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The Year I Was Born: An Autobiographical Research Project
|Grades||9 – 12|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Five 50-minute sessions|
Yankton, South Dakota
In this autobiography with a twist, students conduct interviews of friends and family members, as well as online and library research to find details on what was going on internationally, nationally, locally, in sports, music, arts, commercial, TV, and publishing during the year that they were born. After they've gathered their research, they discuss how they will organize their information, typically in chronological order, and then create a rough outline. In small groups, students share and get feedback on their research and outlines. They then refine their outline into a paper that they publish as a newspaper or booklet using an online publishing tool.
- ReadWriteThink Printing Press: Use this online tool to create a newspaper, brochure, booklet, or flyer. Students choose a layout, add content, and then print out their work.
This mini-research paper draws on Daniels and Bizar's idea of integrative units, combining research into a specific historical time and research into students' family lives with the English study of understanding voice and point of view in a writing assignment. Carol Booth Olson believes authentic research "stems from a student's intense need to know about a topic that has immediate relevance for him or her." In this instance, the topic the student is researching is his or her place in the world at the time of his or her birth.
Daniels, Harvey and Marilyn Bizar. 1998. Methods That Matter. York, Maine: Stenhouse.
Olson, C.B. (2003). The reading/writing connection: Strategies for teaching and learning in the secondary classroom. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
Shafer, Gregory. "Re-envisioning Research." English Journal 89.1 (September 1999): 45-50.