Students will get to know themselves by exploring their lives
by using a timeline and creating a map from their birth to the
present. Students will
also get to know their classmates and make connections among each
other physically, emotionally, mentally, and/or culturally.
Students will use symbols to represent special events.
Using these symbols, students will pantomime a gesture to
represent that event as well.
Grade Level: 5/6th grade at all levels
As the year
begins, I usually start out with some fun writing activities to get
them motivated about writing and being writers.
The activity is called “Life Maps,” in which students
think about important, exciting, or tragic events that stand out in
their lives. They begin
with the year they were born and work their way up to the current
year. Usually, students
pick a memory for each new year, but others choose two events that
occurred and skip other uneventful years.
choose their events (and figure what year they were born in)
students design their own lifelines or maps in any fashion they
please. They are also
to draw a symbol to represent that event as well.
In the past, I had them partner up and present a peer’s
timeline. This year,
since I’ve completed this class, I changed the latter part to
students pantomiming their 10 events in order.
Each student then presents his/her life map to the class
through pantomiming, along with showing their symbols as they went
I did this, we worked on different pantomiming activities including
the number (0-9) pantomime within a group, signing a gesture for
their names, and the magic box, in which we did in the Lesley Drama
class. Therefore, they
felt comfortable doing this and understood what was expected in the
Life Map assignment.
explain in words how well it went and how great the lesson went.
Students got to know each other better, and I personally felt
it created a sense of community and togetherness.
Some were so humorous, touching, and meaningful to us all!
What a wonderful assignment to begin the year with.
A few students ask me if we are going to do more things like
we’ve done with the Life Maps. I tell them, “Most definitely!
Wasn’t that fun?” The
smiles and questions prove to me that indeed it was!
to add on. I’ve
started to use the signing symbols for reading vocabulary words in
my reading class, which are lower skilled students. It really helps
them remember the meaning of the words. They
at first were nervous but are finally getting into the swing of