Apr 12, 2013

Autobiographical/Biographical Narratives

Good morning!
It's the last weekday of Spring Break so I am gearing up to start a new unit of study with my kiddos!  Our essential question that our narrative unit is going to revolve around is "How do life experiences shape who and what we become?"  I like to give the kids an essential question as we move through a unit to guide their thoughts and insights.  At the end of each unit, my kiddos always like to blog about the "essential knowledge" they have gained through our study.  ;)

I'm looking forward to introducing our Autobiographical/Biographical Narrative unit by sharing Roller Coaster by Marla Frazee.

If you've not read it yet, it does a great job of demonstrating a "seed" story rather than a "watermelon" story!  The entire book from start to finish is about an event that lasts about 45 seconds.  The details are wonderful!  I am going to share several mentor texts and review some helpful writing tips from 6+1 Traits of Writing, then let them loose to create!  I find that kids can really "feel" their own stories and let the words flow so much more freely without too much pressure to conform to guidelines with an assignment like this.

After some time exploring our own lives, we are going switch over to third person narratives to do some research and find some moments that have shaped someone else's life.  The kids may choose to research via the web, biographies, or they may choose to interview someone in their lives.  I'm excited to see where their narratives take them!

Later in the week, I'll share some of our creative moments from our workshop time with you to let you see how things are going for us with our 3 week unit.  Who knows where this essential question may lead us.  I'll share some anchor charts, strategies that opened themselves up, and of course some fabulous writing from my kiddos!  

I'd love to hear about your successes with similar units and suggestions you might have as I go!

Until then, keep reading and writing and inspiring others to do the same!


  1. I can't wait to see what your students create! Keep us posted.

    Fun in Room 4B

  2. SO excited to find another upper elementary blog to follow! I have never heard of that book before, but it will be a perfect fit for our personal narrative unit - can't wait to check it out.

    Runde's Room

  3. Thanks Jen! Looking forward to learning lots from you. :)
    Creating Life Long Learners

  4. Love the essential question.
    Gotta check out that book!
    Your newest follower!
    Fabulous Fifth Grade Fun

  5. I love this book, I use it when I teach my students "small moments." I'm your newest follower.
    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  6. This is so funny that we posted similar things and didn't know each other yet!! I'm your newest follower! :)
    ideas by jivey

    1. I agree! :) Very happy that we have connected! Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the comment. :)

  7. Wow! This will fit so nicely in my biography study. I love this book too.



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