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How can we make a memory live on forever?

Older generations have so much to teach us—if we take the time to listen. Every community has people who have lived long, full lives with valuable stories, knowledge, and skills to share. In this project, students will make friends with a resident of a retirement home. They will listen to the story of their new friend’s life, and craft a biography capturing the moments that made their life meaningful!

Imagine if teachers across the nation helped students connect with and learn from previous generations. What a powerful new perspective they would gain on life!

Project Learning Targets

Lesson 1: Students learn the importance of sensitivity in relation to aging.

Lesson 2: Students make connections between young and old, then and now.

Lesson 3: Students relate to cross-generational audiences through play. 

Lesson 4: Students craft hand-written letters to learn more about their senior friend.

Lesson 5: Students learn the characteristics of biographies by examining models.

Lesson 6: Students use graphic organizers to prepare their thoughts for writing.

Lesson 7: Students accurately describe the memories of their senior friend.

Lesson 8: Students think iteratively to refine their biographies.

Lesson 9: Students present biography books to their friends.

For lesson descriptions, download the project overview.

What is included with your project? 

Sample Online Resources
  • The Power of Handwritten Letters (YouTube                2:53) 
  • ”Make a Memory” Game 
  • Personal Letter Examples 
  • Literary Biography Graphic Organizer 
  • Cyber-Seniors Documentary Trailer (YouTube              2:39) 
  • And so much more!
Kit Supplies
  • Wifrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox
  • Beach Balls
  • Thank-You Cards
  • Decorative Paper
  • Decorative Tape
  • English Language Arts: Determine the Theme of a Story
  • Math: Number Sense and Equivalent Fractions
  • Science: Patterns of the Night Sky
  • Social Studies: Life in Different Eras
  • Social-Emotional Learning: Relationship Skills and Social Awareness
  • Discuss Aging with an Expert
  • Meet a Historian
  • Present Your Published Heirloom
Book Club

Conduct a book club with another class doing this project to trade tips and tricks for writing your biographies.

  • Cooperative Learning
  • Differentiating Instruction

To see a complete list of what’s included in your project, download the project overview.

About the Author

Elisa Waingort

5th Grade Teacher
W.O. Mitchell School/Calgary Board of Edu.
Calgary, AB

Each Blue Apple Project Includes:

  • Engaging lessons designed to make learning memorable, meaningful, and fun
  • PBL Supports such as: real-world connections, collaboration options, cross-curricular content, and just-in-time professional development
  • Time-saving links to dozens of curated online resources
  • Kit of supplies that bring your project to life
  • Access to a Project Coach to ask questions and share ideas... you're never alone!

Are you a DIY-er?
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Don’t have time for DIY?
$125