Bio Poem

Bio Poem

 How to Write a BioPoem

(Line 1) First name
(Line 2) Three or four adjectives that describe the person
(Line 3) Important relationship (daughter of . . . , mother of . . . , etc)
(Line 4) Two or three things, people, or ideas that the person loved
(Line 5) Three feelings the person experienced
(Line 6) Three fears the person experienced
(Line 7) Accomplishments (who composed . . . , who discovered . . . , etc.)
(Line 8) Two or three things the person wanted to see happen or wanted to experience
(Line 9) His or her residence
(Line 10) Last name

Biopoem Sample
Determined, brave, strong, loving
Wife of Raymond Parks, mother of all children
Who loved equality, freedom, and the benefits of a good education
Who hated discrimination, loved to stand up for her beliefs, and loved to help others
Who feared that racism would continue, feared losing the opportunity to make a difference, and feared that young people might lose opportunities to develop strength and courage
Who changed history as she accomplished great strides for equality and encouraged excellence for all
Who wanted to see love triumph and see an end to all bias and discrimination in a world in which respect is freely given to all
Born in Alabama and living in Detroit

From Abromitis, B.S. (1994, June/July). Bringing lives to life. Biographies in reading and the content areas. Reading Today, 11, 26. Reprinted with permission of the publisher and author.

Copyright 2004 IRA/NCTE. All rights reserved

Where Do You Stand?

Where do you stand with regard to writing?
FEET: What do I stand for as a foundation of writing?
STOMACH: What upsets me about writing?
HEART: What do I love about writing?
HANDS: What do I feel about writing?
EARS: What do I hear about writing?
EYES: What do I see about writing?
BRAIN: What do I think about writing?

Semantic Context


Semantic Context

Focus On



Describe People
Self, Family, Group


Describe Things
such as an object, a favorite thing, your (house, room vehicle)


Describe Places
Your city of birth, your last vacation place, places to go


Narrate Times
Including favorite holiday,
birthday, season


Argue Reasons
Arguing a point of view for/against smoking, gambling, the lottery, etc.


Processes involving
How-to writing telling the steps involved in a hobby, sports, skill

Writing A to Z

Writing A to Z

Item Topic Questions


Which do you like? Which are impossible, disliked? How do you go about doing your class assignments?
What activities do you enjoy?


What is your background (home country, family, academic experience, work experience, special skills
Do you like baseball? Do you follow any baseball teams?


What career are you working towards?
What is creativity? A re you creative in a particular area (music, art, writing….)


Do you believe dreams reveal something about you? What are your dreams for the future?
What are daydreams?
What do you daydream about?


What do you think about the energy crisis? What options are there? Which is best?
How can we protect our environment?


What is your favorite (food, movie, activity, color …..)? Why?
What is in fashion/ out of fashion?
Are fashions worthwhile? 
How would you describe your father? What makes a good father?


What grammar problems do you think you have? What have you done to improve your English grammar
What games did you play as a child? What games do you find fun now?


Holidays Happiness
What is your favorite holiday? What holidays are special to your home country? What does it take to make you happy? Do you think money is a major factor in being happy?


Imagination Image
Do you have a good imagination? Do you think imagination is important? Has image become too important in politics? What do you think contributes to a good image?


Jokes Jack-of-all-trades
Do you like jokes? Do you think a sense of humor is important? Why? A re you (or do you know) a jack-of-all-trades ( A person who can do many different kinds of work)? What are you especially skilled at?


Do you know karate? What are the advantages/disadvantages of learning karate?
 Do you believe in a personal karma (used informally to mean fate or destiny)? If so, what do you think is your karma?


What is your greatest ambition in life? What is needed for a happy life?
What is love? Who/what do you love? Why?


How would you describe your mother? What makes a good mother?
What is your favorite music? What music do you find unbearable?


A re you nostalgic (long for things, persons, or situations of the past)? Why? For what?
  Do you know your neighbors? If so, how would you describe them? A re you a good neighbor? Why?


A re you optimistic? If so, how did you become an optimist? If not, why not? 
Whose opinion do you value most? Why?


Are you pessimistic? If so, how did you become pessimistic? If not, why not? 
 Do you think world peace is possible? What can we do


What is the biggest question you have about your future? What are you doing to answer the question?
 Do you (or does someone you know) have a quirk (peculiarity of behavior or idiosyncrasy)? If so, what? How do you deal with it?


What is your favorite form of recreation? What benefits do you derive from it?
 Do you base your actions on reason, on emotion or on both reason and emotion? Why?


What is your favorite season (summer, winter, spring, fall/ rainy, dry)? Why?
 Do you prefer solitude to being in company? If so, why? If not, why not?


