5/6 Writing Updates from Mrs. Fryc
Welcome back Everyone!
It was great hearing about some of the highlights of vacation/break. Here are the updates for class.
Hats off to all the students who were able to attend the Hullabaloo! Attending the event gives the students the bigger picture for researching as well as the building blocks for writing a research paper.
The update today is a bit long and detailed, but wanted to make sure that you are aware of how the year will progress with the upcoming assignments leading to the capstone project of the research paper.
In class I discussed the planning and strategy when writing a research paper. In the IEW book, each of the nine units builds on the previous unit strengthening skills needed to write essays and reports that are both interesting and informative. I told the class that I would email out the information on the planning process because I wanted them to focus on the white board instead of writing it all down. (Please “Overview” below.)
The units we covered today and next week are on Charlemagne in Lessons 12 and 13. Their assignment is to complete the summary using the checklist on page 87. They should also be familiar with the planningmethodology on the attachment. This two week project teaches students to sift through larger source texts and create a clear and condensed summary. After writing their paragraphs, they combine them and add an introduction and conclusion paragraph. Looking forward at lessons 19 and 20 in the book, you will see the topic “Summarizing from Multiple References.” These are the lessons for the structure of the multiple source paper on knights. In Lessons 28-30 the students write another multiple source text paper but it is longer and they find more of the information themselves. This final paper is the equivalent of the research paper. In the book it is called a Formal Essay with Library Research. Typically in my classes the students write a three page paper for this grade.
As we progress through the year, I will continue to teach them how to cite sources, what primary and secondary sources are and how to plan out the paper. These foundation tools are critical for conducting longer and more complicated papers. By teaching these skills in an incremental manner, each skill is isolated and learned well instead of trying to master several skills all at once.
To quote Janet Spitler, Senior Educational Consultant at IEW, “Familiar isn’t always easier.” The IEW methodology for constructing research papers is incrementally built into the nine units and time tested. I would recommend reading the following article for more insight. https://iew.com/schools/help-support/blog/providing-roadmap-research
These are trying times for our students who are learning how to write research papers. After all, Oxford Dictionaries has declared 2016’s Word of the Year to be post-truth, an adjective that describes emotional appeal as mattering more than objective facts. With so many mistruths flying about on the Internet, it is hardly surprising that teachers are concerned about their students’ ability to discern not only fact from opinion, but also trustworthy sources from unreliable ones (and this study from Stanford supports that charge). Troubled by this state of affairs, you may find yourself tempted to return to your old ways of teaching research and put your students in the driver’s seat of finding their own sources right from the start. Resist the pressure. There is a better way!
Overview for planning strategy for research paper
The following is an overview of the class we covered yesterday. It breaks down the steps used when planning out the outline for a longer multiple source essay. These steps use a 3-5 page requirement for the length of the paper.
Planning for the research paper
- Know or select a subject.
- Know the required length of the paper.
- Each typed page is 3-4 paragraphs (for planning purposes).
- Each paragraph is approximately 100 words in length.
- Anticipating the requirement for the research paper will be 3-5 pages long, multiply 3 paragraphs x 4 pages = 12 paragraphs.
- The first paragraph will always be the introduction paragraph and the last two paragraphs are the analysis and conclusion. That means there are nine paragraphs left.
- Divide nine paragraphs into three topics. That means each topic will require three paragraphs.
- Each paragraph needs 5 details.
- Each topic then requires 15 details.
- For example: If the subject for papers was Famous Individuals of the Renaissance, a student may select three individuals (for three topics) such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Copernicus. For each person (topic) they could write three paragraphs on their childhood (5 details), schooling (5 details), and accomplishments (5 details).
- This method gives great focus to the researching method by knowing in advance how many details are needed for very specific topics.