Senior Project Handbook
Table of Contents
Points Guide 2
Letter to Seniors 3
Deadline Policy/Plagiarism 4
Letter to Parents 5
Parent Consent Form 6
Choosing a Topic 8
The Paper 9
Minimum Requirements 10
Outstanding Research Papers 11
Thesis Statement 13
Library Directions/Info 14
Tips & Errors 15
Guide to Writing the Paper 16
Sample Outline 18
MLA Guidelines 19
In-Text Citations 20
Sample Citations 21
Sample Works Cited Page 22
Website Evaluation 23
Interview Techniques 24
Research Paper Rubric 26
Report for Judges Rubric 28
The Project 29
Project Introduction 30
Letter of Intent 31
Role of Mentor/Mentee 32
Mentor Verification 33
Midway Checkpoint 34
Project Self-Evaluation 35
Mentor Review 36
Project Rubric 37
Thank You Letter to Mentor 38
The Presentation 39
Presentation Introduction 40
The Portfolio 41
ESLR Essay/Artifacts 42
Judge/Panelist Application 43
Portfolio Rubric 44
Model Outline for Presentation 45
Presentation Evaluation Form 47
Westmont High School
Senior Project Timeline
A/B Days PHASE I: The Research Report
Sept. 22/23 Signature Packet:
*Senior Intro Letter/Parent Letter.
*Topic/Parent Consent Form
Judges/panelist form due
Oct. 7 Senior Teachers at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr./SJSU Library 6-9 p.m.
Oct. 15/16 Research Checkpoint: Thesis, Outline, Works Cited in Progress, Website Evaluation.
Nov. 4/5 Writing Checkpoint: Thesis, Outline, 3-5 pages, Works Cited
Nov. 12/13 Research Paper Due. Students turn in two separate parts. Each part is stapled together.
1st part: Turnitin.com Receipt, Rubric, Thesis, Outline, 6-8 Page Completed Report, and Works Cited.
2nd Part: All Previous Work.
TBA Senior Teachers Meet to Grade.
Dec. 15/16 Research Papers Returned to Students.
Jan. 7/8 Report for Judges. Students turn in two separate parts. Each part is stapled
1st part: Rubric, Thesis, Outline, 8-10 Page Revised Report, Works Cited.
2nd part: Essay Reflecting on Changes Made to Report, All Previous Work (including research paper)
Jan 13 English Teachers Meet to Calibrate Rubric and Grade.
Jan. 14/15 Report for Judges Returned.
PHASE II: The Service Learning Project
Feb 4/5 Description of Project Goals (Rubric: Purpose, Evidence, Challenge, Time, Mentor); Letter of Intent; Parental
Mar. 3/4 Mentor Verification.
Mar. 30/31 Midway Project Checkpoint
Apr. 21/22 Project Completion (All Project Evidence, Rubric, Mentor Review, Self-Evaluation, Service Learning Reflection).
Apr. 27/28 Thank You Letter to Mentor (Signed Original for Teacher to Correct and Hand Back. Also, One Corrected Copy of
Signed Letter to Turn In).
PHASE Ill: The Presentation
May 3/4 Oral Practice Begins/Oral Outlines Due.
May 20/21 Presentation Room Technology Check Form Due.
May 25/26 Portfolios Due.
May 25 Judges Training in Library 7-8 p.m.
June 1, 2, 3 Oral Presentations 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Senior Project Points Guide
The Research Report Phase
Signature Packet 20
Research Checkpoint 40
Writing Checkpoint 55
Peer Edit 30
Research Paper 200
Report for Judges 160
The Project Phase
Description of Project Goals 20
Letter of Intent 20
Mentor Verification 20
Midway Project Checkpoint 50
Judges Forms 10
Project Completion 200
Thank You Letter to Mentor 20
The Presentation Phase
Oral Practice/ Oral Outline 50
Check Room for Technology 10
Oral Presentation 200
These point values are approximate as teachers may choose to adjust them. It is also
possible that more points will be assigned on the Senior Project through other writing
assignments, oral discussion, participation, and peer review.
Westmont English Department
You are about to begin a major assignment that will provide a bridge between the fall and
spring semesters of this academic year. This assignment is called the Senior Project. The
purpose of the Senior Project is to afford you the opportunity to demonstrate the skills,
talents, and maturity you have developed during your high school career and to discover
ways in which you can contribute to your community. You will choose a topic that not
only interests you, but one which will allow you to grow and mature in ways that are
exciting and challenging.
The Senior Project has three phases. PHASE I is the Paper. You will be researching and
writing a persuasive paper of approximately 6-8 pages, based on your identified area of
need. You will use both primary and secondary sources to gather information for your
PHASE II is the Project. To prepare you to be an independent thinker in a democratic
society, you need to be aware of the various issues and needs present in your community.
You will be developing a service learning project based on your identified area of need
that allows you to apply your knowledge and mastery of your research area. Service
learning means you will not only help your community, but also learn about that
community and that area of need. For example, community service is putting in hours in
a soup kitchen. Service learning, however, is providing that service and learning about
the causes of homelessness and why there is a need for the soup kitchen in the first place.
Ideally this will lead to greater sensitivity and participation in each student’s community.
Your evidence at the conclusion of the service learning phase should accurately reflect
the amount of time and effort you spent. A minimum of twenty hours of verified service
is required in this phase of the Senior Project.
PHASE III is the Presentation. You will be delivering an 8-10 minute oral presentation
that describes your research and demonstrates your project in order to display your
mastery of your chosen subject area. This presentation is done before a review panel, and
it is the culminating element to your Senior Project. This presentation is your chance to
demonstrate what you know and what you can do. Part of the presentation phase includes
a comprehensive portfolio that will display the hard work you have done throughout the
This is a significant project and will have a major influence on your semester grades.
Although you may feel a bit overwhelmed at the moment with the size of the task before
you, rest assured that by meeting deadlines and by making the most of the resources at
your disposal, you will have a successful and exciting experience. “You can do it; we can
The Westmont High School English and Social Science Departments
Signing on the line below indicates that you have read and understand this letter.
Student’s Name: ____________________________________________
Teacher’s name: _________________________English Period:_______
Signature of Student: ______________________________ Date__________
Westmont High School
Deadline and Plagiarism Policies
Senior Project Deadline Policy:
Full credit is only given to Senior Project work placed in the teacher’s homework
tray before the tardy bell rings at the start of class whether a student is in class or not.
Assignments that are turned in on the due date but not at the start of class will receive
half credit. This policy applies to students who arrive late to class, arrive after class has
ended, fax the assignment after class has started, email the assignment after class has
started, call the teacher after class has started, and/or place the assignment in the teacher’s
mailbox after class has started. Even when absent, a student is still responsible for getting
the assignment turned in on time. If this is impossible, a student must contact the teacher
in advance to discuss options. Neglecting to communicate will result in no credit.
Tutorial after an absence is too late to communicate.
How to communicate:
Phone, email, fax. Any assignment turned in after the due date (without
communication with the teacher) will be corrected by the teacher and will receive
Remember, learning time management skills now will be very helpful to you in your
future, no matter what you do.
Senior Project Plagiarism Policy: Any form of plagiarism will result in a zero for that
assignment, a referral to the dean, and a phone call to your parents. It is important to
correctly cite all sources. Common errors that are plagiarism:
1. A student uses a quote or another author’s work without any citation.
2. A student paraphrases a quote or another author’s work but does not cite the source.
3. A student incorrectly cites a source.
4. A student uses phrases and pieces of quotes without using quotation marks around
them and / or does not cite them to their source.
Signing on the line below indicates you have read the deadline and plagiarism policies.
Signature of Student: _______________________________________________
Print your name: __________________________________________________
Teacher: ___________________________ Period: ______ Date ___________
Westmont English Department
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of a major project that is being assigned to all
seniors through their English and Social Science classes. This assignment, the Senior
Project, has far-reaching potential for positively affecting students, not only while at
Westmont, but well into the future. The objective is to bring together all of the skills that
students have developed throughout their education, offer them an opportunity to expand
that learning through a project which they choose and develop, and to assist them in
presenting the fruits of their hard work in a presentation to the larger community beyond
The Senior Project has three phases: the Paper, the Project, and the Presentation. First, a
6-8 page Research Paper requires students to complete substantial research in a variety of
formats, to organize that information into a convincing and thorough essay, and to
manage their time so as to correct errors, revise, and finally to produce a polished paper.
