Writing the (brief) story of your life…
A starting school activity that can work for almost all grades!
a story-writing draft template & open book to fill and decorate
Instead of having students sitting around being talked at, get them engaged with writing and drawing. Help them get to know each other (and you) with this fun, simple activity. Although it may seem elementary, my high school English students of all levels loved it!
Begin by telling students they’ll be writing their life story (which will likely get a few jaws to drop and some groans) but then share yours (which you created and decorated by using the simple template). Read it aloud to the class as a model and let them get to know you a little bit.
Then, it’s their turn.
Begin by handing out the template and explain that many of the blanks can be filled in lots of ways, but they must fill in all the blanks. When their template is complete, give students a copy of the open book and access to scissors, markers, and colored pencils. They can start this activity in class and finish it as their first night’s homework, if you wish.
When everyone’s done, break into small groups and have students read their stories to each other. You can follow up by asking them to share fun facts they learned about each other with the whole class. I collect the books, and by reading them not only get to know some things about my new students’ lives, but also can get a quick sense of their writing abilities.
Finally, the finished books are a great way to decorate your bulletin boards at the beginning of the year—I used mine as a boarder that stayed up all year long. Then, I returned the books to kids on the last day of school. They got a kick out of reading what they wrote “way back when.”
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