The Comprehensible Classroom


I got this great idea from an English teacher at our school! It’s called an “Alphabiography”.

The idea is to have students write their biography in small installments of 4-5 sentences, basing each installment on a word that begins with a different letter of the alphabet. This would make a very cool on-going focused free write!

Students begin by thinking of 15-20 words that (1) start with different letters of your target language’s alphabet and (2) have some significance to them. I allow several proper nouns as well, so that kids can talk about people/places/pets that are important to them. My brainstorm looks like this:

C – Cristo, B – Bebé, E – Esposo, V – Vaca, F – Familia, L – Libros, M – Música, P – Profesora, J – Jemma….etc.

The brainstorm itself is fun, because you find yourself thinking of creative ways to work a topic into your biography if it’s a duplicate letter (ex: C – correr and C – cantar both begin with C, so I could change Cantar to micrófono, or escuchar música, or something like that).

After that, students spend small amounts of time over a period of a few days or weeks writing ‘x’ number of sentences (4-5 is good) for each letter. Once they’ve written a draft for each letter, have them make a final copy poster or booklet with all of the writing pieces. (I would not recommend making them use every letter of your TL’s alphabet, but you could if you want them to REALLY be creative!)

Do you have any great “installment” writing pieces that you use in your classes? I’m always looking for new ones to meet our five-minute/class period fast-write requirement!