American Dream Research Paper Assignment English

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Lesson Plan

Chasing the Dream: Researching the Meaning of the American Dream

 

Grades9 – 12
Lesson Plan TypeStandard Lesson
Estimated TimeFive 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

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OVERVIEW

In “Paradox and Dream,” a 1966 essay on the American Dream, John Steinbeck writes, “For Americans too the wide and general dream has a name.  It is called ‘the American Way of Life.'  No one can define it or point to any one person or group who lives it, but it is very real nevertheless.”  Yet a recent cover of Time Magazine reads “The History of the American Dream – Is It Real?”  Here, students explore the meaning of the American Dream by conducting interviews, sharing and assessing data, and writing papers based on their research to draw their own conclusions.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

  • The American Dream Project: This assignment sheet, which is directed to students, explains the three-part nature of this project and paper.
  • Steinbeck John. American and American and Selected Nonfiction. Susan Shillinglaw and Jackson J. Benson, eds.  New York: Penguin Books, 2012: In this 1966 essay, Steinbeck presents a picture of Americans as paradoxical and asks if the American Dream is even possible.  An edited version of this essay can be found at http://politicalsystems.homestead.com/ParadoxAndDream.html
  • Sidel, Ruth. On Her Own: Growing Up in the Shadow of the American Dream.  New York: Viking, 1990: Sidel explores the impact of the American Dream on young women in the 1980’s and 1990s.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

In her book Genre Theory:  Teaching, Writing, and Being, Deborah Dean describes writing “mini-ethnographies,” saying, “Ethnography is a way to look at a culture; Wendy Bishop describes it as ‘a representation of the lived experience of a convened culture’ (3).  Reiff, citing Beverly Moss, explains that ‘the main purpose of the ethnographic genre is ‘to gain a comprehensive view of the social interactions, behaviors, and beliefs of a community or a social group’’”(“Meditating” 42).  This lesson allows students to explore this idea of shared beliefs within a culture and to then use genuine research (one-on-one interviews) to produce a paper that examines the shared belief in the American Dream.  As Dean states, “…conducting research for ethnography requires students to use genres for authentic purposes, which provides them with clear connections between genres and contexts and helps them see genres as actions more than forms.”

Further Reading

Dean, Deborah. Genre Theory: Teaching, Writing, and Being. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2008.

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Standards

NCTE/IRA NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

1.

Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.

 

3.

Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).

 

4.

Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.

 

5.

Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

 

6.

Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.

 

7.

Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.

 

9.

Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.

 

12.

Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).

 

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Resources & Preparation

MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY

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STUDENT INTERACTIVES

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.

 

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PRINTOUTS

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WEBSITES

  • The Center for Steinbeck Studies

    This website, The Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies, is a university archive focusing on Steinbeck’s life and work and offering a variety of materials for teacher interesting in teaching Steinbeck’s work.

  • The American Dream: A Biography

    This article discusses how the idea of the American Dream has changed society and  traces the history of the American Dream.

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PREPARATION

  1. Familiarize yourself with the concept of the American Dream and its history.  An excellent resource is “Keeping the Dream Alive” by Jon Meacham (Time, July 2, 2012 Vol. 180  No.1).
  2. Prepare student copies or plan access to the two readings listed above by Steinbeck and Sidel and prepare discussion starters.  (Sample starters for the Sidel reading are included.)
  3. Make class copies of the assignment sheet The American Dream Project.
  4. Determine the appropriate number of groups to divide the class into.  (Note: there should be a minimum of 4 students per group, but 5-7 is optimal.  If class size is too small to allow for six groups, one for each decade 1950 – present, it is best to omit the most recent decade where interviewees often offer less material.)

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Instructional Plan

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

Students will:

  • develop an understanding of the meaning of the concept the American Dream through readings, discussion, and authentic research.
  • practice interviewing skills, including formulation of questions, listening and response skills, and notetaking.
  • learn to work cooperatively with other students to pool data and draw conclusions.
  • demonstrate the ability to present thoughtful and well-documented conclusions in a formal paper.

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Session One

  1. Ask students to define “the American Dream.”  Brainstorm as a class, listing on the board all ideas, words, and phrases that students offer. (Examples: financial security; a home, a job, two kids and a dog; happiness; freedom to do and be what you want; being better off than your parents; a house with a white picket fence; being able to pursue your dreams, the chance to succeed, etc.)
  2. Encourage students to explore the concept of the American Dream by discussing such questions as:
    • Is the idea of the American Dream unique to Americans, or is it a “Human” Dream?
    • Do you believe the American Dream has changed over time?  If so, how?
    • Do all US citizens have equal opportunities to achieve the American Dream?  What do you based your opinion on?
    • Is the belief in the American Dream necessary to society?  Why/why not?
    • How do you personally define the American Dream?
  3. Read aloud in class Steinbeck’s “Paradox and Dream” from America and Americans.
  4. Immediately after the reading, ask students to freewrite briefly about their reactions to the piece, focusing in particular on what Steinbeck says about the American Dream.
  5. Ask students to share their freewrites.  Use their responses to refine the definition and meaning of the American Dream on the board.  (Note:The term “The America Dream” was first coined by James Truslow Adams in his book The Epic of America in 1931.)  Although there is no one definition of the American Dream, students often come to the conclusion that it is the freedom and opportunity to achieve one’s goals through hard work.
  6. Ask students to read Ruth Sidel’s “The New American Dreamers” before the next session.

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Session Two

  1. If students were able to read the Sidel piece for homework, begin class with a discussion of “The New American Dreamers”  (see attached discussion starters).  If students were not able to read the piece for homework, share it with them in class.
  2. Ask students to freewrite, expressing their reactions to this piece and commenting in particular on how young women in contemporary times define the American Dream.
    • Sample comments from students:
      • “Professional success is important to women today.”
      • “The old dream of a husband and a family isn’t important to all women anymore.”
      • “If I ever do get married, I want my relationship to be 50-50.  I don’t want to be the only one responsible for taking care of the house and kids.”
      • “Money and independence are really important to women now.”
      • “Women can do and have whatever they want, just like men."
    • Sample key lines from "The New American Dreamers":
      • “…she is convinced that if she plans carefully, works hard and makes the right decisions, she will have success in her chosen field; have the material goods she desires; in time marry if she wishes; and, in all probability, have children.  She plans, as the expression goes, to ‘have it all.’”  (p.15)
      • “No matter what class they come from, their fantasies are of upward mobility, a comfortable life filled with personal choice and material possessions.” (p. 18)
      • “A key message that the New American Dreamers are both receiving and sending is one of optimism—the sense that they can do whatever they want with their lives.” (p. 24)
      • “To many of them, an affluent life-style is central to their dreams; they often describe their goals in terms of cars, homes, travel to Europe.” (p. 27)
  3. Invite students to share their freewrites.  Use their responses to continue to refine the definition and meaning of the American Dream.  Ask students to compare Sidel’s conclusions with Steinbeck’s comments on the American Dream
  4. Discuss the format and voice of the Sidel piece.  Ask students to point out how she uses specific data from interviewees to draw her conclusions.  Have students note how she implements direct quotations from the interviews to illustrate specific points.
  5. Introduce students to the idea that they will be conducting their own interviews on the meaning of the American Dream.  Explain to them that they will be choosing interview subjects who represent particular decades from the 1950’s to the present.
  6. Pass out The American Dream Project assignment sheet and read it aloud with students.  Note in particular the three stages of the paper: interview summary, conclusions on a decade, and personal reflection.
  7. Discuss the idea of coming of age (i.e. the time when a person becomes independent of his/her parents) to make sure that students understand the concept.
  8. For homework, ask students to make a brief list of people they know who came of age in each particular decade (1950’s to the present).  These should be people they would be able to interview, preferably in person though possibly in a phone conversation.  Students may not be able to come up with a person(s) for each decade; however, this list will help to expedite student choices in the next class session.

