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Friday, May 27, 2016

Stories from the Past: Biography Focus

Today students will focus heavily on their biography projects. It's the time in the project where they need to make that big push from research to synthesizing their findings into a written "interview" report.

The report calls students to step into the shoes of both the "interviewer" and the famous person they are studying when they craft questions as the "interviewer" and then answer those questions from the point of view of the famous person.

As I work with students I enjoy moving through time and hearing many stories from the past. For example one student and I had the chance to think deeply about the only meeting between Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X--a meeting that surprisingly only lasted about a minute, but resulted in a famous photograph. I also had the chance to read about President Franklin D. Roosevelt's decision to continue baseball during World War II as another child and I read stories about Satchel Paige's baseball talent and success. The teacher in charge of this project has emphasized the use of anecdotes in the reports as one way to bring a significant individual's life alive. A further strength of the project is that students are reading about people in history and today who share their own interests, talents, and questions. This results in a source of inspiration and a historical "mentor" for each child.

Even though it's the Friday before Memorial Day and the end of an especially busy and wonderful week in school, I'm hopeful that students will get a lot done today with the support of the teaching team.