Do you like to travel? What was your favorite place to visit? What was your least favorite?
 Is it always better to tell the truth or is it sometimes best to lie?


Do you think UFO’s from other worlds exist? What would you do if you saw a UFO?
 What is you most unforgettable moment? Why?


What was your favorite vacation? What do you think is the perfect vacation?
 What is your greatest victory? Explain


What do you like to write about? What kind of writing do you prefer to read?
  What wisdom have you discovered? Explain


Do you know anyone who is xenophobic (exceedingly fearful of strangers)?
Why do you think a person would become a xenophobe?
Xerox Copy
 What is the best (worst) thing about Xerox copy machines? Why do you think there is a need for 24-hour a day Xerox copy places? Explain.


What is the best thing about youth? What is the worst thing?
 If you had one yesterday to live again, which day would that be? Why?


What are some of the major tenets of Zen Buddhism? What do you think of them?
What do you think about the zombie (the walking dead) theme in literature? Explain.




Narration, Description, and Reflection Topics

Narration, Description, and Reflection

Personal Reminiscences
First, Most, Special,


My first fight.
My first encounter with the law.
My first encounter with racial discrimination.
My first job.
My first spanking. (On being punished for the first time.)
My first dollar.
My first ten years were the hardest.


My most important decision and why I made it.
My most embarrassing moment.
The most stupid thing I ever did.
My most serious accident.
My narrowest escape.
The longest minute I ever spent.
The wisest thing I ever did.

Prize memory of the year. (Regrets of the year.)
A Christmas thrill. (Christmas this year.)
Thoughts on New Year’s Eve.
An unforgettable experience.
The fun of being sick.
Moving into a strange town.
Learning to like vegetables (or other foods).
One of life’s comedies (or tragedies) in which I played a star part.
Things I have lost.
An inexpensive good time.
An experiment I once tried.
My big moment.
Happy ending
A mistake I vow never to repeat. (I’ll never do that again.)
The dog (or other pet) in my life.
I sold papers. (A job I have held.) (My summer job.)
Musical memories. (Songs my mother taught me.)

Memories of home.
What I learned from Dad.
A tradition in our family (neighborhood, section, state or country.)
How my family celebrates Easter (or some other holiday).
The origin of my family name.
My ancestors. (Page from my family history.)
Meet the family.
What I have inherited.

Personal Reactions
It’s easy to blame others.
A clear conscience is better (worse) than popularity.
Is pride a primitive trait?
What I would do if I knew I would lose my sight tomorrow?
Is maturity a relative thing?
The mental blindness of the human race.
What is more beautiful-the simple or the ornate?
The continuity of human experience.
The real me.
How am I doing?
Why I dislike my name.
Why… is my favorite sport.
Why I go to chute.
Why I shall go to college.
Why… is my favorite picture.
Why I do (not) play cards.
Why I like poetry.
Why I like music.
Why I believe in immortality.
Why I do not believe in divorce.
Why I want to be a….
Why I like to read novels.
Why I don’t like comic strips.
My idea of hard work.
My idea of good dinner.
My idea of hard work.
My idea of a good course.
My idea of gentleman (or a lady).
My idea of a dull evening.
My idea of a perfect school.
How colors affect me.
How I feel in a dentist’s chair.
How I feel when I have not prepared a lesson (or for an exam).
How I judge character.
How I read a newspaper.
How can I find time to study?
How new clothes affect me.
How much am I influenced by advertising?
How I treat nosy people.
What animal I should like to be for a day.
What I like in music or art.
What I get out of music.
What religion means to me.
What’s wrong with my hometown.
What I want from life.
What I think about athletics.
What I really enjoy doing.
If I were president.
Where am I going?
If I had but three days to live.
If I were mayor of my hometown.
My future as I see it.
My favorite breed of dog.
My favorite hero in fiction.
My hobby and why I like it.
My book (play, movie) of the year.
My favorite subject.
The finest movie I have ever seen.

My World
What “bugs” me most.
What do you think are the enemies of mankind?
Should we go to the moon (or any other planet)?
What is your opinion of dissenters?.
The importance of independence.
Poverty and happiness.
Are movies and TV stereotyping us today.
Is dictatorship ever justified?
A catalog of likes and dislikes.
I would like to change and why…
If I could, I would like to…
I dislike…
I think… is wrong (or right).
If only…
Happiness is…
…and I just don’t agree.
If I received a thousand dollars…
I remember…