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Session Three

  1. Choose decade groups, using the lists of potential interviewees which students created for homework.  This works best if students have input into choosing which decade they will interview a person from.  Remind students that they do not have to know their interviewee well, and that in fact, in most interview situations, the interviewer does not know the interviewee.   Be sure to have an equal number of people in each decade group so that they all have roughly the same amount of material to work with.
  2. Brainstorm a short list of possible interview questions (see attached sample list), and discuss strengths and weakness of potential questions.  (Note:  Remind students that, when interviewing, they should not follow the list precisely but instead allow the interview to “take on a life of its own.”  This is a reason for creating a fairly short list of questions so that students have to take the initiative to come up with questions suitable for their particular subject.)
  3. If necessary, suggest that students refer back to “The New American Dreamers” to see questions Sidel asked interviewees and how questions built upon one another.
  4. Review with students general guidelines for conducting an interview (i.e. courtesy, concerns about confidentiality/anonymity, use of tape recorders, etc.).  If necessary, allow students to “practice” mock interviews with one another.  Addtionally, you may choose to share the sample student interview (audio) with the class so that students have a better understanding.
  5. Remind students of the specific date when the two-page interview must be completed and brought to class (see assignment sheet).  Emphasize the importance of having the paper in class on that day since students will be sharing their data.

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Session Four

  1. Ask students to sit in small groups according to decade (i.e. the 1950’s group includes those students who interviewed someone who came of age in the 1950’s).
  2. Ask each student to read the interview portion of the paper aloud to the group while other group members take notes on what they hear.  After each group member has read his/her interview, students may decide that they need to hear parts of the papers again.  Allow sufficient time for this reading and for students to ask questions of one another.
  3. When all interviews have been presented, tell students to discuss the data and begin to draw conclusions about the meaning of the American Dream for that particular decade.  Encourage lively and thoughtful discussion, and remind students to not settle for easy conclusions but to think deeply about the data.  Students may find the Venn Diagram tool helpful to use to see similarities and differences in their subjects’ responses.
  4. Explain to students that not everyone in the group will necessarily draw the same conclusions, and that that is a function of interpretation of data.  Depending on the size of the groups, note that students may focus their conclusions on different “sub-groups” (i.e. gender, class, region, etc.) within their larger group.
  5. While students are working in groups, circulate the classroom to help guide student discussion and to assure that the interview pieces are written in the correct style and format.
  6. If, at the conclusion of class, students feel they need more data, allow time for them to reconnect with their interviewees and then share that additional material with their group during another class session.
  7. Remind students of the due date for the entire paper (all three sections) as noted on the assignment sheet.

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Session Five

(Note: This is the session during which the students will hand in their completed papers, so this session might be a week or so after Session Four.)

  1. Ask students to again meet in their small groups according to decade and share their final conclusions as presented in their papers.
  2. Give each group a piece of chart/poster paper on which to list the key points they agree on that would define the meaning of the American Dream for their particular decade.
  3. Hang the posters and ask each group to present their findings to the entire class. Encourage them to support their findings with data from their interviews.
  4. Conduct a class discussion on how the American Dream has or has not changed throughout the decades from 1950 to the present. Ask students to consider the Time Magazine questions: “Is It Real?”
  5. Encourage students to share their own definition of the American Dream as expressed in the final page of their papers.  Ask them to compare and contrast their responses.
  6. At the conclusion of the class discussion, collect all student papers (all three parts).

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EXTENSIONS

  • If time and technology allows, students may be interested in viewing the powerful 1988 documentary American Dream at Groton which focuses on the challenges eighteen-year-old Jo Vega faces as a scholarship student at Groton Academy, a Massachusetts prep school. Vega was born in Spanish Harlem and struggles in her pursuit of the American Dream in a very different social milieu.
  • Students interested in music might want to explore music that focuses on the American Dream.  An excellent selection of songs can be found on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website.
  • In an abbreviated form, this lesson might be used in connection with literature that explores the American Dream such as The Great Gatsby, A Raisin in the Sun, and Death of a Salesman.

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STUDENT ASSESSMENT/REFLECTIONS

  • The complete, three-part paper can be graded as any other research type paper.  The requirements for each section are outlined in the assignment sheet and can be graded accordingly.  (A teacher might choose to weight the three sections as follows: Interview - 40%, Conclusions drawn from data - 40%, Personal statement on the American Dream – 20%.)  Emphasis should be placed on use of solid and specific data that support the writer’s conclusions.
  • Students might also write a short reflection discussing their reaction to the design of the project in terms of conducting interviews, collaborating in small groups, and using authentic research to draw conclusions.

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Related Resources

LESSON PLANS

Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Connecting Past and Present: A Local Research Project

In this unit, students become active archivists, gathering photos, artifacts, and stories for a museum exhibit that highlights one decade in their school's history.

 

Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Unit

Introducing Each Other: Interviews, Memoirs, Photos, and Internet Research

Students use their communication and writing skills as they interview a partner, write an article about them, and create a multimodal presentation to introduce their partner to the class.

 

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STUDENT INTERACTIVES

Grades   K – 12  |  Student Interactive  |  Organizing & Summarizing

Venn Diagram

This interactive tool allows students to create Venn diagrams that contain two or three overlapping circles, enabling them to organize their information logically.

 

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CALENDAR ACTIVITIES

Grades   9 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  February 27

In 1902, John Steinbeck was born.

Students brainstorm a list of the ills of society, research a topic of their choosing, and then prepare an annotated bibliography of texts that address the topic.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Calendar Activity  |  September 24

F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, was born in 1896.

