"Writing a Research Paper for Middle School"
Connecting Research and Writing Across the Curriculum Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and School Leadership August 21, 2007 District-Wide Professional Development Johnny E. Brown, Ph.D. Superintendent Training Outline Purpose of the Training Desired Outcomes of the Training Elements of Effective Research Writing Strategies for Effective Research Integrating Research and Writing Ideas for Research and Writing Across the Curriculum Campus-Wide Implementation Activities District-Wide Monitoring Expectations Purpose of the Training This training is designed to assist teachers in all content areas to help students learn how to research information on a subject that has been agreed upon, evaluate the information, organize it, and write a paper or develop a project resulting from the research. Desired Outcomes The achievement level of students in PAISD will be improved in the area of research. Students will know how to work independently and collaboratively to select a subject, find information, make an outline, and successfully write a research paper or complete a research project with a writing component, on an approved topic of interest. Elements of Effective Research I. Choose Topic 2. Find Information 3. State Thesis 4. Make Tentative Outline 5. Organize Notes 6. Write First Draft 7. Revise Outline and Draft 8. Type Final Paper Handout A Research Guide for Students How to Write an A+ Research Paper Writing Strategies for Effective Research 1. Choose a Topic – Relevant to content area – Focus on a specific topic – Obtain teacher approval or use suggested content-related topic – Read assignment sheet carefully to check required standards and expectations 2. Find Information – Almanacs, Atlases – Encyclopedias, Dictionaries – Magazines, Newspapers, Interviews – Surf the Net – Libraries – Public or Online Public Access Catalog – Other – Be sure to Read and Evaluate Information for Relevance and Facts – Jot down bibliographical information, including dates 3. State Thesis – Belief, Opinion, Purpose for writing. 4. Make Tentative Outline – Most important step in writing a good paper – Helps writer think through the topic – Helps logical flow from one point to the other 5. Organize Notes – Arrange gathered information according to the outline – Don’t include information that is not clearly understood – Write information in writer’s own words to avoid plagiarism – Document all quotes, borrowed ideas, etc. – Use different colored highlighters to mark special references – Use note cards, paper, or word processor to cut and paste 6. Write First Draft – Put notes in order according to outline and begin writing – Quote directly and indicate source – Summarize, paraphrase in writer’s own words to avoid plagiarism 7. Revise and Edit – Read for content errors; Double check facts and figures – Arrange and rearrange ideas; Reorganize outline if necessary – Get someone else to read and critique – Check paper against the assignment sheet – Proofread for spelling, punctuation, missing or duplicated words, run-on sentences, fragments, etc. – Do a Spell Check 8. Type Final Paper – Complete the paper 2 to 3 days before it is due – Read and reread – Print on good quality paper – Be sure paper is clean, tidy, neat, attractive Ideas for Research and Writing Across the Curriculum Class Content Photographs, Paintings Concerts / Movies / Plays Sporting Events Human Interest Stories Students’ Experiences / Curiosities Relate Current Events to Previous Events Teacher’s Suggestions / Brainstorming Handout Renaissance Period (Rebirth) 1450-1600 An example of an activity that can be used in various subject areas for writing across the curriculum Campus-Wide Implementation Activities Keep a Daily Journal Free Writing: Friendships, Games, Toys, Pets, Cheers, Marching or Dance Routines, etc. Class/Personal Schedules Class/Homework Assignments Notes/Questions about Lessons Thoughts for the Day/Vocabulary Words/Content Information/Ideas for Future Papers Practice Writing Sentences/Music Notation or Rhythms /Science Formulas/Social Studies Facts/Work Math Problems Extemporaneous Assignments Campus-Wide Implementation Activities Write Lyrics to Rhythms/Create Word Problems Write News Releases/Editorials Write Performance/Game Reviews/Create Brochures Write Letters/Resumes/Current Event Reports Write Scripts for Halftime Performances Write Essays to Accompany Scholarship or College Applications/Answers to Essay Questions Write Narratives/Poetry/Science Lab Reports Write Grocery Lists/Orders for Supplies or Materials Write Complete Sentences to Ask or Answer Questions Write Interpretations of Editorial Cartoons Faculty: Work in Professional Learning Communities Campus-Wide Implementation Activities Department leaders, site-based committee members, and the principal must confer to determine a workable plan for that campus by establishing which and when students will receive research writing assignments. This will avoid the possibility of students’ papers and/or projects being due in every class at the same time--unless it is a school-wide project. District-Wide Monitoring Expectations At all levels – Elementary, Middle School, and High School monitors will expect to see written evidence that students are conducting some kind of teacher-approved research in all content and elective courses. District-Wide Monitoring Expectations- Elementary Monitors will expect to see one whole-class paper from pre-kindergarten through first grade. Monitors will expect to see a one-page research paper written on a predetermined topic by second and third graders each semester. Monitors will expect that fourth and fifth graders will write at least one research paper and /or complete at least one research project, with a writing component, on a teacher-approved topic of interest each semester. District-Wide Monitoring Expectations – Middle School Monitors will expect to see written evidence that students are developing research skills, which may include written and verbal communication. In all classes, monitors will expect students to write at least one age- appropriate research paper or complete a research project with a writing component each semester. District-Wide Monitoring Expectations – High School Monitors will expect to see written evidence that students are developing research skills, which may include written and verbal communication. In all classes, monitors will expect students to write at least one research paper or complete a research project with a writing component each semester. Desired Outcomes The achievement level in students in PAISD will be improved in the area of research. Students will know how to work independently and collaboratively to select a subject, find information, make an outline, and successfully write a research paper or complete a research project with a writing component on an approved topic of interest.