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.
Here's a few comments from teachers who've loved this project. 💖