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US Presidents Research Project
Old 01-11-2006, 06:41 PM
 
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Hello Out There,
This is my first year teaching 5th grade and I'm preparing to have the kids begin on a research project. They will select a US President for the project. I'd like to have them include three sections in their report: Early Years, Presidency, and then a choice for their third section. My question is: does anyone have any rubrics, templates, organizational ideas for the kids? I am banking on this being a 5 week process. Thanks in advance for anyone who has some ideas up their sleeves.


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Presidential Posters
Old 01-11-2006, 09:19 PM
 
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A couple years ago, I had my 5th graders create Presidential Posters. Since then, we have changed to team teaching, so I only teach 5th grade reading. Therefore, I can't remember exactly what I had the kids do!

I know it had to be the large poster board size, and they had to have a large colored picture of their President. It also had to have the President's name and years he served as President in large lettering at the top. It seems like they put other important facts around the edges or at the bottom. I would probably give the kids a list of information that had to be included on the poster, but let them be creative as to how they wanted to design it. I found some "safe" websites, and the kids used computer lab time to do research. This always seemed more interesting than a written report, and it made presentation day much more enjoyable!

One other suggestion...I would either assign each student a President, or put the names of all the Presidents in a basket and let your students draw one out. This way, you know you will have a variety of reports/projects. If you let the students select their President, you will probably end up with 5 doing Thomas Jefferson, 8 doing George W. Bush, and 10+ doing George Washington.
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Old 01-12-2006, 02:05 AM
 
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I have done this in the past and learned a lot since my first year.

1. Do not have them do reports on the more popular presidents. By now they should have a pretty good knowledge of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, etc. Also, if there is too much information they get overwhelmed.

2. No duplicate reports

3. Have specific questions which must be answered in the report or you will have a LOT about the early life (that's the area they can relate to the most), a "grocery list" of what happened during his term in office and most will be totally confused about what to do with the third section. One question which helped put things into persepctive is: "How would the president have traveled and communicated with each others while he was in office?"

4. Teach them how to take notes using the encyclopedia. Have one sheet of paper for each question, plus a sheet entitled Miscellaneous for interesting facts which do not necessarily fall under the other questions. Do not let them write complete sentences in their notes (helps them from plagerizing), but instead have bullets - one idea per bullet, and only phrases. Skip a line between each phrase. Tell them with their second and third sources to do the same thing, only not repeat information already listed.

5. When finished, they should number the notes in logical order, crossing out information duplicated or not needed. Look at the miscellaneous list and see if any can be included under the questions. Have them rewrite in outline format. From there they can start writing the report.

6. I am in complete agreement with choosing sites if they are using the internet. Here are a few to start with.

http://www.kn.sbc.com/wired/fil/page...uspresipa.html (This is an excellent list, but may be too overwhelming. Choose ones that are suitable for your students reading level.)

http://www.ipl.org/div/potus/

http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/...presidents.htm

6. Have many checkpoint dates

7. Have a format for each student "teaching" about his/her president - poster, powerpoint, etc.

8. RE: rubrics

Here is a sample of a couple, but you will want to customize it to your objectives. I like rubistar because you can make and edit your own.

http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index....odule=Rubistar

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/rep...t/rubric.shtml
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Old 01-15-2006, 06:41 AM
 
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To wig...On your report requirement, did you simply require that all questions be answered within the report, or was there a minimum page number also required? I am also going to be doing reports on Presidents (along with creative ideas to present the reports), but, because I've just started teaching, I'm not sure how much is realistic for 5th grade to write on a report like this. I don't want to let them off easy, but at the same time, don't want to make it a drudgery by having them write more than they really should be, at their grade level. Thanks.
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Requirements
Old 01-15-2006, 07:26 AM
 
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I never require a certain number of pages. I learned when I did that I would get a lot of words without meaning. Each paragraph is based on the question. There need to be details. Here are examples of what I may require of such a report.

Paragraph 1: Introduce your President with a hook. Example: 'When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, James Bucahnan sent a note to him saying, "My dear sir, If you are as happy on entering the White House as I on leaving, you are a happy man indeed." Mr. Lincoln may have thought that was a very odd note to receive, but as we review his life and his presidency we will learn how prophetic this note was.' Obviously this is above most 5th graders writing abilities, but it gives them an idea of what you are looking for.

(This is a good site for Presidential trivia: http://fs6.depauw.edu:50080/~jkochan...dent/index.htm )

Paragraph 2: What was your president's childhood like? (Include birthdate and education)

Paragraph 3: What events in your presidents life led to him becoming president? What did he do that showed he had leadership qualities and made him qualified to be president? How did candidates campaign during this time?

Paragraphs 4/5: What important events happened during his presidency? What new inventions helped the president communicate effectually with the country? How did he travel?

Paragraph 6: What did your president do after his term(s) ended? If he was assasinated, briefly explain the events surrounding it.

Conclusion: Tie everything together.

Teaching the lead and the conclusion will be the most difficult part of the report.

I had due dates for each paragraph. i would make suggestions for improvement. It was much easier looking at one paragraph at a time than the entire report.

PS: We took almost a quarter to do our research report, but they also learned how to do a works cited page, how not to plagerize, writing skills such as transitions, etc., speaking skills (presenting their projects), reading timelines, comparison of US events with world events, primary sources, etc. I covered an unbelievable number of objectives in both LA and SS.



Last edited by wig; 01-15-2006 at 08:37 AM..
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thanks, wig
Old 01-15-2006, 08:33 AM
 
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Thank you for sharing your format! We incorporate Power Writing with 6-Traits, so my students work a lot on lead (hook) and conclusion (wrapping it all up), so hopefully they won't struggle too much with those things on their report. Again, thank you for all the information and sites!
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