Writing the I-Search, Part One

You will get a PILE of I-Search materials once the new semester begins, but here are the instructions for writing Part One, which will be due the SECOND CLASS MEETING of the new semester, so that, when we start researching, you’ve already thought about what you want to research.

Writing the I-Search: Part One

You should start writing Part One of the I-Search. (Before you do, it might be a good idea to speak with me or email me, so that I could help you think about whether your topic will work as an I-Search paper). Here’s what it should cover, in no particular order:

1. As complete a description of your topic as you can make at this point, including

  • a list of questions you hope to be able to answer by the end of your research
  • an explanation of the opposing views you expect to find  in your topic
  • a plan for how you will go about identifying someone to interview

2. An account of your present state of knowledge and thinking on your topic, including

  • what you know already, in some detail
  • what theories and opinions you already have about the subject including your sense of what you expect you’ll find out

3. An account of your personal and intellectual connection to the topic, including

  • why you are interested in this topic and the “history” of your interest
  • what you hope to gain personally by studying this subject
  • why knowledge of this topic will be valuable and important to you
  • people that you know who connect you to this topic
  • experiences you have had which connect you to this topic
  • things that you’ve read or seen which connect you to this topic

4. A note with the signature of a parent or guardian, indicating that they have read your draft & approve of your topic.

Naturally some of you will have more to write in part one, depending on how much you already know and have experienced with this topic. But no one should have a problem meeting the minimum word length. If you do, you just haven’t given enough reflection yet to what you expect to learn from your research and why you find it interesting and important.

One purpose of part one is to insure that you’ve done some real thinking about your topic before you get very deep into your research. Another is to give you something to measure your success against when you’re all through: did you accomplish what you set out to do? But research often takes us in strange directions, so don’t be alarmed if you find you’ve moved away from your original intentions as you’ve gotten further into your subject.

Must be typed and proofread; minimum 200 words.


Quote sandwiches

Learn to use ’em well!

Here’s a link to download the keynote presentation. Open it with Keynote.

Added: 2 pdfs to review quote sandwiches and help you make ’em with words instead of video clips. Both taken from our assignment on 12 Angry MenQuote Sandwiches: a graphic description and  Quote sandwiches in 12 Angry Men

The play script we read is here, so you can get print quotes for sandwiches, too.

Curious Incident of the Curious Projects

Along with our in-class essay test on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, you will have a choice of 3 projects. Choose one.

  1. adding a chapter (or more) to the end of the book, imitating Chris’s writing style.
  2. watching the film Temple Grandin and making a film-clip project about her ability to overcome the disabilities of her autism.
  3. making a film (in the style of Alex Olinkewicz) about your own learning style and behaviors.

More details below. Due before Christmas break.

  1. Write the next chapter(s) of the book, imitating the narrative voice of Christopher as well as the characteristic things he likes to write about. If you need a suggestion for the next situation, try this one: the father tries to get custody of Christopher and force Christopher to move back in with him. But you can make up a suitable situation on your own. Just check it out with me before you get too far into it. The aim is to write a chapter that sounds like the book and is true to the spirit and characters of the book, but is entirely made up by you.
  2. Watch the movie Temple Grandin. Think about Temple as a special ed success story. She could have ended up institutionalized but instead she has become an influential person both in her field of animal husbandry and on the topic of autism. She never got cured of autism (there is no cure) but learned to understand, cope with, and overcome her disabilities, to keep them from standing between her and her goals. Then make 3-5 clips from the movie which show Temple understanding, coping with, and overcoming obstacles caused by her disability. Put these clips into a paper. For each clip write a paragraph that explains what this clip shows about Temple’s achievement.
  3. Make an Alex Olinkiewiecz-style video about yourself as a learner. (You can watch his youtube video on the Curious Incident noteshare notebook to remind you of it.) The idea here is to describe yourself to others in terms of how you learn, how you interact with people, how your mind works. You should be thinking about learning in school and out of school: what’s effective and not effective to help you learn. What your special “behaviors” are (Christopher lists his on page 46 of the book. You might reread that, too.) It should be 3-8 minutes long, and more introspective than just a list of what you like and don’t like.

Curiously Reading… the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime

I’m using “days” rather than dates because of our Wind Day cancellation. This will be more predictable.

You can see this is a work in progress. Here’s a link to download the Curious Noteshare notebook, in case you were absent in class when I passed it out on the flash drives. Once again, it’s a zipped file, so you’ll have to double-clip to unzip it. And please be sure to RENAME it in the usual fashion:  Color.Name.Curious



having trouble with 12 angry men?

here’s the outline I went over in class, for those who need to do or redo.

The Twin Problem

This link should get you a file called twins.zip. Double-click on it and — presto! — you have a Noteshare notebook for “The Twin Problem”, our next unit in English II. I normally would NOT start a new assignment with a sub…. but, hey, I’m on a field trip with my seniors and we can’t afford to lose time. Listen carefully and learn about the terrible problem the Waterhouse Family faced (it’s a TRUE STORY) when Meg Waterhouse refused to donate a kidney to her dying twin sister Irene. This time you play the role of a doctor, deciding what to do in this difficult situation.

Good, Bad, or So-So: Analyzing your juror

The final project for our unit on Twelve Angry Men is a paper, written in Pages, describing your juror’s part in the play/film. Your thesis: what makes your juror good, bad, or so-so as a member of a 12-person team whose job is to decide whether the evidence is sufficient to convict.

Your paper needs to have an introduction, a conclusion, and in between them at least 4 paragraphs. Each of those paragraphs raises a point about your juror, provides evidence for that point using a clip (or a written quotation from the playscript), and explores that evidence in a “quote sandwich.” Thus:

  • 6 paragraphs, minimum
  • 4 clips, minimum
  • 500 words minimum

The ingredients for your paper (which will be collected separately):

  1. the votes, as they went from 11-1 to 0-12.
  2. the qualities of good and bad jurors that we generated as a class, with checks in the boxes that apply to your juror. (This will help you think of stuff to say about your juror, and to look for clips that provide evidence for those qualities.)
  3. completed notes that you took while watching the film (and/or re-watching it on your computer if you forgot to take notes the first time)
  4. clips from the film (saved to your Movies folder)
  5. your “English paper template” in Pages, to remind you that your paper must be formatted correctly
  6. name your file as follows: Color (red or blue).lastname.Juror#.pages. For example: Blue.Jones.Juror6.pages.

Some pointers:

  • select your clips carefully to reflect different aspects of your juror.
  • keep your clips on the short side (about 30 seconds or less). For example, the BEST part of a long speech. And edit them crisply… that is, trim material from the beginning and end that doesn’t fit.
  • don’t stop necessarily at 4 clips and certainly don’t stop making clips in the middle of the film just because you hit the right number: your juror may well have important parts near the end, too.
  • although your clips are important to provide evidence for your paper, what matters most is what you write, how to prepare and especially how you explore the clips to tell your reader what you see in your juror’s behavior.
  • sometimes you may use two or more very short clips to illustrate a single idea. For example, to show that your juror is a wise-guy, or always very polite.
  • remember: you are an expert in human behavior. What you see in the clips reflects not just what your juror says but how he expresses himself and interacts with others.

Due: Tuesday, October 12 for RED, Friday, October 15 for BLUE (unless Red/Blue days switch around for some reason). No need to print the final copy. I’ll collect your correctly named paper on a flash drive.