High Quality Work: Claim 1

Channel View School for Research students increasingly apply what they learn about events and issues to create more authentic high quality work products that advocate for the common good.

Channel View students are exceptional writers who create authentic work that they share with a larger audience. They act as investigators, researchers, historians, and performers. They use formats and standards from the professional world, creating work that includes the higher-order thinking found in professional academic journals. After completing a project, students share their work with their peers, demonstrating their original thought and creativity.

Our students recognize that their work in the classroom connects to real-world issues, controversies, and local people and places. Students have conducted studies that evaluated the impact of wind turbines on their community, planned ways to revitalize their community, and participated in civil disobedience. Students understand that their work both in and out of the classroom has value. They have even shared this beyond Channel View’s walls.

Students are encouraged to come up with creative solutions to problems that reflect their individual ideas and voices. They realize that they are part of a larger community and must actively participate in order to improve their surroundings.

Below are four examples that illustrate Channel View’s High Quality Work products: 1) 8th Grade Urban Planning; 2) 6th Grade Scientific Wind Turbine Investigation; 3) 10th Grade Civil Disobedience Case Study 4) 12th Grade Walmart Letter. These examples demonstrate student growth over time in authenticity and advocacy.

Link to three years of High Quality Work Protocols and archived work

The High Quality Work Protocols and archived work are also available on the portfolio introduction page.

Evidence 1: 8th Grade Urban Planning Expedition

In 8th grade Humanities, students developed their skills as researches and community activists. At the beginning of the year, students were asked to examine their neighborhoods and identify the impact of urban decay on their community. For a historical perspective on how communities change, students examined the legacy of Robert Moses and how his imprint on New York City (NYC) largely affected the makeup of many NYC communities. Students then examined different philosophies about the future of urban planning, and incorporated those philosophies into their redesigning of under-utilized or decaying aspects of their communities.

The learning targets for the final task were:

·        I can develop the skill of using evidence to support reasoning in writing and presenting argumentative essays.

·        I can evaluate and synthesize multiple perspectives by drawing relevant connections between them.

·        I can participate in activities that focus on classroom, school, community, state, or national issues and problems.

·        I can design a presentation that effectively contextualizes my research and considers audience and purpose.

·        I can utilize performance techniques such as eye contact and vocal variety to support the communication of my ideas.


1.      Research – pick a topic, generate a research question, and gather information (from at least 3 sources) to help answer your question.

2.      Paper – write a research paper that fully answers your research question and demonstrates your complete understanding of your topic. Typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman, Size 12 font.

3.      Presentation – create some visual to complement your paper and then use your visual as well as your knowledge to present what you have learned to your classmates. Students will complete a case-study tri-fold that will include their persuasive letter, informative writing about their philosophy on urban planning, an investigation into a specific urban planning discipline, descriptive pictures with captions, and a visual representation of a modification they would make to their community with a written abstract.

Example 1: Student Urban Renewal Plan

This student examined zoning and ordinance laws in New York City to create her dream renovation of an abandoned movie theater in a high volume, bustling shopping district in her community. She felt this site needed to be maintained, claiming that the architecture and history made it an irreplaceable part of her community. To show her commitment to the task, she also researched and found contact information for the owner. She wrote a well-detailed, evidence-based claim as to how improvement to this building could help bolster her community. Her attention to detail and sophistication of product was apparent and applauded. 



Example 2: Student Urban Renewal Plan

This student focused on an under-developed tract of land near his home in the shadow of an energy center. Since the land is not used, this student felt it would help his neighborhood to create soccer fields. He argues that there were no grass fields to play on in his densely populated community. He also included a letter to the operating managers of the energy facility. He displayed courage and commitment to complete this strenuous work.



Students who participated in the Urban Renewal Learning Expedition enter high school invested in their community. After completing this Expedition, some students showed original thinking by choosing to develop their scholarship by continuing to focus their work on local issues. For example, when current 10th graders were asked to research an example of a Triumph & Tragedy for National History Day, this group decided to focus on the history of the Rockaways and how it continues to affect their community in the present. Because of the Service Learning they participated in as 8th-grade students, as 10th-graders, they choose to deepen their understanding of how Robert Moses had influenced their community. They used the research skills and understanding of local issues that they began to develop in the 8th grade to support their work as high school students. This project demonstrates our students' growth over time in creating authentic work that examines a real-world issue through multiple perspectives. The image below was taken when these students shared their research to an authentic audience at the City Museum of New York.


