Senior Autobiography Project
Congratulations, Seniors! While some would tell you that you are almost ready to step out into the world and make your mark upon it, I would tell you that you have already made your presence known to the world. Great accomplishments and some disappointments are in the past and there will be more of each to come. The time has come to reflect on where you’ve been, who you are, and what you may become.
You are about to embark on writing your autobiography which will count as a major portion of your final grade for the class. Follow these directions to write, assemble, and publish your autobiography. Some items are required, while other items will allow you to choose which items you wish to include. Minimum Requirements: Your final product MUST BE TYPEDOR WRITTEN IN INK; it must be bound (scrapbook, homemade book, binder, three-pronged cover, etc. See rubric for scoring. You cannot wait to work on this the night before it is due. There will be in-class work days to write, but most of the publication process should be completed outside of class. Make this your best writings yet. Neatness and creativity counts.
- Title: Your autobiography requires a title. Be creative and original. Do not use “My Autobiography” as your title, as that is neither creative nor original. Save this step for last and let your writings provide the title for you.
- Cover page –Your cover should include your selected title, your name (the author!!), and an illustration appropriate to your book. For illustrations, consider a word pattern, graphic design, collage, original drawings, photographs, magazine pictures, quotations, etc. Use rubber cement or a glue stick to mount items. Also include:
- If using someone else’s art, please give credit to the artist.
- Date of publication (otherwise known as the due date ______).
- Table of Contents page – include titles of each piece of writing and the page number. You will want to save this step for last.
- An Introduction-- Explain the significance of your title, making clear why it is relevant to your life in particular. Also include a brief description of this writing project and its purposes -- in your own words.
- Map of Life– see assignments page.
- Essay on Childhood– Choose between “Sensory Experience from Childhood Memory” or “Remembering the Child” – see assignments page.
- Free Choice of one of the following: see assignments page.
a. How I Got My Name
b. Remember My Name
- “If I Could Relive Any Day” – see assignments page.
- Free Choice of one of the following: see assignments page
a. Metaphorical Definitions of Abstract Feelings
b. People, Places, Things
c. Cheer Myself Up!
d. How to…
10. “Me In Other People’s Words” – see assignments page.
11. Free Choice of one of the following: see assignments page
a. The Examined Life
b. Living In This Moment
c. Always Say Never
12. “A Reflection Of The Arts” – see assignments page.
13. My Own List of Lists – see assignments page.
14. “The Door” – see assignments page.
15. Free Choice of one of the following: see assignments page
a. “What the Future Holds”
b. Marriage, Mates, Myself
16. Closing Letter of Reflection-- see assignments page
Following are descriptions of the various assignments. Some are required and some provide options for free choice writings.
- Map of Life – Draw a stylized map, beginning with your birth (name, birthdate, and birthplace) and ending with the present (graduation and date). Along the way, include little labels or diagrams of what you remember as important events, places, and people in your life. Keep all items in order, but leave enough space between individual items to fill in as you think of additional information. Write small since it must fit on one page. You may use branching paths or a legend. Proceed with significant events (places you’ve lived, memorable vacation trips, memorable “firsts”, and end at Graduation). Include a minimum of 20 “points” or events. Be creative. Think pirate’s treasure map with illustrations, a dotted line connecting the events along the way, etc.
- Essay on Childhood – Chooseone of the following options and use the title in italics as your title:
a. “Sensory Experience from Childhood Memory” – Revisit a favorite or vivid childhood memory. Describe the sounds, sights, scents, and other sensory details from this memory. This essay should be a minimum of one typewritten page.
b. “Remembering the Child” – Instead of focusing on one specific childhood memory, describe yourself as a child. Ask relatives what they remember most about you as a child. Again, use details and creativity. This should give the reader a good idea of what type of child you were. This essay should be a minimum of one typewritten page.
