Friday, January 18, 2008

The thesis

Eighth graders went to Emma Willard to use an excellent high school library for thesis research. They enjoyed the extensive sources and the fireplace. After initial research and working with James (social studies), Sarah (language arts) and Carol (librarian) they honed in on a topic that will be just the right depth to sustain a 3-4 month project. They have just written their thesis statements.

The topics offer their usual diverse array, and give insight to the passions within the class. Carol always says this, but "These are the best ever!"

The research component of our curriculum is well defined, giving students practice in good essay writing and in taking a viewpoint. The skill building starts in K-1, when students work individually with Carol to collect note cards on facts about an animal they are researching. It expands each year, until in seventh grade students write a mini-thesis.

College professors among our parents and visitors comment on the sophistication of our students' writing and their ability to properly cite references. During Project Night, eighth graders will present their finished papers for discussion and questions.

Some of this year's topics:

The influence of French cuisine on world cooking
What makes the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry a classic?
How far can you deviate from classical ballet and still call it ballet?
The media's influence on girls' body weight
Banned books for children and young adults
The influence of Hip Hop dance as an American art form
Has the promise of Brown vs Board of Education been realized?
The importance of dogs in society and culture
Professional athletes: legal issues and cultural entitlement

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