The second phase is the product component, also called the Service Learning Project
phase. Now the student takes advantage of the information gained during research,
chooses someone who is highly knowledgeable in that particular field to serve as a
mentor, and then spends a minimum of 20 hours pursuing some activity for which there
will be a final result or product. As this is a service learning project, this activity must
involve community service. There is a broad range of topics that may be pursued, ranging
from volunteering at a Crisis Center, coaching a youth team, volunteering in a shelter or
the Mayor’s office, and many, many more. The student’s own desire and interest
determines the topic with the focus being on the identified area of need.
The third component is the Presentation. This is a multi-media oral report of 8-10
minutes before a panel of community judges. These volunteer judges (panelists) are
parents, CUHSD Board Members, high tech employees, policemen, independent business
persons, teachers, mentors and various other members of our community. We welcome
you to serve as a panelist for our Oral Presentations on June 1, 2, 3, 2010. Part of the
presentation involves the creation of a highly visual portfolio, which demonstrates the
student’s learning experiences throughout the Senior Project.
All of the guidelines for the Senior Project will be distributed through the Westmont
website and your student’s English class. One of the most important features of the
Senior Project is the lesson it teaches in self-discipline, responsibility, integrity, and time
management. Your son or daughter has already been given access to the handbook that
includes all due dates, as well as advice, directions and examples. We expect this to be a
challenging yet extremely rewarding project, one which will be a crowning culmination
of your teen’s entire school experience. We invite your involvement.
The Westmont High School English Department
Please sign below to indicate you have read the contents of this letter.
Parent/Guardian’s signature _________________________ Date ______________
Parent’s name (print) __________________________________________________
Student’s name (print) _________________________________________________
English Teacher: ________________________________________ Period: _______
Senior Project 2009-2010
Student’s name: __________________________________________
English Teacher: _______________________ Class Period:_______
Parents: Please complete this form yourself after conferencing with your senior about
his/her choice of research and project topics.
As the parent/guardian of a senior at Westmont High School, I am aware that my
son/daughter must successfully complete the three phases of the Senior Project (research
paper, the project, and the oral presentation) in order to fulfill all the requirements of
English 4 and Social Science 4.
Area of Need:
For the Project, my son/daughter will do the following:
For the Research Report, my son’s/daughter’s topic is:
My son/daughter has my permission to complete this project, and I agree to release the
school district and its employees from all claims arriving from financial obligation
incurred, or damage, injury, or accident suffered while my son/daughter participates in
the project that s/he has chosen.
Parent/Guardian signature Date
Parent/Guardian printed name Date
Student’s signature Date
Westmont High School urges all seniors to consider the safety factor
when selecting their project and to consider alternatives to any project
involving danger to themselves or others.
Westmont High School
Senior Project Advice
(Do these things and you will improve your grade!!)
o Evidence: Keep all evidence. Keep all of your notes, drafts, outlines, checkpoints,
logs, e-mails, letters, photos (anything!) on your senior project throughout your senior
year. You will need them for your Portfolio, which is due in May.
o Topic Questions: Here are some questions for you to answer in selecting your topic.
1. How does this subject matter interest/challenge me?
2. What is my target community?
3. What is an area of need in that community?
2. Are ample resources of information available? Can I prove my thesis?
3. How can this topic be presented objectively?
4. What community service will I perform?
5. Is this topic too narrow? Is the topic too broad or vague?
6. Is my paper going to be an argumentative expository essay and not just an explanation
of a problem in the community?
o Primary Source/Mentor. Generally, the best primary source is your mentor or some
other expert in the field you are researching. If you get a mentor early on, you may also
have your primary source for the research paper. Cool!
o Use the handbook. Most of your questions are answered in the handbook. Review the
rubrics to see how to earn a high grade. Study the directions and examples.
* Aim for an A. If you earn an ‘A’ on the Research Paper, you automatically earn an ‘A’
on the Report to the Judges (as long as you make changes indicated by your teacher).
* Every year the graduating seniors make this recommendation to incoming seniors:
Senior Project Topic Activity
1. What career options have you considered for yourself? List them here, even if
you are not sure the career is something you want to pursue.
2. What is going on in the state, country, and world today? List some current
events that concern you, worry you, impress you. Choose 1-2 events on your list:
Why do they concern you?
3. In what way could you help other people in your community? People near your
home, in San Jose, in Santa Clara County, in California? Would you most like to
help your peers, older people or younger children? What kinds of volunteer
opportunities exist for teenagers?
The Research Paper
Westmont High School
Use the following “minimum standards” as a checklist to insure your paper will be
effective. Meeting these minimums will not ensure a high grade, but will be a guide to a
passing grade. Highest grades go to papers that EXCEED the minimum standards. We
encourage you to aim for the best that you can do.
1. The text of the paper is a minimum of 6 typed, double-spaced pages in correct MLA
format, but not longer than 10 pages.
2. Correct Order: Rubric, Thesis, Outline, Research Paper, Works Cited. All items are
headed and paginated according to MLA format.
3. All works listed on Works Cited page are cited within the body of the research report
(quoted or paraphrased).
4. All citations in the paper appear on the Works Cited page.
5. No MLA citation errors.
6. The margins are 1” on all four sides, and the author’s last name appears on every page
with the appropriate page number (including the Works Cited page).
7. There are at least four sources (primary and secondary) cited in the paper and listed
on the Works Cited page.
8. A primary source is used effectively at least twice; one of those must be an interview.
Other primary sources include:
Survey of a justifiable number of subjects (100) with a data report
Direct observation with documentation
Experiment with laboratory report and/or documentation of results
9. Secondary sources include:
Published Books Government Pamphlet. Specialized Encyclopedia
Published Newspapers. Electronic Database (not a general encyclopedia).
Published Magazines. Articles. Credible Internet source.
10. There are at least seven in-text citations in the body of the research report.
11. The Works Cited include a minimum of three different types of sources.
12. The Works Cited page is in alphabetical order by author, the entries are NOT
numbered, and the entire page is double-spaced with hanging indentation.
Please see the Works Cited page example on page 22.
