- recognize specific purposes/characteristics of biographies.
- participate in telling and writing a fictionalized biography (whole-class activity).
- include in their stories a sequence of events that makes sense.
- include good supporting details in their stories/biographies.
- apply the writing process to a character sketch or biography.
- Beanie Babies (or similar stuffed animals), ideally one per child. Students might be willing to bring in one of their own from home.
For this lesson, you will need a collection of Beanie Baby animals/characters (or other stuffed animals/characters can be substituted). One stuffed animal per student is ideal, but you might offer a smaller selection and allow more than one student to work on a bio story for the same character.
Choose one Beanie Baby to share with the class. Tell students that this Beanie Baby is a very famous one. Engage students in brainstorming "information" about the Beanie Baby. Ask: If you were to read a story (biography) of this Beanie Baby's life, what kinds of information might be included? Students' responses might answer some of the following questions:
- What is his name?
- Where and when was she born?
- How many siblings did he have?
- What was her mother and/or father like?
- What were his hobbies and other favorite things?
- What kind of "person" was she? (What personality characteristics did she possess?)
- What did he do to become famous?
- Allow students time to brainstorm additional ideas for their own Beanie Baby stories/bios. They might do this as a class, in small groups, with a partner, or on their own.
- You might provide a story web or a graphic organizer for students to use as they brainstorm new ideas.
- After students have brainstormed a list of possible ideas, have them circle similar or best ideas. At this point students are "thinking" and starting to put together ideas that might form an interesting story.
- After students have had a chance to share ideas, talk about what kinds of information make a good biography. What information should be included? What should be left out? Why do people like to read biographies? Why are details important in telling a biography?
- Give students time to work out their story ideas and to share them orally with a partner.
- Then give students time to write their Beanie Baby Biographies.
Students might create their biography as a "book." They will want to divide the story into chunks of information that go together on a page (or "spread" of two pages). What kind of cover illustration might be best for their book?
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