Thursday, October 12, 2017

Writing 3 Class Notes -- Week 8 (October 12)


Again, my apologies for not sending out a full set of class notes last week.

We began our discussion with the special challenges that come with writing a research paper, and then discussed the specific challenges that each of the students was having.  At each stage of the process, the challenges are a little different.  One that was mentioned included writing the sentences and the paragraphs with a sense of order and coherence.

We watched three short videos about proper documentation, in text citations, and developing a Works Cited page.  See the links below for those videos and a couple others that will be helpful.

We finished the class by doing some peer reviews of the first rough drafts that were due today.  The papers were in various degrees of completeness.  This first draft is important for having the right content and order.   I've asked the students to have their rough drafts e-mailed to me by next Thursday so that I can go over them.

Below is the schedule for drafts that are due:
October 19 (Fall Break) -- Rough Draft #1
October 26 -- Works Cited Draft #1
November 11 -- Rough Draft #2
November 9 -- Works Cited #2
November 16 -- Rough Draft #3 (opt.)
November 30, December 7, December 14 -- Presentations
December 7, December 14 -- Final Drafts 

Assignments for October 26
-- Work on Rough Drafts (e-mail by October 19)
-- Works Cited Draft #1

Links for this Week
Class Notes

Have a great weekend and a wonderful break!
Mrs. Prichard

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Writing 3 Class Notes -- Week 6 (September 28)


We had a productive class this week discussing SAT Essay strategies and steps for correctly citing sources in research papers.  

Some of the students have taken the PSAT, the PLAN, and the ACT.  We discussed the differences between the ACT and the SAT, especially with regards to the essays.  While we didn't write out an essay, I walked through the structure of the test and strategies for writing the essay.  

Following the SAT discussion, we turned to topics related to MLA formatting, in-text citations, and signal phrases. We will go through these again in the context of their own rough drafts.

Speaking of rough drafts, I've extended the due date for the first Rough Draft.  Instead of October 5, Rough Draft #1 is due on October 12.

Assignments for Next Week:

Links for This Week:
Class Notes

Here are some sources for taking the essay portion of the test:

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Prichard

Friday, September 22, 2017

Writing 3 Class Notes -- Week 5 (September 21)


We did a lot of good thinking and working this week.  I spent a substantial part of the class time working with the students on thesis statements.  A good research paper can fail or succeed depending on the quality of the focus of this sentence.  This one sentence should state the topic/subject of the paper, the controlling opinion/stand that the writer is taking, and the primary points that will support and substantiate the claim of the opinion/stand.  That's a tall order for one sentence!

Following our thesis discussion, we looked at potential organization strategies.  Students should think beyond subtopics and consider the purpose for writing about those supporting elements.  We discussed when and how a writer would incorporate the following organizational structures:  chronological, spatial, comparison/contrast, cause/effect, problem/solution, evaluation, classification, extended definition.  Many times, a thorough research paper will incorporate a variety of these structures.  We also talked about and brainstormed organizing a paper according to general-to-specific principles and least-to-most important guidelines.  

At the end of the class, we had a brief check-in about the challenges that students were experiencing.  The top three were finding new (or enough) information, finding time, and finding motivation.  

Assignments for Next Week
-- Detailed Outline
-- Note:  The first rough draft is due 10/5.

Links for this week:
Class Notes

Have a wonderful weekend!
Mrs. Prichard

Friday, September 15, 2017

Writing 3 Class Notes -- week 4 (September 14)


Great class again!  Last week we talked a lot as a group, but this week I did most of the talking.  My least favorite way to structure a class is 100% lecture, but sometimes there is just a lot of material to cover.  

This week, we covered the following topics:
Finding Sources (including types of Google searches and using your library's EBSCO database)
Evaluating Sources
Preparing a Working Bibliography
Taking Notes
Paraphrasing, Summarizing, and Quoting
Scanning & Skimming

Near the end of class, we did some timed writing.  I asked students to take 3 minutes to do a mind map for their topics; following that, we took another 3 minutes to either add to what had been started or to brainstorm possible Google search options.

With a larger research project, students will have a number of types of outlines to both help them with the research and to help them with the writing. Below are the types of outlines typically used:
Preliminary outline:  before you start; what you think you might find in your research
Running outline: during research that keeps track of the information that you are finding
Informal outline:  about half-way through the research; blends what you think you will find with what you've actually found
Detailed outline:  before writing; organizes all of your information in order; the more detailed, the easier it is to write.

For next week students are to hand in an outline.  It can be their running outline or an informal outline.  I want to see the progress.

A reminder:  The first rough draft is due October 5!

Assignments for Next Week
-- Outline (either Running or Informal)
-- Continue researching!

Links for This Week:
Class Notes

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Prichard

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Writing 3 Class Notes -- Week 3 (September 7)


We had a productive time in class today talking about our topics.  It's time to be clarifying and being confident about our subjects and our working thesis statements.

