional? What do the words in the tagline on the sample card tell you about the character?

      • What details make sense for the character? Is there an address? Would phone or e-mail information make sense?

      • What products and/or services can you associate with the character or author?

      • What typeface best fits the character or author? How large should it be?

      • What colors belong on the business card? How do the colors relate to the other elements of the card?

      • What kind of a logo would best represent the character or author and why?

      • How do the symbols on the business card relate to the text? What ideas might you keep in mind as you choose clip art?
  2. Once you're satisfied that students understand the assignment, they can begin work with the Planning Sheet for Business Card Book Reports. Students can work individually or in groups on this project.

  3. Encourage students to interact with one another, to share and receive feedback on their plans for business cards. Since these business cards will be shared in the class as well as in the library, hearing the feedback and comments of other students helps writers refine their work for their audience.

  4. Students can continue working on the project for homework if desired.

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Session Two

  1. Remind students of the goals and elements included in this project. Answer any questions students have.

  2. To make business cards, have your students follow these basic steps, adapting them for the word processor that is available on your computers:

    1. Choose one of the following options, based on the resources you have available:

      • Open up the Business Card Template in Microsoft Word.

      • Open a new document and insert 2 columns and 4 rows. Space the columns and rows out to be 3.5" columns and 2" rows.

      • Open a new document using one of the business card layouts available (see your word processor documentation for additional help).

      • If you are using perforated business card forms, follow the instructions that have been included with the forms.
    2. Invite students to compose their text and add their images to one of the business card rectangles. If students are using Microsoft Word, they can find additional clipart in Microsoft's Digital Clip Art Gallery. In addition to clip art, students can use Word Art in their word processor to make fancier versions of some of the words on their cards (see the help in your word processor for details on how to use this option).

    3. Once students have the card composed as they want it, have them copy the contents of the first cell in the table, and paste it to the additional seven cells in the document. The eight cards should fit on one sheet of 8.5" by 11" paper.

    4. As students consider different options for their cards, you may suggest that they try one layout option in one cell of their table and another layout option in a different cell so that they can compare the two layouts side-by-side.

    5. Remind students to put their names on the back of the business cards.

  3. While students work, again encourage them to interact with one another, to share and receive feedback on their plans for business cards.

  4. After the business cards are printed out, students can decorate them with markers or other classroom supplies.

  5. As students finish, ask them to turn in two business cards (one for you and one for the librarian). Encourage students to share and trade their additional business cards.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

For more formal assessment, use the Rubric for Business Card Book Reports which is tied to the elements included in the planning sheet.

On the other hand, nothing is as useful as the feedback that they'll receive by sharing their business cards with their peers. Informal feedback from students who read the cards and search out the related book are excellent feedback for students.

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