Friday, January 16, 2015

Writing Biographies in 2nd!

Our second grade teacher just had another precious little girl and she currently has a full-time sub.  I've been helping the full-time sub in  ELA and I'm having a blast! We are currently reading about some famous African American Inventors and we're writing biographies. I wasn't sure how well this was going to going to work because we don't have a whole lot of lower level biographies in the library. But I gave it a shot and I'm glad I did. They are all writing their own biography but we teamed them up to help each other fill out their graphic organizer (which I need to tweak a little)  and to help each other read some of the text. They are enjoying this writing so much I had someone ask if they could work on their biography when they were done with their morning work. Since we are enjoying it so much I thought I would share to see if this is something that you could use (change up)  in your class. I used Salt in My Shoes by Deloris Jordan and Roslyn M. Jordan as my mentor text. We talked about how biographies could sound like stories and some are more factual like our text in our reading book for the week.
I went and got biographies from the library that leveled in range from late second grade to beginning fourth grade. They choose a book and some of them choose to work together because the texts were to difficult for them. I kind of handed over the reigns and let them choose and decide if they needed to work with someone. Obviously, I had to work out some minor kinks but overall I was very impressed. 
Next, I sent them off with the graphic organizer. In hindsight I should have done a little more explaining of my expectations for this particular part but we made it through and I've made myself a note for next time. 
Again I'm new to the whole planning and teaching to the whole class so I'm going to tell you how I will teach this again in the future. We live and we learn, right? After they complete the graphic organizer, I give them the rubric and show them some examples of what a 1 level, 2 level, 3 level, and 4 level paper looks like. We did practice our editing and revising skills at this time, as well. Then they began to write!
And Write!
And Edit!



  1. It's so easy to underestimate younger children's abilities - this is a great reminder to give everything a go!

  2. They look so engaged! I liked the idea of showing students an example of what a good and bad biography is. :)

  3. Showing them examples actually happened after they got started because I still had a few who were struggling. But man, they took off after they got to correct mine. I guess they just needed to see it's okay to make mistakes. That's how we learn.