Teacher/Students in Role – Biography

Topic: Biography 
CLI Strategy: Teacher/Students in Role 
Subject: ELA
Grade: Upper Elementary 

Students will be able to: Use knowledge of a historical figure to help create a pitch for a movie about that person’s life. 


Prepping for Role 

  • Explain to students that you have a friend that works on movies who urgently needs their help.
  • Tell students that when you “go into role” that you will be the assistant director on a film and they will be experts on making movies.

Going into Role

  • Count down from three to zero. When you get to zero, you will put on a hat or take off lanyard to show that you are in role. Students should sit like expert movie makers to show they are in role.

Introduce the problem

  • Explain that your producer is expecting a pitch for a new movie about (Historical Figure) and that the head director is terribly sick. You need their help to create a pitch for the movie.

Solving the problem – Tableau

  • Ask students to help you think about the important events that should go into the film and what order they would go in. Break into groups and create tableaus to show these events.
  • Ask students to help you think about a tagline. What do people really need to know or remember about this historical figure.
  • Combine tableaus with tagline to create a mini trailer for the pitch.
  • Thank students for all of their help.


  • Who did we help today? What role did you play?
  • How did we help them? What did we need to know about (historical figure)?
  • Other than making a movie, why else do you think it’s important for people to know about this person?

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