Elementary English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary
  • Lesson Plan
  • utah-mac-lesson
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    Education Standards

    Biography Creations

    Biography Creations


    This lesson is an adapted biography writing lesson. 


    This lesson assumes students already know what a biograpy is. The lesson also assumes students know how to use Google Docs or slides,, and Gale in Context Elementary. 


    Students will choose a person to research and then create a short biography about them. 

    Time Frame: This project took about 2 weeks to complete. The time frame will really depend on your class, how much time you have for writing, and what you want your students to complete. When I did this I only had students research, write, then type up thier biographies. It could take a lot longer when adding in other ways to create their biographies. 

    Format: Face-to-face. I'm sure you can do this virtual and/or hybrid as well. 

    Things to Concider: When I personally did this I let my students choose who they wanted to research. Reflecting on that now, I think I would have a list of people to choose from. I liked the idea of students having the independence that came with choosing their own person, but some students chose some questionable Youtube stars. 


    Background for Teachers

    You will need a good understanding of what a biography is and how they are written. You may want some example/mentor texts to read with students in order for them to better understand as well. 

    Biographies are stories about real people that give facts about that person and their life. They are written by someone else usually in 3rd person.

    Autobiographies are stories about real people that give facts about that person and their life. They are written by that person in 1st person. 

    Mentor Texts:

    • When Marian Sang
    • I Dissent
    • Hoop Genius
    • The House that Jane Built
    • On a Beam of LIght
    • Trombone Shorty (This is an autobiography, but would be a good compare/contrast of biographies and autobiographies.)

    Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

    Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

    Learning Intentions:

    • Students will be able to research a person to learn more about them in order to create a biography.

    Success Criteria:

    • Students will create their own biography about a person of their choice. 

    Step 2 - Planning Instruction

    Step 2 Planning Instruction

    Student Background Knowledge

    • Students will need to have an understanding of biographies.
    • Students will need to have an understanding of what 3rd person point of view is. 
    • Students will need to have an understanding of writing complete sentences and/or parapgraphs.
    • Students will need to know what a citation is and how to include them in their final assessment. (Nearpod has lessons on this!)
    • How to use Google Docs or Slides
    • How to research using or Gale in Context Elementary

    (Any of these can be incorporated into your writing lessons about this particular biography project. Or this biography project could be a culmination of a biography writing unit.)

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    • One of the best ways to activate/build background knowledge is to use a mentor text. I have listed a few different options for mentor texts in section 2. 
    • Use sentence starters for learners that need extra help.

    Step 3 - Instruction

    Step 3 Instruction

    This lesson assumes students already know what a biograpy is. The lesson also assumes students know how to use Google Docs or slides,, and Gale in Context Elementary. 

    Day 1:

    • Students will choose a person to research.
      • You can decide if you want a set list of people students can choose from or if you want students to have free choice with their person.
    • Using the brainstorm outline linked here, students will research their person. This brainstorm outline asks for very specific information. This will help guide students' research so they know what to look for. 
      • This is an ouline I made myself. It worked well with my students and really helped guide their research.
    • Student Research:
      • When I taught this lesson I had my students us to research. This is a kid friendly version of Google. I had to really show them how to use a search engine. I modeled searching for a person and then clicking on a story to find the information I needed. Otherwise students would just look at what popped up and think that it was what they were looking for. 
      • Students can also use Gale in Context Elementary. 
      • I have both of these websites linked in a Canvas course so it is easy access for all students. 

    Day 2 & 3:

    • Once students have completed their brainstorm they will use that information to write a rough draft. 
      • I have included the rough draft outline I created to use with my students.
      • Paragraph 1 should be introducing the person, paragraph 2 should be facts about the person. 
      • I had my students get 2 different colors and outline what information went into what paragraph. (Circle the first 3 boxes on your brainstorm in blue, now circle/outline the paragraph 1 boxes in blue. Anything circled in blue belongs together in that paragraph.)

    *This part took my students 2 days to complete. It may take less time or more time depending on your class and your writing block. During this time I let students talk and discuss what they were finding out about their person with each other. 

    Day 4+:

    • Students will choose how they would like to complete the final copy of their biography. They can choose to type it as an essay using Google Doc. Or they can choose to create a short slide show about their person.
    • You can of course change this to whatever fits your class or needs. 


    Step 4 - Assessments

    Step 4 Assessments

    Biographies will be graded using a writing rubric based on the Jordan School District 3rd grade Informative writing rubric.