The Bibliography, Research Resources, and the Playwright Biography


Students will demonstrate their ability to research the play and playwright by developing a bibliography and creating a biography for their playwright.


Materials Needed

Youtube clip
Computer with internet access for each student
Schedule class going to the library
Bibliography and Biography handout – Bibliography and Biography Handout


Lesson Directions


Anticipatory Set/Hook

Show the following 00:54 second clip; do not make any commentary on it; move directly into the class presentations.



Review/assessment: Students will make brief presentations (1-2 minutes) to the class of 3-5 of the 15-20 research items that they have identified and described as part of “The World of the Play” assignment. Suggest to the students that as they listen to classmates’ presentations, it may give them ideas that will help them refine their own lists. Invite students to share why and/or how they chose some of the items on their lists. Students will turn in one copy and retain one copy of their 15-20 items that identify the World of the Play. They will bring their retained copy to the following class.


1. Bibliography
o A bibliography (like the one shown as an example in the last class–show again) is required with the casebook. A bibliography is always in alphabetical order. A bibliography is the final page in a document. Every item and/or reference that is included in the casebook must be bibliographed. Pass out a copy of theBibliography Examples handout to each student. [Included]
o Steps for creating a bibliography [demonstrate an example during the discussion using the clip shown at the beginning of class; hand out a copy of the steps to each student]:
Keeping a record of possible sources:
o Copy and paste (or write down) all internet and other sources into a document labeled (Play Title): Dramaturgical Research
· Include the title, author, and the link if it is an internet source, as labels for each item on this list.
· Example: Copy the name of the clip and paste it onto a document labeled (Play Title): Dramaturgical Research.
· Copy and paste the web address next to the title.
§ Note: Also write both the title and the web address on the board for those who choose to keep their resource record by hand.
Making a bibliography:
o Using a free website such as BibMe or EasyBib, insert the title of the resource into the space provided on the web page.
o Example [talk the students through the example while demonstrating the following]:
· Open BibMe. [Make an account prior to class.]
· Click “web site” from the selections on the page.
· Paste the name of the clip into the space provided. [The website will automatically bibliograph all but the author’s name for this clip. Point out that there is a website link on this video clip and click on it; a new window will open to this web site. The author’s name is located on the web site. Copy and paste the author’s name into the fields provided on BibMe. Emphasize that the students must find all the information they can for each resource.]
· Click “Add to My Bibliography”. The resource citation will appear on the right side of the screen in the proper format.
· Click “Save to Account.”
· Click “Chicago” on “Change format”.
· Click “Rename” and type “[Play name]: Dramaturgical Research” in the field provided.
· Click “Bibliography Maker”. The page will refresh to the home page, saving the first entry on the right.
· Click “Book” from the selections
· Type “To Kill a Mockingbird” in the field and click “Enter.”
· Several choice will appear; click “Select” next to the top entry. Point out that when there are several options, choose the one that is the actual resource the student is using, not just the top one.
§ The source will appear in the fields provided.
§ Click “Add to My Bibliography”.
§ Click “Save to Account.”
§ Click “Bibliography Maker” to add another source.
o Continue to add and save items to your source list and bibliography until your casebook and bibliography are completed. Do not forget to add sources as you find them!
o Print the completed bibliography.


[For students without internet access at home, or for those who prefer to create a bibliography by hand, a step-by-step bibliography guide is included as part of the hand-out so they can proceed in hand-written format.]


2. Where to research
o Discuss and demonstrate (a playwright biography is a good example to use):
· Internet: type “Harper Lee” into a search engine; display different resources that appear; ask students to point out various web sites that might relate to a performance of the play; click on one or two. [Adding a web site to the mock bibliography is a demonstration option.]
§ Invite one or two students to type their playwrights’ names into the same search engine; briefly explore some of the resources that appear. [Sometimes there is not much available; show students how to access the publisher of the play–there is frequently a biography available on the publisher’s website. This is an acceptable alternative to other playwright info; the website must be cited in the bibliography.]
· Books: discuss using books in the 921 section of a library as resources for a playwright’s biography; also mention using the library for other books about historical periods, social issues, etc. Mention that the library will be visited later during the lesson.
· Articles in magazines: point out magazine articles that appeared in the “Harper Lee” search; point out that often these resources are available from the internet and do not necessarily have to be accessed in printed form.
· Video recordings: recordings of or about plays, playwrights, periods, etc. can be good resources for research. Ask students where they find video sources.


3. Writing a playwright biography [Brief discussion and hand-out]
o Review the following information on the hand-out:
· Name, birth date (at least the year), place of birth
· Where he/she currently lives or when/where he/she died.
· Other works (books, plays, etc.)
· One or two other interesting facts: hobbies, interests, political involvement, oddities, etc.


4. Library Sources: A Visit To The School Library:
o By prearrangement with the school librarian, students visit the library and learn from the librarian where items (computers available for student use, magazines, non-fiction books such as biographies, video recordings, etc.,) can be found that may be useful in their research, and how to access them.
Assignment (Due next class): Students will research and write a brief biographical sketch of the playwright who has written their play, ½ to 1 page typed (1-2 pages hand written). They will bibliograph the resource(s) they use for the biographical sketch. They will present the biographies in the following class. They may use the remaining class time to work on the assignment in the library.
Begin students working on playwright biographies:
o Invite students to begin their playwright research at the computers (ask students to work in cooperative teams if necessary).
o Ask students to access BibMe and open new accounts.
o Remind students (individually and/or in groups) to be sure to begin their Dramaturgical Research lists, either by hand or in a document they can save on a flash drive.
o Encourage students to begin their playwright research using a search engine and/or the school library catalog.
o Circulate the library; assist students in finding playwright resources. As sources are discovered, help students identify and choose pertinent information, referring to the suggestions on the handout. Have the students write or copy/paste basic information/resources they find.



Each student will have at least one biographical source about their playwright identified and bibliographed before the end of class. Students will also be reminded to bring their “World of the Play” lists of 15-20 research ideas to the following class, along with their completed playwright biographies.