After reading The Great Gatsby, students work in pairs, select a chapter from the novel, and rewrite it from the point of view of a different character.

 

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PROFESSIONAL LIBRARY

Professional Library  |  Book

Genre Theory: Teaching, Writing, and Being

Dean synthesizes theory and research about genres and provides secondary-level teachers with practical classroom applications.

 

Grades   9 – 12  |  Professional Library  |  Book

The Great Gatsby in the Classroom: Searching for the American Dream

Veteran high school English teacher David Dowling demonstrates how teachers can help students connect The Great Gatsby to the value systems of the twenty-first century, offering active reading and thinking strategies designed to enhance higher-level thinking and personal responses to fiction.

 

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Comments

PRE-READING ASSIGNMENTS:

Graded Assignment 1:

Graded Assignment:  Based on the first third of your Research Paper novel, respond to the following five topics based on the events up to that point (novels vary in length so determine what a third of your novel is).  Be sure to include:

1.     the development of the plot,
2.     prominent characters,
3.     setting in terms of location and time period,
4.     what you see as a possible thesis statement and
5.     5 citations with page numbers that support your thesis

This assignment is worth four quiz grades.  Late submissions will only be accepted one day late at 20 points off.  All work should be done using MLA format.

 

Graded Assignment 2:  Research Paper 2/3 Reading Assignment

This assignment is worth 3-4 quiz grades.  Late submissions will only be accepted one day late at 20 points off.  All work should be done using MLA format and assignments are due whether you are in school or not.  After reading 2/3 of your Research Paper novel, you should have a clear sense of the plot, characters, conflicts, themes.  With that in mind choose either 1 or 2 and everyone does 3.    

1.     Discuss the plot  What happens in the story?  What are the conflicts?  Who is involved?

2.     Discuss the main characters  How have the main character(s) changed during the course of the story? What have you learned about the character(s)  through his/her actions, thoughts, or words? Have the character(s) shown any personal growth?

3.     Analyze the major themes  What themes are most important and why?  What is the author’s intent in telling this story and what does the author hope to communicate through the novel that is both timeless and universal?

These responses should run 2-3 well-developed paragraphs each with questions 1 and 2 probably leaning toward the lower end of that estimate and question 3 toward the higher end.

 

Graded Assignment 3:   Research Paper 3/3 Reading Assignment

Using a format similar to the TED Talks we have viewed, create your own talk based on the novel you are reading and that is based on a possible thesis/argument from the novel.  Your talk should be no less than 2 minutes and no more than 4 minutes and should be presented in a way that accomplishes the following:  

1.    Begins with a story that sets up the novel’s plot or the thesis/argument you will be working with; that is, asks you to use the skill of storytelling to create interest in both your talk and the novel;

2.    Provides an overview of the plot or the argument (whichever you did not address in #1) so that the audience, having not read the source material, has an understanding of the key events;

3.    Uses the talk to accurately capture the important elements of the story without spoiling the story;

4.    Creates interest in the novel;

5.    Has something to say about the issue the novel has raised (the argument you are considering as a thesis).

 

Outline for TED Talk:  

Complete this outline using MLA format as indicated below and email to me no later than Tuesday Dec 13th.  As always I will only accept late assignments at 20 points off, one day later; after that the assignment receives a zero grade.  You may not do a TED talk if you have not submitted an outline.

I.              Story

A.   Briefly describe your story in bullet points; approx. 5-7

B.   Indicate how your story is connected to your novel

C.   State the novel’s point if you haven’t already

II.            Plot summary

A.   Describe the plot in bullet points; approx. 4-6

B.   State how the plot shows the thesis/point of the novel

III.           Conclusion

A.   Summarize the connection between your story, the plot, the thesis/point of the novel; you are explaining how your whole talk ties together

B.   State what your final words will be:  This could be a simple “thank you for listening” but plan it so that you have a strong, definitive ending

Rubric:  B. Oral Presentations andK. Reading and Responding to Literary Text

ExpectationsExceeds Standard4Meets Standard3Nearly Meets Standard2Below Standard1
#1-B1. Delivery The student effectively and skillfully uses eye contact, appropriate volume and language, rate of speaking, and posture, to present information with enthusiasm, poise and confidence.The student effectively uses eye contact, appropriate volume and language, rate of speaking, and posture, to present information with enthusiasm, poise and confidence.(OC–10–2.1, OC–10–2.5)The student inconsistently uses eye contact, volume and language, rate of speaking, and posture, to present information with little enthusiasm, poise and confidence.The student ineffectively uses eye contact, volume and language, rate of speaking, and posture, to present information.
#1-K1. Establishes a context and/or purpose  

Introduction

The student effectively identifies a condition, situation, or issue that addresses the prompt. —States the point/thesisThe student clearly identifies a condition, situation, or issue in the form of a focus/thesis that addresses the prompt. W 10-3.1a,10-14.1The student attempts to identify a condition, situation, or issue that addresses the prompt.The student fails to identify a condition, situation, or issue that addresses the prompt.
#1-B2. Organization The student skillfully introduces the topic (begins with a story) maintains focus and transitions between key points.The student effectively introduces the topic, maintains focus and provides smooth transitions.(OC–10 –2.1, OC–10–2.2,OC–10- 2.3)The student introduces the topic but lacks clarity, transition and focus.The student ineffectively introduces topic and demonstrates little organization.
#1-B3. Content  

#1-K2. Demonstrates critical thinking 

The student skillfully provides an accurate and complete explanation of key concepts, details and draws upon relevant material.

The student demonstrates an interpretation of the text by making inferences and drawing a complex conclusion

The student effectively provides an accurate explanation of  key concepts, details and draws upon relevant material.(OC-10–2.3, OC-10–2.5)

The student demonstrates an interpretation of the text by making inferences and drawing a credible conclusion.

W 10-6.4, 8.5, 3.2

R 10-7.4,7.5,8.3, 8.4,8.5

The student provides a limited explanation of key concepts, details and provides minimal relevant information.

The student demonstrates an attempt to interpret text, but interpretation or conclusion causes confusion.

The student ineffectively presents an accurate explanation of key concepts and relevant information.

The student demonstrates little or no interpretation of the text and/or no conclusion.

RESEARCH PAPER CONTRACT FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS:

This project is an academic requirement that will give the student the tools necessary to complete a research project. Each of the steps has a due date and a specific grade value. The due dates for each step must be met. In accordance with the English department policy for long-term projects, if the student is absent on a due date, he/she is responsible for getting the work to school by the time class meets. There are no excuses or exceptions.

