Review: Bio Poems Made Easy on Teachers Pay Teachers
Bio Poems Made Easy is a free download available on Teachers
Pay Teachers. The 10-page packet provides a lesson plan, handouts, and
suggestions for ways to extend the activity. In the introductory material, a
“bio poem" is explained as a poem written about a person. These poems can be
autobiographical, as they are in the initial lesson, or biographical. The
activity also includes a component that uses Wordle.net, a free website that
takes inputted text and converts it to an interesting, colorful word graphic.
Poetry can be an intimidating subject for students,
especially those who are just learning about this type of creative writing. The
lesson breaks down the simple poem into easy-to-grasp steps. The packet
includes a lesson plan and all the necessary materials, including planning
charts that can be photocopied and distributed and a template that would be
useful for younger writers. After students grasp the concept of the poem
structure, possible extension for the activity are to have students write a bio
poem about someone else – a classmate or friend, family member, or historical
The technology piece, using Wordle.net, is an interesting
addition to the lesson and one that students, especially older students, might
really appreciate. Because the Wordle algorithm places visual emphasis on words
that are repeated more often, students who use this part of the lesson will
develop their understanding of the importance of word choice and placement in
their poems. The packet includes a helpful note to teachers about potentially
inappropriate material on the Wordle.net main page and offers a direct link to
the (safe) creation page, bypassing the potential content that isn’t
appropriate for students to see.
All in all, this activity is a fun, easy-to-understand way
to introduce students to a new type of creative poetry in a way that is
relevant to a broad age range and has applications across a curriculum.
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.