Activity Plan 4-5: Beautiful Biographies!
Children will read and write about their fascinating lives
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
- bookmaking materials, including lined story paper, pencils, markers, crayons, construction paper, glue sticks, and stapler
- biographies such as Meet Jim Henson* by Susan Canizares and Samantha Berger (Scholastic Inc.; $2.50), and Big Anthony: His Story, by Tomie dePaola (Penguin Putnam, 2001; $5.99)
- chart paper
- language and literacy
- creative thinking
- social awareness
Share a picture-book biography with the class. Before reading the book, tell children what a biography is. Follow the reading with a discussion about the information presented in the book. Who was it about? What special things did they learn about this person?
Ask children about special events in their lives. Tell them that when someone writes about her own life, it is called an autobiography. Explain that they will share stories about their lives to create their autobiographies.
Engage children in a discussion about the types of things that they could include in their autobiographies. Help them think of some events that have occurred in their lives that are important, including a special birthday, the birth of a sibling, a special holiday or vacation, or the first day of school. Invite them to generate a list of ideas to help them plan for the activity. Record their responses on chart paper.
Set up an area where small groups can work with a teacher to develop their autobiographies. Provide lined paper and writing and drawing materials. Encourage them to draw a few pictures on separate sheets of paper to illustrate specific events in their lives that they want to write about. Ask them to bring in a few photographs to include in their books.
You might want to encourage children to "write" their own stories by using invented spelling. Ask them to think of titles for their books and provide colored construction paper to use to create covers.
Remember: Sequences of time can be hard for young children to recall. They often refer to things that have happened in the past as "yesterday when I was little." You can help them develop the vocabulary to describe past events.
Picture Story. Ask families to help their children find a picture that they find interesting in a magazine or newspaper. Suggest they encourage their children to create a story about it and then record their children's words on paper.
Curriculum Connection: SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Collaborative Stories. Ask each child to create a drawing about any topic. Then invite them to trade their drawing with another classmate. Ask them to "write" or dictate a story about their classmate's drawing. Invite everyone to share the stories during group time.