Evidence 2: 6th Grade Wind Turbine Scientific Investigation



Sixth-grade students were engaged in an authentic case study about renewable wind energy and conducted a scientific investigation to determine how the number of blades on a wind turbine affects the number of volts produced. The purpose was to become informed citizens about clean energy production, utilizing offshore wind turbines, and why it should matter to them. They researched offshore wind turbines and the number of homes and businesses that could be supplied energy based on the volts produced. Students researched what a day on the job is like for the people who climb the turbines to keep them functioning. They also researched the type of education required to maintain a wind turbine.


In past school years, students learned about aerodynamic forces, specifically lift and drag forces, by completing calculations on worksheets. Students did not develop a deeper understanding of the topic, so we designed this hands-on Learning Expedition to support our students in their learning. During this scientific investigation, students could visibly see the gears turn and the rotor blades spin when “wind” was directed at hub level to the turbine. They knew electricity was pushing through the wires because they measured the amount of voltage on the voltmeters. Students not only developed their understanding of aerodynamic forces, but also participated in an investigation that advocates for the public good. This change from classroom calculation activities to a hands-on Learning Expedition increased our students' content knowledge by engaging them in authentic work that could benefit their community.


Our expert was Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., who came to our school and spoke to our students about plans for the offshore wind turbines that will go up in our very own neighborhood out in the Atlantic Ocean by 2030. Students prepared questions they wanted to ask our expert based on perspectives that became important to them along their research journey. Senator Addabbo was impressed with their prior knowledge during questioning, the demonstration by our student ambassador who tested the blade combinations, and the data analysis shared by another student via Power Point.


Students met with an expert: Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr.


Many of our students and their families live in the area and will directly experience the effects of the offshore wind turbines, such as more jobs opportunities becoming available and clean energy supplying homes and businesses with electricity.

The learning targets for the final task were:

·        I can recognize that energy sources transform energy in a similar process to generate electricity.

·        I can write a hypothesis on which number of rotor blades will produce the highest number of volts.

·        I can determine the independent variable and dependent variable for the wind turbine scientific investigation.

·        I can test the independent variable for the wind turbine investigation and record data.

·        I can analyze the data and create a graph as a visual representation.


Students read and summarized scientific articles related to green energy, wind turbine workers, and other related articles. They also wrote about green energy jobs and wind power workers. They used multi-media resources to research offshore wind turbine construction and maintenance; they also viewed interviews with the people who climbed and maintained wind turbines. Students became aware of what the job entails and how massive these turbines are when compared to the size of a human.


The construction of an offshore wind turbine was included in our research repertoire, revealing the enormity of the structures that will go up in our very own neighborhood. Students made connections to their own lives, sharing that some of their parents had jobs that involved heights and climbing. Some students expressed interest in becoming wind turbine workers; other students had concerns about sea life and the effects that the turbines would have on the Atlantic Ocean ecosystems and aviary life.


They learned about the basic aerodynamic forces (the science concepts behind wind energy) and how to read a volt meter to determine the number of volts produced. In class, students saw a demonstration of how a fan produced “fake” wind to turn tabletop wind turbines. Students hypothesized the number of blades they thought would produce the highest number of volts based on their background research. They used tabletop fans to test out 2, 3, and 6 rotor blades and recorded the volts produced. Data revealed that as the number of rotor blades increased, the number of volts also increased.




After students researched renewable wind energy and analyzed the data from their scientific investigation, they designed Power Point slides and compiled data for presentation to the entire 6th grade and an authenitc audience, our expert Senator Addabbo. A 6th-grade student acted as ambassador on behalf of the 6th-grade class, providing our guests with a demonstration and explanation of the wind turbine scientific investigation.


Example 1: Wind Turbine Background Research


Interest was piqued when students began researching what it takes to be a wind-power worker. They wrote reflections after reading articles about wind-power workers and other related articles. Example 1 is a sample of one of these reflections. The authenticity of the offshore wind turbine farm in Rockaway Park became a real-world reality for our students' community.


Example 2: Wind Turbine Lab Data


Channel View students used a lab format that follows the steps of the scientific method. After conducting research on the science concepts behind wind turbines and our question, students were able to make their own individual hypotheses based on their background research. Next, they tested the combinations of blades, then recorded and averaged the data.


