High Quality Work: Claim 3

Channel View School for Research students create rigorous and complex high quality work products based on original independent research.

As a school dedicated to research, Channel View provides opportunities for students at every grade level to participate in research. As explained in Core Practice 12, students must complete rigorous research projects that show complexity. Our students demonstrate higher-order thinking by applying, analyzing, evaluating, and creating during daily instruction and throughout longer research projects. Students encounter complex primary and secondary sources across the disciplines and use evidence from these texts to support their arguments.

Channel View teachers differentiate instruction to ensure that students with different strengths are able to master the material. Teachers also coordinate their lesson planning to ensure that students understand how each assignment connects to the big concepts taught in their core classes. Because students are able to see the connections that unite the disciplines, they are able build on those connections to successfully transfer their understanding to new contexts beyond the classroom.

As researchers, our students know that they must consider multiple perspectives when examining a topic. Students have analyzed the triumphs and tragedies associated with specific historical events, considered why people with different backgrounds might have different opinions about a topic, and examined how proposed solutions would impact different parts of society.

The complex, high-quality work that our students produce is a result of their engagement with the material and commitment to their work as researchers. Below are three examples that illustrate Channel View’s High Quality Work products: 1) 10th Grade Individual Written Arguments; 2) 7th-12th Grade National History Day Learning Expedition; 3) 11th Grade Hamilton: “Who Tells Your Story?” Assignments.

Evidence 1: 10th Grade Individual Written Argument

In 10th Grade Advanced Placement (AP) Seminar, students develop their skills as researchers. AP Seminar, part of the AP Capstone program, is a foundational course that invites students to explore real world topics through multiple perspectives. Students continue this work in AP Research. After completing both Capstone courses, along with 4 additional AP classes, students graduate with the prestigious AP Capstone diploma.

At the beginning of the year, students were introduced to the Problem/Solution Essay by examining media portrayals of women. During their first Socratic Seminar, students struggled to develop their own ideas about the subject, so the teacher provided discussion questions. At the conclusion of this unit, students wrote an essay using texts provided by their teacher. After evaluating successes and challenges, the English faculty designed a scaffolding activity that helped students develop their own questions by providing a framework with sentence starters and an anticipation guide. Students participated in a second Socratic Seminar, using this framework to assist them in applying higher-order literacy skills during their discussion of the novel Frankenstein.

Students then began their second research project, using general topics assigned by their teachers. Students worked with a team to develop a research question, with each team member considering the research question through a different lens. Students conducted their own research, learning how to find and evaluate credible sources for research writing.  At the conclusion of the course, students demonstrated original, creative thinking by independently developing a research question and presenting their findings.

Task:Students must identify a research question prompted by analysis of the provided stimulus materials, gather information from a range of additional sources, develop and refine an argument, write and revise their argument, and create a presentation that they are expected to defend.”

The learning targets for the final task were:

·        I can craft a research question that examines an issue or problem through a specific lens.

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

·        I can compose a logically organized and well-reasoned argument by connecting claims and evidence, leading to a plausible, well-aligned conclusion.

·        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 argument.

AP Seminar Performance Task 2 Rubric

Students read and analyzed texts provided in a stimulus packet, identified a thematic connection, and composed a research question based on the materials. Students analyzed information from a range of additional sources representing a variety of perspectives. Throughout their research, they continually revisited and refined their original research question to ensure that the evidence gathered addressed their purpose and focus. Students considered multiple perspectives, identified opposing views, and considered the implications of their solutions. Students included a list of works cited, using the academic standards for articles published in professional peer-reviewed journals.

After completing their Individual Written Argument (IWA), students developed and delivered a 6-8 minute Multimedia Presentation that conveyed their argument to an audience of their peers. Students considered audience, context, and purpose when they designed their presentations. Students used peer feedback to assist them in revising their multimedia presentations to create polished final products that effectively underlined the key points of their presentations. Students used rehearsals and peer feedback to improve their audience engagement strategies, practicing appropriate public speaking strategies, such as eye contact and vocal variety.  Students defended their research process through oral responses to two questions.

Example 1: IWA—Punk Rock through a Historical Lens: Unified Efforts to Resolve Widespread Issues

This student examined punk rock through a historical lens, asking: “Has the punk genre ever successfully motivated unified efforts to resolve wide spread issues?” He examines the topic through multiple perspectives, considering punk rock’s role in the fall of the Berlin Wall in East Germany and the end of apartheid in South Africa. He provides an eloquent response to a counterclaim and writes a strong conclusion, arguing that punk rock has successfully encouraged social action.

Example 2: IWA—The Link between Violent Video Games and Real World Violence

This student examined video games through a Social Lens, researching if the violence in video games can influence violence in real life. He discussed how violent individuals were exposed to video-game violence before committing crimes and proposes multiple solutions. He also considers the implications and limitations of his solutions.

Individual Multimedia Presentation Example 1: The Media Influence on Body Shaming

This video shows the beginning of this student’s Multimedia Presentation, where she introduces her topic and explains its significance. She uses vocal variety, rhetorical question, and effective transitions to guide an audience of her peers through her argument. She underlines her key points with supporting images and delivers a powerful presentation that clearly explains the relevance of the topic.

Individual Multimedia Presentation Example 2: Healthcare in America through a Socioeconomic Lens

This video shows the conclusion of this student’s presentation, where she shares her recommendation with an audience of her peers and defends her research process. She exhibits excellent public-speaking skills, and her familiarity with her material allows her to fully engage with the audience without using notecards. She also provides a thoughtful response to an oral defense question, sharing the early stages of her research.

