Thursday, December 16, 2010

History Research Paper Series--Outline

After completing their research, students often struggle with organizing their thoughts and pulling a paper together in a cohesive way. Though many of my adult learners dislike this assignment and "just want to get to the writing," I require an outline as the next step, so that I can quickly scan their upcoming paper to determine if they are on topic and have sufficient supporting details. This is also a good time to provide concrete encouraging statements to help students to progress to their goal of a 3-5 page research paper.

Title: History Research Paper Series--Outline
Objective: Learner will construct a multi-level outline that includes at least the thesis statement, 3 main ideas, 3 supporting details for each main idea, and a concluding statement. (I also require students to use complete sentences for each level as I find that students don’t benefit as much from slapping a few words down in order)
Assignment type: Formative Assessment
Assignment Details:
1. Student will share in a discussion their personal organization techniques besides using an outline for writing a research paper and respond thoughtfully to two classmates ideas.
2. Student will view sample a outline provided by the instructor and ask questions of their instructor or classmates in the discussion about their research assignment to this point. Encourage students to discuss the barriers they are facing with wrting the assignment or other types of questions about how to be successful with constructing the outline and final paper. (This is a good time for the instructor to encourage collaboration and support among students as students often provide very useful tips or sources to each other.)
3. Student will construct an outline that resembles in sturcture the example provided by the instructor.

Rubric-Assignment Based on 100 Points

Student shared at least two organization techniques they use when constructing a research paper in discussion. - 20 points
Student responded thoughtfully in a supportive and constructive manner to at least two classmates in discussion. - 20 points
Student created outline that is in complete sentences. - 10 points
Student submitted a well organized outline with the minimum supporting details, main ideas, thesis statement, and concluding statement. - 50 points


Laura said...

Just wanted to say thanks for "detailing" out this step in the writing process. I am a new teacher and with no real English background, so the only real methods I know for outlining are the ones that work for me. I like the idea of having brainstorm and suggest other techniques. I think that this step is one of those things that many teachers tend to assume that students automatically 'get' and so no real amount of time needs to be spent on it. Thanks again!

Karen Kaemmerling said...

Thanks for your feedback Laura! I agree many instructors assume students have these skills only to be disappointed with the final product. Students who do have the skills sometimes skip this step as a waste of time and instructors might need to remind them of the purpose.