Elementary English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Upper Elementary
Apple Pages, Ipads, Lesson Plan, utah-ipad-lesson
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
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Education Standards

5th grade Biography Unit

5th grade Biography Unit


This lesson will teach students to write a biography and allow them to use technology to create a flyer using the Pages app on their ipads. 


Students will be writing a biography in an in person lesson that requires them to learn and understand steps of a biography, publish a written copy, and publish a pages document on their ipads. 


Background for Teachers

To teach this lesson you will need an understanding of the 5th grade writing process as well as what needs to be taught to teach biography writing. You will also need a basic understanding of how to use pages.

Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

Students will be able to write a 5 paragraph biography and present the life story of someone of their choice to the class using Pages on the ipad. They will be able to introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically. 

Writing Standard 2

Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.


Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.


Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.


Link ideas within and across categories of information using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., in contrast, especially).


Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.


Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.

Writing Standard 6

With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.


Step 2 - Planning Instruction

Ask the class, “Has anyone ever inspired you before? Who was it and why were they inspiring?” Make a list on the board and discuss the common traits these people had that were inspiring. Then ask, “Has anyone famous, or in history inspired you?” Using this website as an indoruction pick a few bio’s to summarize or read to your class. Next, tell them their assignment will be to do a biography report. 

Gather biography books from your school library of various people in history, pop culture, sports, or other people you think your students might be interested in researching. Show your students the books and allow them to choose the person they want to write their biography about. You could also have them choose a person before your class library time and then have them select a book when they go to the library. 

Provide a list of important people in history for your students in case they are struggling to think of someone. 


Step 3 - Instruction

Websites: and have great resources for this lesson

Using the website and books allow students to do research and gather information using a graphic organizers. Fill one out as an example in front of your class. Once their information is gathered they can begin their essay outline. 

Information to look for while brainstorming: 


Date of Birth:

Where were they born:

Date of Death:

Early life and history:

Why this person is famous: 

Interesting facts:

Major Accomplishments:

Quote from the person:

How has this person inspired you?

Once students have researched and brainstormed the answer to these questions they may begin writing their biography report. Each report should include an introduction, 3 body paragraphs, and a closing. Model each step with a person you have chosen to show students exactly what is expected and help students who may be struggling. If any students need accommodations you could have them do the same person you are doing.  

Introduction: Introduce your topic, and the information that will be discussed in your body paragraphs. Start with a short story, questions, fact, quote, or interesting statement about your person.

Body Paragraphs: Each body paragraph should highlight information mentioned in your introduction as well as the facts you have gathered. This is also where you can include paragraph heading, charts, graphs, and tables. 

Conclusion: Wrap up your statements and thoughts here. Reemphasize important key points in a new and fresh way. 

Creating a Page on the iPad: 

Students will use ipads to gather pictures of the person they chose to write about. They will then use the pages app on the iPad to create an informational sheet to share with the class. The page must include pictures, the person's name you wrote about, date of birth, date of death (if applicable), what makes them famous, a few interesting facts, a quote from the famous person, and a blurb on why this person inspired you. 

When students are finished with their page they will find a partner to collaborate with. Using the collaboration button in the app students will send their page to a partner. They will need to find 3 compliments they can give about their page and at least one suggestion. There might be more than one suggestion but students need to look for 3 things to say they did well and at least 1 thing they could change or improve. Watch for spelling errors or punctuation errors. 

Once all students are done they will present their page to the class. It is fun to suggest that students dress up as their famous person when they present. 


Step 4 - Assessments

Attached is a Rubric for the students 5 paragraph biography as well as the Rubric for their Pages presentation. Part of their assessment will also be presenting to the class. This is attached to the media presentation rubric.


Pages Presentation for Biography              Name:

Student created Pages presentation in the iPad that aligned with their biography.      /1
Student presented to the class.      /5
Student used creativity and expression in their presentation.      /1
Students’ work was free of typing, grammatical, and spelling errors.      /1
The page includes pictures.      /1
The name of the famous person is clearly posted.      /1
Important dates are listed: birth, death, etc      /1
We know why they are famous.      /1
Interesting facts are shared.      /1
Quote      /1
Why did they inspire you?      /1
Total:      /15