7. What’s In A Name? Names are an integral part of who we are. They shape our sense of who we are. Explore your feelings about the unity between your self and your name. Chooseone of the following options and use the title in italics as your title:
a. “How I Got My Name” -Is there a story behind your naming? Someone famous, a family member, weird initials? Does your name have symbolic meaning? Is it ethnic or historic or literary? Did your parents consider other names? In short, how do you live with your name?Is there an interesting story about your name? Is your name handed down in your family? What was the inspiration for your name? Tell about your name in a (minimum) one-page typed essay.
b. “Remember My Name” – Your name is something that no one can take away from you. Tell why your name fits you perfectly. Why will your name be remembered forever? What is special about your name? What connotations come along with your name? Does it inspire certain feelings? Tell about your name in a (minimum) one-page typed essay.
8. “If I Could Relive Any Day” – This essay should focus on one particular day of your life. It should be a good memory of a day that you would like to relive. Share details about whom or what made the day so special for you. Looking back, would you change anything about the day? What and why? This essay should be a minimum of one typewritten page.
9. Chooseone of the following options and use the title in italics as your title:
a. Metaphorical Definitions of Abstract Feelings– Choose ten (10) abstract concepts (such as greed, loneliness, happiness, confidence, fear, hope, apathy, relaxation, stress, laziness, etc.) and write a metaphor defining each concept. For example, Loneliness is sending yourself flowers at work so everyone will think you have a significant other or Happiness is being greeted enthusiastically by your dog even if you’ve only been gone ten minutes.
b. People, Places, Things –This is a listing with the following headings: (1) Ten People Who Have Influenced Me; (2) Ten Places That Have Shaped Me; (3) Ten Things That Have Moved Me. Create a list of ten items for each heading that have been important to you for one reason or another. Include a brief comment as to each item’s significance.
c. Cheer Myself Up! – Everyone needs a list of things that brings cheer to even the darkest of days. Create a list of twenty things that bring you cheer.
d. How to. . .: Explain how to do something somewhat strange -- how to wreck a car, how to break a heart, how to survive wrestling practice, how to make enemies, how to lose a job, how to get a puppy, how to be miserable, etc. This can be done as steps like an instruction manual. Minimum one page.
- “Me In Other People’s Words” – Select twelve quotations (lines of poetry, pearls of wisdom, lines from a movie, etc.) which have special meaning to you. Type the quote and who said it. Each quote should be in a unique font. Change the font size to make the list of quotes fill the entire page.
11. Chooseone of the following options and use the title in italics as your title:
a. “The Examined Life” -- Reflect on your strengths and weaknesses (or areas needing improvement). Choose three strengths and three weaknesses. Follow this example:
My intelligence because it lets
me choose the life I want and
gives me the tools I need.
My principles because they
allow me to stand up for the life
My sense of humor because it
lets me accept the things I can’t
My temper because it is
frightening when it gets out of
My moodiness because it
bothers other people when I
change moods suddenly.
My big mouth because it gets
me into trouble I could avoid.
Then write a paragraph of how you could convert your weaknesses into strengths:
I can make my weaknesses into strengths bycontrolling them. In themselves, they’re not bad.When I use my temper wisely, it accomplishes nearmiracles. It’s perfect for bringing salesmen andstudents into line. Sometimes I overreact,however, and that’s bad. If I stop, think, and thenreact, I can control my temper, my moodiness, andmy big mouth.
b. Living In This Moment– Address the following topics: 1. Who Am I Now. Talk about yourself, what makes you who you are right now. 2. What I Enjoy and Value. What are your hobbies, what are your “favorites”, what means the most to you. 3. What I Do With My Time. Whether good or bad, what do you do with your time? What takes up your day and night? 4. Specific Things I Want To Remember. What specific, but slightly off-the-wall things do you want to never forget? Someone’s smile? Your favorite Starbucks drink? The aroma of your favorite food? Each topic should be answered in paragraph form.
c. Always Say Never - Make a list of books you never want to read again, places you never want to go again, people you hope you’ll never see again, things you hope you’ll never have to do again, songs you never want to hear again, and/or any other “nevers” you’d like to explore. You should have a minimum of ten “nevers.” Choose three of your “nevers” and explain why.