Also, it is critical that the student be in school for the research paper instruction. If the student is absent from school or does not understand a step, it is his/her responsibility to do the following: get notes from a classmate and from Mr. Pandolfini’s website, and if necessary, make an appointment to see the teacher before or after school. Do not make an appointment on the day that step is due.

This project is challenging and the standards are high, but once it is completed students will have the knowledge to complete a research project, and an advantage at the college level.

REQUIREMENTS:

  • All steps are to be typed on 8.5 x 11inch paper in 12 font, Times New Roman, double-spaced, with one inch margins on the top, bottom and sides and MLA heading.

  • If handing in more than one page, put last name and page number in the upper right hand corner of each page.

  • The final paper will be 5-7 pages for CP and 6-8 pages for Honors and the works cited page. The paper will include an introduction with thesis statement, body with documentation and parenthetical citations, conclusion, Works Cited page.

  • The Works Cited page will use current MLA format with one primary source and 5 secondary sources minimum. General information encyclopedias will not be counted as a source.

  • Complete Working Bibliography with no less than the 10 initial sources.

  • Notecards are required according to given format with corresponding numbers for Bibliography and Outline.

  • Outline with thesis statement, main supporting ideas and details.

  • Specific requirements for each individual assignment will follow.

GRADING:

  • Each step is considered a long-term assignment. It will be marked an automatic F [50] if submitted after the English instructional period it is due or on the next day. It will lose an additional 10 points for each additional day late.

  • If a step is not completed, subsequent steps will not be accepted, and those steps will continue to lose points as their deadlines pass.

  • The due date for Step 4 is the halfway point of the project. If the first 4 steps are not complete and submitted, the student must, in order to continue, request a meeting with the teacher to conference and evaluate the likelihood of successfully continuing the research paper project.

  • The final paper is due in class on the date assigned at the beginning of the English instructional period.

  • Absence on the day of any deadline for any step is no excuse. Deadlines are absolutely final and inflexible.

  • Lateness grading:

Same day any time after class or next day=F (50)

2 days after due date=F- (40)

3 days after due date=F- (30)

4 days after due date=F- (20)

5 days after due date=F- (10)

6 days after due date=credit for step but no points (0)

RESEARCH PAPER PROCESS:

· Step 1-Preliminary Thesis Statement: Topic of paper, which cannot change once chosen, and guiding thesis, which may be revised along the way.

· Step 2– Revised Thesis Statement and Preliminary Outline: Should follow outline format.

· Step 3-Preliminary Works Cited: 10 sources + primary in MLA format, completed after reading and research.

· Step 4-Note Cards

· Step 5-Revised Outline and final Thesis Statement

· Step 6-Complete First Draft: with all documentation and parenthetical citations for peer editing.

Final Paper: All corrected steps must be resubmitted and chronologically organized in a manila envelope with MLA heading in the upper left corner of the folder.

Note: Students will receive due dates for these steps in class; the deadlines are absolutely final and nonnegotiable and may only be changed by Mr. Pandolfini. Parents will not be notified of the change, but if there are any questions, feel free to call.

Evaluation:

Step 1 is worth one quiz grade

Steps 2 and 3 are worth three quiz grades

Step 4 is worth four quiz grades 

Step 5 is worth two quiz grades

Step 6 is worth one quiz grade

Step 7, the final paper, is worth three test grades and will be broken down in the following manner:

· Content: Support of thesis statement, clarity of ideas, strength of argument.  1 test grade.

· Format: MLA format, margins, double spacing, 7-page minimum, 3 sources.  1 test grade.

· Mechanics: Spelling, grammar, and punctuation. 1 test grade.

A final note to students and their parents:

Students in a college preparatory class indicate by their presence that they will be continuing their education at a four-year college or university. In order to be successful at that level, students should be able to successfully complete a major research project.  In terms of academic requirements, independent effort, and personal initiative this project is representative of the type of work done at the college level; and the maturity and self-discipline required to succeed at that level. Students will have to complete work in a timely manner with significant penalties for lateness. They will take primary responsibility for their own success.

 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please return this section only  

 

Student (print name): _____________________________________________

Parent and student signatures:  By signing I indicate that I have read the Research Paper contract and fully understand the process, requirements, grading, and penalties associated with this assignment.

Parent/Guardian Signature ______________________________________________Date _____________

Student Signature ______________________________________________________Date _____________

 

 ______________________________________________________________________________________________________


Research Paper Due Dates for 11CP:

Research Paper Contract–Due:  Dates to come

Step 1:  Preliminary Thesis Statement–Due:  

Step 2:  Revised Thesis Statement and Preliminary Outline–Due:

Step 3:  Preliminary Works Cited Page–Due:  

Step 4:  Notecards– Due: 

Step 5:  Final Thesis Statement and Final Outline– Due:  

Step 6:  Complete Paper only (Corrections Copy)– Due:  

Final Research Paper with all graded steps (manila envelope)– Due:  

 

Research Paper Due Dates for 11 Honors:

Research Paper Contract–Due:

Step 1:  Preliminary Thesis Statement–Due:  

Step 2:  Revised Thesis Statement and Preliminary Outline–Due:   

Step 3:  Preliminary Works Cited Page–Due: 

Step 4:  Notecards– Due: 

Step 5:  Final Thesis Statement and Final Outline– Due:  

Step 6:  Complete Paper only (Corrections Copy)– Due:  

Final Research Paper with all graded steps (manila envelope)– Due: 

THESIS STATEMENTS

Notes on thesis statements:

I.       Thesis statements follow a format

A.      One sentence only

B.      TS is the last sentence of the introductory paragraph

C.      TS includes author, title, genre of the book

D.      TS is phrased argumentatively; that is, the TS makes an assessment about an aspect of the book and asserts that there exists a reason, a direct effort by the author, a connection to theme that may be proven through research and argument but which may also be contradicted.

II.                  Examples of thesis statements:

In To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the novel’s central conflict, the trial of Tom Robinson is intended to be symbolic of the persecution of African Americans in the American South of the 20th century.

In Charles Dickens’s novel Oliver Twist, the author’s intent, primarily as a result of his own victimization as a child, is to use Oliver and the children to represent poverty, corruption, and famine in Victorian England.

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, the author rebukes the irresponsible, superficial behavior of his generation through the shallow, morally bankrupt behavior of the novel’s principle characters.

In the novel Of Mice and Men, author John Steinbeck employs his characters as symbols of all those marginalized by the harsh circumstances of the Great Depression.

In the narrative poem The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, the author’s blatant and critical debasement of the Christian church is intended to illustrate Chaucer’s view of a corrupt and flawed religious system.


OUTLINE

How to correctly phrase an outline:  When writing the outline, keep in mind that strong phrasing will make it easier to connect to the thesis statement and avoid plot summary.

