A biography is the story of someone's life. Not only
should it describe the events and facts that took place
during that person's lifetime, it also tells a good story. A
chronological listing of events can reveal a lot of
information, but it may not be very interesting to read.
Telling the story of someone's life can make for fascinating
- Along with the members of your newspaper team,
decide which categories of endeavours you will include in
your newspaper report on famous Canadians. There are many
categories from which to choose your famous Canadian.
Your famous person may be a scientist, inventor, athlete,
author, composer, explorer, musician, hero, or politician
to name only a few. A full list of famous Canadian
categories can be found at the National
Library of Canada website.
- Choose the Canadian that you will be writing
about. With the other members of your team, decide who
will be responsible for researching the information in
each biography category. Remember that each member of the
team will choose a Canadian from a different category so
that your newspaper feature will tell the story of
Canadians that are famous in different walks of
- Using the Internet resources listed on the
Resources page, begin to research the life of your famous
Canadian. In the introduction section of your article,
you will reveal to the reader the basic facts of your
Canadian's life. While it is important for the reader to
know when this Canadian lived, where he/she lived, what
the background details of his/her life are, this is not
the major focus of the biography. The reader will be
interested mostly in the story of how and why this
Canadian became famous. This story, which will bring your
famous Canadian "to life", will be the main focus of your
- As you research the life of your famous Canadian,
keep in mind the following questions:
- What did he/she do to become famous?
- What values (something that a person considers
important enough to do something about) shaped this
person's life and achievements?
- What choices or decisions did this person make
which led to his/her notoriety?
- In what way(s) did the actions of this person
benefit or influence others?
- What were the major obstacles that this person
had to overcome?
- Why should we be proud of this person's
- You are required to use at least three different
sources of information in the development of the
biography. In other words, if you are using online
resources only, then you will be expected to use at least
three different web sites for researching your famous
Canadian. Your sources of information on your famous
Canadian do not have to be limited to online resources.
In addition to online resources, you may use books,
encyclopedias, cd rom disks, newspapers etc. Make sure
that you write down the name of the source or internet
page from which you get your information.
- Using a word processor, begin to write the
biography. Keep in mind that the first part of your story
will introduce the reader to your famous Canadian. The
main part of the story will describe the challenge,
situation or problem that he/she had to deal with. The
resolution of your story describes how your Canadian
resolved/solved the problem, and what were the
consequences/benefits of his/her resolution of the
- Most word processors will allow you to create
newsletter formatted documents through the use of
templates - Student Writing Centre, or page layouts
involving columns - Microsoft Word. Cut and paste your
biography into the newsletter document format that your
group or teacher has decided to use. You can give your
newsletter a "professional" look by adding column titles,
bylines, and graphics.
- Choose a Canadian famous to you. This might be a
parent, friend, teacher, relative, or local personality
who has influenced your life or made a difference in your
community. Using the same process that you developed in
writing about your famous Canadian, tell the story of why
this friend, relative etc. is famous to you and publish
this biography in your group newsletter along with the
biographies written by the other members of your
- All of these biographies must be tied together in
your newsletter so it will be necessary for the group to
write up a general introduction to be placed at the
beginning of your newsletter to tell your reader what the
special report is all about. Your group will also have to
develop a conclusion for your special report that ties
everything together at the end. It will also be necessary
to develop transitional paragraphs between each of the
sections of your report so that the finished product is
read as a whole and not as 5 individual
- Take a look at Learning
Advice to find out how to take notes from your
sources so as to avoid plagiarism. The Learning Advice
section will also show you how to list your sources of
information in your bibliography.