We began with a timeline of the research paper process. On the blog you'll see a picture from the whiteboard.  It's important for students to be regularly reading and researching so that they can fine time their leading questions and begin to get a sense of an organizational order.

After going over this timeline, I gave the students a worksheet:  Cooperative Learning:  Evaluating Your Topic.  Throughout this project, we will have a number of opportunities to talk through the processes.  The students shared their topics and controlling ideas.  Then we talked as a group about the possible subtopics for their chosen topics.

Students handed in their "Why I'm Interested" papers, and we're on to the next paper, which is a Writing Proposal.  In this paper, students are to make their own plans.  They need to cover the following in their proposals:
  • brief background information for the subject and chosen topic
  • a working thesis
  • awareness of the level of the audience
  • a plan for locating the appropriate sources
  • an initial list of resources
  • proposed subtopics
  • a timeline for completing the assignment
  • acknowledgement of any difficulties or challenges for the project
Because we took this time to work through topic ideas, we did not have time to go through the 30 Steps (steps 11 - 13, which are about choosing and evaluating sources) or to go through the grammar for the day, which was about phrases.

Assignments for Next Week:
-- Writing Proposal
-- Read Steps 11 - 13
-- Continue working on your research 

Have a wonderful weekend.  If you're not doing anything, join us in Northfield for the Defeat of Jesse James Days!
Mrs. Prichard

Writing the Research Proposal

            The proposal is a brief written statement in which you explain to your teacher and yourself what your goals are for the research assignment.  The proposal helps both you and the teacher to evaluate if you’re heading in the right direction.  Like a contract or agreement, the proposal demonstrates what you are thinking about the topic and what preparations have been made for research.  Writing out your proposed plans also helps prevent procrastination.
            The proposal functions as a map for the process of writing the research paper.  It presents a brief introduction to the subject, explains the thesis and shows the direction in which the writer plans to go to answer the research question(s) and support the thesis.  The writer must do some preliminary reading and research to provide the information a good proposal offers.
The research proposal must include:
brief background information for the subject and chosen topic
a working thesis
awareness of the level of the audience
a plan for locating the appropriate sources
an initial list of resources
proposed subtopics
a timeline for completing the assignment
acknowledgement of any difficulties or challenges for the project.

After reviewing the ingredients for a good proposal, write a proposal for your own research topic.  Before you begin, review all of your work in the previous steps.  This paper should be a clear, effective single-page, business-like document. 

Research Proposal Guidelines
Due dates:  Week 4 (9/14)
Essay length:  1 – 3 pages
Paper format:
Typed (if this is not possible, please let me know)
1 inch margins
Name and date on the upper right hand corner
Number the pages on the lower right hand corner
Title centered above the text of the essay

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Writing 3 Class Notes -- Week 2 (August 31)


We had a good class this week and covered a lot of information.  Writing a research paper is a mix of learning and doing.  Students learn to fine-tune writing skills, to develop ideas about topics, to practice efficient research skills, and to become proficient in citations and MLA formatting.  Then, they take what they've learned and put it into practice until they realize they need to learn some more.  Throughout this semester, I hope to keep a good flow of learning and doing.

We began the class time by writing for 3 minutes about the topics they have been thinking about.  Firstly, I wanted them to write everything they knew about their topics.  If they ran out of information, they could begin writing questions about their topics.  When we finished this, I asked them to talk with their classmates about their topics in order to get more perspectives about their topics.

Coming up with a good topic and brainstorming ideas can be really challenging.  It's important that students are excited about their topic so that they can maintain their interest throughout the semester.  It should also be a topic that will provide a blend of their own ideas and researched information.  We considered these questions:
"What do I think?"
"What do the experts say?"
"What do I think about what the experts said?"
"What support/evidence/background information do I need?"

Using the topic of raising bilingual children, as a class we brainstormed possible leading questions that we might use to help direct our research.  Many times, these leading questions help students to also come up with subtopics.

We went through Steps 7 - 10  of the 30 Steps to a Research Paper.  I briefly covered the primary points, and the students should read it more carefully as part of their homework.  One of the topics we covered a little more in-depth was the importance of writing effective thesis statements.  (They got a handout the focused on this.)  A clear thesis statement controls the direction of a good paper.

For next week, students are to write a short 1-page paper titled, "Why I'm Interested" about their interest in their topics.  As they plan their papers, they should consider these questions:
-- How did you initially learn about this topic?
-- How much do you already know about this topic? 
-- On a scale of 1 to 10, how passionate are you about this area?
-- Who else do you think would be interested in this information?
-- How is this information important?
-- What are your opinions related to this subject?
-- Do you have personal experience connected to this material?
-- And so on …..

Assignments for Next Week:
-- Review Sections 7 - 10
-- "Why I'm Interested" paper
-- Types of Sentences (choose 2 sides)

Links for this Week
Class Notes

Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Prichard