OUTSTANDING RESEARCH PAPERS ON FILE
Annie Garcia Planned Parenthood 2008
Izyumin, Dmitriy Guevera, Stalin and Hitler 2007
May, Jared E-Waste 2007
Nguyen, Liz Cats the musical 2007
Ayer, Caitlin Costume Design 2006
Bommarito,Tori Caligraphy 2006
Chase, Erica Oscar Wilde 2006
Falahati,Veesta Classroom dynamics 2006
Fong, Dominique Theodor Seuss Geisel 2006
Grunwald,Amanda Joan Miro 2006
Law,Yvonne Tarot cards 2006
Maali Sigmund Freud 2006
Orlanda,Sarah Jane Addams 2006
Ufheil-Somers, Emily Snow White 2006
Bierach, Katie e.e Cummings poetry 2005
Blondefield, Chris PHP Language 2005
Cucuzza, Matt Fender Stratocaster 2005
Gneckow, Eric Harmonicas 2005
Hegstrom, Hayley McCarthyism/Literature 2005
Ng-Parish,Mark Frank Lloyd Wright 2005
Pasman, Lesley Genetics 2005
Raymond, Jenna The Simpsons 2005
Rippen, Marie Jimi Hendrix 2005
Amii, Kristine Pilates 2004
Chapman, Danietle Salsa Dancing 2004
Choi, Ronnie Wizard of Oz 2004
Dilts, Bekkah Tarot cards 2004
Dimbil, Mohamed Gun Control 2004
Iwagoshi, Drew Carbohydrates and Proteins 2004
Jebens, Jen Digital Photography 2004
Kurwa, Rahim Overweight Epidemic 2004
Makishima, Lesley Karate 2004
Mitchell , Justin Robots 2004
Scheinbaum, Ashlee Horror Films 2004
Ufheil-Somers, Amanda French New Wave Films 2004
Wojno, Kathryn Apples vs PCs 2004
Alexander, Victoria Digital Photography 2003
Bamford, Katherine Ocean Damage 2003
Brengle, Meredith Religious Cults 2003
Chi, Enoch Jesus’s Resurrection 2003
Clair, Mike Music Recording 2003
Dipiero, Shauna Alcoholism 2003
Jackson, Jenny Premature Babies 2003
Navid, Shaudee William R. Hearst-Journalist 2003
Nguyen, Dana Children’s T\/ 2003
Nguyen, Chris Feng Shul 2003
Nguyen, Vy Optometry 2003
Nickooshiam, Maryann Forensic Science 2003
Pouya, Nazaneen Separation of Church and State 2003
Tantraphol, Sedora Homelessness 2003
Alkhadra, Pierre Barry Bonds 2002
Brown, Jenny College Scholarships 2002
Huang, Christine Murder of Rwanda 2002
Judd, Jonathan Independent Films 2002
Kemp, Taralee Mentors 2002
Parola, Jessica Fashion 2002
Potts, Leah Katherine Graham-Jounalist 2002
Smith, Allison Separation of Church and State 2002
Corpron, Justin Model Planes and Aviation 2001
Liang, Cindy Animal Cruelty 2001
McAvoy, John Mozart 2001
McAvoy, Colin Swing Music 2001
Moon, Amber Guitars: Creation & Evolution 2001
Phan, Linda Volunteer Services 2001
Raymond, Rachele Cosmetics 2001
Shpiel, Megan Scottish war 2001
Siahpolo, Haleh Veterinary Medicine 2001
Smitt, Leanne Henri Rousseau: Painter 2001
Spilman, Greg Internet 2001
Walker, Melissa Fashion Designer 2001
More information and excellent examples of thesis statements are available at this
web site: http://web.uvic.ca/wguide/Pages/Essay/ThesisStatement.html
A formal thesis statement has the following characteristics:
I. Is a complete sentence (not a fragment, not a phrase, not several sentences)
2. Forms a complete statement (not a question)
3. Contains an argument
4. Contains divisions of proof in parallel structure
Throughout the Senior Project, your thesis will be evaluated as:
Wow! Interesting! Fascinating! Intriguing!
Adequate but not inspiring, meets minimum standards
Confusing, Unclear, Try Again
Grading scale for these different theses categories is:
Review the sample thesis statements that follow:
1. Although many believe cosmetics are only used for glamour, they have, in fact, been utilized throughout
history for cultural purposes, religious practices, and health reasons.
2. The lack of public awareness may imply that veterinary medicine is a stagnant field; however, it is
actually growing and improving thanks to advances in medicine, breakthroughs in technology, and
innovations in practice.
3. Not only is Jerry Rice the greatest wide receiver to ever play in the National Football League, but his
remarkable durability, productivity, and accomplishments make him an obvious candidate as the greatest
player the league has ever seen.
Adequate, but not inspiring
1. Although some people believe that adoption is a cruel and irresponsible act, in fact, it has helped a
remarkable number of children grow up in a healthy, stable environment, and has provided loving parents
(who can’t conceive on their own) a chance to raise children.
2. While many think exercise is just for fun, it actually strengthens muscles, develops flexibility, and
3. Although many people want to design their own home, it is better to invest in the help of an
interiordesigner because they have been trained in the field and know how to properly design an area.
1. Why do sharks attack people? They have the power to make us wander, be amazed, and be in fear.
Sharks also have a great importance in people’s lives and the ecosystem. When a shark attacks, scientists
wander and people fear.
2. Making a difference in the world today takes the strength to rise up against the ignorance of racism and
to realize racial purity is an illusion in today’s society, just like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and so
many activists did many years ago.
3. With new advances in technology, work has become faster, simple communication is easy and reliable,
and doing routine actions such as driving is now safer.
Library Research Day
(Or how the English teachers will help me get started on my research)
The senior Enghsh teachers will meet you at the Martin Luther King, Jr. branch of
the San Jose library on Wednesday, October 7, 2009. Teachers will be there between
6:00 and 9:00 p.m. You may come anytime. Ask your teacher where to meet.
If you do not currently have a San Jose library card, please follow the link below to apply
online. If you are under 18, you will need parent permission to obtain a card. Please do
this before meeting your teacher at the library.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
150 E. San Fernando St.
San José, CA 95112
August 24 - December 16, 2009
Monday - Thursday 8:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday 1:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday, Nov 25 — Open 8 AM - 6 PM
Welcome to the largest, all-new library west of the Mississippi, an innovative
collaboration which has created an invaluable community resource open and free to all. A
feast for the mind, as welt as the eyes, the King Library boasts a collection of roughly 1.5
million items as well as delightful public art installations awaiting your discovery on
See you there!!
The Senior English Teachers
Westmont High School
English Department Writing Errors and Tips
*1. Title Problem: underline or italicize published works / use “quotation marks” when appropriate.
*2. Do not use slang.
*3. Tense agreement problem - write about literature in the present tense.
*4. Format problem: heading, spacing, margins, pagination, paper choice.
5. Word usage problem.
6. Do not use abbreviations.
7. Off topic - going off on a tangent. Need to address the prompt.
8. Capitalization error.
9. Spelling error.
10. Punctuation error.
11. Agreement. (subject/verb, parallel structure, participle/ verb).
12. Missing complete introduction to quote or missing clarification of quote.
13. Wrong pronoun reference (the child says that they will love English).
14. Unclear antecedent/pronoun (Hamlet tells Horatio that he is smart).
*15. Font size / style problem.
16. Sense / clarity problem.
17. Sentence ends with a preposition.
*18. Formal, third person (no I, we, you, us, me...unless in quotes).
19. Do not use unnecessary generalizations / judgments.
20. Run-on sentence.
22. Repetitive, redundant.
23. Too much plot! - not enough analysis - need to analyze not summarize.
24. Missing divisions of proof (normally three elements that will support your claim in an essay).
25. Do not use quotes as claims - state your own idea.
26. Missing word(s).
*27. Using names. (use the full name first [John Lennon, Barry Bonds, Rosa Parks]
only use the last name thereafter [Lennon, Bonds, Parks]).
*28. Do not make assumptions. The reader of your paper could be anyone.
*29. Citation error-format-MLA
*30. Missing citation.
* indicates MLA error = 10% grade reduction.
50. Support argument with examples, evidence, details, data, quotes. Be specific. Show don’t tell.
51. Proofread. Writer proofreads. Someone else proofreads.
52. Commentary must prove thesis. Link your quote to the thesis.
53. Need a conclusion.
54. Need a transition.
55. Vague. Avoid this, that, it.
56. Increase vocabulary.
57. Add an attention-getter or “hook”.
58. Avoid split-infinitives.
59. Avoid using forms of to be (is, are, was, am). Find stronger verbs. Avoid using passive voice.
60. Need a creative title.
61. Awkward wording or sentence structure.
62. Use a wider variety of sentence patterns.
63. Avoid contractions.
64. Avoid starting sentences with conjunctions.
65. Avoid using clichés and over-used expressions.
66. Be more descriptive of characters. Add appositive or adjective.
Updated 5/15/07 by JB and AE
A GUIDE TO WRITING THE SENIOR PROJECT RESEARCH PAPER
After you have chosen a topic that interests and challenges you, completed preliminary research on the topic, and started
to determine the overall structure of your paper, use this guide to assist you with the writing of your introduction, body
paragraphs, and conclusion.
The basic structure of this paper proves extremely simple. It has three parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion—
or, to put it in the most basic terms, a beginning, middle, and end. Think of each of the units as a paragraph. The first, or
introductory paragraph, begins broadly and narrows to a point (thesis). The second, third, fourth (and so on) paragraphs
comprise the middle section and support the thesis in the introductory paragraph. The last paragraph concludes, beginning
at a narrow point and ending broadly.
There are student-written examples in this guide. Though you are encouraged to use the models to help you, do not copy
from them directly.