12. “A Reflection Of The Arts” – Choose a painting, a sculpture, or a musical piece that you truly love. Tell the title of the artwork and the artist and briefly describe that piece. Then discuss why that particular piece has meaning for you. When did you first see or hear it? What connections do you make with this piece of art? What lesson might you or someone else learn from this piece? This essay should be a minimum of one typewritten page.
13. My Own List of Lists – For this assignment, create lists of six to ten items per category for each of the following:
1. People I Would Like To Meet
2. Things That Worry Me
3. Things I Would Like To Know How To Do
4. Interesting Words
5. Places That Make Me Happy
6. Ideas That Intrigue Me
7. Places I Would Like To Go
8. Things I’ve Said Goodbye To
9. Traits In People I Dislike
10. Traits In People I Like
14. “The Door” – This a two-stanza poem. The first stanza begins with the words “When I walk out that door, I don’t want to see…” then list the fears and nightmares and disappointments you would not want to see for your world. The second stanza begins with the words “When I walk out that door, I want to see…” and list your hopes and dreams and desires for your world. See the following example I wrote last year:
When I walk out that door, I don’t want . . .
to see graffiti sprayed on the walls, zombies slurping down brains,
or terrorists ready to strike. I don’t want to see
anyonedelivering bad news or bills. I don’t
want to see funeral processions or homeless animals
running loose on the streets.
I don’t want to see anyone denying someone else
his or her right to happiness.
When I walk out that door, I want . . .
to see politicians who will do what is right for each
and every American. I want to see cures for
AIDS, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, obesity,
and apathy. I want to see the winning numbers to the
lottery and the wisdom to know how to best spend the
money. I want to see my students’ surviving their disappointments
and realizing their dreams.
15. Chooseone of the following options and use the title in italics as your title:
a. “What the Future Holds”– Write an essay of what the future holds for you. Include a realistic view and a dream/romantic view of your future. Where do the two futures diverge? What will it take to make your future come to be? Discuss your plans for education, work, marriage, children, residence, etc. This essay should be a minimum of one typewritten page.
b. “Marriage, Mates, Myself” – Write an essay focusing on your ideal mate. What type of girl or guy are you hoping to find? What qualities (physical, mental, personality, etc.) do you find attractive? Or do you even see yourself getting married someday? Perhaps your future is to choose remaining single. What are your views on love and companionship? This essay should be a minimum of one typewritten page.
16. Closing Letter of Reflection – The final page of your autobiography is a letter to yourself. What have you learned about yourself in the process of writing your autobiography? What items would you like to add to this collection of your thoughts for your future self to read someday? Write a wish for your future self or a note of encouragement or a few words of wisdom to close out this project. Save this for one of the final pieces you write. I do not want to see the rough draft of this one. I only want to see it in your final published work.
DUE DATE: FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2015
To stay on schedule complete at least three written assignments each week. Type them and save them on a flash drive, Google drive, or your H drive at school until you are ready to print and assemble your book. Spell check for errors. Proof read for errors. Spell check does not catch everything! Be neat and organized.
Grading: This project will count as 1075 points. Each writing will be entered individually as a daily grade (for a total of 475 points) and then the completed project will be entered as a test grade (worth a total of 600 points). Submit at least three writings per week (rough draft form—may be handwritten). I will check them, enter the daily grade, and return them for you to type for your final project. You must still turn in the typed final published bound copy for the test points!
EXTRA CREDIT: You may earn up to 50 extra credit points for completing extra writings (doing more than one of the Free Choice options) at 10 points per extra piece. You may also earn“style and pizzazz” extra credit points for including personal touches to your autobiography (such as including illustrations, printed photos, a dedication page, or whatever your imagination can dream up).
Have fun with this project! It may be the only time in your life that you will take the opportunity to capture these thoughts and memories, hopes and dreams. Make it meaningful to yourself – something that you will keep forever.