Example 3: Wind Turbine Lab Display Board


Example 4: Wind Turbine Power Point


Upon completion of the Wind Turbine Scientific Investigation, students crafted a presentation to share with fellow peers and Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., our offshore wind turbine expert. The slides demonstrate the progression of the scientific method from a question or problem to the final stage of sharing findings with peers, the scientific community, and others to whom the data matters. Students contributed accurate details about aerodynamic forces, the scientific concept that was the reasoning behind the data recorded.


Evidence 3: 10th Grade Civil Disobedience Case Study

In 10th-grade English, students develop an understanding of Civil Disobedience by learning about historical activists and then examining a current protest. When we first introduced this case study, the unit concluded with an informative essay that examined the efficacy of Civil Disobedience. After reviewing the final product, we concluded that students had not mastered their understanding of the topic because they had not made an authentic, personal connection to the subject matter. The next school year, we decided to connect the topic to a current real-world issue: protests about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). Instead of writing an informative essay, students designed a persuasive speech or wrote a letter to the governor of North Dakota. Students were more engaged with the subject matter because events were happening in real time. Students were able access videos of protesters and read letters written by teenagers from Native American tribes. This assignment also better prepared students for the New York State (NYS) English Regents, which asks students to write an argument essay about non-fiction texts. Although students were more invested in the topic, their final products still read more like regular argument essays instead of persuasive speeches.

The following school year, we not only continued to include current real-world controversies in our Civil Disobedience unit, but also added lessons focusing on rhetorical strategies for engaging an audience. After the Parkland school shooting, students wrote persuasive speeches about gun control. Channel View students, who have seen social media reports on school shootings and practiced lockdown drills, recognize this topic as relevant to their lives. They took part in Civil Disobedience during the March 14, 2018, National School Walkout. Students and teachers also travelled to Washington D.C. to participate in the March for Our Lives.




Task: “Your argument must take the form of either a persuasive letter or a persuasive speech explaining the situation and your position to your peers at Channel View. Using the evidence, you’ve gathered and the techniques you’ve learned, try to persuade the appropriate audience to your side. There should be a call for action (Kairos) in your letter or speech. Remember, the main goal of persuasive writing is to convince your audience to DO or BELIEVE something.”

The long-term learning targets for the case study were:

·        I can interpret, analyze, and evaluate narratives, poetry, and drama, aesthetically and ethically by making connections to: other texts, ideas, cultural perspectives, eras, personal events and situations.

·        I can explore the need for active, public, conscientious breach of the law to bring about a change in law or public policy.

·        I can explain why it is necessary to protest when laws are unfair or immoral.

Students examined the topic of Civil Disobedience through multiple lenses: the play Antigone; Gandhi’s “Letter to Lord Irwin”; Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”; protest poems, such as Michael S. Harper’s “American History”; Billie Holiday’s performance of “Strange Fruit”; and films about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Salt March. Students employed higher-ordered thinking when they evaluated how Gandhi’s focus on non-violent protest influenced King’s own protest movement. They were also able to transfer their knowledge to their work in Global Studies when they later learned that Nelson Mandela had used a performance of Antigone as a protest tactic. After building background knowledge by reading and analyzing these texts, students explored a current use of Civil Disobedience by reading newspaper articles and watching videos of protests.

At the conclusion of the unit, students crafted their letters or speeches, using rhetorical strategies, such as ethos, pathos, and logos, to appeal to their audience. Students used teacher feedback to revise multiple drafts, beginning with an outline, and eventually creating a final product. Initially, students submitted a handwritten final draft, but we later revised the assignment and required a final, polished, type-written essay.

The following examples demonstrate progress over time in the authenticity of the Learning Expedition:

Example 1: Informative Essay (Year 1)

This student was able to provide an accurate overview of how Civil Disobedience can be used to promote social change. She is a strong writer, but the tone is impersonal and it’s clear that the student was not able to connect the topic to her own experiences.

Example 2: Persuasive Speech: DAPL (Year 2)

This student creates a strong opening for his speech with rhetorical questions. He uses pathos to engage his audience, asking “Why do we fight? Are our voices worth wasting? Do our voices matter?” He effectively uses text evidence to support his argument, including an eyewitness account of an arrested protester.