There are several ways one could begin a research paper. This guide uses the attention-getter model as the most beneficial
type of introduction for your readers.
This type of introduction has two major aims: to catch the reader’s attention and to state the main point or purpose of the
essay. There are many different types of attention-getters, including: question, humor, anecdote, suspense, quotation,
examples, shock and series.
Sample Introductions: both of these introductions begin with significant quotes taken from the author’s research. Notice
that each of the sentences is numbered. The chart that follows the first introduction explains the function of each sentence.
After reading the second introduction, try to fill in the chart yourself.
(1) “Fear doesn’t travel well; just as it can warp judgment, its absence can diminish memory’s truth. What terrifies
one generation is likely to bring only a puzzled smile to the next” (Miller “Why I Wrote” 159). (2) With this quotation
from his article “Why I Wrote The Crucible,” author Arthur Miller addresses mankind’s tendency to forget its mistakes,
dooming future generations to repeat them in an endless cycle. (3) Miller indicates one “mistake” in particular here: the
paranoia associated with McCarthyism. (4) The “witch-hunts” of Joseph McCarthy left a lasting mark on society, which,
by accounts of ruined lived and careers may lead one to assume the mark completely harmful. (5) However, some positive
aspects resulted from McCarthyism, or more specifically, from the backlash against McCarthyism. (6) Arthur Miller,
recognizing the cyclical nature of such paranoia and suspicion, created great works of literature suggesting this cycle. (7)
His most famous play, The Crucible, serves as the definitive example of McCarthyism’s positive influence on modem
• # 1: attention-getter • #4: background information, setting up argument
• #2: clarification of attention-getter, begins to address • #5: continuing to set up argument, funneling to thesis
• #6: continuing to funnel to thesis
• #3: background information, continuing to address
• #7: thesis statement
(1) “The human nature of Freudian psychology is exactly the stuff upon which the poet has always exercised his art”
(Skura 20). (2) Through these words, Lionel Trilling, a prominent literary analyst, elegantly expressed the tremendous
extent to which writers and literary critics have utilized the many revolutionary ideas of Sigmund Freud. (3) Freud’s
theories offered an entirely new portal into the workings of the human mind, giving literalists the ability to approach
literature in a completely different manner. (4) Literary analysts constantly refer to Freud’s work because “psychoanalysis
provides not only a tool for practical criticism, but also the basis for understanding how literature works” (Skura 274). (5)
With his revolutionary advancements in psychology, Sigmund Freud, known as the father of psychoanalysis, significantly
impacted literary criticism through his theories on the unconscious, “creativity,” and psychobiography.
THE BODY PARAGRAPHS
• Most body paragraphs will begin with a topic sentence, which specifically states
the content or point of the sentences that follow.
Here are some sample topic sentences from past student papers:
“Many writers and literary analysts note parallels between the Salem witch trial injustice
of the 1690s and the similar McCarthyist injustice of the 1950s” (Hegstrom 5).
“Wright uses the animal to demonstrate his protagonist’s subconscious understanding that
humans are as capable of unthinking, instinctive action as the most ferocious of beasts”
• Notice that, in the topic sentences above, the language is specific and speaks
directly to the content of the paragraph.
The rest of the paragraph will include specific details about the topic, including necessary
quotes and paraphrases. The paragraph should also include the author’s own
interpretation of these details—in other words, your opinion, your argument, your
Though the body paragraph structure of a research paper will vary, the following chart
can be used as a general guide. For models that go beyond this chart, use the following
papers to help you: “Breaking the Cycle,” “Finding Freud: The Depths of Literary
Criticism,” and “From Fearful to Feared: Symbolism and Redefinition in Native Son.”
Sentence Number Function
1 Topic sentence
2 Concrete detail # 1
3 Concrete detail # 1 (with quote)
4 Commentary # I
5 Commentary # 1 continued
6 Transition/Concrete detail #2
7 Concrete detail #2 (with quote)
8 Commentary #2
9 Commentary #2 continued
What form a conclusion will take depends on what precedes it. Summary can be an
important part of the conclusion, but keep it brief. Try to discuss your topic in a new way
now that you have presented all that you know about it.
Consider pointing out the importance or implications of what you have just written.
Another possibility includes pointing out what you feel is the natural next step to take in
light of your argument.
The conclusion is the last paragraph the reader will read. Do not allow a strong essay to
fizzle with a weak conclusion. Always end with a definite statement.
Study the conclusions from the sample papers for concrete examples and ideas.
A. “It’s official: The American independent cinema has arrived! The New York
Times puts indie films on its front page… as do the stalwart industry trades
Variety and Hollywood Reporter. The development of a viable alternative
cinema... may be one of the most exciting developments in American culture
during the past two decades” (Levy 13).
B. Through its pioneering application of innovative production methods, the
auteur theory of directing, and caméra-stylo cinematography, French New Wave
has been the most influential cinematic movement on American independent film.
II. Innovative production methods;
A. New technologies of the 1950’s.
B. Techniques established by New Wave directors.
C. Impact of these technique on film industry.
III. The Auteur Theory.
A. Creation of “la politique des auteurs.”
B. Application of auteur theory.
C. Problems with the traditional theory and application of the adapted theory.
A. Creation of caméra-stylo.
B. Application of caméra-stylo.
C. The presence of cainéra-stylo in American independent film.
A. Thesis proved.
B. Attention-ender. Return to quote from Emanuel Levy
For more help with MLA, use the following web site:
• Type your paper on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch
• Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font like Times New
Roman or Garamond.
• Leave only one space after periods or other punctuation marks (unless otherwise
instructed by your teacher).
• Set the margins of your document to 1 inch on all sides. Indent the first line of a
paragraph one half-inch (five spaces or press tab once) from the left margin.
• Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand
corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your
instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow
• Use italics throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when
absolutely necessary, providing emphasis.
• Begin your Works Cited page on a separate page at the end of your research
paper. It should have the same one-inch margins and last name, page number
header as the rest of your paper. This page is numbered sequentially with the rest
of the paper.
• Label the page Works Cited (do not underline the words Works Cited or put
them in quotation marks) and center the words Works Cited at the top of the page.
• Double space all citations, and do not skip spaces between entries.
• List page numbers of sources efficiently, when needed; if you refer to a journal
article that appeared on pages 225 through 250, list the page numbers on your
Works Cited page as 225-50.
1. Print Sources (Book, Magazine, Newspaper). Author’s last name and page number:
Example: (Potok 40).
2. Interview. Use the last name of person interviewed Example: (Wiggins).
3. Website- If the author is known, then the author is listed. If the author is unknown,
then cite with the title of the article. If there is no author or article, then use the
underlined title of the website (not the address). Keep in mind that if there is no
author to the website, then how reliable is it?
Examples: Author: (Jenkins) Title of article: (“Saddened by Closure of
Lollapalooza”) Website: (Italian Food).
4. Quotes that come from more than one page (You might have a quote that begins at the
bottom of page 77 and finishes at the top of page 78). Use author’s name and
pages separated by a hyphen.
Examples: (Reilly 77-78). (Fouts 125-127).
5. Quotes from a book by more than one author. Use the last name of the first person
listed on the cover. Note this is similar to the format for Works Cited.
6. What if I have quotes by the same author from different books? Use author’s name
then the first few words of the title (don’t forget to underline) then the page
Example: Julie wants to quote William Shakespeare from both Hamlet and Much
Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare Hamlet 57). (Shakespeare Much Ado 89).
7. A Survey or an Experiment???? (Survey). (Experiment).
8. When all else fails, in parentheses, place the first thing that you have on your Works
Cited and then the page number.
Very Important: Citation is placed after the sentence in which source material is quoted
or paraphrased Remember, even if your paraphrase (i.e., use your own words) you
STILL MUST CITE YOUR SOURCE!!!
Very Important: REMEMBER: IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT
CITING A SOURCE THAT IS MORE COMPLEX THAN THE EXAMPLES ABOVE,
THEN CHECK THE MLA HANDBOOK, CHECK www. http://owl.english.purdue.edu
OR ASK YOUR GREAT ENGLISH TEACHER.
