Monday, January 24, 2011

Research Paper Assignment

This is what I'm introducing to my 8th grade reading workshop tomorrow.  How you like them high-expectation-apples, foo?

Research Paper

Assignment: You will write a 3-5 page paper on a topic of your choice. Choose something you've always been interested in or have questions about. You need to have a total of 10 sources that you look at for the paper. Three need to be books, three need to be journal articles, and the remaining four can be from any source (books, journals, websites, newspapers, etc.)

You will practice previewing each of the 10 sources you choose. You must use all of THIEVES with two. You may choose parts of THIEVES with four others and use KWL with the remaining four. THIEVES works best with journal articles and websites – not so well with books – you wouldn't want to read every first sentence of every paragraph in a book, right?

Rationale: Completing this assignment will put you ahead of the game for high school, where you'll have to cite sources starting freshman year and write a research paper sophomore year. It will also give you an opportunity to try out different strategies for previewing and reading informational text and decide which ones work best for you.

Format: Your paper must be typed in Times New Roman font, 12 point, double spaced, with one inch margins. Your paper must have a title. It must also have an annotated works cited and works referenced page. This means with each source you use, you will need to write a brief summary (using the Keep/Delete/Substitute strategy we learned in class). The paper must also include at least five in-text citations from different sources. You must also create three text features (diagrams, pictures, graphs, etc.).

Grading: This paper will be read and graded using the same five point system we've used all year. However, it will receive numerous grades, one on each of the following skills:
  • Summarizing
  • Previewing text
  • Citing sources in text
  • Creating a works cited page
  • Using and creating text features
These skills will make up most if not all of your grade for third quarter.

Tentative Schedule:
  • January 26 – Topic Proposal Due
  • January 27, 31, & February 1 – Research in the library
  • February 3, 21, 24, & 28 – Drafting in the computer lab, additional research as necessary
  • February 28 – First Draft Due
  • March 3 & 7 – Self revision in the computer lab using STAR, conferences with Mr. B
  • March 7 – Second Draft Due
  • March 8 & 9 – Peer Revisions
  • March 10, 14 & 17– Revising in the computer lab
  • March 17 – Final Draft Due
  • March 19 – Spring Break!

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