ACTIVITY: Working Thesis Statement (Research Paper)
Project: Comparatively Speaking
Review characteristics of a good thesis statement; Look through, examine, absorb research and develop a working thesis statement; Receive feedback about workig thesis statement
Duration: 120+ minutes
Assessments: Student writing, Research
Materials: laptops, books for research
Benchmark #3: Students began thinking of a thesis statement for their research paper. The process we took them through includes:
1. We started with a PPT ("What is a Thesis Statement?") that reviewed the characteristics of a good thesis statement and a "junky" thesis statement. This was a whole class activity that took approximately 40 minutes.
2. We followed this up with a "Thesis Exercise" PPT that asked studets to critique several thesis statements that we created. Students completed this in pairs. Students then discussed their responses with their group. This took approximately 40 minutes. Other documents for this step include "Thesis Exercise Peer Critique" and "Thesis Statements Exercise."
3. Then we had students develop the working thesis statement that they would use for their research papers using the following questions found in the document "RP Working Thesis Statement":
a. What are the countries you are comparing?
b. What main themes appear for both countries?
c. What are differences between both countries?
d. What are similarities between both countries?
e. Jot down some of the possible causes, based on your research, for the differences and similarities.
f. From these notes create two to three working thesis statements:
4. After they were satisfied with one, they found a peer and critiqued each other's thesis statement, using a similiar process as above. After they went throug this process they needed to have a teacher approve the thesis. This activity is called "RP Thesis Critique." This process took approximately 40 minutes.
(e.g. rubrics, examplars, websites, etc.)
REFLECTIONS & COMMENTS
Students had the most difficulty with this benchmark because it required them to go back to the books and find more information for the point they were attempting to prove. So often students would count their notecards and say, "But why do I need to find more information? I have the required amount!" It took time for them to realize that many of the notecards they had were useful for background information but they needed to go back to their bibliography to seek out more sources so they could prove their argument. They were resistant to this step because they just wanted to move forward through the benchmarks. It was similiar to the response you get when you first ask students to revise a paper.
ALL PROJECT ACTIVITIES
- Research Paper Launch (Research Paper)
- Working Bibliography (Research Paper)
- Notecards (Research Paper)
- Working Thesis Statement (Research Paper)
- Arguments and Evidence (Research Paper)
- Research Paper Outline (Research Paper)
- Supporting Research Paper Documents
- Exhibition Launch (Exhibition)
- Exhibition Benchmarks 1-3 (Exhibition)
- Pacing: Lesson for Exhibition (Exhibition)
- Panel Questions (Exhibition)
- Exhibition Reflection (Exhibition)