Book: Author, title, city, publisher, year
Okuda, Michael, and Denise Okuda. Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future
New York: Pocket, 1993.
Journal Article: author, article title, journal title, volume, year.
Wilcox, Rhonda V. “Shifting Roles and Synthetic Women in Star
Trek: The Next Generation.” Studies in Popular Culture 13.2 (1991):
Newspaper or Magazine Article
Di Rado, Alicia. ‘Trekking through College: Classes Explore Modern
Society Using the World of Star Trek.” Los Angeles Times 15 Mar. 1995: A3.
Book Article or Chapter
James, Nancy E. ‘Two Sides of Paradise: The Eden Myth According to
Kirk and Spock.” Spectrum of the Fantastic Ed. Donald Patumbo.
Westport: Greenwood, 1988. 219-223.
Encyclopedia Article (well known reference books)
Sturgeon, Theodore. “Science Fiction.” The Encyclopedia Americana International ed.
Lynch, Tim. “DSN Trials and Tribble-ations Review.” Psi Phi: Bradley’s
Science Fiction Club 1996. Bradley University. 8 Oct. 1997 <http:/I
E-mail to You
Kunka, Andrew. “Re: Modernist Literature.” E-mail to the author. 15 Nov. 2000.
Note: MLA style capitalizes the “E” in E-mail; and separates E and mail with hyphen.
Newspaper or Magazine Article on the Internet
Andreadis, Athena. ‘The Enterprise Finds Twin Earths Everywhere It Goes, But Future
Colonizers of Distant Planets Won’t Be So Lucky.” Astronomy Jan. 1999: 64-. Academic
Universe Lexis-Nexis. B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Lib., Brookvitle, NY. 7 Feb. 1999
A Page on a Web Site
“Inside the Games: Dolphin Kick Gives Swimmers Edge” http://www.npr.org/
templates/story/story.php?storyId=93575235npr.org. 15 August 2008.
Adams, Paul. “Furious Arafat Is Freed.” Globe and Mail [Toronto] 2 May 2002: A1+.
“Beginner Tip: Presenting Your Page with Style.” Webmaster Tips Newsletter July 2000.
NetMechanic. 13 Oct. 2002 <http://www.netmechanic.com/
Collins, Ronald K.L., and David M. Skover. The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Fall and
Rise of an American Icon Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, 2002.
Continelli, Louise. “A Place for Owls to Heal.” Buffalo News 12 Jan. 2003: C2.
“E-Money Slips Quietly into Oblivion.” Nikkei Weekly Tokyo] 22 Jan. 2001: 4.
Gordin, Michael D. “The Science of Vodka.” Letter. New Yorker 13 Jan. 2003: 7.
“Ho Chi Minh.” Encyclopaedia Britannica 2003. Britannica.com. 15 May 2003
King, Stephen. Black House New York: Random, 2001.
---From a Buick 8: A Novel New York: Simon, 2002.
Law and Order Prod. Wolf Film in assoc. with Universal Television. NBC Television
Network. WHEC, Rochester, NY. 13 Mar. 2003.
Longin, Helimut. Telephone interview. 11 Jan. 2006.
Marshall, Leon. “Mandela in Retirement: Peacemaker without Rest” National
Geographic.com. 9 Feb. 2001. 13 Mar. 2003
Using key words specific to your Senior Project, select one site to evaluate using the following
criteria. Most answers are of the yes/no type, though some will include short answer responses.
You must also complete a Narrative Evaluation (B) after evaluating the web site for technical
and visual aspects of the web site, content, and authority. Directions are at the bottom of this
URL of Web page you are evaluating: http:// ___________________________________
Name of Web page: _______________________________________
Author of Web page: _______________________________________
A. Technical and Visual Aspects of the Web Page
Does the page take along time to load?
Do the pictures add to the page?
Is the spelling correct on the page?
Are there headings and subheadings on the page?
If so, are they helpful in finding information. quickly?
Is the title of the page indicative of its content?
is the purpose of the page indicated on the home page?
When was this document created?
Is the information useful to your purpose?
Would it have been easier to get the information somewhere else?
Did the information lead you to other sources that were useful?
Is a bibliography of print sources included?
Is the information current?
Does up-to-date information matter for your purpose?
Does the information appear biased?
Does the.information contradict something you found somewhere else?
Who created the page?
What organization is the author affiliated with?
Has the site been reviewed by an online reviewing agency?
Am you positive that the information is true?
What can you do to prove that it is true?
B. Narrative Evaluation
On a separate sheet of paper, explain why or why not this site is (or is not) valid for your purpose.
Include aspects of technical and visual aspects, content, and authority.
Interviewing someone who has knowledge and expertise on your Senior Project topic is a
great way not only to gather information for your research paper, but also to make a
contact who might possibly be your mentor for the project phase. Also, it is enjoyable to
talk to someone who is interested in your subject area. The information you gain from
this person is often more valuable than the material taken from written sources, Take full
advantage of your time with this. Show respect for your interviewee by properly
preparing ahead of time. Use effective interviewing skills, and carefully review your
notes immediately following the interview. Thoroughly study the following guidelines:
Before the Interview:
1. Decide if this is the best person to interview for your topic selection. What do you
already know about his / her position, background & education, and any special skills and
experiences he or she might have? Ask other people you know who have knowledge in
this area if this individual would be your best choice. (People you might ask include
teachers, people at your work site, business owners, or your parents.)
2. Discern the purpose of your interview. Know exactly what you want to gain. If you
don’t have a clear purpose, or do not know what you want to accomplish, your time spent
with this person will be unfocused.
3. Call and make an appointment. Introduce yourself and state the purpose of your
interview and how long it might take. Do not procrastinate! Don’t put off calling this
person because he or she may be busy and might not be able to fit you into the schedule.
Jointly decide on a date, time and place for the interview. (If you have scheduled an
appointment during school time, be sure you follow the correct policy for leaving
4. Write out clearly-phrased questions reflecting the purpose of the interview, which is to
gain information supporting and adding to the thesis of your research paper. Organize
your questions in a logical fashion; for example, from simple to complex or from
objective and factual to personal. Write out more questions than you might have time for
in the interview.
5. Gather your materials: pen, paper, and equipment. Before the interview, be sure to
check the functioning of any technology you are planning to use, such as a laptop
computer and tape recorder.
6. It is a good idea to call the day before your scheduled interview to confirm your
7. Be sure to dress appropriately for the interview. You take yourself seriously and you
want your interviewee to take you seriously, too.
During the Interview
1. Dress appropriately; be well groomed.
2. Be punctual - 10 minutes early is desirable.
3. Introduce yourself in a professional manner - firm handshake, smile, eye contact.
4. Review the purpose of the interview again, and thank the person for his or her time.
5. If using a tape recorder, ask permission of interviewee.
6. Don’t digress during the interview. Stay on topic.
7. Listen for possible leads, however, and formulate new questions.
8. Ask for clarification if needed, and don’t be embarrassed to ask the person to repeat an answer
you did not understand or hear correctly. Take time to be correct in note taking. The person will
appreciate that you are taking the time to be accurate.
9. Honor “off the record” remarks.
Questions? Questions? Questions?
Asking the right questions is critical for a successful interview. The following questioning
prompts might help you get started.
1. How are you involved with……………………………………..?
2. What is basic to know about…………………………………….?
3. How long have you……………………………………………...?
4. Who else has……………………………………………………?
5. Where did you learn……………………………………………?
6. What is most challenging about………………………………...?
7. What do you enjoy about……………………………………….?
8. What is next in terms of………………………………………..?
9. If you could change one thing about……………………………?
10 How do you envision the future of……………………………..?
After the interview
Review your notes as soon after the interview as possible.
Consolidate information; prune information you can’t use. Be careful that direct quotes are
If in doubt about a specific comment, contact the person again for clarification.
Make a list of additional resources you have discovered during the interview.
Remember the basics! Date, time and place of interview, interviewee’s full name and title
Write a thank-you letter to the person.
“A single conversation with a wise man is better then ten years of study.”
