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Common Problems in High School Writing

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In her book on myth in American culture, Jeanne Campbell Reesman states: As half of the senior English class consists of British literature, finding the trickster in Shakespeare and Chaucer becomes a fun challenge for the students. As we move forward in time we begin to study areas culturally and find a plethora of folk tales involving him as Iktomi and Coyote in the southwestern United States, Raven in the northwestern U. If we have time we will culminate our study with a film depicting a modern confidence man, as in Matchstick Men.

In order for the research paper to address relevant standards, the structure will be the same for each student. The first part of the paper will address the trickster and trickster tale in general. This will allow for cooperative learning, as well as ease in using research facilities.

Because Washington has a very weak media center, I inevitably spend two or three weekends at the downtown Atlanta Public Library helping students do their research. When several students can share the research materials, I find they stay at the library longer and find the assignment less isolating. Students will research and compose an original research project which will prepare them for freshman level English at a four year university.

Students will compose an original literature-based research paper utilizing the Modern Language Association citation format. Students will evaluate media to distinguish between scholarly or other appropriate sources and unsubstantiated opinion.

Students will complete a thesis, introduction, bibliography cards, note cards, outline, and a rough draft.

Students will read a novel of their choice and identify trickster characters, identifying possible reasons for why the author chose this character.

Students will compose a series of letters to the instructor concerning what they have read and how they feel about what they have read. Students will compare and contrast the trickster character of their piece of literature with the tricksters we study as a class.

Students will research the background of the trickster and the culture s from which he comes; they will then make connections with the piece of literature they have read.

Students will present findings to the class utilizing all public speaking conventions. Students will create visual aides consisting of maps and artifacts of their chosen culture. Students will compose an original script for a trickster tale in the form of a puppet show. Students will create puppets utilizing various materials. Students will perform an original play incorporating the conventions of trickster stories. I plan to introduce the trickster unit to the students by sharing with them various trickster tales from around the globe.

In the following days, a list of books, plays, poems, and short stories will be available for the students to study, and by the end of the week they will have chosen their piece of literature.

While we are examining the Ashanti culture and going through the research paper process, students will be reading and taking notes on their literary pieces. They will be identifying trickster characters in the pieces and doing research on the author.

Earlier in the year we will have reviewed the conventional elements of literature, so students will know what to look for. Over the next couple of weeks we will read a different Anansi trickster tale each day and take notes about the relevant history, conventions, variations, and character motives involved. Basically, as a class we will complete the first part of the research paper together. Thanks to inclusion, the skill levels in an average senior English class may range from 3rd grade reading level to college level.

This makes teaching a research paper a very difficult thing. Owing to the very wide range of skill levels in each of my classes, some students will regurgitate what we discuss in class in their paper.

At least they have gone through the motions of writing a research paper for any future schooling they may choose. I am usually fully aware of which of my students are headed to college because of information about them in surveys, prior writing assignments and many letters of recommendation.

Also, during this period students will be reading their choice of literature from my reading list. In each one to two page letter, students will tell me about major plot events and the characters to which they have been introduced. They will predict where they think the plot will go, and, if some sort of intrigue has arisen, they will determine character motives, including who the possible tricksters are and what role they will play.

When we have done similar assignments in the past, the students have enjoyed rereading their letters after they have finished the books and seeing what assumptions were correct or off base and which predictions came to pass.

Three Saturdays during this period of time will be spent at the Auburn Avenue library of African American studies in downtown Atlanta. Acquiring a library card is a homework assignment the first week of school, so all children will have access to this fantastic resource. I will spend each Saturday from 10 a. In a perfect world the students could look up the books they need online prior to our Saturdays; however, internet is limited in my room and with temperamental computers it is easier to go through the research process at the actual library.

I fax a copy of the assignment sheet and rubric to the librarian ahead of time so that students who work there on Saturdays get quality help. I help them locate the proper books needed, we sit at a large reserved table, and I help them write out bibliography citations and note cards.

Since several students will not study African tricksters or pieces of literature, we will split our time between Auburn and the main downtown library, which also has an extensive reference collection.

While all of this research is going on outside of class we will be preparing the thesis statement, bibliography cards, note cards, and outlines in class.

Students will also be reviewing all punctuation rules and sentence structure rules. We will have a mini-lesson on commonly confused words and a fun spell check lesson similar to the one passed around through email. As a class, we will read the first page of several sample research papers from all subjects and writing levels, and the students will identify the thesis statements.

Up until now our students have been writing essays and their thesis statements have been something like: If I went to Mars and could only bring one item with me it would be my computer so I could listen to music, play on the internet, and email all of my friends. While this passes as a thesis statement for a short, but not very good, essay, it lacks style.

Style and voice are what we will work on over the next few days. Students will learn that in a research paper the thesis statement may take up several sentences. Parallel structure rules will be reinforced in this lesson. We will look at several research papers, written in various ways, that still convey relevant information. Bibliography cards are one of the most important lessons we learn in preparing to write.

Our bibliography cards are arranged as follows: This is the time when we focus on appropriate sources. The students and I usually surf the internet looking for sites on aliens. We evaluate the sites on how realistic they seem and then search to find out who put them on the web. When the students see that Joe Blow from Podunk touts his site as the definitive work on alien life on this planet, they get the point. We look at the suffixes of web addresses and what they mean by looking up whitehouse.

That also drives home the point of misinformation on the web as well as distinguishing between an article and an advertisement. I am with them for the trips to the library, so evaluating books and articles takes place on a one on one basis. Students will be required to turn in twenty bibliography cards.

It is very important that the lesson on note cards immediately follow that on bibliography cards; otherwise students run the risk of misnumbering the cards.

Each note card should be filled out as follows: It is vital that students understand the logic behind numbering both sets of cards. They sometimes find it difficult to grasp that they may have ten note cards with the number This system of numbering makes the works cited page easy to do.

Students will be required to turn in fifty note cards. After completing their statement of controlling purpose, the students will use their note cards to assemble their outlines. We move desks out of the way and the students spread out on the floor, and occasionally the hall, and then "deal" their note cards.

Students group their cards in the order assigned in the assignment sheet parts one, two and three and then in the subdivisions that make sense to them. We have previously studied the outline format of Roman numerals, letters and numbers; students are now just "writing" the outline on the floor with their note cards. Outlines become a lot easier when the students can move around their ideas in space. Revisions become painless because nothing has to be rewritten; they simply move the card to a new place.

Also, seeing their cards laid out next to each other helps the students to evaluate which cards have valuable information and which contain filler. They are only required to use 15 of their cards in the actual paper, and the outline process is usually the point at which they make their decisions on which to use. Once they have found a series of ideas that makes sense to them and me, since I am making the rounds , students transfer the ideas to a sheet of paper under the proper numeral or letter.

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The Big Con: Tricking the High School Student into Writing a Research Paper by Sarah B. Humphrey Introduction. Senior English students in Atlanta public schools are required to complete a senior research paper. Unfortunately, lack of time is a common problem for many parents today and this is where professional help with writing a high school paper comes in handy. Especially when both parents work every day, what is quite common these days.

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Επιστημονική Ομάδα καθηγητών Καραγιάννη - Κέντρο Φορολογικών και Λογιστικών Εφαρμογών στην Πράξη. High School Research Paper Topics You Shouldn’t Pass By Posted on November 7, by EssayShark Writing research papers is a wearying process, and even more so when you don’t have a specified topic.