Rules to follow:

    1. Noun or noun phrase

    2. No  verb

    3. 5-6 words in length

    4. Use a delivery phrase such as “as an example of”, “to show”, “to prove”

    5. Delivery phrases will lead you to indicate intent of noun

    6. **Test each phrase against the TS.  Can you clearly see a connection?**

    7. Refer to examples in model outline below for correct phrasing structure

Note examples of phrasing in the example outline below and in the Research Paper Manual:

Russell Hammond

Mr. Pandolfini

English 11 Honors Period 1

7 January 2014

Revised Thesis Statement

In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, the author’s clear intent is to depict the death of The American Dream through the characters, setting, and events of the novel.

Preliminary Outline

I.     Principal characters to show flaws in The American Dream

       A.    Tom Buchanan as an example of grotesque wealth

       B.     Daisy Buchanan to show entitlement

       C.     Gatsby to show necessity of moral ambiguity

       D.    Jordan Baker to show irresponsible behavior

II.     Setting to indicate dichotomy between rich and poor

       A.    East Egg as example of Old Money

       B.     West Egg as example of New Money

       C.     The Valley of Ashes to show class distinction

       D.     New York to show the benefits of financial largess

III.    Significant events to show the death of The American Dream

       A.   Gatsby’s criminal behavior to show unfairness of system

       B.     Tom and Daisy’s escape as example of money’s power

       C.     Gatsby’s death to show impossibility of transcending class


WORKS CITED PAGE

Basic Guidelines:

  1. The Preliminary Works Cited Page should have the primary source followed by ten secondary sources.

  2. Vary your secondary sources; they should come from a variety of media:  books, online journals, etc.

  3. Use citationmachine.net or easybib.com to format sources for the Works Cited Page.

  4. However, when copying and pasting to your document, you must make format adjustments manually.

  5. Refer to your notes and the Research Paper Manual for format questions.

Model Works Cited Page:

                                          Works Cited

Fitzgerald, F. Scott.  The Great Gatsby.  New York:  Random House.  1922.

Kumamoto, Chikako. Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. 157. Detroit: Gale,

         2005. 37-41. Print.

Lisca, Peter. “Nick Carraway and the Imagery of Disorder.” Twentieth

        Century Literature 13.1 (1967): 18-28. Web. 19 Dec 2010.

Schreier, Benjamin. “Desire’s Second Act: ‘Race’ and The Great Gatsby’s

        Cynical Americanism.” Twentieth Century Literature 53.2 (2007):

        153. Web. 19 Dec 2010.


CITATIONS:

Choosing Good Citations

  1. Primary

    1. Narration or dialogue

    2. 2-3 sentences

    3. Content

      1. Doesn’t repeat the topic sentence

      2. Shouldn’t be so general it could fit anywhere

      3. Should be specific to the point of the paragraph

    4. Secondary

      1. Books, online journals, articles. Etc.

      2. 3-4 sentences

      3. Content

        1. Analytical in tone (explains “why”)

        2. Specific to the point of the paragraph

  • What we’re looking for

    1. Quality of citation

      1. Length matters

        1. Primary 2-3 sentences

        2. Secondary 3-4 sentences with more analysis

      2. Content matters

        1. Says something meaningful to the point of the paragraph

        2. Not so general it could be used anywhere

      3. The writer does not have to explain, justify, build around the citation in order to make it work

      4. The better the citation, the easier it will be to write the paragraph

Format for Step 4

Student name

Mr. Pandolfini  

English 12 CP Period 1

17 January 20__

Primary and Secondary Citations

IA Primary:  Outline phrase

Full citation followed by parenthetical citation (author’s last name and page number)

IA Secondary:  Outline phrase

Full citation followed by parenthetical citation (author’s last name and page number)

IB Primary:  Outline phrase

Full citation followed by parenthetical citation (author’s last name and page number)

IB Secondary:  Outline phrase

Full citation followed by parenthetical citation (author’s last name and page number)

Examples of citations in-text

Estella is one of the most important people to Pip throughout the novel.  Any interaction between the two further strengthens Pip’s emotional attachment to her.  “I think I would have gone through a great deal to kiss her cheek.  But, I felt that the kiss was given to the coarse common boy as a piece of money might have been, and it was worth nothing”  (Dickens 88).  Citation contradicts the paragraph’s point

As a result of her family’s deaths, Bronte shows the effects that the trauma had upon Lucy.  The deaths are swift and unexpected.  “Picture me idle, basking, plump, and happy, stretched on a cushioned ship’s deck, warmed by constant sunshine, rocked by soft breezes.  However, it cannot be concealed that, I must somehow have fallen overboard, or that there must have been a wreck at last” (Bronte 39).  Uses a citation that reinforces the topic sentence and in an effective way through the use of metaphor.

In the early part of the 20th century, women like Mrs. Morel often accepted abuse as part of a marriage.  Women worked to please their husbands, focused on raising children, and maintained the household.  As time went on in the Morel’s marriage, Walter’s alcoholism led to abuse of both Gertrude and the family.  “The world seemed a dreary place, where nothing else would happen for her” (Lawrence 48).  Mrs. Morel despises her husband and is plagued with thoughts of regret over her unborn child.  The citation is general enough that it could be used in numerous situations and requires the writer to build sentences just to support it.

Throughout the novel Stevens uses his loyalty to Lord Darlington to prove his professionalism and justify his decisions.  He bases his success as a butler on his many years of service.  “Goodness knows, I’ve tried and tried, but it’s no use.  I’ve given what I have to give.  I gave it all to Lord Darlington”  (Ishiguro 243).  Stevens dedicates his life completely to his employer, constantly trying to appease everyone in the house.  In doing so, Stevens surrender his freedom, including his personal life. 

Summary:

1. Organize notecards by Outline Reference Number, so it would follow:  IA, IB, IC, etc.

2. Each paragraph should have two notecards, the Primary source citation followed by the Secondary.

3. You may have more notecards for a given paragraph if you are not, at present, sure which is the better citation for your purposes.

4. Typically, citations from the primary source are direct quotes, but when citing secondary sources, use paraphrases or summaries.

5. The paraphrase is usually two or three sentences and is used to provide clarity that may not exist in a direct quote.  Also, correctly worded paraphrases may make stronger connections to the point of your paragraph.  Be careful not to alter the meaning of a quote when paraphrasing.

6.  A summary is also just a couple of sentences and is used to convey the point of an entire passage (which may be too long to quote) or a short article that has a point directly relevant to your paragraph.  Again, be careful not to alter the meaning when summarizing.


MODEL PARAGRAPHS

Sample Introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion based on the following thesis statement:

In William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, the author insists that without formal institutions of human civilization, man rapidly sinks into a state of savagery.

