4 Reasons to Write Bio Poems to Kick off AND Wrap up Your School Year
Is there anything better than coming full circle, especially in the classroom? One of my favorite writing lessons to teach, both at the start and at the end of each school year is writing bio poems with my students. Bio poems are simple poems that give biographical information about one person. This type of poem follows a specific pattern of writing, responding to given prompts designed to describe the focus person of the poem. Bio poems can be written at any time during the year, and in a variety of ways to meet different writing objectives. Students can write bio poems about an historical figure that they have researched, they can write about fictional characters during reading units, and of course students can write bio poems about themselves; my favorite kind! Below are some reasons why I love to have students write bio poems about themselves both as the school year begins, and as the school year begins to wind down helping them to come full circle during their time in your classroom.
Students are Successful
Because bio poems follow a strict pattern, students of all writing abilities succeed, especially struggling writers. The prompts of bio poems are straight forward, yet open ended, allowing students to add as much or little information and detail as they want or feel comfortable writing, making it the perfect self-differentiated writing task!
Fun to Write and Share
Bio poems are fun to write! Most students love to write about themselves Plus, add in that bio poems do not “have to rhyme” students embrace this writing task even more; being truly honest, creative, and adding specific descriptions and details. When students are done writing, they cannot wait to share their writing with their peers and listen to others’ poems, too! Since bio poems are quick and easy to read and share you will be able to share all students’ writing in one writing block! #teacherwin
What I love about bio poems is that students really use the prompts of the poem to be self-reflective and think about themselves as maturing people, their hopes and dreams, and what the future may look like for them. With this form of deep reflection, some students may not want to share their bio poems with their peers. When this happens, I know that they really took the assignment seriously and used each given prompt to dive deeper into their self reflection and understanding. Although we always have a sharing session to peer edit and read aloud student writing, for this form of poetry I leave those steps out and allow the students to be private writers if they wish.
Perfect Writing Portfolio Addition
One poem, multiple use, bio poems do it all! Once students have written their final draft bio poem we add it to our writing portfolios, making it the last page and entry. When this poem is placed at the end of their writing portfolio, it serves as an about the author page. The kids love that the first entry of their writing portfolio was their first bio poem and the last entry is their latest bio poem. Full circle! Read about why I teaching poetry all year long HERE.
After your students have written their bio poem during the first week of school, take their picture and collect their poems. When the end of the school year rolls around, have students write another bio poem and take another picture. When students have finished writing their second bio poem about themselves, pass back the bio poems and pictures from the first week of school. Your students will LOVE to see how much they grew as writers and matured as students throughout the year. You will love it, too! It is always a highlight of the end of the year for both my students and me.
Bio poems are such a great way to kick off and wrap up the school year! Students love this form of poetry and its final product serves as a snapshot into their lives during that school year. Grab a formalized Bio Poem lesson to use both at the beginning of the year and end of the year HERE
Looking for more tips and tricks for teaching with poetry? Read my best tips to use poetry to support struggling readers and writers, and everything in between HERE.
About the Blogger:
Jeanine has been teaching elementary students for 16 years, specifically third and fifth graders. When it comes to teaching, Jeanine includes her love of reading and writing into every lesson. She loves teaching writing and having the opportunity to bring out the author in each of her students. Jeanine holds a BA from Western Connecticut State University in American Studies and Elementary Education and an MA from Fairfield University in Educational Technology. In addition to being a certified elementary teacher, she is also a certified Reading Specialist for grades K-12. Living on the north shore of Long Island means that her free time is spent at the beach where she enjoys outdoor activities, reading, and spending time with her husband and three children.