Reminiscences And Reactions
Adolescence-a preparation for love.
After a long interval (revisiting a scene that holds special meaning
A belief I had when I was very young.
An action and my reaction.
The best team.
The day I received my driver’s license.
An effective way to envision history is to read fiction.
A fear I overcame.
The generation gap.
I cut my hair.
I had to decide.
I saw it happen: why did it?
In the presence of my peers.
The joys of being a car owner.
The less brilliant moments in my life.
The moon-what next?
My biggest gripe.
My encounters with racial discrimination.
My experiences as a babysitter.
My first semester in high school.
My idea of a perfect day.
My opinion of poetry.
One of my favorite movies.
One of my favorite television shows.
On learning…..
An open letter to my parents.
A person to whom I am grateful.
The relevancy of school.
Rewards of nature.
Those were the good old days.
Three cars I would never own.
Three things worse than death.
A typical day in my life.
What I like best about summer.
What I have learned about people over… vacation.
What I dislike most about Christmas (or some other holiday).
What would have happened if….
When I feel most independent.
Why I’d change a rule in my school.
Why I like rock music.
The world in which I live.
How the English program at … University should be changed.
Black is beautiful.
If I were suddenly blind.
When a car cuts me off on the freeway…
My …. was stolen.
I catch a thief.
When I failed the ….exam.
Where I can find some peace and quiet.

Familiar Essay Topics

Pet peeves.
Life begins at 10 p.m.
An adventure in friendship.
The virtues of idleness.
Pages from my family history.
I’d like to write a book.
Being contented.
Bargain shopping.
Crushes and hero-worship.
The most valuable thing I have learned.
An important decision.
Local crudities (or curiosities).
A curious dream.
While the jukebox blares.
The art of conversation.
I should have known.
On favorite colors.
Let me cry on your shoulder.
Lest we forget.
Plot for murder.
Worrying is good for you.
Going around in circles.
Unnatural character in literature.
A contribution to better living.
If an ancient Greek came to Chicago (or any other place).
Shoe personality.
New brooms raise a great dust.
Nurses are angels.
On a rainy day.
Pride before a fall.
The tribulations of a junior high school student.
Soap operas.
Why all the excitement?
… night on the radio.
Sidewalk hogs.
Tied to the apron strings.
Table manners.
Mental cruelty.
What a home ought to be.
Many brave hearts.
Library notes.
Radios commercials.
Why people have hobbies.
Borrowing and lending.
The life of a biggy bank.
The kinds of friends who wear well.
Local weather.
Maturity has its drawbacks.
On a shoestring.
A real champion.
Going, going, gone.
The blue ribbon.
The world in which I live.
Cats are a nuisance (blessing).
The advantages of being a hermit.
“Look for the silver lining.”
Today’s slang.
The value of pessimism.
Choosing a hat.
Different ways of washing dishes.
Telling fortunes.
On a dog.
The art of being friendly.
If I had twenty-four hours to live.
What it means to be poor.
Saturday night.
Things are tough all over.
Skeleton in the closet.
Cosmetics: theoretical and applied.
Reading for pleasure.
What is tact?
Amateur dramatics.
Mother picks a school for Mortimer.
Brotherly love.
My idol.
What is a dog’s life?
How intelligent is a horse?
Baby-tending, a harrowing job.
If anyone told the truth.
It’s fun to observe people.
If we could read each other’s minds
They did it again
Facing facts in daily life.
A good spectator.
Amusement crazy.
Horror movies.
The early worm passes more examinations.
A recipe for a satisfactory life.
Christmas (holiday) gifts are a necessary evil.
A tale told by . . . (some relative).
The last call.
Once upon a time.
Dangerous living.
Chivalry is still alive.
“The best laid schemes. . . .”
Books which have become movies.
Is it important to know one’s weaknesses?
Clothes do not make the man.
Bad habits and how to enjoy them.
The picture of life one gets from movies.
Counting chickens before they are hatched.
Useful pets.
Good taste.
Liars should have good memories.
It’s a wonderful life.
A fly in the ointment.
The jolly company.
Green pastures.
Practical people.
The tables turned.
Old age.
Things old and new.
The key.
A pipe and slippers.
Come and get it.
The unknown.
The circus comes to town.
Better late than never.
Radio jingles.
A pair of gloves.
Life on the farm.
Life in the city.
On hearing an alarm clock.
My correspondence.
The value of pets.
Superstitious practices.
Who is my neighbor?
Misleading labels.
What is success in life?
What is sportsmanship?
Things old and new.
The key.
A pipe and slippers.
Come and get it.
The unknown.
The circus comes to town.
Better late than never.
Radio jingles.
A pair of gloves.
Life on the farm.
Life in the city.
On hearing an alarm clock.
My correspondence.
The value of pets.
Superstitious practices.
Who is my neighbor?
Misleading labels.
What is success in life?
What is sportsmanship?
My definition of tolerance.
What is humor?
What liberty means to me.
The life and times of …
My favorite computer game.
Computers are for the birds!
Food glorious food.
Freedom and me.
Pets resemble their owners or visa versa?

