Thursday, March 2, 2017

Biography Reports That Even Your Reluctant Readers and Writers Will Love

Are you looking to get your reluctant upper elementary readers and writers begging you to write a biography report and cite sources?   Just turn the topic around!   Ask students choose the name of a famous person and BECOME the person and then write about his or her life!  Tell students the famous people will be coming to your school and telling people about their lives during the speech day or wax museum event.  You'll be amazed at what a difference it makes for students and better yet, for you!

Give students the power and control over their research report and you'll be glad you did.

Tell your students it is their job to learn all about a famous person because they will BECOME the famous person.  This simple task changes the research process from drudgery to students begging for time to work on their projects.  That's music to a teacher's ears!  Everyone wants students who are eager to learn and it's easy if you release control and give them choices.

Set the stage and create excitement!  There's a lot of great biographies out there at 3rd, 4th and 5th grade reading level you can use to integrate reading, writing, public speaking, and art.  Get library books and display them in your classroom along with a HUGE list of names you think students would like to learn about. Then leave a spot for students to add their own famous people.

After students have chosen names, it's time to begin reading their novels and conducting Internet research. Conducting random website surfing isn't the best (or safest) to do with your whole class.  I had large classes, which made monitoring where students were on the web difficult, so I created biography web pages for over 143 famous people for students to use.  The rule is simple.  Students can go to the websites on the web page.  If you click the "back" button, you need to be back on our biography page.  Simple! That way you can feel better that students won't land on an inappropriate page that you might have to hear about and deal with.

These are the famous people I built web pages for to use with students.
I taught biographies for years and put all of the materials in one spot for teachers. My biography report set on TpT has absolutely everything you will need from start to finish, plus access to the link to my website collection.  Note taking forms, rough draft paper, final copy paper, report requirements, scoring guide options, parent letters and invitation to the Wax Museum event and more are included. Since we're not all alike, the set is editable so you can customize it to meet YOUR needs.

Here's a few comments from teachers who've loved this project. 💖
Have fun letting the reins go and watching your students take off!


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