Introduction:

By definition, civilization is a state of human society where a high level of culture and governing values has become the standard.  Upon their arrival on the island, the boys in Lord of the Flies represent a strict and organized English civilization.  As time passes on the island, an extreme and disturbing change occurs both in the individual personalities and in the group as a whole.  A shift from civilized thought and actions to activities and behaviors expected from wild and uncivilized beings occurs with dire consequences.  Many scholars argue that man would remain civilized simply because he has learned refined behaviors.  In William Golding’sLord of the Flies, the author insists that without formal institutions of human civilization, man rapidly sinks into a state of savagery.

Body paragraph:

As the boys regress to an uncivilized state the reader gets the feeling of a perfect world that has turned ugly and frightening.  Ralph tries desperately to maintain law and order, but finds himself completely outnumbered by the hunters, and in the end he can no longer trust them.  Terrified, Ralph falls into an irrational state.  “The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away” (Golding 122).  Even Ralph, less human in his behaviors, must also hide from the savages.  He knows his weakness while all alone and overrun by man.  “Golding places his characters on an idyllic island where they are unsupervised by adults and given complete freedom, which in the context of the novel, means freedom from rules, norms, and social responsibilities of civilization” (Koopmans 80).  He then shows the reader that without these institutions, humans develop into uncivilized, wild beings with no clear sense of right and wrong, and no values beyond instinctive needs.  In addition to the boys’ loss of civilized behavior, they also lose their humanity.

  • Topic sentence: As the boys regress to an uncivilized state the reader gets the feeling of a perfect world that has turned ugly and frightening.

  • + Development of topic sentence and transition to primary citation:  Ralph tries desperately to maintain law and order, but finds himself completely outnumbered by the hunters, and in the end he can no longer trust them.  Terrified, Ralph falls into an irrational state.

  • Primary citation:  “The world, that understandable and lawful world, was slipping away” (Golding 122).

  • +Explanation/analysis of citation and its connection to the thesis statement; transition to secondary citation:  Even Ralph, less human in his behaviors, must also hide from the savages.  He knows his weakness while all alone and overrun by man.

  • Secondary citation:  “Golding places his characters on an idyllic island where they are unsupervised by adults and given complete freedom, which in the context of the novel, means freedom from rules, norms, and social responsibilities of civilization” (Koopmans 80).

  • +Explanation/analysis of citation and its connection to the thesis statement:  He then shows the reader that without these institutions, humans develop into uncivilized, wild beings with no clear sense of right and wrong, and no values beyond instinctive needs.

  • Transition sentence that looks back at this paragraph and forward to the next:  In addition to the boys’ loss of civilized behavior, they also lose their humanity.

Breakdown of Body Paragraphs by Sentence

1. Topic sentence

2.+ Development of topic sentence and transition to first citation

3. Citation from primary source

4.+ Explanation/analysis of citation and its connection to the thesis statement; transition to secondary citation

5. Citation from secondary source

6.+ Explanation/analysis of citation and its connection to the thesis statement

7. Transition sentence that both summarizes this paragraph and previews the next

Conclusion:

By the end of the novel, the  boys transition from civilized English school boys to wild, uncultivated animals, directly supporting William Golding’s theme in Lord of the Flies, that without formal institutions of human civilization, man will return to his roots of savagery.  Continuously, Jack and the savage hunters destroy everything that represents the cultured world they came from.  The organized assemblies, the conch, the adult Piggy, and the visionary Simon burn along with the Eden-like island as the hunters prepare for their last kill:  Ralph.  Without their refined cultural institutions of law and order, the boys fall helpless at the hands of the wild and untamed natural animal within themselves.  The perfect civilization comes to an end, and the savagery overpowers all.

 

Sample Introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion based on the following thesis statement:

In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the protagonists are doomed because their fate was inevitable, despite their many attempts to change it.

Introduction:

Fate can bring people together or tear them apart.   For example, there are those couples who thank fate for its hand in helping them overcome impossible situations that would have kept them away from one another.  At the same time, there are some individuals who despise fate for their unfortunate existence.  For centuries, couples have fought to overcome fate’s unyielding side, to overcome the “star-crossed lovers” syndrome, but have failed.   The Shakespearian characters Romeo and Juliet are one such couple that tried, and failed, to defeat fate’s determination to ruin them.  They both made unsuccessful attempts to soften the illogical resolutions of their families in the name of love, but fate was decidedly not on their side.  In William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, the protagonists are doomed because their fate was inevitable, despite their many attempts to change it.

Body paragraph:

After Romeo’s banishment to Mantua , Friar Laurence devises a plan to reunite the young lovers.  The Friar attempts to send a letter to Romeo, but as Friar John says, “Where infectious pestilence did reign/sealed up the doors, and would not let us forth” (Shakespeare 174). The letter is not delivered, which indicates that fate is working against the protagonists.  “There’s the letter from Friar Laurence in Verona to Friar John in Mantua, which by accident doesn’t get to him, and another hitch in timing destroys Friar Laurence’s elaborate plan that starts with Juliet’s sleeping potion” (Bender 21).  This letter was critical to the plan, and because of a cruel fate, the letter is not delivered to Romeo, beginning a series of events that will leave both families devastated.  Along with Friar Laurence’s letter, Romeo’s impulsive reaction and the availability of poison also lead to a fateful resolution.

  • Topic sentence:  After Romeo’s banishment to Mantua , Friar Laurence devises a plan to reunite the young lovers. 

  • + Development of topic sentence and transition to primary citation:The Friar attempts to send a letter to Romeo, but as Friar John says,

  • Primary citation: “Where infectious pestilence did reign/sealed up the doors, and would not let us forth” (Shakespeare 174).

  • +Explanation/analysis of citation and its connection to the thesis statement; transition to secondary citation:The letter is not delivered, which indicates that fate is working against the protagonists. 

  • Secondary citation:“There’s the letter from Friar Laurence in Verona to Friar John in Mantua, which by accident doesn’t get to him, and another hitch in timing destroys Friar Laurence’s elaborate plan that starts with Juliet’s sleeping potion” (Bender 21).

  • +Explanation/analysis of citation and its connection to the thesis statement:This letter was critical to the plan, and because of a cruel fate, the letter is not delivered to Romeo, beginning a series of events that will leave both families devastated.

  • Transition sentence that looks back at this paragraph and forward to the next:  Along with Friar Laurence’s letter, Romeo’s impulsive reaction and the availability of poison also lead to a fateful resolution.

Conclusion:

The inevitability of fate caused the demise of Romeo and Juliet.  Had fate been kinder to the star-crossed lovers, the Capulets and Montagues might have come together under more desirable circumstances.  Instead, it took the death of the two young lovers to reconcile the feuding families.  Unfortunately, their fate could not have been changed and the two were forced to end their lives in an attempt to be together.  Fate is not kind, and it can be a deadly force.

