5-2: Writing Your Autobiography Footnote 1

Autobiographies, the stories we tell about our own lives, can be a powerful teaching tool at the beginning of the school year, a wonderful was to introduce learners to each other.

Some ideas to get started:

  1. Discuss: prefixes/suffixes can help us figure out the meanings of new words, for example:
  2. Build up a list of words that start with auto or bio with the class
  3. Discuss with the class: What is an autobiography?
  4. Using an overhead projector, discuss an autobiographical extract. Identify the basic text structure — introduction, events (chronological sequence) and conclusion (e.g. the difference these events made to my life).
  5. Use another extract. Identify and highlight the structure, tense, use of pronouns and use of connectives to sequence the writing. Which extract do you prefer? Why?
  6. Teacher models a mind map to help learners focus on the main events for the autobiography (writing autobiographies can be overwhelming because writers have so much material they want to use). Stress the need to select the important facts or highlights.
  7. Individually, learners develop a mind map, focusing on the story, incident(s) and event(s) they want to write about.
  8. Using the mind map, the teacher models the draft writing of his/her autobiography. Discuss the need to include highlights and to be concise.
  9. Learners draft their autobiographies using the information from their mind maps and the guide on the handout.

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Return to note 1 Adapted from http://english.unitecnology.ac.nz/resources/units/lives/home.html