US History/English 3 - Biographical Essay

Writing Process
Biographical Essay

History is the glue that makes the past meaningful

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A biographical essay on a historical figure is organized to convey information about a subject's life and it's historical significance.  It includes evidence generated through a formal research process and documented references.  The essay should include descriptions of the subject and how his/her accomplishments and challenges reflect the importance of the subject's life and its impact on others.

Activities

Student will be writing their essay on the individually chosen topic used for their Issue File.  This unit offers writing structures for organizing thoughts and planning.  The following activities are provided to guide students in the process of writing.  

 

Students will want to refer to their Biographical Essay Organizer to create their outline.  The Biographical Essay has three parts:

I.  Introduction

Contains an introductory sentence that will capture reader's interest.   Followed by a focus question or a thesis statement to reveal the topic.  Briefly identify some of the categories that will be presented.

II.  Body Paragraphs

Includes several paragraphs that identify and elaborate on each category.  Writer provides information using facts, examples, explanations, charts, maps, and graphs.

III.  Conclusion

Summarize one to two essential ideas that the writer strongly wants to convey.  Leaves the reader with the sense that he or she has attained specific information regarding the topic.  

For additional information on essay format and writing, link to Online Writing Assistant  or for a review on the steps of writing an essay link to Essay Punch.   

Creating an Outline

Students may use the Creating an Outline worksheet as an alternative to the Biographical Essay Organizer to collect information and plan their essays.  Encourage students to use this form to outline their essays and when writing their first draft.

For additional help on developing an outline link to Outlining.  

Bibliography 

Students will be required to cite information sources used in their Bibliographical essays.   There are various established guidelines for citing sources.  We are using MLA guidelines and format. Students will use annotated bibliographies used in their Issue File to create a bibliography.  Format/Examples are included in this section for review.

Link to MLA template or Noddle Bibliography for MLA guidelines and format. 

Rough Draft

Prompt:  Think of the life and historical significance of the person you are interested in writing about.  Include description of the subject and his/her accomplishments and challenges.  Use organized, detailed descriptions to tell the reader about the people, places in your essay.  When the reader reads what you wrote, they should experience what you, the writer, want them to experience.  Conclude your essay by reflecting on the significance of the importance of the subject's life and its impact on others.

For additional help link to Writing a Rough Draft    

Revision

After completing rough draft of their biographical essay, student will need to revise their work.  At this point, student is encourage to consult their dictionary, notes, and vocabulary lists for additional words to use.  Student should pay close attention to writing mechanics such as spelling and punctuation, organization, details, word choices and writing style.

For additional help link to Revising Your Essay or Revision Process  or Advice on Essay Writing

Editing - Student Editing and Teacher Conference

Student is encourage to use the Editing Checklist prior to conference with teacher.  It is important for the teacher to confer with the writer before writing the final draft of their essay.  Individual conferences are highly effective instructional opportunities.  Student is encourage to ask the teacher to provide feedback only about specific items and purpose.  Written feedback will be provided on a separate sheet of paper. 

For online assistant on self/peer editing link to Self/Peer Edit  or Editing

Final Draft

After editing essay, student is now ready to complete their final draft.

Publishing -Sharing Essays 

Student will be required to use word processing to publish their biographical essay using the MLA format and printing guidelines outlined below on scoring guide.

Scoring Guide for Biographical Essay

Note:  The above lesson incorporates the Write Institute Biographical Essay Writing Instructional Unit with modifications.

 

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last revised:
05/27/01
Virginia Calsada-Medina  vcalsada_medina @hotmail.com
Calipatria High School
Calipatria, California 92233