Learning Area: Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Visual Arts
Time: Two or three 30-minute periods
Grades: Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5
Students write and illustrate autobiographies on 3D boxes. What have they experienced up to now and what are their predictions for their future? Students interview family and friends, then let their imaginations soar. This is great for students to introduce themselves to new classmates and engage in Future Ready thinking.
- Paper (construction and white)
- Crayola Crayons
- Crayola Washable Markers
- Recycled small boxes
- Crayola Glue Sticks
- Pointed Tip Scissors
- Optional: Crayola Colors of the World™ Markers, Crayola Colors of Kindness™ crayons
CONNECT the autobiography genre with students’ personal lives and aspirations. Since an autobiography is a life story written by a person living that story, this lesson helps students with individual character and identity development. Start by asking students to select and read some influential people’s autobiographies. Then have them decide what would be included in their own autobiography.
RESPOND to a set of questions, some are suggested here. But urge students to generate their own list. Encourage them to use their questions to interview family and friends who can share important details and funny stories about their lives:
- What was I like when I was very young? What details and funny stories do you remember about me, as an infant, toddler, or preschooler?
- What are some characteristics and strengths that you have observed in me today that could influence my future?
Students should develop additional questions for their interviews.
After students have completed their interviews, ask them to imagine their future and predict what their lives will be like in 10 or 20 years.
- Where would they like to live?
- What would they like to be doing?
- What are their dreams for the future?
CREATE a 3D autobiography by covering each panel of a small, recycled box with a written and illustrated part of their story.
- Measure each of the sides and the top of the box using conventional or non-standard measures. Then measure, cut, and glue construction paper onto the panels.
- Write and illustrate autobiographies on smaller pieces of white paper that will be glued on top of the construction paper which will frame each part of the story. Use writing conventions they have learned, as well as color, line, shapes, and forms to focus attention to parts of the story.
- Add colorful illustrations, using markers and crayons to decorate the box and bring parts of the story to life.
PRESENT autobiographies to classmates. As students describe their early years, characteristics, and strengths, and share their future dreams, ask them to notice patterns. Who may have grown up in the same state or country? Who lives with or nearby extended family? How are their future dreams similar and different?
- Urge students to explore the media center for many different types of autobiographies, including video and digital media. What important lessons did they draw from autobiographies of others? How are the students’ lives similar to and different from those they read or heard?
- Help students prepare for the interviews by customizing their questions in advance. Students could collaborate with classmates to compose original interview questions and practice asking them. Urge them to focus on what they want to know and what would be interesting to share.
- Reinforce reading and writing skills by doing this lesson again, creating Biography Boxes, that are focused on historical figures or members of the community.