Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Living Biographies (Multimedia Project)

Carol Rine
Bay District Schools


Students create a multimedia slide presentation containing facts, graphics, and sounds relating to a biographical figure based on their reading of a biography or an autobiography. Students present their slide presentations before the class.


The student clarifies understanding by rereading, self-correction, summarizing, checking other sources, and class or group discussion.

The student uses a variety of reading materials to develop personal preferences in reading.

The student organizes information before writing according to the type and purpose of writing.

The student drafts and revises writing that -is focused, purposeful, reflects insight into the writing situation;-conveys a sense of completeness and wholeness with adherence to the main idea;-has an organizational pattern that provide for a logical progression of ideas;-has support that is substantial, specific, revelant, concrete, and/or illustrative;-demonstrates a commitment to and an involvement with the subject;-has clarity in presentation of ideas;uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the purpose of the paper;demonstrates a command of language (word choice) with freshness of expression;has varied sentence structure and sentences that are complete except when fragments are used and purposefully; andhas few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, and punctuation.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling;-correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and semicolons;-correct common usage, including subject/verb agreement, common noun/pronoun agreement, common possessive forms, and with a variety of sentence structures,including parallel structure; and-correct formatting.

The student organizes information using alphabetical, chronological, and numerical systems.

The student selects and uses appropriate formats for writing, including narrative, persuasive, and expository formats, according to the intended audience, purpose, and occasion.

The student uses electronic technology including databases and software to gather information and communicate new knowledge.

The student selects and listens to readings of fiction, drama, nonfiction, and informational presentations according to personal preferences.

The student uses responsive listening skills, including paraphrasing, summarizing, and asking questions for elaboration and clarification.

The student speaks for various occasions, audiences, and purposes, including conversations, discussions, projects, and informational, persuasive, or technical presentations.

The student incorporates audiovisual aids in presentations.


-Software: Multimedia slide presentation software such as Microsoft PowerPoint or Hyperstudio

-Equipment: One or more classroom computers with Internet capabilities, a signal converter, a scanner, and a big screen TV

-Biographies and autobiographies: Provide a classroom library of biographies and autobiographies, or take the students to the library to access the biographies section in the library.


1. Prepare a book talk on a favorite bio/autobiography.
2. Reserve bio/autobiographies section for student check-out from the library.
3. Sign up classes to go to the library for book check.
4. Provide a hard copy of the -Living Biography- assignment for students.
5. Create a rotation schedule to allow students two sessions at the computer to create their multimedia -Living Biography- presentations.
6. Provide a hard copy of this schedule to students.
7. Ask students to record their schedule days.
8. Create a presentation schedule for the oral delivery of these -Living Biography- presentations. Obtain or create the assessments for the oral presentations, multimedia slide presentations, and notes on -Living Biographies.- Some examples are provided in the associated files section of this lesson.


1. Open the class session with a book talk on your favorite biography or autobiography. Lead students in a class discussion about what they know about this genre of literature. Pose the question, -What are the characteristics of a bio/autobiography?-
2. Give students the following -Living Biographies- assignment with a due date.
*While reading the bio/autobiography, students create chapter by chapter fact cards about their biographical figures. Provide index cards for students if needed. Students should provide brief statements because the cards will later serve as cue cards during the oral delivery component of the multimedia slide presentation. A majority of reading should be done independently at home; however, schedule some class time for reading the novels silently.
*Regular class sessions will be ongoing; however, based on the rotation schedule provided by the teacher, individual students will be working on the computer to complete their multimedia slide presentations. Depending on the number of computers the classroom has, the teacher will designate a due date for completion of the presentations. For example, a one-computer classroom could use a two person rotation and give every student two sessions on the computer in two months time. Possibly, students could go in a first-come-first-serve basis in the order that they complete their reading.
*Multimedia slide presentation requirements: A total of six slides to include (1) a -Title slide- with name, class, title of the bio/autobiography, and title of the slide presentation (2) a -Graphic slide- to contain either a graphic downloaded from the Internet, a hand-drawn scanned-in picture, or a scanned-in photograph--if any sounds are to be present in the slides, this is the slide that should contain them (they are optional) (3) an -Early days- slide to discuss the early events in the life of the biographical figure (4) a -Major events- slide to discuss the important events that either impacted the biographical figure or led to that figure's impact on society (5) a -Where are they now?- slide to discuss the biographical figure's death, current life, or future expectations, and (6) a -Reflection- slide that details the student's opinion on the book and on the person they chose to study.
*Students will present their slide presentations orally. Classmates are expected to take notes on each of the biographical figures presented.
3. Demonstrate the software to the class AND an example of a -Living Biography- multimedia slide presentation to the class.
4. Give students a copy of the rotation schedule for their access to the presentation software. Tell them to record their particular dates to use the computer.
5. Students select a biography/autobiography to read based on personal preference.
6. Students read the books and produce their fact cards.
7. Students rotate on and off the computer according to the rotation schedule provided them at the beginning of the assignment.
8. Guide the oral presentations of these -Living Biographies- during the final week of this unit. That date has been predetermined and given to the students ahead of time.
9. Assess students in three ways:
A. Oral Presentation Rubric
B. Multimedia Slide Presentation Rubric
C. Notes on -Living Biographies-


Biography / Autobiography Slide & Oral Presentation Checklist
Student's Name: __________________________________ Class: _______________ Date: _______________

Slide #1:
_____ (Student name) + _____ (Class) + _____ (Book title)
_____ (Presentation title)
Slide #2:
Slide #3:
_____(Information regarding early life of the figure)
Slide #4:
_____(Information regarding major events in the life of the figure)
Slide #5:
_____(Information regarding death, current life, or future expectations of the figure)
Slide #6:
_____(Personal reflection on the book and the biographical figure by the student)
Overall techniques of presentation:
_____ (presentation reflects a bio/auobiography chosen based on personal preference of student) +
_____(cue cards are summaries of chapters) +
_____(presentation exhibits the traits of a final product; prewriting, organization, editing, and revision)
_____(presentation is in appropriate order based on the events of the figure's life)
_____(presentation exhibits preplanning in regard to audience, purpose, & occasion)
Oral presentation:
_____(use of cue cards) + _____(clear speech) +_____ (eye contact)
Extra points:
_____(presentation contains sound effects)

Each slide is worth 10 points for a total of 60 points.
The overall presentation items are worth 5 points each for a total of 25 points.
The oral presentation is worth 15 points by itself.

Total Grade for Presentation ______

Assessment of notes would be categorized in one of three categories:

An -A- score would be given to notes that are paraphrased, highly appropriate and totally accurate.

A -B- score would be given to notes that are mostly paraphrased, generally appropriate and/or accurate.

A -C- score would be given to notes that are paraphrased at points, somewhat appropriate and/or accurate.

Note: Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.


Extensions might include:
1. Have students complete this assignment on paper as a book report rather than a multimedia presentation.
2. Have students wear costumes and use props to simulate their bio/autobiographical figure in realistic portrayal.

Web Links

Web supplement for Living Biographies
Anne Frank

Web supplement for Living Biographies
Kids Vista

Web supplement for Living Biographies

Web supplement for Living Biographies
Seattle Times

Web supplement for Living Biographies

Web supplement for Living Biographies

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