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Writing an Autobiography

Life Skills:

  • Thinking & Reasoning
  • Communication

Time Frame:
5 class periods that run 45 minutes each.

Group Size:
Large Groups


TELL ME ALL ABOUT YOURSELF! Students will read, list the components, critique, and research various autobiographies. Students will write their own autobiography to share orally with the class and to post on the Internet.


  • Samples of autobiographies.
  • Internet access.

Background For Teachers:
Know the definition and components of an autobiography. Collect autobiographies in a book center for your students. Explore student autobiographies on the Internet. Learn how to post student autobiographies on the Internet.

Intended Learning Outcomes:
Students will read various autobiographies. Students will list the components of an autobiography. Students will critique an autobiography. Students will research autobiographies on the Internet. Students will compose their own autobiography. Students will share their autobiography orally to the class. Students will post their autobiography on the Internet.

Instructional Procedures:
The teacher reads his/her own personal autobiography, not letting the students know it was theirs. Afterwards, ask the class who they think it was about. You could also do this with other local, well known, or famous people. Explain the components of an autobiography.

Teacher should set up a book center display in the classroom with various autobiographies to choose from. Allow students reading time each day for approx. a week to read various autobiographies on their own, and of their choice.

Read a well written autobiography to your class. Have students brainstorm and list the components of the autobiography on the board. As a group, critique the autobiography. Have students go to sites on the Internet to see samples, gather information, and get ideas on how to write an autobiography. Have students list their own site they like. Students will make a time line of their own life. (Teacher could give a pre-made questionnaire form to fill in, or students could do it to their own liking.) From this time line, students will write their own autobiography.

Suggested Questions for Brainstorming


  • How did you get your name?
  • Does your family have stories about when you were born?
  • Where have you lived? What were the houses, the neighborhoods, and the town like?
  • Where are you in your family birth order? Do you remember any of your brothers or sisters being born?
  • Have you spent time with your grandparents? What are your best memories of going to grandma's house?
  • Did your aunts, uncles, or cousins make time to have fun with you?
  • Have you had a very best friend? What adventures have you shared?
  • What is special and unique about you and your family? Does your family have holiday traditions? Do you have a favorite memory of a family holiday?
  • Did you have a favorite hobby? What was it? How long did you keep it up?
  • Did you ever play a musical instrument? Which one?
  • Did you take lessons? How did you feel about practicing?
  • When did you attend your first dance? Did you ever go to dancing school? Please demonstrate your favorite dance step for the audience.
  • What was your favorite sport? What did you like best about it? Were you ever on a team? What position did you play?
  • What was the best family vacation you can remember?
  • Where did you go? Who came along?
  • When was the first time you traveled alone? Where were you headed? What happened on the trip?
  • Did you like school? Why or why not?
  • Describe a favorite teacher.
  • What subject gave you the most headaches?
  • How much homework did you have every night?
  • Were you allowed to watch TV on weeknights?
  • Did you ever go to camp? What's your best memory? Your worst? Who was your favorite counselor? Why?
  • How old were you when you learned to swim? Do you remember who taught you? Ever have a scary moment in the water?
  • What was your first summer job? How much were you paid? Describe a typical day on the job.
  • Were you ever bored during the summer? What did you do when there was 'nothing to do'?
World history
  • What major world events influenced your daily life?
  • What newspaper headline can you still see in your mind? Who were your heroes?
adapted from Betsy Van Dorn With parental permission and following district and school guidelines for publishing, have students post their autobiographies on the Internet so that other can enjoy reading about them.

Students could write to someone they would like to know more about. They could ask them some interview questions or have them send a brief autobiography. Post them on a classroom bulletin board entitled: 'Tell Me All About You'.

Assessment Plan:
Written autobiography. Oral presentation.

Van Dorn, Betsy Summer Reporter at Large - Family Education Network (, )


Created Date :
Jun 05 1997 12:43 PM

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