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Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

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HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Getting to Know You: Developing Short Biographies to Build Community

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 45-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Erika Griffin

Trumbull, Connecticut


International Literacy Association


Materials and Technology

Student Interactives





  • Computers with Internet access
  • LCD projector (optional)
  • Overhead projector and transparency


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Cube Creator

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Cube Creator

The interactive Cube Creator helps students identify and summarize key elements. It can be used as a prewriting or postreading activity.


Bio Cube

Grades   3 – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Bio Cube

Bio Cube is a useful summarizing tool that helps students identify and list key elements about a person for a biography or autobiography.


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1. Visit and familiarize yourself with the Bio-Cube. Students will work in pairs to use this tool, so if you do not have a set of classroom computers with Internet access, you will want to reserve a session in your school’s computer lab (see Session 2). Make sure the tool works on your classroom or lab computers and bookmark it.

Note: You will need the most recent version of Flash to run this tool. If it is not working, please visit our Technical Support page for a free download.

2. Complete a Bio-Cube using your biographical information. You will want to keep the information brief so that it will fit on each square of the cube. You will also want to model ideas that students can relate to. (You might choose some from your childhood for this reason.) Some suggestions are as follows:

  • Personal background: Where and when you were born, where you have lived, and your family information

  • Personality traits: Two or three traits (e.g., caring, outgoing, animal-lover)

  • Significance: Something you have done that you think is important in the world or to your family (e.g., volunteering, tutoring, helping a neighbor or friend in need, saving an injured animal, doing chores at home)

  • Biggest obstacle: One event that was challenging and that made you stronger (e.g., learning to play soccer again after you broke your leg or struggling to get your grade up after you got an F on a test)

  • Important quotation: Something you say often or a favorite quote and where it comes from
3. Print out and make one transparency of the Bio-Cube Planning Sheet and copies on paper for each student in your class. [Note: You may want to wait until after Session 1 to make copies for students (see Session 1, Step 6).]

4. If you have a classroom computer with Internet access, arrange to use an LCD projector during Session 1 (see Step 6). If you do not have access to an LCD projector, print a copy of a blank Bio-Cube. You can do this by entering your name and then hitting the “Print” button before you fill the cube out. Make a transparency and print a copy on paper for modeling purposes.

5. Decide how to pair students for this activity. You can let students select partners, or you can assign them. If you are assigning partners, you may want to consider the following suggestions:

  • Pair stronger academic students with students who need support.

  • Pair students with different backgrounds and interests.

  • Try to pair opposites (e.g., quiet students with more outgoing ones).

  • Provide support for second-language students by placing them with two other students or pairing students who speak the same language together.




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