Recently, my daughter’s Global Studies Class was asked to write a biography about a famous woman from Asia, Africa or South America. The teacher said that in the prior school year, 90 percent of the students chose Mother Teresa. The teacher promised bonus points for anyone who chose an unfamiliar woman.
Together we reviewed our “Happy Birthday” feature and found 11 women from these three continents. A week later, Maggie claimed her bonus points, and indeed knocked the teacher’s socks off, by turning in a well-sourced paper on Wangari Muta Maathai, the first woman from Africa to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The experience gave rise to SweetSearch Biographies.
Maggie's assignment reminded me that students are often asked to write a biography about a significant person from a particular profession, gender or race/national origin. We knew we had hundreds of biographical profiles in our Happy Birthday, On This Day and features sections, and that to make them easily accessible, we had to put them all in one place and allow students to sort them.
SweetSearch Biographies launched last week, and offers well-sourced profiles, or the SweetSearch results page, for more than 1,000 significant people, and can be filtered by profession, gender and race/national origin. One elated school librarian cheered the timing, at the beginning of Black History Month, as she was "a little weary of Jackie and Rosa who are of course important but sometimes you need to stretch a bit to someone unfamiliar." Given the 80+ profiles of African-Americans, students should be able to knock their teachers’ socks off by finding someone unfamiliar.
(Note: One state's student assessment division recently asked to license our biographies for the state's elementary school ELA exams. They gushed that our bios were so well written - organized, concise and full of information. So not only do our biographies served as examples of good Web research and writing, but reading them also prepares students for assessment exams!)
(We are updating all of the content from findingDulcinea and republishing it on SweetSearch2Day, its eventual successor).
Here are links to five people whose life stories amazed me when I first read about them on our Website:
Thank you for reading,