Character Sketch Topics

Jukebox addict.
Taxi driver.
The practical joker.
The proud parent.
The “successful” man or woman.
Master of ceremonies.
The American woman.
Radio personality.
The drunkard.
The student.
Preacher’s son (or daughter).
Student waiter.
Camp counselor.
The movie detective.
The local policeman.
Teachers who bore me.
Little old lady.
A personal appearance.
Meet Joe Doe (the average American).
My most interesting friend.
The person I admire most.
The man who never had a chance.
The most abused public servant.
A historical character.
An interesting public personality.
A character from fiction I should like to meet.
My favorite hero/heroine.
Brothers under the skin.
Eyes of blue.
From the other side of the tracks.
A person I have almost forgotten.
My friend,… (someone of a different race or nationality).
A person I can’t bear.
My favorite teacher (relative, commentator).
The most wonderful person I know.
A first-rate teacher.
My distinguished ancestor.
My best friend.
A person who has influenced my life.
What I learned from Dad. (In defense of Dad.) (My Dad.)
The most prominent citizen in my hometown.
A person I will never forget.
A brief sketch of myself (any age, any mood).
Meet the Doc.

Fantasies of childhood.
How I’d change a book if I had written it.
The house of tomorrow.
I wish I had built……
I wish I had known…..
I wish I had lived in the time of….
If I were a inanimate object.
I wish I had witnessed…
A letter I would like to write ( but never send).
My dream vacation.
My trip to the moon.
My medieval romance.
Land of no sleep.
Then the computer said to me…
A dream inside a dream.
All the money in the world.

Description Topics

The most beautiful place I know.
A tropical sunset.
Spring in the country.
Scenic beauty nearby.
A storm. (A snow storm.)
Across the United States by commuter train.
A scene for a photographer.
What my study table looks like.
The main street of my home town (describing stores, people, etc.)
Classroom impression.
Getting a meal in a crowded restaurant.
An old shop.
A plan for a recreation room.
The state (county) fair.
Interesting people or unusual customs in . . . .
Sounds at night.
In a strange land (real or imaginary).
With pen and brush.
Interior of a business house (barber shop, music store, etc.).
Setting of a novel or a play.
A lonesome road.
Colors in everyday life.
An impressive sight.
Rural England (France, Belgium, etc.) as I saw it.
Winter in . . . .
A local building (interior or exterior).
Full moon.
School sounds.
The most horrible sight I ever saw.
A meal at a quick-lunch counter.
A typical railway station.
Home of a famous person.
My favorite haunt.
An efficient kitchen.
A favorite restaurant.
Saturday night in . . . .
Farm sale.
A great engineering (or other) project.
A street scene.
Strolling down Michigan Boulevard (Fifth Avenue, Main Street, etc.).
The hometown drugstore.
A trip on a 747.
Sunday dinner. (Family dinner.)
The auto of the future.
Our home.
A mysterious sound.
Bargain day.
The art of seeing things.
The well-dressed man or woman.
The most disreputable building I ever saw.
An interesting holiday in . . . .
Scene after victory.
Cheering section.
The look and feel of dusk.
A train whistle.
Is there such a thing as silence?
Inventions I haven’t yet perfected.
Write a letter in the role of a character from a book recently read.
Hunting a unicorn.
Inside Mrs. Murphy’s purse.
The window.
The American of the seventies.
A college campus.
Customs in our school.
My room.
The ideal home, room.
Current costumes.
My mathematics class.
Seven o’clock Saturday night.
Description of a foreign city.
The music . . . festival.
The ideal Illinois farm.
Thanksgiving kitchen (or table).
An athlete’s view of the opposing team.
Your garden in the fall (or any other season).
A drop of water.
A classroom bell.
An airplane overhead.
A bus going uphill.
An incident through the eyes of an inanimate object.
How to bathe a dragon.
How to eat a grapefruit.
The king on the mountain.
Automobile horns.
Comparison of two photographers of the same subject.
A dance.
Description of Christmas card.
A game.
The inner city.
A list of choices, such as, wall, coat, etc. to write an impression of.
My sense of smell- I would know it with my eyes closed.
Nights of the streets of . . .
This picture makes me think or feel like . . .
Profiles in courage.
View from a window (various windows and neighborhoods).
What color is love?
What is a man?
Who is they?
The year 2222.
Today’s heroes.
Description of a dream (nightmare) – real or fictional.
I love San Francisco (any city).
Kinds of doors.
This music reflects . . . .
My car.
My favorite building.
My world would include . . .
Walls and fences.
What does happiness taste like?