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 Plan and Resources

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.

For K–8 content connections, download the content correlations.

Online Resources

Interactive Games and Activities

  • Alternate Graphic Organizers
  • Blue Apple Baseball Cards Activity
  • Blue Apple Senior Meeting Ideas*
  • Literary Biography Graphic Organizer
  • Make a Memory Game
  • Personal Letter Template

Websites and Videos

  • Video: A Child’s Christmas in Wales
  • Video: Binding Amazing Books
  • Video: Crow Call
  • Video: Cyber-Seniors Documentary Trailer
  • Video: Daily Life and Popular Culture in the 1970s
  • Video: Elements of a Biography
  • Video: History Brief: Daily Life in the 1930s
  • Video: Me…Jane, by Patrick McDonnell
  • Video: Mid Century Home Life – the 1950s
  • Video: Summer 1964: A Day in the Life of a 9-Year-Old
  • Video: The Century: America’s Time – 1941-1945: Homefront
  • Video: The Noisy Paint Box
  • Video: The Power of Handwritten Letters
  • Video: Through my Eyes
  • Video: Video on Age and Aging
  • Video: What happens when a nursing home and a day care center share a roof?
  • Video: When I was Young in the Mountains
  • Video: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, read by Bradley Whitford*

Additional Resources

  • Biography Editing and Revising Checklist*
  • Blue Apple Press Release Tips
  • Elements of a Biography Guide
  • Home Letter
  • Modern American History for Brilliant Young Students
  • Modern American History: A Timeline
  • Modern American History: A Timeline Example
  • Personal Letter Examples
  • Press Release
  • Recommended Book List
  • Reflection Journal
  • Star Charts
  • Student Self-Assessment Rubric
  • Teacher Assessment Rubric
  • Twelve-Page Book Map
  • Video-Chatting with Seniors Guide
  • Virtual Student Edition

All lessons include:

About the Author

Elisa Waingort

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

Each Blue Apple Project Includes: