ideas for research paper

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by TamiJ, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Oct 18, 2008

    Can anyone help me think of a research paper idea, or ideas? We are starting Romeo and Juliet on Monday, and I need ideas for a research paper. This is for English 1 (mainly Freshmen).
     
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  3. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Oct 18, 2008

    *The culture of Verona, and Mantua, Italy in the 13th century.

    *Maps and geography of Verona and Mantua, and the places in between.

    *How did family effect politics in 13th Century Italy?
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Oct 18, 2008

    Wow, great ideas! Thanks!
     
  5. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    Oct 21, 2008

    You could take one of two approaches depending on the students' skill levels and your planning time.

    1. Do the standard research Shakespeare and his times--short sweet and to the point.
    2. Come up with thesis statements or prompts regarding social issues in the play and have students randomly draw them from a hat (I call mine the magic blue box--it's a plastic index card box--and the kids get a kick out of the name, but learn to fear it :eek:)

    I prefer option 2 but it's more work on your part. The more statements you offer, the less repetitive the grading. Because you write them students are less likely to pick a topic "they already know all about" and as such, will really have to research.

    Here's an example of a couple prompts:

    "Teenagers should be allowed to date whenever they think they are ready." Research teenage relationships and then agree or disagree with this statement--do not ride the fence. Be sure to include evidence to backup your entire argument. Do not rely on your experience or opinion as the main source of this paper. (This is less guided and may prove more difficult for students)

    "Today's world is more socially advanced than that of the Elizabethan period". Develop your own definition of "socially advanced" then research social customs and forms of entertainment of the Elizabethan period and compare them today's. Be critical. If you discover bear-baiting, what is the difference between and and dog fighting? (This one offers more direction and should be more manageable for 9th graders--in 11 and 12th grade I deliberately avoid compare and contrast because they are used to this style of argument)

    If you can come up with 10 prompts, you will enjoy reading and grading the assignment. The students will initially struggle, but will have truly learned something new in the end. Presenting them to the class via peer response activities is also a good practice. Students will then be writing for more than a grade or to please you, they will be writing to communicate an idea to a large audience. ;)

    Oh yeah, the hard work will come from first developing the prompts and second doing some quick research to see if your students can find enough information. :unsure:

    If this seems like too much, start with less prompts, add more next year and ditch the ones that didn't work. Doing this will keep the unit fresh for you and last many years! :thumb:

    Good luck. Feel free to PM me if you want more details.
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Oct 21, 2008

    Wow ELA! Thanks so much... I love the ideas!
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Oct 21, 2008

    Oh, how long should a research paper for a freshman typically be??
     
  8. ELA 11 12

    ELA 11 12 Companion

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Tough call. Here's how I taught them in 9th...

    All random topics--students choose
    Planned on 2 weeks of class time in a lab. Breaking down and modeling critical thinking processes and teaching the research tools (had a great library media specialist to help with that)
    Ended up extending the deadline about another week each time because the students finally started "getting it" about two days before the due date. Because they demonstrated that they were reaching the objective, I relieved the pressure rather than have them rush through the end and miss the pleasure of completing a good project.

    Figure, 1-2 of modeling/introduction of expectations. Then one day where students just work while you walk around and give one-on-one practice. Then introduce the next step. Walk the next day and so on. Students who can fly will fly, students who normally fall behind will have a chance to ask for your help so they can catch up.

    You might use this as a LONG anticipatory set to the play and then refer back to the research during specific times in the play..."Remember Lydia's research topic?" etc... it works great for the separate and connected ways of knowing objectives.

    Don't be discouraged if only half of the research papers are well done. I'll send you a copy of my rubric if you PM me. Half of the rubric evaluates the quality of information, and the other half evaluates following the process and proper formatting. 1/2 of my class does both well, then a 1/4 does well with info but terrible with following directions, the last 1/4 does well with following directions but seem to have no clue about how to communicate the info. I allow those 1/4 students a chance to make up that weak area with me during common free time if they chose.

    Good luck!

    (Oh, our district approved the showing of Baz Lurman's Romeo and Juliet and the students loved it at the end of the play...pre-screen it before you show it, there are drug references).
     
  9. deserttrumpet

    deserttrumpet Comrade

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    Oct 22, 2008

    You could do a project on suicides and gender roles. Shakespeare broke the "rules" in R&J by having the guy take poison and the girl use a knife. It is a unique topic.
     
  10. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Oct 22, 2008

    Thought you folks who teach the play might be interested in this web seminar. You can find out more on the NCTE website. It's a little pricey, but if your district will support it, you can get a big group together and project it onto a big screen. :)


    You are cordially invited to participate in "Teaching Romeo and Juliet: A Differentiated Approach" presented by Lyn Hawks. This Web seminar will take place Thursday, November 13, 5:00-6:00 p.m. EST. Lyn is one of the authors of Teaching Romeo and Juliet: A Differentiated Approach. This book offers practical ways to make Shakespeare's play engaging and adaptable for all students.

    In her Web seminar, Lyn will build on the strategy of differentiated instruction by expanding on the concepts and activities in the book, including:

    *

    Pre-, mid-, and post-testing
    *

    Compacting and independent study for gifted students
    *

    Tiered close reading assignments
    *

    Mixed-readiness assignments and skill strand activities
    *

    Strategies for Socratic discussion

    This seminar is a great opportunity to get ideas on how to make Shakespeare's text come alive—on your own or with your team/department. Simply register one person in the group to reserve your virtual seat, and then invite as many participants as you would like to join you around your computer, all for the low price of $79.

    Only 100 virtual seats are available for this Web seminar, so you must register early.
     
  11. dtrim

    dtrim Rookie

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    Oct 28, 2008

    Possible R & J research topics:
    How other cultures view fate
    Renaissance medicine
    Famous historical family feuds
    The Medicis (not strictly R & J, but fun all the same)
    Shakespeare's sources
    the Shakespeare authorship debate
    Shakesepeare as the upstart crow


    Crop circles.

    O.K. Crop circles has nothing to do with R & J, but it's my favorite research paper topic of all time.
     

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