Life Maps 

Main Idea and Details  (5-6)




Objective:  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.  

          After they 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 along.

          However, before 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.

          I couldn’t 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!


*Just 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 things.  


















































Making an effort to increase student learning by integrating  drama will help children gain meaningful context to their lives.