Biography Writing Unit: Writing Biographical Sketches about Classmates (CCSS)

Grade Levels
5th, 6th, 7th, 8th
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Biography Writing

In this detailed, common-core aligned, 10-day unit, students will learn about biography writing and actively participate in the writing process. Students will write biographical sketches about a classmate. In their biographies they’ll include information about their classmate’s early life, personal life, and accomplishments. They’ll also include critical elements of biography writing. Students will research their subject with interviews, journal entry analysis, and photograph reviews. Through the study of a mentor text, pre-writing activities, draft guidelines, revision mini-lessons and guides, peer conferencing, and editing, students will write a powerful biographies. This unit is perfect for the start of school since it’s a great way for students to get to know their classmates, as a compliment to narrative writing, or as an engaging writing unit anytime during the year. Whenever you teach this unit, you’ll be thrilled with the superb writing that students create and the pride they show in their work.

In this unit, students will:
• Write a biography about a classmate
• Conduct and collect research on their biography subject
• Prepare research (journaling and photographs) for their biographer
• Develop skills in organizing events naturally and logically
• Interpret facts and present them in an engaging way
• Learn about and write using biography techniques including chronological order, direct quotations, and factual information
• Use a variety of transition words and phrases in their writing
• Use precise words and develop word choices and sensory language to convey experiences and events
• Produce a biography writing piece that is appropriate to task, purpose and audience
• Strengthen their writing through planning, revising, editing, and conferencing
• Build a community of writers
• Actively listen to and identify elements of biography writing in their peers’ writing while responding to a listening guide

Common Core State Standards:
Writing - W.3, W.3A, W.3B, W.3C, W.3D, W.3E, W.4, W.5, W.6, W.10
Reading - R.2, R.6, R.10
Language - L.1, L.2, L.3, L.6
Speaking and Listening - SL.1, SL.6

This detailed Biography Writing Unit includes:
• Detailed lesson plans (10)
• Rubric - Biography Writing
• Guided notes - Biography Writing
• Teacher key - Guided notes
• Mentor text - Biography - “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”
• Mentor text - Analysis
• Mentor text - Timeline
• Biography Writing Rubric
• Interview Question Formulation Directions
• Interview Question Bank - 27 Questions
• Interview Cut-and-Paste Activity
• Interview Charts
• Research Collection - Journal Entries and Photograph
• Planning - Putting Events in Order
• First Draft Guidelines
• First Draft - Beginning, Middle and End
• Revising - Leads
• Revising - Transitions
• Revising - Sensory Details
• Revising - Ending
• Revising - Checklist
• Editing - Checklist
• Peer Conference Form
• Final Copy Guidelines
• Picture Facts
• Journal Entry Guide and Prompts
• Teacher Keys (Analysis and Timeline)
• Biography Listening Guide

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Total Pages
54
Answer Key
Included with Rubric
Teaching Duration
2 Weeks

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Biography Writing Unit:  Writing Biographical Sketches abo
Biography Writing Unit:  Writing Biographical Sketches abo
Biography Writing Unit:  Writing Biographical Sketches abo
Biography Writing Unit:  Writing Biographical Sketches abo