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A Mirror Into History


Subject: Arts & Humanities: Language Arts
Grades: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Brief Description

Students research the lives of historical figures. Students use a format (provided) to create poems about someone familiar -- themselves! Then they use the same format to write poems about people from history. They will see that they are not so different from the great people of our past and present.


Students learn to research, identify with others, and apply information in poetic ways.


autobiography, biography, compare, contrast, research

Materials Needed

  • Internet access (optional)
  • pencils
  • paper
  • encyclopedias
  • biographies printed from the Internet
  • a selection of autobiographies and biographies from the library
  • digital pictures of students
  • pictures of the famous people researched
  • construction paper
  • glue

Lesson Plan

After students learn about autobiographies, have students create autobiographical poems using the format that follows:

  1. ____________ (first name)

  2. ____, ____, ____ (three personal characteristics or physical traits)

  3. Brother or sister of _____(or son or daughter of)

  4. Who loves ______, _____, and _____? (three people, things, or ideas)

  5. Who feels _____ about _____ (one emotion about one thing)

  6. Who needs ____, _____, and ____(three items people need)

  7. Who gives ____, _____, and ____(three objects people share)

  8. Who fears ____, _____, and ____(three items)

  9. Who would like to see ______(one place or person)

  10. Who dreams of _______(one item or idea)

  11. A student of _____ (your school or teacher's name)

  12. _______(nickname or repeat your first name)

When students finish filling out information about themselves, introduce them to biographies of famous people. Each student can research a historical person of interest. When their research is complete, students can adapt the familiar autobiography poem format to create biographical poems about the famous people they have learned about. Some wording may need to be changed to fit the newly formed biography poem. When the biographical poems are complete, students might mount their pictures with pictures of the subjects researched and the poems together on construction paper. Display student work.


Students use the information in the autobiographical and biographical poems as source material as they write essays comparing and/or contrasting themselves with the famous people who are the subjects of their poems.

Lesson Plan Source

The inspiration for this lesson is an autobiographical poem format found on the Web site of the Poetry Pals Internet Poetry Publishing Project.

Submitted By

Monique Arnold, Bremond ISD, Bremond, Texas

Originally published 12/7/2001
Last updated 03/28/2008
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