In third grade, students learn how to read biographies to learn more about important people in history.
This project's goal is to have students create a biography of someone they are familiar with, to help them visualize the structure of a biography.
Three sheets of 9x12 inch paper
Markers and crayons
Decorating materials (such as stickers and glitter)
Students should think of a person they know well. This will be the person they are going to write their biography about. The person they choose can be a parent, sibling, friend, classmate, grandparent, etc.
Then, students should brainstorm character trait words to describe this person's personality. Students should pick five character trait words. (see brainstorming example and character trait word list below)
After, students should think of actions that the person does that corresponds with the chosen character trait word. For example, if the word is athletic, an action that corresponds with this word is running. (see brainstorming example below)
Students should make a stack of their three sheets of 9x12 inch paper.
Holding the stack of paper horizontally, students should fold the papers in half, pressing down on the crease.
Using the stapler, students should staple alongside the crease line; three staples will suffice. Once stapled, the students should have a booklet with a front cover and five pages. (see video example)
Placing the booklet aside, students should color their "people shape," adding a face and clothing to make it look like the person their biography is about. *Note: a link to the "People shapes" can be found on the "Project Resource" page, or students can create their own "people shape" by drawing an outline of a person on a sheet of paper and cutting it out.
Using a glue stick, students should place glue on the backside of their "people shape," then stick the shape onto the front cover of their biography.
In the empty space on the front cover of their biography, students can write the name of the person the biography is about; this will be the title. Students can also create a byline to denote that they are the author. (see photo example)
Then, students can open the biography. On the front side of each page, students can draw a depiction of the action they thought of in step three. Each page should have one action depicted on it. (see photo and video example)
Students should label the top right corner of each paper with the page number.
Finally, on the back cover of their biography, students can create a book blurb by listing the five character traits depicted in the book. A parent can help with the spelling of these traits if needed. (see photo example)
Students can "read" their story to their parents by describing the person through images depicted on each page of the biography.
Example of reading the book blurb: This is a story about my brother Jonathan who is smart, athletic, strong, brave, and funny.
Example of reading the biography: The biography of Jonathan by Julia. Jonathan is very smart. He is studying Biology in college and he knows a lot about Marine Biology. Jonathan loves to play lacrosse, which makes him athletic. He is an outstanding lacrosse player and is playing division one lacrosse in college. He has won many awards for being an amazing lacrosse player. Jonathan is super strong as well; he can do anything he puts his mind to. When he wanted to learn how to skateboard, he practiced every day for a week until he could skate like a professional. He is very brave too. He is always ready to face a challenge, no matter how intimidating. Finally, Jonathan is very funny, and he always makes me laugh.
Character Trait Word List
Biography: An account of one person's life written by someone else.
Character Traits: Qualities of a person. A person's "outside traits" or physical traits describe what they look like. A person's "inside traits" or personality traits describe what we know about the person based on what they say and do.
Furthering the lesson:
Biographies to read with your third grader
The Story of Simone Biles by Rachelle Burk
The Story of Ruby Bridges By Robert Coles
The Story of Malala Yousafzai By Joan Marie Galat
The Story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg By Susan B. Katz
I Am: LeBron James by Grace Norwich
Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille by Jen Bryant
Elon Musk: A Kid's Book About Inventions by Mary Nhin