Put that pile of Beanie Babies to good use in your classroom as students create and write original biographies for a favorite stuffed animal.
biography, creative writing, character, sketch, sequence, personification, supporting detail, detail
Before the Lesson
For this lesson, you will need a collection of Beanie Baby animals/characters (or other stuffed animals/characters can be substituted). One stuffed animal per student is ideal, but you might offer a smaller selection and allow more than one student to work on a bio story for the same character.
Choose one Beanie Baby to use in modeling how to write a "Beanie Baby Bio." Set the others aside for selection by students later in the lesson.
Choose one Beanie Baby to share with the class. Tell students that this Beanie Baby is a very famous one. Engage students in brainstorming "information" about the Beanie Baby. Ask: If you were to read a story (biography) of this Beanie Baby's life, what kinds of information might be included? Students' responses might answer some of the following questions:
Encourage students to think outside the box. The funnier the better! As students share ideas, list those ideas on the board, chart paper, or an overhead-projector transparency.
After the class has generated a bunch of ideas, take a look at the ideas. Group together some ideas and talk about how those elements might be developed into a story. Identify beginning, middle, and ending ideas/events that might be included in a story. Write a story together.
Once you have a draft of a Beanie Baby bio story, read aloud the story to the class. Ask students if they think you have all the details in the right order. Talk about where more detail might be needed. Discuss why it's important to have events ordered correctly and well developed.
Next, it's the students' turn.
When students have finished writing their Beanie Baby Biographies, set aside time for them to introduce their Beanie Baby to the class by reading aloud their biographies.
Students might create their biography as a "book." They will want to divide the story into chunks of information that go together on a page (or "spread" of two pages). What kind of cover illustration might be best for their book?
Evaluate the finished biographies. Do students have a beginning, middle, and end to their stories? Was good detail included?
Mary Pat Mahoney, Holy Trinity Catholic School in Grapevine, Texas
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