Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Overcoming Adversity

published on: 3/30/3010

Contributing Teacher(s): Sue Collier-Brannin

Subject Area: Communication Arts/Integrated

Materials Needed:

  • Information on adversity
  • List of famous people who have overcome adversity
  • A way to view videos, videos of famous people
  • How to make a collage information, arts & crafts supplies, magazines, newspapers, teacher model of adversit collage, resume samples, information
  • "What you need on a resume" sheet (included)
  • CDs for student resumes
  • Resume paper
  • Biography/autobiography information
  • Color printer to print autobiographies
  • Some way to bind autobiographies
  • All attached scoring guides and instructions


  1. Students will write an autobiography effectively using the writing process and English conventions with 80% accuracy when evaluated by a scoring guide.
  2. Students will, independently, create a presentation following the scoring guide with 75% accuracy.
  3. Students will apply pre and post reading strategies to aid in comprehension and evaluation of the text 2 out of 3 times when evaluated by teacher observation and questioning.

Essential Question:

  1. How can facing adversity make you a stronger person?
  2. What preparation is needed in order to preail over adversity?
  3. How do we use literture to understand ourselves?
  4. How do we use literature to understand other people?

Instructional Strategy: Evaluating Student Understanding


Time Allowance: Approximately 15 class periods - based on block schedule with 80 min. periods

Technological Resources:

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Microsoft Office
  • Some software to play videos
  • Blog account for teacher and students
  • Delicious.com account to bookmark websites for students to use and the teacher might need for research
  • Discovery Education Streaming account


  1. Autobiography could be expanded
  2. Students could be given greater choices with chapter topics for autobiographies
  3. Blog responses could be expanded
  4. Students could use a movie making program like Windows Movie Maker or similar software to create their autobiographies
  5. Students could find their own websites instead of or in addition to using teacher provided ones
  6. Students could design their own closing activity

This unit could be integrated with Social Studies by looking at famous historically important people who have overcome adversity, looking at those peoples biographies and autobiographies. It could be integrated into Science by doing the same things with famous scientists.


  1. Extended time for completion
  2. Blog responses shortened
  3. Autobiography chapters shortened (number of words and/or number of chapters)
  4. Help with writing autobiography from teacher/peer
  5. Help with research
  6. Content of reading shortened and/or reading level lowered
  7. Read information from a printed page not from the Internet
  8. Additional review of difference between biography and autobiography
  9. Review blogging and how it works
  10. Re-watch videos before taking quizzes

Description: This unit was created to help Special Education students discover that just because they have a disability (adversity) doesn't mean they can't be successful and do almost anything they set their minds to when they persevere and don't give up or make excuses. Students will also be able to learn about some famous people who have had adversities in their lives and have succeed and overcome them. Students will also learn about resumes and their importance and create their own working resume to use when they graduate. Students will write their own autobiography to help them remember some things from their childhoods and to remind them about high school.

Supplementary Files:


Classroom Component:

  1. Begin unit showing students pictures of or listing in a PowerPoint presentation some famous people who have overcome adversity.  I began the unit with a Windows Movie Maker movie I created showing different famous people who have overcome adversity. I could not post it to the web due to copyright issues, because I used pictures of famous people, so there is no link. It wouldn't be hard to create your own. I did not put in my video what all the people had in common, just that they had something in common. I included people from many eras across time and many different occupations. I have included my list of famous people and their adversity.
Thomas Edison
Edgar Allan Poe
deaths of everyone he love
Stephen King
drug addiction
Helen Keller
Johann Sebastian Bach
orphaned at 8
Maya Angelou
African American female sexually molested
Oprah Winfrey
African American female raped
Albert Einstein
Julius Caesar
Stevie Wonder
Tom Cruise

Danny Glover

Jamie Oliver
Rosa Parks
African American female
Dr. Martin Luther King
African American male


Website List

Famous People with Adversity

Discovery Education Streaming

Blog sites

Blog Helps

“The Parable of the Mule”

Delicious site

Collage information



Resume writing

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