Sample Introduction, body paragraph, and conclusion based on the following thesis statement:

In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the absolute technological and legislative control of the World Society results in the devolution of mankind, the abatement of Christian values, and the loss of compassion and human emotions.

Introduction:

Technology plays a prominent role in society.  Vast technological advancements have aided in the growth of civilization, but have also hindered the development of intelligence and emotion.  Exemplified through the continual use of calculators for simple mathematical processes and the exposure to violence through technological resources such as the internet, people have become reliant upon and almost addicted to technology resulting in their loss of intelligence and emotional desensitization.  Similarly, in the novel Brave New World, technology consumes society and impacts all aspects of life.  In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the absolute technologic and legislative control of the World Society results in the devolution of mankind, the abatement of Christian values, and the loss of compassion and human emotions.

Body paragraph (first body paragraph of paper):

Displayed through the breeding facilities and the programming of social classes, technology proves to be an influential means of control within Huxley’s World Society.  Technology’s replacement of natural selection and fate figures prominently in the opening remarks of the Director of Hatcheries.  “We also predestine and condition.  We decant our babies as socialized human beings as Alphas or Epsilons, as future sewage workers or future Directors of Hatcheries” (Huxley13).  This manipulation of natural selection demonstrates the use of technology to implement stringent regulation of civic expectations within the society.  Exemplified further through the processes of programming, specific human tendencies are removed and replaced with those considered acceptable for the World Society.  For example, the World Society approves of open sexuality, and therefore citizens learn the pleasures of sex.  “After decanting–birth-each person undergoes a process of conditioning that makes them willing consumers of pleasures of sex and sport and fearful avoider of pleasures” (Watts 77).  The immense impact of the values instilled in the citizens as well as the significance of technology also affects their religious values.

Conclusion:

In summation, Huxley’s Brave New World portrays that incessant control of society results in the devolution of mankind through the absence of humanity and Christian values.  The impact of technology coupled with the influence of Mustafa’s tyrannical reign over the World Society brings about the loss of compassion, emotion and morals.  Therefore, the people have become less human and more robotic.  Likewise, technology has consumed today’s society, and thus threatens Christian sentiments and emotional behavior.  

Model Introductions and Conclusions  

In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien

Introduction:   Everyone has aspects of themselves they would rather forget.  It could be a habit, or maybe an action in the past, long since erased.  Much of what we do is driven by our insecurities and guilt, both of which develop as a result of our past behaviors.  For many, the solution to guilt is to address the issues and aim to remedy them.  For others, however, they deny the existence of regrettable actions or character traits because it makes life simpler to erase the unpleasant.  In Tim O’Brien’s novel In the Lake of the Woods, John Wade solidifies the notion that when faced with unfortunate reality, people will seek refuge in denial of the truth.  

Conclusion:  John Wade’s life exemplifies the power of denial, and reveals humanity’s tendency to deny what is quite clearly true in order to protect a mental mirage of themselves.  Form John Wade’s boyhood through his time in Vietnam and then back home again, his life is marked by repeated denial of fact.  John Wade cannot face the person he has become, and the only response he can manage is to ignore the issue.  This novel serves as a reminder of the danger of refusing what is true.  For those who indulge in denial, the facts of reality begin to drift away, replaced by the facts of an alternate reality.  And this reality shows nothing less than insanity.  

 

PEER EDITING

Begin by reading the paper in its entirety.  Make notes in the margins, use the corrections identified below in parentheses, circle or underline anything that doesn’t feel right.

Person editing the paper:  __________________________                       Writer: __________________________

One: Format

1.      1 inch margins

2.      MLA heading at the left hand top of the first page, double-spaced.

3.      The paper has a title.

4.      The paper has headers.

5.      Written in Times New Roman 12 point, black ink, one-side only, double-spaced throughout.

6.      Each paragraph indented.

7.      No extra spacing between each paragraph.

8.      Parenthetical citations look like:   “…last words” (Smith 147).

9.      Long citations indented 10 spaces from the left, single spaced, separating them from the text.

10.  Works Cited page formatted correctly:  alpha order, hanging indent, spacing.

11.  All sources on the Works Cited page are used in the paper.

12.  The paper has an introduction, body, and conclusion.

13.  Each body paragraph is 7-9 sentences and follow the format taught in class (refer to your notes).

Two: Content

1.      The paper follows the final outline.

2.      The introduction follows one of the appropriate intro formats.

3.      The introduction is 5-7 sentences.

4.      The thesis statement follows format with attributions, strong verbs and adjectives and an argument.

5.      All of the topic sentences in each body paragraph support the thesis.

6.      Each body paragraph contains both a primary and a secondary citation.

7.      The citations are specific to the paragraph rather than vague and general.

8.      Body paragraphs contain analysis rather than plot summary (PS).

9.      Each body paragraph closes with a transition (Tr) sentence that connects to the next paragraph.

10.  The conclusion paragraph restates the thesis in the first sentence.

11.  The conclusion finishes with a last thought related to the paper’s thesis.

12.  Paragraphs do not feel repetitive.

13.  Identify something you thought was done especially well.

14.  Identify something you thought needs improvement.

Three: Mechanics

1.      The paper feels professionally written, avoiding informal language (INF), figurative language (FIG), slang (SL).

2.      Identify clichés.

3.      Identify sentences that might be run-ons (RO):  too long, rambling.

4.      Identify sentences that seem like fragments (FR):  choppy, incomplete.

5.      Identify spelling, punctuation errors (SGP)

6.      Identify word choices (WC) that seem awkward or out of place.

7.      All names, places, etc. capitalized (CAP).

8.      No first or second person pronouns (PRO):  I, me, my, you, your

9.      The paper is written in present tense (TENSE):  look for verbs ending in ed.

10.  Identify contractions (CON).

11.  Identify the following words (WC): good, bad, very, a lot,thingwords:  something, nothing, etc.

12.  Identify adjectives of size (WC):  great, big, large, huge, to describe events and issues.

RESEARCH PAPER FINAL RUBRIC

FormatScore 1-5Areas of opportunity
MLA                                   .
Thesis statement,             intro, conclusion
Body paragraph             .
Works Cited page          .
Total Score                      .                  /20

 

ContentScore 1-5Areas of opportunity
Intro/              Conclusion
TS/Topic sentence connection
Citation quality                          .
Student’s analysis and argument
Total Score                      .                  /20

 

MechanicsScore 1-5Areas of opportunity
SentencesSyntax                     –Sentence Structure                                             –Run Ons                  –Fragments               –Passive Voice
Formal languageWord Choice/poor diction          –Figurative language             –INFormal language                                        –SLang
GrammarUse of 1stPerson  or 2ndPerson                                                 Inconsistent TenseREPetition/REDundancy
Spelling, punctuationSpelling                              PNC
Total Score                      .                  /20

CRANSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS RUBRIC

 

GRADES 11-12    INFORMATIONAL/EXPLANATORY WRITING: reports; response to informational and literary text; etc.

