We just completed a biography unit in writing. I was astounded by some of the subjects my students choose. Some wrote about typical subjects for 5th graders: Shakira, JK Rowling, Emma Watson, and such. But others were much more creative. They wrote about William Shakespeare, Pythagoras, Martha Graham, Emily Dickinson, Edward Lear, Pocahontas, Al Capone, and Edgar Allen Poe.
I gave them no guidelines on who to choose. It was completely up to them. I am fascinated by their choices. As an added bonus, I'm enjoying reading these much more than I would if they had all chosen pop culture icons. Possibly I should thank them.
My big question now is how much influence I (or the student teacher or their previous teachers) had on these subjects. Were their choices influenced by us, in which case I'd like to know how so that I can replicate it, or would they have made these choices regardless of outside influences?