Through the years, I’ve seen biography projects organized hundreds of different ways. OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean. Sometimes students research past U.S. presidents, other times it’s famous inventors or authors, and every other topic under the sun. Whatever your approach might be, one of the headaches I found with organizing a project such as this, is the sign up process. It never fails, you have 2 or 3 students who insist they are only interested in researching the same person. Since I have the philosophy of “variety is the spice of life”, I don’t let students choose the same person to research. I recently stumbled across a website that helps solve some of the frustration with the sign-up process. It’s called sign-up genius. There are many wonderful features on this site that are beneficial to teachers. You can set your sign-up so your students are allowed to swap slots – i.e. change the person they originally signed up to research with the person another student originally chose. I would personally suggest adding extra people to your research list. If you have 25 students, list 30 people. You can also set up your sign-up to send out reminders. You write a note/email that is attached to the signup list. Your reminders could say something like “Just a reminder, the biography project is due ____.” You can put parents’ and students’ email in the account which may help with the problem of late work. Parents are aware of who their child is researching and are given a reminder. Electronic documentation, what could be better?
There are more ideas and printables in my Biography Reports Made Simple packet.