Biography Lesson Plans for Upper Elementary Genre Study

Three weeks of biography lesson plans help you plan your genre study. Kids read biographies. Then they respond with graphic organizers, templates, and crafts. For the grand finale, students participate in a living history museum.

Ms. Sneed Finds Some Biography Lesson Plans

Our favorite fourth grade teacher opened the file for her biography unit. Her thoughts turned back to last year’s genre study. Sure, the activities engaged her students. However, she reflected, something was missing. As she tapped her pencil absentmindedly, it came to her: continuity. Great parts. But they just didn’t fit together all that well.

“What I need is some great biography lesson plans,” she said aloud. She clicked over to Teachers pay Teachers and did a quick search. Aha! Her favorite teacher-author had posted a free set of plans.

Three weeks of lesson plans engage kids in biography activities.

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Biography Lesson Plans Introduce the Genre

As Ms. Sneed scanned the plans for the first day, she nodded her head. The class would read a biography picture book and explore elements of the genre

Biography is a form of nonfiction. The author writes in narrative, or story form, about another person. All characters, settings, and events are real.

Finally, each child would choose an activity from a choice board. So far, so good! She liked the idea of reading and discussing together – then giving the kids options.

Your biography lesson plans should include options for students. Try these choice boards!

Students Read and Respond

Quickly, Ms. Sneed’s eyes moved to activities listed for the next two days. Kids would read one long or more short biographies. Her eyes lit up. For each of those days, kids responded with an organizer or craft!

Kids can use a graphic organizer to record information from the biography they read. As an alternative, they can create a mock social media post or a biography cube.


On the fourth day, students picked a specific person to research. Using differentiated templates, they spent the next four days recording information about that person.

Present a Wax Museum

During the last week or so, kids participated in a wax museum project. They created a timeline for their person. Then they turned it into a monologue and practiced. For the grand finale, each member of the class dressed as their famous person, stood in an open area, and greeted guests with their monologues.

As a culmination to your biography unit, hold a wax museum! Students dress as a character they've researched and present a biographical monologue.

Now Ms. Sneed was really grinning. “I can’t wait to show these biography lesson plans to my co-teacher!” she said. “They will make our unit cohesive – and compelling.”

Enjoy Teaching

Over the course of her career, Ms. Sneed realized that there were 6 steps to enjoy teaching. In order to survive, she had to organize, plan, and simplify. Then, to thrive, Ms. Sneed needed to learn, engage, and finally – dive in! Follow the Fabulous Teaching Adventures of Ms. Sneed and learn how you can enjoy teaching too.

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