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Restoring Memories and Planning Autobiography

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Keywords: Autobiography Planning
Subject(s): Writing, Reading
Grades 4 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Hillside Elementary School, Farmingtn Hls, MI
Planned By: Annette Yono
Original Author: Annette Yono, Farmingtn Hls
Please see the public link with images and and drawings: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1z4lVJiNeAbou5pBSVtyO4VdqOQVF4tIkNU2G5-Svyhg/edit?usp=sharing

and Grade Level:
Autobiography, Grades 4 to 5

All students will experience and use Google Maps to assist in drawing a map of their neighborhood and a legend with important landmarks and belongings for the purpose of remembering and planning to write an autobiography. All students will plan, revise, edit and present their own personal autobiography. There autobiography may take the form of a hand drawn and annotated map that is publish read, an electronic map that is annotated, a book, an electronic book, a poster, an electronic poster, a Prezi or other teacher approved project. Mini-lessons based on student sign up, will be offered to small groups during writing work time to facilitate the use of technology or to assist with the selected project.

Several Writing Periods

Mentor Text: “Knots in my Yo-Yo String” by Jerry Spinelli
Several books written by Jerry Spinelli available for later reading
large paper for making map and legend
Internet Connection
iPads with Note app, Google Docs app, or a spiral or other writing notebook
Jerry Spinelli's Website

Google account, add on Lucid Chart Diagrams
Google account, locate app Panoramio

Add Ons
Found at the top of a Google Document Screen above the font.
Panoramio can be found by navigating to Google and clicking on the array of nine dots found in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
Once open look for the heading Geo.

Experience with Common Core Standards

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.5 With guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, and editing. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1-3.)

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.8 Recall relevant information from experiences or gather relevant information from print and digital sources; take notes and categorize information, and provide a list of sources.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.6 With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
Initial Planning Day One, Two and Three

Today’s Learning Target: I can use Google Maps to explore my neighborhood.

Show: Jerry Spinelli Home Page Quick Introduction to Books by Author
Hold up the copy of the mentor text.
Say: The author of this book is Jerry Spinneli. He was born in 1944. This is a story that he wrote about his own life growing up. We call this type of book an autobiography.

Told in the first person. The author is in the story and they are telling it.
The book tells all about the person’s life.
The events in the person's life are usually told in the order that they happened.

Begin by enlarging and examining the map and legend at the beginning of the book. Spend a short time asking students to share their noticings.

Ask: If Jerry Spinnelli was born in the same year and the same city that you were born in, how might this map and legend look different? (Provide prompting questions and explanations.) To facilitate compare and contrasting allow students to add to the Google collaborative Venn Diagram made with the Google add on Lucid Charts Diagrams. As a class collaborate on the venn diagram using “Lucidchart Diagrams.” The link to edit this diagram is Neighborhoods Then and Now Diagram Yono, (See page 2 for image of diagram) Be sure to demonstrate how to list sources somewhere on the document including the source of the map in Spinnelli’s book

Show and Give Directions for Map Making Activity (Draft Quality)
Say: We will be writing our own autobiographies, stories of our lives. To help us plan our stories we will make a drawing that helps us organize our ideas by thinking about some of the places and things in our lives. I will provide you with a variety of paper to select from. Each of you will make a map of your neighborhood and include a legend. There are several different sizes of paper that you can use. You may want to write down any memories that you think about when you make your map on iPad notes, Google Docs or your writing notebook. Are there any questions about this?

You will be able to reference Google Maps to help widen your perspective of your neighborhood or places that you have been. I have the directions written down and I am going to show you quickly. If you already know how to use Google Maps please be polite and quiet. I need you to listen and see if I miss anything. When I am finished I will ask that anyone with tips raises their hand to share these.

Teacher Lead Google Maps Demonstration
(Print Directions for student Reference)


first childhood home
Teacher Models

Steps to follow on the Computer

Steps on Map

Type in your address, street name and state

1. Draw a large legend in the right hand side.

2.Draw in your street and the streets around you. Save some space on the outside for places your like to visit.
2. Move around area by clicking on and moving the peg man around in the small map on the lower left side.

3. Moving the peg man will help you find the streets around you.

3. Click Street View
See Results

4. Rotate (compass on lower right) and Zoom (+) on lower right.

You can find your house and print it to glue on to your map or draw it.

Glue a print out or draw your house on the map.

FYI: This house is where I lived when I went to elementary school.

Optional Activity:

Google Maps Panoramio is located under Geo in the Google Menu
Be sure to click on “Be sure to show photos not selected from Google Earth.”

Be aware that students can locate and add photos from places.

This activity may be worked on after your paper map has been checked to see if all the criteria is meet that is indicated on the rubric.
You may continue to add to your baby map and writing journal.