Example 3: Persuasive Speech: DAPL (Year 3)

This student opens his speech by inviting his audience to put themselves in the shoes of a Native American living near the Dakota Acces Pipeline. He also chose to stress the role of racism in the government’s decision to build a pipeline at this location. He used teacher feedback to improve his final draft, clarifying his reasoning and adding specific evidence.

Example 4: Persuasive Speech: Gun Control (Year 3)

This student wrote a powerful speech about the need for gun control. She included personal experiences, such the fear she experienced during a school lockdown. She engages her audience with rhetorical questions, asking: “who wants to live this way?” She concludes with a reference to the future, wondering what her own children will experience if she does not take action now.


Students participating in a March for Our Lives Protest

At the conclusion of this case study, we noticed that students were able to use rhetorical strategies to write passionate speeches. Although the speeches were vivid and engaging, the use of text evidence decreased in favor of personal experience. Next year we plan to incorporate more use of text evidence in the final draft of the speech or letter. We also plan to allow students to select a topic that is important to them and have them conduct research to obtain this text evidence.

Evidence 4: Walmart Case Study

In twelfth-grade English, students studied argumentative writing by researching Walmart’s impact on a community and writing letters to the mayor arguing for or against building a Walmart in NYC. This Case Study enables to students to both develop the writing skills that they will need to be successful in the professional world and advocate for their community.

In order to receive their high school diploma, New York State students must demonstrate a mastery of argumentative writing by passing a state exam. In the past, we taught argument writing by having students work with old exams.

Example 1: NYS Regents Practice Test (Year 1)

This student used an old Regents exam to write an argument essay about de-extinction. He annotates four texts provided by New York State and writes only one draft since he would not have time to revise during a timed essay exam. Although the student was able to demonstrate his understanding of the text and organize his ideas into a coherent argument, his response is formulaic and does not demonstrate the High Quality Work that Channel View strives to achieve.

Example 2: NYS Regents Practice Test (Year 1)

This student also responded to a Regents essay question about de-extinction. She demonstrates her understanding of the texts through her annotation notes. She uses writing strategies, such as creating a T-Chart, to organize her thoughts before beginning to write. Her writing is clear and supported with text evidence, but the product is not authentic.

In order to address these concerns and encourage students to grapple with issues that affect their lives in their argument writing, the following year, we developed the Walmart Case Study. Students examined Walmart’s history and policies and were asked if one should be built in their community. Students first examined both sides of the issue by reading articles from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. They also watched a PBS Frontline documentary. After determining whether building a Walmart would benefit the Rockaways, students crafted an authentic letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Rubric – 6 Traits – Walmart

Task: Write a business letter in which you ask Mayor Bill de Blasio either to keep Walmart out of
New York City or allow them to open up their doors. In the letter be sure to do the following:

1) Follow the block business letter format.
2) Immediately (in the first sentence) state your purpose (ask the mayor for what you want).
3) Treat the rest of the letter like a mini-argument:

a. Include a claim and support it with detailed evidence from your reading and studies of the giant retailer.
b. Make concessions where you deem it appropriate to do so.
c. Include the counter-argument as “they say”
d. Argue against it.

4) Be sure your letter is concisely written (Don’t waste words!)

Example 1: Letter to Bill de Blasio (Year 2)

This student argues against adding a Walmart to New York City. He is especially concerned about how the company treats its employees, noting that it provides inadequate health care benefits and abuses illegal immigrant workers. He uses evidence from the Frontline documentary to support his claims. He is clearly passionate about the topic and acknowledges his own shock and surprise upon learning about some of the company’s policies. He uses an authentic business letter format, demonstrating that he will enter the professional world able to effectively communicate his ideas.

Example 2: Letter to Bill de Blasio (Year 2)

This student argues that a Walmart should be built in the Rockaways. She acknowledges that the company has some problems, but is more concerned about bettering her community. She notes that people who reside in the Rockaways are isolated and have limited access to shops. Adding a Walmart would enable members of the community to complete all of their shopping at one convenient location.

These students studied the same reading and writing strategies as past students who completed state exam tasks, but they were more successful in creating authentic, high-quality work because they focused on a real-world issue that could directly affect their lives. Their final products were more polished and engaging, and they will be able to use the skills they developed as they continue to advocate for a better world and community in the future.

Next year, we would like to continue to teach argument writing by including topical issues. The question of whether to build an Amazon business facility was recently in the news and is something our students can consider. We would like to further develop this Case Study by teaching students how to evaluate sources and having them provide some of their own text evidence.