Assign or have students select a modern biographical figure (1990's to present). Students enjoy researching people from "their generation" such as actors/actresses, sports heroes, inventors, etc.
Day 1 - Biographical Lotto. Students names are drawn at random. The person called gets his/her choice of person to research. Once a person is selected, no one else may research that person. This will elimate 50 reports on the same person.
Day 2 - Library/Internet Research. A great website is www.biography.com.
Day 3 - Students find pictures of their person in old magazines and cut them out. They may also print pictures off of the Internet.
Day 4 - Students write a 1 page brief/summary of the person's life. Since this is limited to the front side of one page the student should focus on only the most importants details of the person's life. It also keeps them from rambling.
Day 5 - Students go to the computer lab and type their summary and print it out. They should also download a picture of their person into their document. If your school does not have download capabilities, students may use one of their magazine pictures.
Day 6 and 7 - Students assemble their flashcard using tagboard, markers, and the pictures they have gathered on their person. The front of the flashcard should be decorative and flashy (similar to a baseball card). The person they are researching should be clearly printed across the front with several pictures and decoration.
On the back side of the tagboard, students should glue down their biographical summary.
Day 8-10 (optional)
When students are finished, I usually have them share their cards with the class and display them by hanging them from the ceiling so both sides can be seen.