An Autobiographical Poem is a short poem that uses a series of sentences starters that students finish with information about themselves. When finished, students have a free verse poem that provides a sort of biography of themselves. This assignment usually results in meaningful and revealing poems about the students.
- Autobiographical poems are a great way to get students writing about themselves.
- They're given simple directions for the assignment and lines for writing their poems.
- Each line is given a sentence starter which students respond to with information about themselves. This guides the students through the poem writing, making it easier for them to complete.
- The lesson is designed for one 50 minute class period, but is flexible enough from 30 minutes to 150 minutes depending on the structure of the class and the needs of the students.
This assignment is designed for classes with a diversity of ability or skill levels, and for students who typically need a lot of 1-on-1 help. Low level and advanced students alike have given me positive responses and high quality work.
- Lower level students are capable of doing the work and often produce wonderful poetry that they enjoyed writing.
- Very low level students can have the assignment modified by having them do only do some of the lines.
- Advanced students enjoy the challenge and will often agonize over the poem, trying to be incredibly profound or poignant.
- In the end nearly every student has at least a few lines that are well written and they can be proud of.
- This assignment is also ideal to give to students who finish early and need something to do.
- It's ideal for differentiation in classrooms with a wide spectrum of ability levels.
My students are required to "Posterize" their poems and post them in the halls of the school.
- Students "posterize" by designing a small poster that displays the story in a complementary way.
- "Posterizing" lets students take ownership of their writing, instills pride in their work, and celebrates their work for everyone in the school to see.
- We encourage quality posterizing by having plenty of basic art supplies on hand.
- We also encourage them to make use of available technology to type, design, or print for their posters.
Autobiographical Poetry is designed to work as a stand-alone assignment, or as part of the Poetry Party package (coming soon to the NLL TPT store!)