George Saunders Author Research, “Sticks” Author Bio, PDF & Google Drive CCSS

Skip the typical George Saunders introduction lecture as you launch a reading of his acclaimed short story “Sticks” – or any of his other works. Instead, empower students to find their own interesting facts about Saunders’ life with this “Author Bio” print/post-and-teach activity. (Want to help your students learn to analyze a piece of short fiction? Click here for my “Sticks” lesson materials.)

This single-page worksheet is a powerful research organizer that’ll get students digging deep into George Saunders’ background.

Please note: This download does NOT include a specific article or links to defined articles. It is an organizer tool for students to use as they conduct their own research. In my experience, students take more ownership of the material when they are the ones to research and discover the elements that make a literary figure’s life fascinating. They’ve seen enough of our introductory slideshows; this time, let your kids do the work and discuss/determine what they think is meaningful about George Saunders’ life.

Here are a few suggested uses for this flexible research tool:

1. Book your school’s computer lab or have students access George Saunders’ biography information on their own devices. Assign students to either work solo or in teams of two. Once the grids are complete, have students share and compare answers in small groups, focusing on the four interesting facts they discovered, the meaningful quote, and the personal/professional obstacle. Then, pull the students into a full-class discussion, having each group present an interesting fact, quote, or obstacle until every team has contributed. No repeats allowed.

This assignment works great as an “into” activity, but it could also be a “through” activity to add variety to your in-class routine as you work through his longer works. If you’re using this as an “after” activity, during the discussion I would also ask how any of Saunders’ biography elements are reflected in the work your students just read.

2. Assign the worksheet as a traditional homework assignment. Launch the discussion mentioned in #1 at the beginning of the next class period.

3. Use the grid as the beginning assignment to a larger project where students read two or three magazine pieces or short stories by George Saunders. Later, this author study could be turned into a compare/contrast essay or a speech presentation, if you wish to expand the assignment. (Author Bio sheets on a variety of different writers are available in my shop if you want to vary speech topics within one class.)

4. Use as an emergency sub plan.

The image on the student PDF worksheet is slightly ghosted to save printer/copier ink. I encourage students to doodle/shade in that space as they work.

Download includes: 1-page PDF + Google Drive version of student handout

Please note: This item is included in my Short Story Unit Plan for Older Teens. To avoid a double-purchase, please do not buy the item on this page if you also intend to buy the budget-priced short story bundle.

Thanks for stopping by!

Image credit: David Shankbone, WikiMedia CommonsCC BY-SA 3.0