January 12

posted Jan 12, 2012, 7:18 AM by Peter Knowles   [ updated Jan 12, 2012, 10:30 AM ]

Day # 84Date:  January 12Social Studies Standards  
Vocabulary Terms
Target QuestionHow will you focus your project using a thesis statement?WHAT YOU SHOULD LEARN TODAY
Content ObjectiveStudents will create an introduction and thesis statement for their project.WHAT YOU SHOULD LEARN ABOUT THE SUBJECT
Language Objective   Students will read and take notes on material about their chosen topic and begin explaining it to others.HOW YOU WILL COMMUNICATE WHAT YOU LEARN


REMINDER: Have you turned in all 8 Assessments due so far?

The last day for late assignments is this Friday, Jan 13. 


After that date, all grades for any missing assessments will be zeroes.  

If you'd like to rewrite an assessment for a new grade, the due date for those will be January 17.


Today we continue work on the final semester projectdue January 23. 

You should have already... 

  1. Chosen a topic (due 1/4)
  2. Started taking notes from a variety of sources, including:
    1. Your textbook
    2. World Book Online (http://www.worldbookonline.com/advanced/home  username: esd112, password: worldbook112)
    3. A library book (CHS Library Search Station)
    4. A website or two that you've found on your own
  3. Turned in a list of references, including at least 3 references that you've started taking notes from. (due 1/6)
  4. Shared your background paragraph, including basic information about your topic. (due 1/9)
  5. Chosen the 2 Social Studies Standards you'll focus on. (due 1/11)

REMEMBER: Whenever you take notes, make sure that you:
  • Keep track of where the information comes from (you'll need full bibliographic info -- author, title, etc. -- later, so you might as well write it down now) including page numbers if from a printed source.
  • Keep track of what kind of information it is. Is the information in your own words (a paraphrase or summary), or in the words of the original author (a quote)? 
  • Throughout your research, taking careful and accurate notes, along with where you got them and whether they are your words or the author's, will be the easiest way to keep the process moving forward

Did you turn in your two choices for your focus? If so, here's what's next....

Now that you've chosen which two areas (Geography, Civics, Economics, and History) you will make a focus of your project, it's time to work on a thesis statement that will help your reader understand what you're trying to say. 

For this project, your thesis statement needs to include:
  1. the topic of your project
  2. the two social studies standards you've chosen, and
  3. an opinion.
Here's an example:

Economic and geographic factors had a huge impact on the way that Spanish and Portuguese colonization affected the people and societies of Latin America.

What is the research topic?
What are the two social studies standards?
Where's the opinion?

You already know your topic, and yesterday you chose the two areas you'll be focusing on, so all that's left for you to write your thesis statement is to come up with an opinion, and write it all in a neat, tidy, clear, well-crafted sentence. Since the thesis statement is the whole point of your paper, it eventually needs to be your absolutely best writing. But for now, it might just be "pretty good"; it's a draft, so you can make changes later. But make sure it's as clear and complete as you can make it now. 

Once you've written your thesis statement, you need to write the introductory paragraph that leads into it. You can't just pop the thesis statement on a person without getting them prepared for it. You need to lead up to the thesis statement by writing a good introduction. 
One way to do this is to look for a theme or big idea in your thesis statement that you can build back from until you reach a broad idea that everyone can relate to. 
In the example above, most people probably aren't walking around thinking about the impact of colonization on the indigenous people of Latin America. But a broad idea in that is embedded in the thesis statement  Economic and geographic factors had a huge impact on the way that Spanish and Portuguese colonization affected the people and societies of Latin America is the idea of the affect one person or action has on another. And that's a universal concept, one that can be seen in science (potential vs. kinetic energy), family life (a vacation leads to new acquaintances that have an impact later on), politics (a presidential candidate's chance meeting with another leads to a career in politics) and even cartoons (Wile E. Coyote's disastrous plans to catch the Roadrunner). Working backwards with that concept, it's possible to write a broad introduction that leads into your thesis statement.  See how the paragraph below uses this idea to gradually introduce the thesis statement:

There used to be a television commercial for a car that used the "butterfly effect" to help explain how decisions we make can have impacts far, far away that we don't even know about. The butterfly effect is the belief that a very small action can cause a chain reaction of events that end up with a very, very large impact on something else. In history, like in car commercials, small decisions and actions can have a major impact on things that are seemingly unrelated and very distant from the source. Nowhere is this more true than when previously separate cultures come into contact for the very first time. In the 1500's, after Columbus made the first of his transatlantic crossings, European and Latin American cultures met each other for the very first time, and the results of this small event led to dramatic and important impacts down the line.  Economic and geographic factors had a huge impact on the way that Spanish and Portuguese colonization affected the people and societies of Latin America.

For more ideas about starting your essays, see these websites:
When you've made your choices, you're ready to complete your thesis statement and introduction to meet today's deadline. 


REMEMBER: To do your best on summative assessments, you'll need to use not only the information that we've discussed in class, but also include information from outside of classroom activities, either from information you already know, or from additional research you complete. Conduct your own research if necessary, or visit the Extension link below for ideas.
Formative Assessment
Next up: Turn in your DRAFT of an introductory paragraph, including a thesis statement (Due TODAY). Once you've done that, keep doing research, learning about your topic and paying attention to the two focus areas you've chosen. The next step will be to write a paragraph that focuses on the first topic you've chosen. That paragraph is due early next week. 
Summative Assessment
Our NEXT summative (graded) assessment is the final one for this semester, due January 23.

Peter Knowles,
Jan 12, 2012, 7:19 AM