Writing an Autobiographical Incident

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Language Arts, Writing, Writing Process, Journaling

Grade 5- 8


Students write autobiographical stories.


In this activity, students write about a personal experience that is significant and memorable. Often this will explain how they became involved with an interest, hobby, or subject. Included in this, they are to describe a scene which will include remembered feelings, reflections, and relationships. Students will specifically explain about the chosen events that have led up to the significance of their magazine choice.
Have students define autobiography. Students will usually want to volunteer openly and share events in their lives that led up to their magazine choice. Encourage them to share information about their hobbies. Include all discussion, which should generate many student ideas.
Using the brief student sample provided on page 128 (Notice the challenge section following the sample) or an autobiography that has been read by the class, read aloud and discuss why this particular autobiography was written.
Ask students to identify the key elements of their autobiographies that should be included in their writing.
Sample Key Autobiographical Elements

  • Remembering childhood events
  • Being taught by someone
  • Learning something by doing
  • Learning something by reading about it and following the directions
  • Participating in a competition
  • Being involved in family tradition
  • Learning at school and desiring to excel
  • Participating in a popular activity or trend that many students enjoy

Hand out the autobiographical incident prewriting guide on page 127 as an outline for students. Using the overhead projector or the chalkboard, write a topic sentence about a specific interest. Show how to use sequence as the students start writing about the beginning of their theme. Walk the students through the steps of writing an autobiography without using the word "then" to begin each sentence. (Devote a few minutes to suggesting other transitional words and phrases that show sequence.) The conclusion should express some thoughts about the future impact this hobby and/or interest will have on the writer. After the students have completed their notes in the prewriting guide, they should write the rough drafts in their spiral notebooks.
Continue to model proofreading. Encourage vivid language and action verbs.


Activity sheets (pages 127 and 128)

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