Senior Project Research Paper Rubric
• A Persuasive Composition: Exceptionally states & maintains a position,
Score authoritatively defends that position with precise & relevant evidence, &
convincingly addresses the reader’s concerns, biases & expectation.
• Provides an exemplary thesis that is responsive to the writing task
• Thoroughly supports the thesis & main ideas with specific details & examples.
• Demonstrates a consistent tone & focus; illustrates a purposeful control of
• Demonstrates an exceptional sense of audience.
• Provides a variety of sentence types & uses precise, descriptive language.
• Contains few, if any, errors in the conventions of the English language. Errors are
generally first-draft in nature.
Score • A Persuasive Composition: states & maintains a position, strongly defends that position
3 with precise & relevant evidence, & addresses the reader’s concerns, biases & expectation.
• Provides a meaningful thesis that is responsive to the writing task.
• Supports the thesis & main ideas with specific details & examples.
• Demonstrates a consistent tone & focus; illustrates a solid control of organization.
• Demonstrates a strong sense of audience.
• Provides a variety of sentence types & uses some descriptive language.
• May contain some errors in the conventions of the English language. Errors do not
interfere with the reader’s understanding of the essay.
Score • A Persuasive Composition: defends a position with general evidence & attempts
2 to address the reader’s concerns, biases, & expectations.
• Provides a thesis that is responsive to the writing task.
• Supports the thesis & main ideas with specific details & examples.
• Generally demonstrates a consistent tone & focus; illustrates minimal control of
• Demonstrates a basic sense of audience.
• Provides few sentence types & uses basic, predictable language.
• May contain errors in the conventions of the English language. Errors may
interfere with the reader’s understanding of the essay.
• A Persuasive Composition: poorly defends a position with limited evidence and
poorly addresses the reader’s concerns, biases & expectations.
• Provides a weak thesis that is related to the writing task.
• Demonstrates an inconsistent tone/focus; illustrates limited control of organization
1 • Poorly supports the thesis & main ideas with details & examples.
• May demonstrates a limited/minimal sense of audience.
• Provides a limited sentence types & uses limited vocabulary.
• May contains serious errors in the conventions of the English language. Errors
interfere with the reader’s understanding of the essay.
Non-Scorable: The code “NS” will appear for responses that are written in a language other than
English, off topic, unintelligible, or otherwise non-responsive to the writing task.
SCORING 4=100-95% 4/3=90% 385% 3/2=80%
2 =75% 2/1 =70% 1 =65% NS=0%
WESTMONT HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR PROJECT
Report for Judges Rubric
Student name. _________________________________________
Teacher ____________________ Class period ______
1. Thesis: ______________
= Wow! Interesting! Fascinating! Intriguing!
= Adequate but not inspiring; meets minimum standards.
= Confusing, Unclear, Try Again.
2. Writing Rubric: __________
4 = 95-100 4/3=90 3 = 85
3/2 = 80 2=75 2/1 = 70
1 = 65
Thesis _________/ 20
Writing Rubric ________/ 100
Report revisions __________/140
TOTAL __________ /160
Attach this cover sheet to your research paper with the following:
Judges Rubric, Thesis, Outline, 8-10 Page Revised Report and Works Cited.
Hand in changes to report sheet, original, corrected essay, and all previous work
PHASE II: THE PROJECT
The Project phase of the Senior Project is the aspect that truly sets this total endeavor
apart from most other high school assignments. You will now have the opportunity to do
something hands-on, to actually get involved outside of school in an area that interests
you. Just think, you will be earning high school credit for doing something you are
interested in anyway! This phase asks you to apply the knowledge you gained in the
research and reporting phase to a real-life experience around the same--or a very similar--
There must be a product at the end of your project experience. The product can be
something that you built, wrote, or created, or it can be a visual representation of
something that you did, such as a collage of photos from the fifteen hours you spent
teaching reading at the public library. Many students choose to create a video of their
experience, both for use in the oral presentation at the end of the semester, as well as for
their own personal memorabilia.
Here are the key points to remember as you choose your project area and product:
1. Your project and research report topic must be related to the area of need you
have already identified.
2. You must spend a minimum of twenty (20) hours outside of school on your
3. Your project must represent a challenge to you, and an opportunity for growth.
It is very important that you show how you stretched yourself in doing this
project and your community service.
4. You must have an adult mentor to help you with the project phase. This person
must either be an expert in the field, or someone who has significant experience in
the area of your project. You may have more than one mentor.
5. You must show physical evidence and written verification of your project, both
at the midway point and at the end of the project.
Sample research report topics with Project ideas and the final product.
Research Report Topic Project Product
The methods used by Volunteer at local Photos and journal of
Dr. Paul Farmer Red Cross. Distribute volunteer time. Informational
to fight TB in Haiti flyer about H1N1 vaccine flyer about H1N1 virus.
Changing uses and Volunteer at local library Photo collage of
continuing need for for Literacy Project volunteering at library
The results of domestic Volunteer at Second Video of bagging donated
violence in Santa Clara Harvest Food Bank groceries and food collection
County bins set up at Westmont.
Law enforcement Shadow a police officer Photos, class certificate
video of ride along
SENIOR PROJECT LETTER OF INTENT
Salutation: Address the letter to your English teacher. Follow the name with a colon.
Paragraph #1: Describe your interest in your topic. Why did you choose this area of need?
What did you previously know about the topic?
Paragraph #2: What was your research report subject? What did you learn? Did you prove your
thesis? What resources did you use?
Paragraph #3: Begin with a transitional sentence, a segue from your paper to your project topic.
Next, describe your project in some detail. What will you do, who will be involved, what will be
your product, how much time will you spend, etc.
Signature: You must sign your name above your typed name and below the word “Sincerely.”
Block Form Business Letter Format
A business letter with the return address at the left margin and using block paragraphs.
Wanda Full Student
5 Hill Street
Campbell, California 95008
February 14, 2010
Mr. Chris Haskett
4805 Westmont Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
Dear Mr. Haskett:
Until recently, I had relatives who lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. They were devastated by Hurricane
Katrina’s damage to their home. I watched the news and read all the stories about the disaster and the
heroism of those who volunteered to help the victims of the hurricane. My relatives have managed to
relocate elsewhere, and they are going to be fine; but I am now extremely interested in organizations such
as the Red Cross, which help those in need.
I researched disaster preparedness, and argued that it is possible for communities and states to have a
comprehensive disaster plan in place, and for those communities and states to identify potential problem
areas now, to prevent disasters from reaching epic proportions. I used the examples of the hurricanes near
New Orleans as well as the devastating wildfires in California that annually threaten the nearby hills in
South San Jose and the Boulder Creek/Bonny Doon area when my aunt and uncle now live. I argued that
both situations would have been mitigated by preventative measures and the presence of well-
communicated and comprehensive disaster plans.
Even in the best of circumstances, natural disasters do occur. When that happens, organizations like the
Red Cross are always first on the scene to help. For my project, I am going to become a Red Cross
volunteer. This involves attending all of their requisite classes, which will take over thirty hours. After I
complete the classes I hope to become a volunteer working in the office, or helping with the blood drive. I
intend to continue with the Red Cross even after I graduate, so it is impossible to say how many hours I
will spend on this project, but it will be at least fifty. I hope to learn more about the work of the Red
Cross, to meet new people who feel the way I do, and to feel like I am helping others in need.
Wanda Full Student (you will sign your name here)
Wanda Full Student
Senior Project Mentor Verification
Your mentor will be called for verification. Include both daytime and evening numbers
where your mentor can be reached. In some cases an email address will be sufficient.
Student’s name ____________________________________Date______ Period ______
Area of Need____________________________________________________________
Mentor’s name: __________________________________________________________
(Must be an adult and not a relative)
Mentor’s Signature: ________________________________________ Date _________
Daytime phone _________________________Evening phone: _____________________
Mentor’s Description of Project: (Please feel free to attach your response on a separate page)
The Role of the Mentor
Odysseus entrusted his good friend Mentor with the education of his son, Telemachus, while he
himself was away at Troy. Thus, “mentor” is defined as a trusted counselor or guide – a coach.
For Students (mentees):
Why do I need a mentor?