Students write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts,                                                                                                          and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.

ExpectationsExceeds Standard

4

Meets Standard

3

Nearly Meets Standard

2

Below Standard

1

Establishes context and purpose   W.11-12.2aThe student effectively identifies a topic and establishes an interpretive claim/assertion in the form of a focus/thesis that addresses the prompt.
Effectively sets context (background information).If applicable, the student skillfully engages the reader while establishing purpose with a clear focus/thesis.
The student clearly identifies a topic and establishes an interpretive claim/assertion in the form of a focus/thesis that addresses the prompt.
Sets context (background information).If applicable, the student engages the reader while establishing purpose or focus.
The student identifies a condition, situation, or issue that addresses the prompt, but the purpose and focus may be weak.
Sets limited context (background information)
The student attempts to engage the reader, but is not successful.
The student fails to identify a condition, situation, or issue that addresses the prompt, and may not have a focus.
Context is missing. The student does not engage the reader.
Demonstrates

critical thinking in order to develop the topic  

W.11-12.2b

The student develops the topic thoroughly by selecting a depth of the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
The student references texts and uses relevant and insightful citations to support interpretations, thesis, or drawing conclusions.
The student develops the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic.
The student references texts or uses relevant citations to support interpretations, thesis, or drawing conclusions.
Information may be lacking and/or not accurate.

The student references limited texts and attempts to interpret text, but interpretation or conclusion causes confusion.

The student selects inappropriate information.

The student shows little or no interpretation of the text.

Creates an organizing structure

W.11-12.2a ; W.11-12.2c ; W.11-12.2f

The student organizes complex ideas, concepts, and information so 
that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
The student uses effective transitions to clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
The student provides a pertinent concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
The student organizes complex ideas, concepts, and information so 
that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
The student uses appropriate transitions to clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
The student provides a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
The student uses an organizational structure that may cause confusion. 
. The student uses a few transitions to clarify the relationships among ideas and concepts.
The student attempts to provides a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).
The student’s writing shows little evidence of organization.

The student uses no transitions.

The conclusion may be lacking and the paper ends abruptly.

Uses voice and style to enhance meaning.

W.11-12.2d; W.11-12.2e

The student skillfully uses language that clarifies and supports intent and establishes an authoritative and academic voice. 
Establishes and maintains a formal style. The student uses varied sentence length and structure to enhance meaning.
The student uses precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
Establishes and maintains a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.
The student uses varied sentence length and structure to enhance meaning.
The language is pedestrian and may not establish an authoritative or academic voice.

Style sometimes becomes informal.

The student does not vary sentence length and structure to enhance meaning.

The student does not use language that clarifies or supports intent or establishes an authoritative voice.

Does not maintain a formal style.

The student does not vary sentence length and structure to enhance meaning.

Demonstrates command of written language conventions

L.11-12.1 ;L.11-12.2

The student demonstrates consistent control of grammar, usage, punctuation, sentence construction, and spelling.

The occasional errors do not interfere with meaning.

The student demonstrates control of usage, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, sentence construction, and spelling.

The occasional errors do not interfere with meaning.

The student demonstrates some control of usage, grammar, punctuation, sentence construction, and spelling.
The errors may interfere with meaning.
The student demonstrates little control of usage, grammar, punctuation, sentence construction, or spelling. 

The numerous errors interfere with meaning.

Score  Proficient  Not Proficient

SENTENCE AND PARAGRAPH STRUCTURE:

LINKING VERBS:

A linking verb implies state of being or condition for the subject, not action. It links the subject to an equivalent word in the sentence.

THIS WEBSITE WILL TELL YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LINKING VERBS:

http://grammar.uoregon.edu/verbs/linking.html

BUT FOR OUR PURPOSES, SIMPLY TRY TO AVOID THE FOLLOWING VERBS IN YOUR WRITING:

AM            IS            ARE            WAS               WERE            BE            BEING            BEEN

APPEAR        BECOME        BECAME        FEEL        GROW        LOOK        REMAIN        SEEM        SMELL        SOUND        SAME        ‘

TASTE        TURN

TRANSITIONS AND LINKING EXPRESSIONS:

Transitions which can be used to show location:

above             amid               behind                        beyond                       into                 outside

across                        among                       below             by                    near                over

against                       around                       beneath         down              off                   throughout

along              away from    beside                        in front of      onto               to the right

alongside       back of                       between        inside              on top of       under

Transitions which can be used to show time:

about             during             prior to                      today              soon               finally

after               first                 till                    tomorrow     later                then

at                    second                       until                yesterday      afterward      next

before                        third                meanwhile    next week     immediately  when

as soon as     in the meantime

Transitions which can be used to compare two things:

also                 likewise          in the same way

as                    like                  similarly

Transitions which can be used to contrast things (show differences):

but                  yet                  although        otherwise      on the other hand

however        still                  even though counter to     in the meantime

even so          nevertheless conversely     as opposed   on the contrary

Transitions which can be used to emphasize a point:

again              indeed                        truly                for this reason

to repeat       in fact             to emphasize            with this in mind

Transitions which can be used to conclude or summarize:

as a result      consequently            accordingly   in short

finally             thus                due to                        to sum up

in conclusion            therefore       in summary   all in all

Transitions which can be used to add information:

again              another                      for example  moreover      finally

also                 and                 for instance  further                       as well

additionally   besides                       furthermore  together with           along with

in addition     likewise          next                equally important

Transitions which can be used to clarify:

that is             to clarify                    put another way

for instance  in other words                      stated differently


IMPORTANT LINKS:

English Links Page

  • The Landmark Citation Machine may be used to write citations for Works Cited pages.  At the site, indicate MLA on the first page, make the appropriate choice of media (book, magazine, website, etc.), and then fill in the appropriate fields.        www.citationmachine.net

  • Easy Bib may also be used to format citations for the Works Cited page.  easybib.com

  • The Research Paper Handbook may be found at the Cranston High School East website: http://www.cpsed.net/~chse/ –click on Departments, then on English Department.

  • For approved research citations,

  1. Go to cpsed.net, the Cranston High School East website

  2. Click on Departments, and then Library

  3. Click on the first link for Gale.net/Student Resource Center

  4. A screen will come up; type in the password:  cran_log

  5. Click on Literature to take you to approved research

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