Students love having choices, but they may not love writing reports. I’m going to share how using CHOICE you can watch your elementary students eagerly work on and create some amazing biography projects. Use student enthusiasm to integrate and teach deep concepts at the same time with the focus on learning more about a famous person during a biography report project.
There are so many educational standards to cover during the course of your year but by integrating them into a fun and engaging project, you can do it! Keep reading!
A well-designed project-based biography project can integrate and cover lots of content standards, including:
·Reading – a novel at his/her own reading level and comprehending the non-fiction text
·Writing – note taking, rough draft writing, final copy writing, poetry writing, listing sources used for research
·Speaking – public speaking during a wax museum event or other presentation can let students demonstrate the speaking standards to show content, organization, use of proper language, and having a good delivery
·Citing Sources – writing a bibliography of sources using proper format
·Math and Art – Students will draw their famous person, using math to measure their own face dimensions and then draw their person’s face to the proper proportional scale
Use learning about famous people as the motivator. If you ask students to tell you who they would want to learn more about, you’ve almost got them hooked. YES! They willingly dig in and get to work because they chose the person. It’s so easy but it works.
Allow students to read a novel to learn all about their favorite person. Make sure the book is the proper reading level. There are lots of biography series books and they make a great item to begin collecting for your classroom library. Here are a few places to find good biography books for elementary students to get you started. (Note, I’m not making any money from providing these links).
“Who Was . . . ?” Series – a great series for elementary readers
“The Story of . . . “ Series – has various age ranges for each book
ABDO Books – search their catalog by reading level, interest, Lexile rating and more!
Introduce the Research Project Have students take notes while reading about their famous person. Teach student the importance of writing down books and online sources they used and have them create a bibliography.
of writing down books and online sources they used and have them create a bibliography.
I created a website for my students to use for biography research that includes 125 famous people with web links pre-selected. Students can use any of the websites on the web page built for the this project to research famous person. This helped ease my mind that students would be researching and are safe using the Internet.
Ask students to find important dates in the person’s life. I give students the choice of recording a minimum 8 events, and by doing this, you may find that many students will go above and beyond the minimum and find 10 or more events.
When the report components have been completed, students may be losing enthusiasm to keep going BUT, give them another choice and watch them perk back up! Give students a choice of final copy paper to use. Yes, something that simple works! You can offer students choice of paper with a fun scroll border, paper with a barbed wire look, paper that allows them to color the border, paper with different sized line spacing, or maybe it’s choosing a background color for their final digital biography project. Choice helps motivate students!
Students enjoy having control over their learning. Give it to them while YOU present a curriculum-rich project that reaches the standards you need to.
If you’re looking for a complete BIOGRAPHY REPORT PROJECT in print and digital format especially for grades 3-5 with everything you and your students need for a print and digital use, you can see it in my TpT store.