Graphic Organizer For Autobiographical Essay

  • Whiteboard or chart paper and markers
  • Students' Life Maps from Lesson One of this unit plan
  • Writing paper and pencils
  • Autobiography Rubric printable
  • Peer Editing Checklist printable
  • Dictionaries and thesauruses
  1. On one section of the whiteboard or a piece of chart paper, write the following prompt:

    Answer the following sentences in two sentences or less:
    • If I could live anywhere and any way I wanted, I would…
    • If I could be anything I wanted, I would…
    • If I could do anything I wanted, whenever I wanted, I would…
       
  2. Write the following on another section of the board or chart paper:

    Answer the following sentences in two sentences or less:
    • Where are you five years from now?
    • Twenty years from now?
    • Thirty-five years from now?
    • Fifty years from now?
       
  3. Write down your own answers to the prompts to use as examples during class.
  4. Make a class set of the Peer Editing Checklist printable (or more, if you want students to peer review with multiple partners), and two class sets of the Autobiography Rubric printable.
  5. Prepare a wall in the classroom for a display.

Day 1

Step 1: Remind students that an autobiography contains information about one's own life written by that one person. Remind students of the various autobiography titles you have been reading throughout this unit and discuss how each author told their own story.

Step 2: Distribute each student's Life Map. Explain that they will complete one more prewriting assignment before drafting their autobiography. Have them use their Life Map to answer the questions on the board. Tell students that they will be able to use their answers to those questions when writing their autobiographies as a helpful organizer. Discuss the possible answers. Use your own responses as an example. Instruct students to complete each sentence.

Step 3: Collect written responses and Life Maps.

Days 2–3

Step 4: Review the writing process with students and distribute their Life Maps and written responses from the previous day. Explain that although students will begin writing drafts of their autobiographies today, they are just collecting their thoughts and need not worry about doing everything correctly.

Step 5: Have students begin their autobiography drafts to get their ideas on paper. Remind students that each pictogram they drew represents a paragraph in their autobiography. They should incorporate the pictograms from their Life Maps and their responses from their written work into their drafts.

Step 6: Brainstorm a variety of strong introductory sentences with students.

Step 7: Give each student a copy of the Autobiography Rubric. Explain to students that these are the requirements for the assignment. Explain the grading process: you will circle the boxes that they earned in the rubric and write their total score at the bottom.

Step 8: Monitor students to make sure they are on task. Collect all work at the end of the class.

Days 4–5

Step 9: Pass back all material. Allow for additional drafting time.

Step 10: Upon completion, instruct students to do a "re-read" of their draft and make any initial changes before the peer editing process.

Step 11: Have each student choose a partner for the next steps of the writing process: revising and editing. Distribute the Peer Editing Checklist to each student. Have each partner use the Checklist as a guide while they read their partner's draft and make suggestions for revisions.

Step 12: Each student must do a final read of their own writing, making sure all the items on the Checklist have been satisfied. Then have students finalize their autobiographies, keeping in mind proper organization, spelling, and grammar.

Optional: If possible, and if time allows, you may want to have students publish their autobiographies as typed essays, presentations, or posters.

Step 13: Once you collect the autobiographies, use another copy of the rubric to grade the projects.

Step 14: After you have returned students' graded work, ask students how they would like to display their autobiographies on the bulletin board or classroom walls. This will help create a sense of student ownership in your classroom.

Teacher one-on-one time is necessary in order to complete this assignment when working with Special Education and Second Language Learners.

If time allows, hold a writing conference with each student and grade the autobiography together, using the rubric provided. Focus on the strengths of the piece, trying not to overwhelm the student or contribute to any anxiety.

  • Let the students take their autobiography home and share with their families.
  • To extend the publishing process, students can bring personal portraits and special memorabilia from home to display with their autobiographies.
  1. Complete questions from board to be used in written autobiography.
  2. Write an autobiography.

Use the rubric to guide your grading. Assess how each student was able to follow the writing process.

Preinstructional Planning

During Instruction

Post Instructional

Preinstructional Planning

Objectives


Materials

  • Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable for each student
  • Who Am I? Example Essay printable for each student
  • Expository Essay Rubric printable for each student
  • Lesson Exit Survey printable for each student
  • Rubric for Writing Informational Essays printable for each student
  • Optional: projector

During Instruction


Set Up

1. Write following student task on the board or have it projected for students to view.

Write a well-organized autobiographical essay that tells all about you. Title the piece ‘Who Am I?’ or create your own title. Include details on your:

  • Family
  • Personality
  • Likes and Dislikes
  • Goals and Aspirations
  • Life-changing Experiences

2. Either make one copy of the Who Am I? Example Essay printable for each student or create your own essay. The latter is recommended to serve as a means of better connecting with your students. If you decide to create your own autobiographical essay, you may want to complete a copy of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable and display it using a projector. Otherwise,  display the blank the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable for the class to view together.

3. Print copies of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable, Who Am I? Example Essay printable, Expository Essay Rubric printable, Lesson Exit Survey printable, and Rubric for Writing Informational Essays printable for each student.


Lesson Directions

Step 1: Have students answer the following: What is one word or phrase that you would use to describe yourself? What person or experience do you think made you that way?

Step 2: Inform students that you will be reading a brief piece that will allow them to learn a bit more about you. Read aloud your model autobiographical essay.

Step 3:  Reveal and explain the task to students (listed in the "Set Up and Prepare" section above). Distribute the Writing to Inform rubric printables, the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? and Who Am I? Example Essay printables to the students.

Step 4: Review the rubric with the class and make sure that all students understand the requirements of the task. Display a copy of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable on a projector. Then explain how to complete each section of the organizer.

Step 5: Have students complete the first two sections of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable.

Step 6: Students will fill in the remainder of the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable independently.

Step 7: After completing the Reflection Worksheet: Who Am I? printable, students should use the information to write an essay draft using the Who Am I? Example Essay printable as a model.


Lesson Extensions

  • Set students up in partnerships and have them conduct peer revising and editing.
  • Plan a publishing party to celebrate student writing. If possible, invite parents and staff. Post student writing throughout the room and allow time for guests to peruse. Allow a few students to orally present their pieces.

Home Connections

Students will ask parents, older siblings, and other members of their household the following question:  "How do you feel that living with you influences me?"  Instruct students to use the responses of their family members to add details to their "Who Am I" essays.


Assignments

  • Students use completed graphic organizers to write the first draft of their "Who Am I" essays.
  • Students use thesauruses to revise their first drafts to make essays more engaging.

Post Instructional


Evaluation


Lesson Assessment

Use the Rubric for Writing Informational Essays printable to assess student writing.


Students will:

  • Create autobiographical essays
  • Use appropriate adjectives to describe themselves
  • Use a graphic organizer to plan their written pieces

Students complete the Lesson Exit Survey printable at the conclusion of the lesson.

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