Lesson plan

My Life Story

Everyone has a story to tell. Give your young writers a chance to tell the stories of their lives with this immersive lesson on biographies and autobiographies.
Grade Subject View aligned standards

Students will be able to distinguish between biographies and autobiographies. They will also be able to write their own biographies and autobiographies.

(15 minutes)
  • Introduce the term "biography." Ask the students what they think that word means.
  • Ask the students what is usually included in a biography. Tell students that a biography is often found on the flap of a book or at the very end of the book.
  • Have students each sit with a partner. Have each partner tell the other as much about herself as possible in one minute, then switch.
  • Encourage students to begin with when and where they were born.
  • Ask the students if the stories they shared are fiction or non-fiction.
  • Ask: What makes these stories interesting?
(10 minutes)
  • Have each student spend a minute or two telling her partner as many facts as she can remember about her partner's life.
  • Ask the students: Was it easier to talk your partner's life story or your own? Why?
(10 minutes)
  • On the board, write "auto-bio-graphy."
  • Explain that auto means "self," bio means "life," and graphy means "writing." An autobiography is a piece of writing about one's own life. When a story is about someone else's life, the "auto" is taken out and it's called a biography.
(20 minutes)
  • Tell students that their goals for the following activity are: 1) to write a biography or autobiography, 2) to tell at least five facts about the subject's life, and 3) to write in proper sequence.
  • Have students take out writing materials.
  • Have them work for 20 minutes to create a biography or autobiography about their partner's or their own lives.
  • Enrichment: Have advanced students write both a biography and autobiography during Independent Working Time.
  • Support: Struggling students can be shown the online biographies and autobiographies in advance and be allowed to use them for reference.
(10 minutes)
  • As students work, walk around and assess their understanding based on whether they're reaching the activity goals.
  • Once they're done writing, have students share their biographies or autobiographies with the rest of the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Review the idea of biographies and autobiographies with the students. Ask them who they would like to read biographies about.
  • Present your slideshow and show students some of the different biographies and autobiographies you chose.

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