Making Biographies Fun (with TWO Freebies)

Making biographies fun in the primary classroom.

It’s never too early to start teaching biographies to students. Many intermediate teachers will teach strong biography units, but integrating them in primary is excellent, too! I’m gathering up some ideas for making biographies fun in your class!

Start by teaching the genre.

Always start each genre with an introductory lesson. To help with making biographies fun, I suggest a biography anchor chart that you can laminate and keep in your classroom throughout the unit or throughout the entire year. Below, you will see a sample anchor chart for biographies. AND I’m linking the letters and clipart for you for FREE! That way, you can replicate a similar anchor chart for your students.

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

(Link: Biography Header Freebie)

2. Integrate reading into students independent and partner reading time.

Utilize all the time you can with biographies. Plug them into daily centers and even book bins for students to read during downtime. If you’re giving primary students biography books to read independently or with a partner, make sure to provide them with easy readers. Biographies are tough for students to understand because sometimes they don’t have any background knowledge. So, prevent them from having more difficulty reading their biographies by giving them easy readers to get through independently. Check out these affiliate links to books I suggest from Amazon that are ideal for making biographies fun.

Making Biographies Fun with My Favorite Picks

Jesse Owens biography
Misty Copeland biography

Jesse Owens
Misty Copeland

Barack Obama biography
Alexander Hamilton biography

Barack Obama

Alexander Hamilton

Thomas Edison biography
Rosa Parks biography

Thomas Edison

Rosa Parks

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

12 Leveled Biography Set

3. Have a weekly (free) challenge for review.

I blogged about this fun weekly challenge several months ago. I love it! So, what you’ll do is at the beginning of every week, you will give students a social studies or science clue. Throughout the week, as they read passages in folders and books at their reading centers, they will try to find out what the mystery clues are. It’s a great concept for making biographies fun for primary students. Check out my examples below. Also, click through to my old blog post to watch my video of me discussing this fun freebie.

(Link: Mystery Freebie Blog Post)

4. Tie in technology and reading.

Whenever it comes to science and social studies, Pebble Go and Brain Pop Jr. are necessities for my lessons. If you have been keeping up with my blog, you’ll notice I mention these two wonderful websites quite often. Below, I’ll show you their biography features! Sign up today to get access to all these videos and online content.

PebbleGo biography resources for elementary teachers.

(Source: PebbleGo Biographies)
In the picture above, you can see the categories of biographies! There is a lot to pick from. And within each, there are even more subcategories. Pebble Go offers so many options for making biographies fun. Go check them out.

In the picture below, you can see how I’ve selected women (image of Harriet Tubman), then even more specific Civil Rights Leaders. So this is a selection of all of their biographies on women that were Civil Rights Leaders!

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

(Source: PebbleGo Biographies)

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

(Source: BrainPop Jr. Biographies)
You can see a selection of Brain Pop Jr.’s biographies in the picture above. And that is just some of them. There are way more! Their biographies come with animated movies, which my kiddos always responded well to. Check out the Amelia Earhart selection below. It shows the video and the follow-up activities for her!

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

(Source: BrainPop Jr. Biographies)

5. Use readings as homework, so parents can also discuss the importance.

One option you have is to send passages home once a week for homework. These passages can be read with parents so that parents can discuss with their children their own relation or background knowledge of the person. This will help students see that they’re learning about these influential people at school and they are known outside of the classroom, too! It’s fun for them to see that their parents can tell them about what they’re learning during reading and social studies time. Also, you can choose to have one set passage for the entire class throughout the week, or you can send home a few for parents and children to pick. Then, students can write about the one they chose and what they learned.

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

Biography and Science Bundles

(Resources in Pic: Biography Bundle and Science Bundle)

6. Let the kids be teachers!

Find clipart online or on TPT of the influential people that you are researching. Then, split your classroom into as many groups as the persons you’re discussing. Give each group of students markers, chart paper, a picture of the person, and a few books on that person. Then, allow them to research that person with their group and create a chart for each person. Afterward, when they are finished creating their chart, allow them to practice their Speaking and Listening skills by presenting their work to the class.

Freebie Idea

Another idea would be to grab the freebie from #1 and allowing your class to work in groups to present on the genre itself!

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

(Link: Biography Header Freebie)

7. Stock up on biographies from TPT!

In my store, you will find over 30 biographies! I have biographies for 30 influential people. In each of these biography sets, you can get a passage, cut and paste timeline, fact writing research page, writing sheet. Plus, a flip book that includes a passage, comprehension questions, true and false sort, and a writing page.

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

Mother Teresa Biography Pack or Biography Bundle

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

Henry Ford Biography Pack or Biography Bundle

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.

Susan B. Anthony Biography Pack or Biography Bundle

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom influential people pack.

Biography Bundle

Thanks for reading! I hope you picked up a few ideas for biographies in your classroom. Here is an image to pin if you want to come back to any ideas later.

Teaching Biographies in a primary classroom - lesson and activities ideas for biographies.
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