Publishing the Living History

3, 4, 5

Students publish their Living History books, naming their books in a way that focuses on the most meaningful thing. They use interview notes to write and illustrate the biography of their senior friend. They use appropriate English language arts and visual arts skills. 

Lesson Rating 
PrintThree to Four Forty-Five Minute Class Periods

The learners will:

  • use writing skills to write a biography.
  • plan the layout of pages, including about the author, the edited story, images, and an optional name poem.
  • Publish a final version of the book to be given to their senior friend. 
  • Good quality white paper 
  • Crayons and/or colored pencils
  • Clear report binders to protect the finished book
Home Connection 

Ask for volunteers to help with editing and publishing the final book.


  1. Anticipatory Set: Tell the class that they are going to be authors with a real audience. They are writing a “Living History” book about their senior friend using their notes and experiences. When the books are done, they will be shared with their senior friends.

  2. Students work cooperatively with their partners and use interview notes to write the rough copy of the biography. They will write the details they learned about their senior friends in sequential order. The following guidelines may help them organize and write their books:

    • Use appropriate language arts writing skills to compose this book.
    • Put clear details in chronological order. 
    • Write with quality, knowing that this is for a valued audience and purpose…to publish a biography to be presented to that person.
    • Use story boards to organize their material and plan sketches of the illustrations (see handout Living History Story Board). Include the author autobiographies.
    • The rough draft may be edited by a family member and/or the teacher.
    • Students type the final copy neatly with illustrations (map optional).
    • Draft, edit, and neatly design a final version of a name poem describing their senior friend -- include in the book. (See handout Living History Name Poem)
    • The color copy will be given to the senior friend in a protective report cover. Make black-and-white copies for the students (and the classroom).

Students evaluate their own work using the Living History Rubric (handout). The teacher evaluates the books using the same rubric.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 05. Integrating the Service Experience into Learning
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe the process of program evaluation.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Evaluate progress on the service-learning project before, during, and after the project.
      3. Benchmark E.3 Identify outcomes from the service.