Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Writing and Assessing an Autobiographical Incident

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Writing and Assessing an Autobiographical Incident

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Ten 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Instruction and Activities

Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • read various genres of literature.

  • apply events in nonfiction to personal experiences.
  • interpret and make connections through litarary analysis, evaluation, inference, and comparison.

  • develop a narrative piece of writing.

  • write for a variety of audiences and purposes using well-organized paragraphs, with adequate and appropriate supporting evidence.

  • use varied sentence structure, precise vocabulary, appropriate tense, and conventions to maintain clarity.

  • use the steps of the writing process in written work.

  • organize material effectively.

  • proofread and revise their own work.

  • use available technology to plan, compose, revise, and edit written work.

  • talk clearly in small and large groups about experiences, events, and ideas.

  • listen and respond to others.

back to top


Instruction and Activities

  1. Students should read and explore biographies of many different people, paying special attention to organization, voice, word choice, and sentence fluency.

  2. Examine the parts of the word autobiography (specifically "auto" meaning self; "bio" meaning of life; and "graph" meaning write.)

  3. With the class, build up a list of words that start with the prefix auto- or bio-.

  4. With the class, discuss the question, "What is an autobiography?"

  5. Using the overhead projector, discuss and examine an autobiographical incident.

    • Identify the basic text structure-introduction, events (chronological sequence), and conclusion (typically, the conclusion explains the difference these events made to the writer's life).

    • Discuss ideas, organization, voice, word choice, and sentence fluency.

    • Explore the tense the excerpt is written in. Why is it written in this tense?

    • Consider how the writer has used pronouns-which pronouns are used, and why do you think the author chose them?

    • Find and highlight some verbs in the text.
  6. Examine another autobiographical incident.

    • Identify and highlight the structure of the piece.

    • Discuss the how ideas, organization, voice, word choice, and sentence fluency shape the text.

    • Identify the tenses being used.

    • Consider how the writer has used pronouns-which pronouns are used, and why do you think the author chose them?

    • Identify the sequence of the writing.
  7. Once you've explored both texts, compare the two autobiographical incidents. Ask students to talk about which incident they enjoyed more and why they liked it.

  8. Have the students talk with family members about amusing anecdotes, experiences, and important events in their own lives.

  9. Share the rubric with the class, and discusses its components.

  10. Model a short autobiographical incident from your life.

  11. With the students, complete the Autobiographical Incident Rubric, assessing your autobiographical incident.

  12. Assign the autobiographical incident to students.

    • Brainstorm categories for stories-for instance, school adventures, a special holiday, brothers, sisters, family, scary moments, and so forth.

    • Use guided imagery to capture emotions. Consider the following brainstorming questions to help students get started:

      • What time of day is it?

      • What is the weather like?

      • How is the weather affecting you?

      • Where are you?

      • Look around you. What do you see?

      • What colors and textures are around you?

      • What mood are you in? Content? Upset? Sad? Excited?

      • What expression are your wearing on your face?

      • How are you holding your body?

      • What clothes are you wearing?

      • Are there other people around?

      • Who are these people?

      • What do they look like?

      • How are they acting?

      • How do you feel about these people?

      • Are there any sounds? What are the sounds?

      • How are the sounds affecting you?

      • If you could feel your surroundings how would they feel?
  13. Ask students to use the Interactive Timeline or the Graphic Map to organize the chronological events in their autobiographical incident they will write about.

  14. Students draft their autobiography using the information from their mind brainstorming.

  15. Teacher models revising, using the rubric, focusing on

    • Interest level

    • Details

    • Dialogue

    • Thoughts and feelings

    • Introduction and conclusion

    • Sequence
  16. Teacher models editing, focusing on

    • Using consistent verb tense

    • Using consistent pronouns

    • Using vivid, concrete nouns that bring events to life by the use of names of people and places

    • Using prepositions for variety

    * Steps 14 and 15 can be done with the teacher's autobiographical incident

  17. Students revise/edit their autobiographical incidents.

  18. Students type their incidents in a word processor.

  19. With the students, assess your autobiographical incident using the rubric.

  20. Students share their autobiographies with the class.

back to top



back to top