What is a biography?
An autobiography is the author’s retelling of his or her own life. However, what is a biography? A biography is the story of someone’s life told by someone else. Biographies are so important to read because learning about the accomplishments of others can inspire our students. Furthermore, students will be able to see how others have overcome obstacles or struggles in order to accomplish a goal. Biographies allow students to see the amazing accomplishments of others, which will hopefully open their minds to making a positive change in the world. Additionally, students will see how greatness begins one step at a time. The easiest way to help students fall in love with biographies is to have them complete a biography project.
Why use biography projects?
Reading allows us to be transported to another world. Between the pages of a book, we can become immersed in someone else’s life. Additionally, we can learn about a culture very different from our own. Furthermore, we can learn new words, phrases, and experience different emotions. Reading stories to children can not only teach them empathy but can also improve a child’s development. As students learn about the challenges that others have overcome, they can make connections to their own lives. Learning about historical figures through biographies in the classroom has a powerful way of influencing and inspiring children! By exploring creative ways to teach biographies in the classroom, students will be ready to become future leaders!
What is a biography project?
When using biographies in the classroom, there are so many fun, hands-on projects for students to complete! By using creative activities, students are not just reading a book and putting it away. They are engaged with the material and truly understanding the accomplishments of other people. Therefore, as students are working, they are gaining confidence in themselves to achieve anything they set their mind to. Furthermore, so many standards can be tied into biographies projects! For example, students may develop questions they want to learn about a person and complete research for answers. Additionally, students can improve comprehension, complete writing assignments, or develop presentations. There are so many ways for students to show what they have learned!
Great Biographies Project Ideas for your Classroom
There are so many fun biography projects in order to meet the needs of every student! What is the biography project you are most likely to choose?
Idea 1: Make Biographies Boxes
In your class, you can make biographies boxes. You are probably thinking what is a biography box project? Well, after reading about a historical figure, students can use a cereal box to create a museum display. Specifically, they can include facts, illustrations, and a motto that makes clear why they have chosen the figure. They can then display their boxes like a museum. Next, students can walk around the room to see all the different historical figures. The biography box project brings together research and creativity in one amazing activity!
Idea 2: Write Poems
Students can write people poems. It all starts with what is a biography poem and how can this biography poem be incorporated into classroom learning? Poetry writing may seem dull to some students but not when it is combined with a biography! Students can select one individual and write a poem about that person. Specifically, the poem should feature qualities that make the person unique. Additionally, it can include facts relating to the person’s life and other details. You may choose to have each student include the name of the individual. However, the student can also share his or her writing and have others guess the identity.
Idea 3: Birth Date Biography
They can create a birth date biography. How many days have you been alive? What was in the news and what songs were people listening to at the time? Students can use online resources to answer specific questions. Additionally, other teachers can collaborate with their classes by sharing their research.
Idea 4: Celebrity Guest
Students can invite an imaginary celebrity guest. They can research a historical figure and write an introduction for this figure. Also, they can tell about his or her accomplishments throughout life. Furthermore, the person can tell what he or she will be discussing during the visit.
Idea 5: Magazine Cover
They can create a magazine cover for people of the Century. Just like Time Magazine, they can create a list of the 100 influential people. The list can be organized into groups and ranked in order of importance. Who do your students view as the top ten leaders and revolutionaries? Artists and entertainers? Builders and titans, heroes and icons? After they have compiled a list of their picks, students can vote. Next, students can read Time’s lists and compare the results. Do they agree with the findings of the readers of Time?
Idea 6: Choose the Greatest American
You can have students choose the greatest American. What one person best represents the qualities of citizenship? Specifically, who has qualities that might qualify that person to be selected as “the greatest American”? Your students may decide! Furthermore, have them read about historical figures. Then, instruct each student to choose a person he or she feels deserves this title. Afterward, have students create an award for him or her. The student should define the characteristics that set this person apart from other Americans. Additionally, hold a class discussion to determine whether any students have chosen the same individual and why.
Idea 7: Biographies Study Guides
Another fun project is to create a biographies study guides, which can be done digitally or in person. Students can benefit from study guides when they are used in the classroom. Now it is even easier to make them a part of your curriculum. They can write questions for students to investigate. Be sure to tell them to include an answer sheet!
Idea 8: Newspaper Template
Lastly, this newspaper template is so versatile and can be used for multiple classes. For example, if using it for a biography project template, students can use the same form for different people. There are even 13 templates for students to select from! Each student can create a newspaper about a person they research. Therefore, students will feel like authors and illustrators writing a biography! The templates will ensure students write all about their person, including their achievements and fun facts!
What is a biographical text I can use in my classroom?
There are so many incredible biographical texts that can be used in the classroom. However, the ones by Brad Meltzer are a personal favorite of mine! These books are all written in student-friendly language and focus on a variety of people. Also, they focus on the positive impact each person made on society. Additionally, each book includes a timeline with captivating photographs. Also, feel free to go check out my reviews of Brad Meltzer’s biography series on Ordinary People Change the World.
Since Brad Meltzer has an incredible line of biographies, there are several projects that can be developed by students. Kirsten’s Kaboodle Biography Units have 31 ready to go biography projects. Additionally, the list of people is also diverse, which is so important to include! Therefore, students will be learning about a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds! Furthermore, this is a great way in order to show students there is no obstacle too big to overcome.
The units all involve several standards through hands-on, engaging activities. First, students will be given a biography of a person. Then, there are a variety of ways in order to ensure students understand their personality and accomplishments. For example, students will fill out a chart of basic information, such as date and location of birth. After, students will have important quotes to analyze and writing prompts. Additionally, there are different types of crafts in order for students to show off their artistic side. The units are sure to inspire students, improve their growth mindset, and make them excited for their futures!
I hope you enjoyed some of these fun ways to make history come alive in your classroom. With some slight modification to assignments, kids will start to love history and historical biographies. Additionally, a biography book project and biography research project may be one’s students never forget! Students’ hearts may even be so touched that they always keep in mind the importance of inspiring others.
If you do not want to miss any of the upcoming lessons, join my email list to be notified of all the interactive lessons coming up! By joining Kirsten’s Kaboodle, you will also receive freebies for blog exclusive subscribers! This link will even provide a biography and research templates on Katherine Johnson. Therefore, it is perfect for Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March!