One of my favorite back to school writing activities is to have my students write about themselves. What kid doesn’t like to go on and on about their likes, dislikes, family, and hobbies? I’ve taught for 9 years and have yet to meet a kid who didn’t want to take the time to share about their favorite person: themselves.
This “All About Me” writing activity is a perfect introduction to expository writing. It provides a launching point for writing to explain. All though we do writing the first two weeks of school, I like to start this one the second or third week of school-after we’ve talked about sentences!
About Me Book
Before ever even blinking an eye at starting our writing project, I like to share a story with my kiddos. For this writing activity, any book about excepting yourself and others are PERFECT. But, I like using the book, Leo the Late Bloomer By Robert Kraus. (affiliate link)
After reading the text, we discuss how Leo felt being a “late bloomer” compared to his animal friends. We also talk about how Leo was ok with being himself. From there, I like to lead the conversation back to the students.
Classroom discussion is a huge part of my classroom routine, so I use this time to allow students to process and think about the upcoming learning (or activity). I split the students into groups of 2-3 and had them take 5 minutes to share information about themselves with their group. After time was up, each group shared one interesting fact about each person in their group. Then, it’s time to brainstorm!
All About My Selfie Brainstorm
To complete this portion of the activity, I like to model how I fill out my brainstorm as students fill out theirs. I made sure to model how I’m using the questions as part of my answers. This helps with later lessons on using the question in the answer.
This writing activity also comes with a more “grown up” version of the brainstorm that is perfect for older students who don’t need as much structure in their brainstorm.
Brainstorm to Rough Draft
The next day, we take our brainstorms and use it as a base for our rough draft of our About Me writing.
With the more structured brainstorm, it’s easy to just copy our sentences straight from the sheet. I also like to show students how to indent their paragraph and add more explanation when needed. This is our first taste of modeled writing and I don’t want to go overboard, so we keep it pretty simple!
Editing our Draft
After all students have finished writing their rough draft, I introduce the writing rubric to the class. We review the expectations of their writing as outlined on the sheet. Since this is usually our first experience with a writing rubric, we go line by line and discuss what to look for throughout our writing.
Then, I have students review their own work and check it against the rubric. This gives students ownership over their writing while keeping the “must haves” (like periods and capital letters) intact. After students have reviewed their own writing, I like to have them find a friend to help lend an editing eye. In second grade, I don’t expect students to have completely edited work through their own review and one peer review, but this habit starts them along the path of reflectively reviewing their own writing and that of others. It also buys me time to work to edit with students one on one.
Final Draft and Selfies!
The editing process usually only takes a day. For students who have finished the editing process, they can move on to rewriting their finished copy. Of course, they make sure to include any edits they or their partners and teachers may have made. After their final copy is complete, the kiddos glued their writing to a piece of construction paper.
Then, each student got a “Selfie” picture frame and worked on their self-portrait to add to their final product.
They also glued their writing rubric to the back of their final copies. This makes for easy teacher grading later!
Finished Just in Time for Open House
I like to display student work around the classroom for Open House, so I hung these up around the room. As parents came in with their student, the kids showed them their writing. Parents loved reading about their child through their own eyes!
My teaching friend across the hall turned her’s into an easy bulletin board!
Want to grab this fun writing activity for yourself? Check it out here in my TeachersPayTeachers store. In addition to the self-portrait, this fun writing craft comes with two other publishing options!