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ESL students write and publish a five-paragraph autobiography in this lesso


Computers & Internet, Language Arts  


9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Student Autobiography
By – Susan Janelle Ball
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Secondary Subject – Computers / Internet
Grade Level – Beginning ESL – 9-12

Concept / Topic To Teach: Write and Publish an Autobiography

Standards Addressed:

    Texas TEKS 126.12.C(1)(F); 2(A); 7(A);, (C), (E); 6.16(F)(i); 6.17(A), (B), (F)(i); 6.18(D); 6.29(A), (B), (D), (E)(i), (H); 6.30(E)

General Goal(s):

    Beginning ESL students will be able to write a five-paragraph autobiography and create the document in Word on the computer.

Specific Objectives:

      (1) Students will use a graphic organizer to brainstorm ideas they will include in their autobiography.


      (2) Students will develop a rough draft by organizing their ideas into paragraphs and will use peer editing to receive feedback on their rough draft.


      (3) Students will write a second draft using feedback from peers and self-correcting techniques learned in class and will create their autobiography in Word using a computer.


    (4) Students will demonstrate mastery of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and organization skills in final product.

Required Materials:

      Graphic organizer for students (I use bubble clusters)


      Editing rubric for students to use in peer editing (objectives match the objectives listed above)


      Computer with Microsoft Word and ClipArt (We use a computer lab in our school.)


      Digital camera



Anticipatory Set (Lead-In):

    The teacher will begin the lesson by explaining that an autobiography is the story of a person written by that person. (In my classes we read Teen Stories, a book of easy-to-read stories written by students about their school, family, and weekends. I then explain to my students that we are going to publish our own book of stories about the students in our class. I take a digital picture of each student so that it can be added to his or her story.)

Step-By-Step Procedures:

      Day 1: The teacher will help students brainstorm ideas about information they could include in their autobiographies. The teacher will record all ideas mentioned by the students on the board. The class will organize the information into categories. Teacher will give each student a copy of the graphic organizer. Students will choose five categories they wish to include in their autobiography and put their information in the graphic organizer. For homework the students will begin writing a rough draft using the information in their graphic organizers.
      Day 2: The students will use the first ten minutes of class to complete the rough draft of their autobiography. The teacher will divide the students into groups of two and the students will read and discuss each other’s autobiographies. The students will use the grading rubric to help them look for things that need to be corrected. The students will work together to make sure each autobiography is complete and contains the information included on the graphic organizer. For the remainder of the class time and for homework, the students will rewrite their autobiography making the corrections and additions suggested in the editing meetings.
      Day 3: The teacher will divide the students into groups of two again, this time pairing students with someone different. The students will have fifteen minutes to conference with one another about their autobiographies and whether they are coherent and well organized. After fifteen minutes the students will use the remainder of the class time to make corrections and write the final draft of their autobiography. If the assignment is not completed in class, the students will complete the final draft for homework.
    Day 4: The teacher will have the class report to the computer lab for class to begin working on typing the autobiographies. Students will type from the final draft they have written. Before beginning work on the computer, the teacher will remind students that the autobiography is to be typed in paragraph form. The students will use this time in the computer lab to complete the typed version of their autobiography. After they have finished typing, the teacher will check to make sure the format is correct. The teacher will insert the digital picture taken earlier at the top of each student’s story. The students may then add pictures from Clip Art to their story. (I usually limit the number of pictures so that the story will be just one page.) After pictures are added and the story is completed, the student will print their autobiography. All student autobiographies will be collected and put together into a book. (I usually make copies of these stories and make a book for each student in the class. This allows all the students to read each story.)

Plan For Independent Practice:

    The independent practice is written into the lesson plan. The students will spend time writing their stories independently.

Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set):

    Once the students have all completed their stories, the stories are shared with the class. The teacher and students discuss the types of information included in the stories and decide whether anything new has been learned from them.

Assessment Based On Objectives:

    Teacher will assess the autobiography using the rubric provided. It is the same rubric students used earlier to assess each other’s work.

Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities):

    The teacher can provide sample sentences for the students to copy if needed. The teacher can also allow a student with disabilities to dictate the information while the teacher or another student writes the information.

Extensions (For Gifted Students):

    The gifted students are encouraged to add details to their autobiographies. Some of these students will write more than the required five paragraphs.

Possible Connections To Other Subjects:

    My class is made up of second language students. This assignment could be used in social studies to have them write about their experiences as immigrants.


E-Mail Susan Janelle Ball !

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