Teach students how to write a biography of a favorite historical figure or fictional character with this lesson plan.
Use biography writing assignments in conjunction with current events, a literature unit, a research paper, or a history project. Use the following ideas to get you started:
- Short Story Unit: Write a magazine article describing a meeting with a character from any story you've read this semester. Be sure your article portrays the character consistently with the character in the story. Create a name for the magazine and a title for the article. The audience should be the type of person who would read the magazine you created.
- Novel Unit: Do the above assignment. Choose a character from the novel to write the article on.
- History Class: Write a magazine article chronicling an encounter with any famous historical figure. Identify whether or not the person became famous before or after the meeting. Create a name for the magazine and a title for the article. The audience should be the type of person who would read the magazine you created.
- Research Paper: Write a biography on a famous writer. Research biographical information and his or her works.
- Current Events: Follow the same steps as the short story unit biography. Instead of a literary character, make a person in the news the subject of your article.
How to Procedures
The following procedures involve writing about a fictional character. Simply change a few words to adapt it to any of the above assignments.
- Prewriting - Review short stories. Brainstorm characters who attracted your attention. Choose the one you feel would make the most interesting biography.
- Prewriting - Visualize the character. Much of what you write will come from the author's description. You can, however, fill in missing information.
Prewriting - List character traits. Remember traits aren't always directly shown by the author. You may have to make inferences.
- Prewriting - Set up a believable situation in which you meet the character.
- Drafting - Explain the circumstances of your meeting, how you met the person, and what you talked about.
- Drafting - Keep the character consistent.
Revising - Add details to make the encounter and the character more realistic. Make sure you focus on your audience as you revise.
Revising - Use peer evaluation. Exchange papers with a partner and comment on the article's strengths and weaknesses.