Grade: Senior

#1266. Alphabetical Autobiography

Reading/Writing, level: Senior
Posted Sun Aug 22 15:57:57 PDT 1999 by Allison Judge (
Dunedin High School, Dunedin, Florida
Materials Required: paper, book binding materials
Activity Time: long-term project: a month, a marking period
Concepts Taught: Descriptive writing, editing, proofreading

Description: Students write a 26-page alphabetical autobiography, in the format of an elementary school alphabet book. "A is for Alabama. I was born in Alabama, and . . . "

Goals: Encourage writing and expression on "real" topics of interest; Hone editing, grammar, and writing skills.

Objectives: Students will be able to write vivid descriptions of events/places/people of importance. Students will be able to edit their own/others' work.

Procedure: Students brainstorm 78 possible topics (3 for each letter of the alphabet) which could be developed into 2 paragraph informal "essays."
Writing takes place over several weeks - prevents boredom and allows students time to edit and rethink ideas. When rough copies have been edited by students or teacher (only if it's a personal subject they don't want to share) then final copies are made. When all 26 pages are complete, books are bound - either by student choice of binding materials, or by teacher-provided materials. I gather card stock and have students decorate/illustrate. Then we three hole punch, put in some brass prongs, and it's done!

Assessment: Graded primarily on completeness. Drafts have been spot-checked, so no major grammatical errors are an issue. I never mark on the books - I think they make nice keepsakes and I don't want to mar them. I also require that parents or guardians read them, and write a note to the student after. It has been a fabulous project, and has had great results, both with gifted students and low-level classes.