In order to gain maximum benefit and to learn as much as possible from your senior project, you
will have a mentor. You need to select a topic about which you know little or nothing. You will
need a mentor—a guide—who is either an expert in the field you have chosen or experienced in
some way and therefore able to guide your learning.
Who do I choose as my mentor?
Choose someone who is currently working in the field you have chosen. If you choose medicine,
your mentor should be a medical professional in the same area as your topic. If you choose
working with the hearing impaired, your mentor could be a sign language instructor.
How do I find a mentor?
Be creative and BOLD. Use the internet, the phone book, other students, and your teachers. Look
at the list of last year’s mentors. Go to shops, hospitals, and businesses and ask for help. Phone
calls and email are the best tools.
How much time do I need to spend with my mentor?
Your mentor must verify that you spent at least 15 hours on Phase II of the project. lf you do not
actually spend 15 hours with your mentor, he or she must have absolute proof of your time.
Email contact is acceptable.
What can I do to help the student?
Your primary job is to prod the student’s thinking. Secondly, lend your expertise when it’s
appropriate and necessary, keeping in mind that more is learned by doing than listening. Allow
the student to interview you. Ask questions. He or she may ask you to read over the draft of his
or her research report and/or self-evaluation.
How much time is required?
Although the role of the mentor is important, it is not a job that need take up much of your time.
A monthly meeting of 10-20 minutes might be enough. Some mentors spend many, many hours
with their mentee. It is really up to you and your schedule. Much can be accomplished by phone
calls and emails. It is up to the student to arrange meetings with you at a mutually convenient
time and place. The student should be keeping a log to document each visit. Please sign the log
What if the student doesn’t contact’ me again? What if he wants too much of my time?
It is the student’s responsibility to maintain contact. If you have not seen the student since the
beginning of the project; do NOT sign the mentor verification form, please!
You might suggest alternatives for the student to explore if he needs a tremendous amount of
help. It is possible that the topic is too challenging, and the student may need to speak with his
teacher regarding a modification. Also, it is perfectly all right for a student to have more than one
SENIOR PROJECT MIDWAY CHECKPOINT
On a separate sheet of paper, answer the following questions fully. Remember, the more
effectively you fill out this self-evaluation, the more material you will have to put in your
portfolio—material that will demonstrate your mastery of Westmont’s ESLR’s, our
expected schoolwide learning results.
1. In at least 25 words, give an overview of what you have actually done on your project.
2. Create a time management chart as follows:
Date Times What you were doing
Total Hours: _____________
3. Describe how your mentor has assisted you and how often have you met with him or
4. List other contacts you have made:
5. What have you learned at this point that is surprising to you? Explain why.
6. What is the major problem/hurdle you have encountered, and how was it resolved?
7. When do you anticipate completing your project?
8. Is there anything you would like to change about your project so far? What? Why?
Physical Project Self-Evaluation
Directions: The answers to these questions are a key component in your grade: therefore,
answer all questions carefully and with plenty of details to give the reader a clear picture
of your experience. Your finished composition will be a 3 – 5 page clear, cohesive essay.
Follow MLA format.
1. Describe the purpose of your project (goals, objectives).
2. Describe your physical evidence.
3. How did this project challenge you? What risks did you take? Explain the challenges
that you faced? How did you grow physically, emotionally, mentally?
4. Create a time log of your work on the project. Be sure to include the total time spent.
5. Describe your collaboration with your mentor.
MENTOR REVIEW OF PHYSICAL PROJECT
Student’s name: ____________________________________
To the mentor reviewing this project: You have been chosen to help review this student’s
efforts on his or her senior project. Since most of the time spent on the product phase of
the assignment has been out of class, verification of the student’s efforts is necessary.
Please answer the following questions honestly to help the senior English teacher to
evaluate the student’s work. You may answer on the back of this form or on a separate
piece of paper. If you have any concerns/comments, please contact this student’s teacher.
Mentor name: ________________________________
Relationship to student:__________________________________
Phone # __________________________email: __________________________
1. Can you verify that the student has spent at least 20 hours creating this project?
YES ____NO _____ Comments:
2. How did this project challenge the student? What obstacles were overcome? What
risks were faced? How did the student grow physically, emotionally, mentally?
3. How did you assist the student? How did the two of you collaborate?
Signature: ____________________________________Date: ______________
THANK YOU LETTER TO MENTOR
Salutation: Address the letter to your project mentor. Follow the name with a colon.
Paragraph #1: Thank your mentor for the time s/he spent helping you with your project.
Paragraph #2: Add specific details about what you learned because of your mentor’s
involvement. Specifically address how working with your mentor has helped you
comply with Westmont’s ESLR on collaboration.
Paragraph #3: Conclude by restating your thanks for your mentor’s time commitment,
and expressing an expectation that you will continue to benefit from this experience.
Signature: You must sign your name above your typed name and below the word
Follow the directions for Block Form Business Letter Format. It is appropriate to write
thank you letters to all of the individuals who helped you with your project, even though
you need only show one letter to your English teacher.
Wanda Full Student
5 Hill Street
San Jose, CA. 95008
April 22, 2010
Mr. James Voltz
Red Cross, Santa Clara Valley Chapter
2731 North First Street
San Jose, CA. 95134-2029
Dear Mr. Voltz:
Thank you for agreeing to mentor me in my Westmont High School Senior Project. I
appreciate both your time and expertise.
I specifically want to thank you for being such an effective CPR teacher. I enjoyed all
the classes I took at the Red Cross, but I probably had the most fun and learned the most
from the one that you taught. In addition, you worked with me on both the research for
my paper and the project itself, which shows that I addressed one of my school’s
Expected Schoolwide Learning Results: being a collaborator.
I want to thank you again for the time you spent with me, for your patience, and for all of
your good advice. I know that the lessons I learned in completing this project will stay
with me for a lifetime.
Wanda Full Student (sign your name here)
Wanda Full Student
The Oral Presentation
The presentation represents the final step in the Senior Project process. It is a self-
evaluation and reflection by the student of all that he or she has accomplished and serves
as a synthesis of all learning. It entails a speech of 8-10 minutes before a panel of
teachers and community members, some of whom are experts in the field represented by
the topic. The presentation describes what has been learned from conducting research,
writing the paper, and fulfilling the requirements of the project. The presentation should
include whom the student contacted, what worked, what did not work, and how problems
were solved. Of special importance is a description of what was learned from the total
The total time allowed for each presentation is 20 minutes, and this is very firm.
Five minutes is allowed for set-up and takedown, ten minutes for the presentation itself,
and 5 minutes for questions from the board. The student’s responses to the panel
questions is evaluated as part of the overall presentation. No more than 3 minutes of the
speech may involve slides, videotape, audiotape, or computer display. The focus
should be on what the student has to say, and how well he or she delivers the information.
Background music or visuals that are accompanied by student explanation and not
viewed in isolation are exempt from the 3-minute maximum.
Students are evaluated on their preparedness, ability to communicate and think on their
feet, and explanation of their senior project process. Please refer to the “Fail-Safe Model
Outline for Oral Presentations” to assist in preparing for this assignment.
The student’s selection of proper attire for the panel presentation is considered extremely
important. Impeccable grooming, including clean clothes and hair is decidedly important.
The student should strive for a professional appearance in all aspects of the boards.
Grading: A panel of judges will evaluate each student. The grade is determined from the
average of the judges’ evaluations. Please refer to the “Oral Presentation Evaluation
A portfolio is also a required component of the oral presentation. Members of the panel
will have the opportunity to view the portfolio prior to the actual senior boards. Please
refer to the following pages more information regarding the Portfolio contents and
Oral Presentations begin at 5:30 p.m. All presenters must be in the room at the start and
remain until all have finished.
The Senior Project Portfolio
A portfolio shows the world the variety of things one has learned, accomplished and
experienced. The purpose of this portfolio is to document the process of the Senior
Project in all its dimensions: the research paper, the physical project, and the
presentation. Your Senior Project Portfolio should reflect your growth throughout your
Senior Project, showing the variety of tasks and opportunities you experienced in a
format that is both attractive and informative. Your portfolio will be on display for the
community, the senior board judges, and the school during the Senior Boards.
