Autobiography Teacher Resources

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Teaching autobiography or journal writing lessons the first week of school is a wonderful way to get to know your new students.
Students study slavery from the perspctive of an American slave. In this Frederick Douglass lesson, students complete the suggested pre-reading and post-reading activities included for Douglass's autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself.
A discussion of Samuel Clemens autobiography and quotes is a must for any high school English class.
Eighth graders identify key components of an autobiography. They plan and draft an outline of a summer school mini-autobiography and employ peer evaluation in revision step of writing process. They explain difference between revision and editing step of writing process.
A talkative old man? A naïve believer in Human Perfectibility? A Sage? Who is this guy, anyway? The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin launches a study of the way Franklin uses structure, style, and purpose, as well as different personas, to build our perception of him. Not only is this a good literary analysis and writing activity, it also lends well to a cross-curricular activity with an American history class. Expand the activity to individual autobiographical writing.  
Is it a biography or an autobiography? Kids discover point of view as they listen to you tell a story about yourself (first person) and then hear two volunteers retell the story: one to you (second person) and one to them (third person). They apply these concepts, comparing and contrasting biographies and autobiographies. Use the lecture notes to explain prefixes in each word and context strategies to define a passage as one of the two genres. There are two short passage examples you can use. Do one together, asking kids to point out clue words that helped them identify the genre. As an added extension, find a reading packet for The Story of Jackie Robinson, Bravest Man in Baseball; kids begin by deciding the genre and can continue completing the packet as they read.
Practice distinguishing biography from autobiography through point of view. Tell a brief story of your morning. Have a class member retell the story to you (using second person). And have another retell the story to the class (using third person). A creative opener leads into reading a couple of short passages in which you guide learners to identify biography and autobiography via point of view. Integrates study of Latin roots. You have open access to the lesson plan, but must register for a free account at to get the support materials. 
Young scholars create a personal timeline of events to begin their autobiography.  In this autobiographical lesson, students build a description of the events of their timeline into an autobiography. Young scholars can explain what an autobiography is.
Have your middle schoolers write a short story about themselves with an autobiography unit about Rosa Parks. They learn the difference between biographies and autobiographies, define the different types of autobiographies and determine how to identify which type of autobiography a book fits.  As a final assessment, they write a short memoir.
Start kids thinking about point of view and autobiographies by telling them a short story about your morning (first person), and then asking a volunteer to re-tell the story to you (second person). There are tips to help you tie this anticipatory activity into the nonfiction genre, and kids explore six types of autobiographies using a graphic organizer. They learn about how to identify a book as an autobiography using book features like the back cover summary. There are sample covers included that you can display or hand out, asking kids to look for genre clues. Writers synthesize these concepts by using one of four sentence starters to write a memoir of their own, taking on one of the autobiography types that resonated with them. There are six sample autobiography excerpts included for guided practice. Which words clues readers in to the genre?
Students read various autobiographies, and list the components of an autobiography. They critique an autobiography, and compose their own. They share their story with the class, and post it on the Internet.
Fifth graders research a number of autobiographies, list the components, and critique them. They write their own autobiography to post on the Internet and share with the class.
Beginning ESL learners examine the process of writing a five paragraph autobiography. They type their final written piece with a word processor after working through the editing process.
Students examine autobiographies and biographies through a series of reading and writing exercises. By writing journals during this semester-long course, they improve writing skills and discover their own voice. Among other activities, students complete interview sheets, evaluate social problems, present photographs to the class and explain their importance.
Kindergarten writers begin their autobiographies by recording their name, age, and the color of their eyes and hair. Work continues with the inclusion of two or three sentences about other members of their family, including pets. Autobiographies conclude with two or three sentences about their favorite activities and things. The resulting pages can be illustrated with digital photographs or drawings. Once completed, classmates gather in an Author’s Circle to share their stories.
In this online interactive reading comprehension worksheet, students respond to 25 multiple choice questions about The Autobiography of Benjamin FranklinStudents may submit their answers to be scored.
Third graders create an autobiography on the computer. They write, design and illustrate using word processing and graphic tools on the computer.
Eighth graders watch A&E Biography videos about da Vinci and Michelangelo, and Ben Franklin. They research an apprenticeship and prepare an autobiography based on their guild selection.
Students read The Autobiography of Ben Franklin. Using construction paper, they cut out five jigsaw puzzle pieces in different shapes using the entire sheet of paper. They write events from their own lives on the puzzle pieces, thus creating their own autobiographical jigsaw puzzles.
Students examine the biography of Nelson Mandela. In this biography of Nelson Mandela lesson, students review the characteristics of biographies and autobiographies. They listen and respond to a reading of Mary Benson's, A Desire to Serve The People before doing a jigsaw activity with a second reading. They complete two worksheets.

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