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MARCH MANIA PHOTO CONTEST: The Biggest College Basketball Fan

Sibley-Ocheyedan middle school students create 'Farcebook' profiles as part of unique nonfiction project

Sibley-Ocheyedan students Jaydee Bremer (left) and Avery Zylstra point to the "Farcebook" profiles they created for a project for reading teacher Renee Schmidt. (Alyssa Sobotka / The Globe)

SIBLEY, Iowa — How would it feel to get a Facebook friend request from Alexander Hamilton? Michael Jackson? Adam Thielen? Julia Roberts?

While a variety of reasons make the probability of that happening highly unlikely, Sibley-Ocheyedan eighth-graders have an idea what the celebrities’ — both dead and alive — personal Facebook profiles may look like.

Students recently completed 55 “Farcebook” profiles as part of a unique reading class project.

“This takes the place of a book report,” said Renee Schmidt, S-O seventh- and eighth-grade reading teacher. “This changes it up and gives (students) more variety. It’s an alternative that gets them to investigate more and use more resources.”

And the students respond well to the modern-style “report” that Schmidt said satisfies the curriculum’s nonfiction unit requirements.

Each “Farcebook” profile includes much of the information one would expect to see on a real Facebook profile.

From personal information like birthday, hometown, relationship status and political and religious views to education and employment history, students were required to research and learn about their selected subject on a deeper level.

Eighth-graders Conner Beltman, Jaydee Bremer and Avery Zylstra all agreed the “Farcebook” project was one of the most unique they’ve completed — and beats a typical book report.

“This was very much more personal information,” Zylstra said. “Finding the information was more difficult than you’d think.”

With the only stipulations being that the subject be a celebrity or well-known individual and not be a repeat subject of another student’s, Beltman chose to profile his favorite National Basketball Association player, Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder. A fan of her movies, Zylstra chose actress Julia Roberts. Bremer chose one of her personal idols, Dr. Jan Pol, whose career as a veterinarian is portrayed in “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” a reality television show on Nat Geo Wild.

Other “Farcebook” profiles included Amelia Earhart, Bruno Mars, Waylon Jennings, Elvis Presley, Joe Mauer and Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, to name a few.

With free reign to choose their subjects, Schmidt said the student’s differing personalities become evident through their selection process.

While the project is nonfiction, it did include some minor fictional components, Schmidt said.

Crafting a couple “status updates” and “wall” messages from the subject’s friends lent to some creativity on the students’ part, but it had to be relevant, Schmidt explained.

It was also one of the most challenging aspects of the project, she added.

“Like for Nero, (the student) had to find out his possible friends and a comment they might have made to him during that time period,” she said about the student who profiled the Roman emperor, which was by far the oldest subject chosen for the project.  

Students will present their projects to their classmates later as part of an oral book report so they can learn about more profiled individuals from their peers.

Each of the “Farcebook” profiles are currently displayed in the S-O middle school hallway.  

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