Presentation of Portfolio:
•New three-ring binder or leather portfolio.
• Individual pages in plastic page protectors (an entire rough draft can be placed
inside one plastic protector)
•Table of Contents with page numbers.
•Organize in five sections (ESLR Essay, Final Research Report, Research Report
Phase, Physical Project Phase, Oral Presentation Phase). Sections should be
labeled and built chronologically. Pages should be numbered.
• Everything, from the cover to the last page, should be presentation quality.
People do judge a book by its cover, and you will be judged by the appearance
of your portfolio. This is your chance to shine! The portfolio is highly visual in
nature and should include color, graphics, photos, and art work as appropriate.
•Make sure that your portfolio is easily navigable; that is, make sure that
reviewers can find any item they wish to view very quickly. Assume that the
reviewer does not have much time.
•The Expected Schoolwide Learning Results Composition:
The artifacts for your portfolio are already complete. The only additional piece
you need to create is an ESLR essay. This essay is an informational piece which
briefly describes each document/artifact in the portfolio and the particular ESLR
met by each artifact. Your essay must explain how you have demonstrated each
Westmont ESLR: Personal Development, Individual and Group Communication,
and Critical Thinking. To assist you in writing the ESLR composition, please
refer to page 55, which defines the ESLRs and lists required documents/artifacts.
Your essay should be typed in MLA format. The quality of your essay will be a
major factor in determining the grade for your portfolio.
There are several mandatory items required in your portfolio. In addition, you are
strongly encouraged to be creative and thoughtful as you determine the exact contents of
your personal portfolio. The highest scores will only be given to those students who
exceed minimum requirements and present lively, easily navigable contents. Consider
brochures, admission tickets, ribbons, awards, etc. No two portfolios will be exactly
alike! On the next page, you will see a list of required components as well as suggestions
for what else you might include.
This informational essay describes each document/artifact in the portfolio and the
particular ESLR met by each artifact. Your essay must explain how you have
demonstrated every Westmont ESLR. The quality of your essay will be a major
factor in determining the grade for your portfolio. Your essay should be typed in
Estimated length: 3-5 pages
ESLR Required Artifacts/documents Recommended
Personal Written critiques of practice Thank you letters
Development presentation (peer evaluation) Request letters
Demonstrated Mentor Verification
through ethical Correspondence with mentor
behavior, personal Thank you letter to Mentor. Works Cited page of research
responsibility, and report; letters to or from mentor
respect for others indicating ethical conduct.
Any artifacts which documented
the work you did with others
during the project including peer
editing, letters you received,
photos, newspaper clippings
Individual and Group Letter of intent Photos demonstrating oral
Communication presentation practice
Demonstrated Photos of an oral presentation
throughout written, Senior Board Presentation outline,
related to project itself
oral, and visual notes or script
presentation Transcripts of taped oral interview
Typescript of interview
Critical Thinking ESLR Essay Letter to or from mentor which
Demonstrated through discuss decision making (or notes)
Letter of Intent
solving problems and Writing check points
making decisions by 3-5 page self-evaluation of
analyzing relevant physical project Letters to or from mentor which
information discuss decision making (or notes)
Westmont High School
Senior Project Oral Presentations
Panelist Name __________________________________ __
Street Address _________________________________
City Zip Code
Name of Student__________________________________
English Teacher___________________________ Period
Please check one of the following dates to judge the Senior Project Oral Presentations
and mark these dates on your calendar. A confirmation will also be sent. Check-in at the
Westmont High School Library:
Tuesday, June 1 ____Wednesday, June 2 ____ Thursday, June 3
5:30 - 8:30 p.m. 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Judges’ Training date is optional but recommended (Please check if you will attend):
Wednesday, May 26
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Important - Please indicate how you would prefer to be contacted:
Email (please print legibly) ___________________________________
Please return this form to your son’s/daughter’s/friend’s Senior English teacher.
Westmont High School would like to thank you for your time and effort to support your
student and the Senior Project learning experience.
Portfolio Final Evaluation Rubric
Student Name: _______________________________________ Period: _____
Exceptional Commendable Competent Minimal
Achievement Achievement Achievement Achievement
4 3 2 1
Completeness: Completeness: Completeness: Completeness:
Contents exceed Contents exceed All required items are One or more items is
substantially exceed minimum requirements included missing
Appearance: Appearance: Appearance: Appearance:
Portfolio is typed or Portfolio is neatly and Portfolio is mostly neat Portfolio is sloppily or
word processed and is legibly typed, but may and legible, but no effort hastily put together.
professional in not have the was made
appearance professional look of a
to appear professional.
Quality: Quality: Quality: Quality:
ESLR essay shows ESLR essay ESLR essay ESLR essay does not
exceptional insight, demonstrates that the demonstrates that the convincingly document
sophistication, and student has achieved student has met most of that the student has
voice, and clearly Westmont’s ESLRs, but Westmont’s ESLR’s but achieved Westmont’s
demonstrates that the may lack the insight and the writing may be ESLR’s.
student has achieved sophistication of a score uneven.
Westmont’s ESLR’s at a 4.
Navigability: Navigability: Navigability: Navigability:
Contents are well- contents are well- Contents are organized, Contents are
organized and easy to organized, though but not easy to find. disorganized; therefore
find. somewhat less easy to difficult to locate.
find than a score 4.
Portfolio Score: /100
Senior Project Scholarships
(Sponsored by PTSA)
Community Service: Nicole Bristol
Top Research Paper: Liz Nguyen
Extraordinary Effort: Jared May, Dmitriy Izyumin
Community Service: Sarah Orlando, Lisa Mitchell, Cassidy Nichols, Lauden Siapolo,
Top Research Paper: Sahar Maali
Extraordinary Effort: Jyoti Kehi, Yvonne Law, Lauren Quinn, Stacey Harrison, William
Soley, Steven Rygaard, Michaeal Pickens, Sara Andrews, Sami Horn
Community Service: Rachel Geilman, Stacy Stenzel
Top Research Paper: Katie Bierach
Extraordinary Effort: Robert Lane, Michael Sheehan
Community Service: Joann Collier, Christopher Goldman,Denise Picard
Top Research Paper: Amanda Ufheil Somers
Extraordinary Effort: Kristine Amii, Jakob Edell,
Amanda Fisk, Kristin Franks, Ethan Hoewisch, Christina Michaelsen, Linh Quan,
Luis Pena, Andrew Uckele, Kathryn Wojno
Outstanding Overall: Naz Nami
Community Service: Yadira Gomez, Tamara Oskoui, Danielle Rideau, Sedora Tantraphol
Top Research Paper: Nazaneen Pouya
Extraordinary Effort: Katherine Bamford, Aimee Bulow, Ashley Burch, Antonio Galvan,
Jenny Jackson, Jordan Lang, Joey Lolla, Jeffrey Macid, Thomas Ngo, Tavin Rivera
Outstanding Overall: Bryan Klofas
Community Service: Colleen Anderson, Jennifer Dwyer, Carrie Murray, Lily Nguyen
Top Research Paper: Christine Huang
Extraordinary Effort: Chad Helmonds, Arianna Pilram, Connie Sechrist, Jamie Wong
Notable Effort: Doug Bamburger, Jenna Boyd, AmirGhodsi, Taralee Kemp, Ashcon
Navid, Darya Pilram, Israel Velasquez, Alicia Weaver
Honorable Mention: Carissa Almeida, Janelle Bishop, Sina Ferdosi, Amy Freitas, Juan
Jimenez, Stan Sprogis, Jessica Trainor, Amela Zanacic
Fail-Safe Model Outline for Oral Presentations
B. Greeting (your name, welcome).
C. Overview (preview topic, present thesis).
II. Paper (three key points in your paper. How about your divisions of proof?).
A. Transition to your project. Argue the relationship between your paper and your
B. Three key points of project.
IV. Personal Growth: What did you learn? What risks did you take?
A. Tell them what you told them.
B. Advice (advice to judges, the world, yourself).
C. Thank the judges.
D. Return to Attention-Getter.