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Ministry of Education.

The Story of Our Lives

Teacher Anne Girven





5-6 3 3-4 weeks


Achievement Objective Being Assessed

Learning Outcomes

Transactional Writing  Write an autobiography and a biography, express personal viewpoints in a range of authentic contexts, sequencing ideas logically.


 Exploring Language  Identify, discuss and use the conventions, structures, and language features of biographical and autobiographical texts.
 Processing Information  Gather, select, interpret, record and present key facts, experiences and information from a variety of sources.

Supporting Achievement Objective

Learning Outcomes

 Personal Reading  Select and read independently, for enjoyment and information, an autobiography/biography of their choice.
 Interpersonal Listening  Listen to and interact with others to clarify understanding in a group or class discussion.
 Interpersonal Speaking Talk clearly in small and large groups about experiences, events, and ideas, organising material effectively and attending to others' responses.


Autobiographies, the stories students can tell about their own lives, can be a powerful teaching tool at the beginning of the school year, a wonderful way to introduce students to each other.

Set up a reading centre for students to read and research autobiographies and biographies. Bookmark relevant websites for students to use for their biography research.

Teaching and learning activities

Select and adapt these learning activities to best meet the needs of your students, and to fit the time available:

Learning task 1

Learning task 2


Assessment Task

Students plan their biography in draft form using their notes. Work with a partner to read, share and peer review each others' work, make changes, publish and present as a seminar to the class.

assessment (RTF 20KB)
self_assessment (RTF 227KB)




  • National Library
  • Marzollo, J. & Trivas, I. (illustrations) My first book of biographies: great men and women every child should know (1994) New York: Scholastic Inc.
  • Main, C. P. (editor) Our lesser stars; twelve New Zealand family biographies (1990) Auckland [N.Z.]: The Society, 1990.

Published on: 19 Apr 2009