The multigenre research project sounds very interesting! I know I would prefer to display my research in genres other than the typical research paper. Writing birth certificates, newspaper articles, movie posters, diary entries, etc would be so much more fun! I think many students would prefer this as well. I definitely agree that letting the students pick a topic that is important to them will produce the best quality work. Students will always preform better on tasks that are meaningful to them. That being said, the accountable talk is a great idea. I know I have started projects and quickly gotten bored or frustrated with the lack of available information.The accountable talk is an easy method to make sure you select the best possible topic.The FQI (facts, questions, interpretations) is a great method to use when trying to find the most important details of your research. I think the interpretations part is especially important. Students need to try a variety of different genres and teachers can focus on teaching the ones most commonly chosen. I think doing a multigenre research project would be a great way to cover many topics (how to research, many genres, typical research paper, etc.) I also think students would enjoy this assignment!
I think integrating poetry and social studies is a great idea! It is always nice to kill two birds with one stone, but learning to write poetry may be easier when applying it to something you are currently learning. For example, the line poems allowed the students to try a type of poetry while rethinking about what the have learned about dictators. I agree that it is important to use positive language and point out the things students are doing well. I always worked even harder after my teacher gave me a compliment. I think pictures are great starting points for poetry. Everyone interprets pictures in different ways so you could have several great poems based on one picture. I love the idea of two-voice poetry. I have no experience with these type of poetry but I think it would be great for comparing and contrasting events of war and citizens of different countries. I also think that is a great type of poem to share with the class. Preforming the poem with a partner will make sharing less intimidating. I think integrating poetry with content is a great idea!