Say: Is there anything that I forgot to cover? Are there any tips about Google Maps that anyone would like to share? We need to work together to be sure that everyone will have the same opportunity to complete their maps of their neighborhood. I am going to ask you to complete a form to tell me your present level of understanding on our learning target: “I can explore my neighborhood with Google Maps.” so that we can identify who can be Google Map Support Leaders. People whom we might go to if we need help. Everyone will be drawing a map of their own and using Google Maps starting tomorrow so I need to know who are experts are. I will need everyone to fill in the Google forms survey to help me.
Say: You will be going on the computer to complete a survey. After that you may begin to explore Google Maps on your own. If you have your paper with you you may start your map if you find the information you need or you may continue to explore Google Maps.
Please complete this Google form information and complete the learning target scale : Survey
Note: Google forms will allow the teacher to quickly assign groups. The answers on the form feed into a spreadsheet that can be sorted by response.

The next day students will work in their assign support teams while the teacher rotates and meets with each group to check on individual progress. Some students will advance to the “By” stage at different rates.

Students will continue to work and become more independent with using Google Maps. The following extensions and apps may be introduced and included if students select to complete a map autobiography project to submit with their written autobiography.

Days Three and Four Reading and Writing Chronological Order Mini-Lessons
Some groups may need to have technology or additional teacher or peer support for reading and writing. It will depend on the students.


Say: We are going to read the beginning of “Knots in my Yo-Yo String” to see how the author begins his sentences. We will use some of his beginnings to help us do some of the writing for our own autobiography. It will be important to organize these sentences into chronological order later. We will want to write on one side of the paper or type separate entries that we can cut and paste.

Read “East End” from the the mentor text with small groups of students. After reading aloud go back to the beginning to examine and discuss the chronological structure of the autobiography. Show students how to collect paragraph beginnings to imitate and jump start my own writing. Model how to locate/identify a sentence and use it as a sentence starter to write a sentence for my own autobiography.

“I am outside in the yard.”

Teacher might write:

I was outside in the back yard. There is a fence enclosing the entire yard and a huge German Shepherd dog is hanging its head other the fence and barking at me. His masters are Skip and Mary. My sister Pam and I are both terrified of this dog but Skip comes to the fence and pets him. We are told to stay back from the dog and away from the fence. Skip and Mary do not have any children. They live in the house with the black wooden eagle and the unmowed grass.


“This is my first memory of my first house.”

“Our hours was red brick.”

“The landlady lived in the adjoining house.”


http://kidblog.org/home/ can be used to support students with reading by allowing audio postings and then a space to write in and post. I have used Kid Blog for this before. I recording my reading of a text privately on Kid Blog. Only my students could hear me reading. My students would post their writing as a draft for only me and them or publish for the class.

Possible Sentences that students might select to use to start sentences on their own:
The next house we lived in…

I was not allowed to…

I did not go to…

I was destined to...

Days Five, Six and Seven Create/Write Autobiographies for Presentations

Begin by announcing a sign up for projects at the beginning of the project. Have the sign up on day three or four. Students are signing up for mini-lessons with the teacher/expert or may sign up to teach a mini-lesson if they are an expert. All of these mini lessons will be directed toward the steps required plan, organize and complete projects. The choices are described below.

Hand Drawn Maps
Electronic Maps
Hand Drawn Poster
Electronic Poster
Electronic Book


Guided practice from the teacher as needed on projects.

Independent and peer supported work.

Electronic Map Project
Optional Tools:
Google Apps or Extensions
Cowriter, Google Map Tools, Scribble Maps, Send to Google Maps, Earth View from Google Maps, Dynamic Maps for Google, MapMe,
My Maps iPad App
Tutorials for Google


Suggested Technology Options for Writing Electronic Autobiography

for Student Autobiography Project

Self - Assessment
Indicate Yes or No
Another Person: Teacher, Parent, Classmate (My Choice)
Initials of Checker
Action or Steps to Improve My Work
My Grade
My draft map includes a detailed legend.

My draft map includes my street and streets around me.

My draft map includes some places I have visited.

My draft includes a place where I use to live or a place that I stay at frequently.

I wrote my autobiography from the first person point of view.

My autobiography tells my life from beginning to present in chronological order.





TeachingStrategy Rubric checklist: I meet the criteria of the assignment.

Embedded Universal Design for Learning


Gradual Release of Responsibility




MentorText is Culturally Relevant and my favorite Children’s Autobiography


Core Curriculum Standards Included


Engage Students

Visual Representation

Grade, Materials, Time


How to Use Skype Help: http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2006/10/using-skype-in-classroom-or-just.html

Students need access to the internet and 1:1 environments for this project.
Students will use there maps to guide their autobiographical research and begin writing. They will select their preferred media for producing their autobiography.
Hand Drawn Maps
Electronic Maps
Hand Drawn Poster
Electronic Poster
Electronic Book
Links: Links to CNN
Jerry Spinelli's Website
Google Maps Timeline
Google Maps
Materials: Whiteboards, Mobile Labs, Art Tools, Printers, Internet Services, Student Resources, Integrating Technology
Other Items: 30 Large sheets of paper, $10.00 each, total of $300.00
25 Tablets or Chromebooks, $200.00 each, total of $5000.00
15 Boxes of Markers, $4.99 each, total of $74.85