“What? Not another animal report?!?”
Every teacher’s toolbox carries a few assignments that are so timeworn, so standard, that merely naming them says all you need to say about them: the President Report, the Animal Report, the Famous Person Report. Each of these reports has the same basic goals: for students to perform thoughtful, thorough reading and research, to learn information skills while they learn the content of another curriculum area, and to improve their writing skills by communicating what they learn. But giving students the same tired assignment year after year — and likely as not sending them running for an encyclopedia — doesn’t accomplish these goals.
This series of articles provides alternative research-based assignments that ask students to think about old topics in new ways, work collaboratively, and develop products that support a variety of learning styles. Resources, references, and rubrics are provided.