At the conclusion of the research project, we noticed that students had successfully evaluated their sources and crafted evidence-based arguments. Although students were able to identify important topics, they found it difficult to design realistic solutions and analyze the implications and limitations when applying these solutions to real world problems. Next year, we will introduce crafting and evaluating solutions earlier in the curriculum and lead workshops that allow students to consider the effects of these solutions.

Evidence 2: 7th-12th Grades National History Day Expedition

Our National History Day (NHD) expedition has become an important way to embody the name of our school: Channel View School for Research. This research project, which has evolved over the last two years, combines a study of a particular theme with a project focused on students becoming real historians by analyzing and incorporating evidence from both primary and secondary sources.

Last year, our first year participating, the theme was Conflict and Compromise in history. Teachers assigned specific topics to students. Students worked on researching their topics, 1-2 days per week, using a set of graphic organizers. After evaluating the research process and final product, the Social Studies department concluded that several changes were needed to improve the students’ learning experience.

This year, the theme was Triumph and Tragedy in history. This topic invited students to consider historical events from multiple perspectives. The students’ interest level and choice of the topics increased because students this year were allowed to choose their topics. Teachers carved six weeks out of the school year to complete the project in class, as opposed to taking 1-2 days per week as they did last year. Students’ research was done daily using a packet designed specifically for their project. Since teachers narrowed the time frame and focus, they were better able to support students in selecting proper sources and fully understanding them. The students’ research process was also more rigorous, including rounds of critique and peer feedback.

Social Studies teachers also invited the English Language Arts (ELA) and Art departments to participate. Students worked with ELA teachers to perfect their process papers and create annotated bibliographies, using proper citation format. Students also worked closely with art teachers, who helped students develop an understanding of proper project layout with text, visuals, captions, title, and thesis. Students were able to create beautiful and innovative products, such as a factory that actually produced steam.

Task: “Students must choose a historical topic related to the annual theme, and then conduct primary and secondary research. After they have analyzed and interpreted their sources, and have drawn a conclusion about the significance of their topic, they will then present their work in one of five ways: as a paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary, or a website.”

The learning targets for the final task were:

·        I can analyze how one person’s triumph can be another’s tragedy.

·        I can examine a historical event through multiple perspectives.

·        I can demonstrate the significance of a topic in history.

National History Day Rubric

Students began by building background knowledge on a particular topic in history. They conducted research using tools like Google Scholar to locate primary and secondary texts and images. Students utilized close reading strategies to evaluate the credibility of these texts and identify key details. Students were encouraged to “think like a historian,” using formats and standards from the professional world. They used this research to formulate a thesis about a historical triumph and tragedy. Students were encouraged to select topics connected to local people and places in order to consider the impact of historical events on their communities. However, students were ultimately allowed to choose a topic that interested them.

Students then crafted an evidenced-based final product. Students were able to choose to create a research paper, an exhibit board, a documentary, a website, or a performance. All students were challenged to produce high quality work that could be entered into the city-wide National History Day competition.

Example 1: The Immortal Woman: Aftermath of HeLa

This student explored the life of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line. This is the first immortalized cell line and one of the most important cell lines in medical research. The student used a heavy black framing to overshadow the medical communities’ accomplishments. The student also used key words to draw the eye of the viewer—focusing on “Ethics” and “Consent.” This display helped underline the student’s key points during the oral presentation.

Example 2: The Creation and Lasting Effects of the Atomic Bomb

This group of students explored the scientific triumph and human tragedy of the atomic bomb. Nuclear weapons are a huge scientific achievement for humankind, but also a tremendous tragedy for those impacted by them. The students supported the presentation of their research with a clearly labeled poster board that illustrated the creation of the atomic bomb and its positive and negative effects. The students were able to stress the tragic results of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by including emotionally moving images in their display.

National History Day Example 3: James Marion Sims: A Triumph for Medicine & A Tragedy for Ethics

This student explored the life and work of James Marion Sims, “The Father of Modern Gynecology” who pioneered tools and surgical techniques related to women’s reproductive health by experimenting on female slaves. This student chose to create a documentary to share her findings.

In addition to incorporating student choice and rigor, this assignment inspired students to create exhibits that went above and beyond the National History Day criteria. This year, the Learning Exhibition was greatly improved with regard to thoroughness, authenticity, and creativity. However, students continue to struggle with developing a focused thesis. After consulting with the ELA department, we have decided to add an activity designed to teach students the difference between broad and narrow research topics. After reviewing model thesis statements, students will participate in a peer review rotation, providing advice and feedback to help each create focused research topics.

Evidence 3: 11th Grade “Who Tells Your Story?”

In the 11th grade United States History and English classes, students develop their skills as researchers and creative writers. Teachers at Channel View work with the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History to help students learn about history by combining primary sources with a trip to see a performance of the musical Hamilton. At the beginning of the unit, students were first introduced to primary sources from the Founding Era in their United States History class. Students continued this work in their ELA class, researching events, documents and/or people from the Founding Era. Students used these sources create a piece that “tells a story” from a particular perspective.

Task: “Students must use primary sources to research an event or historical person from the Founding Era, and then compose and perform an original poem, scene, or song to tell a ‘story’ of their research.”

The learning targets for the final task were:

·        I can evaluate and synthesize primary sources from the Founding Era.

·        I can analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop.

·        I can determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power,

·        persuasiveness, or beauty of the text

·        I can utilize narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, to develop experiences, events, and/or characters.

·        I can develop innovative perspectives on texts, including historical, cultural, sociological, and psychological contexts.

·        I can create poem, scene or song that reflects on the research I conducted.

Hamilton Rubric

Students began their work by utilizing the workbooks given to them by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History. They analyzed excerpts from “Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Continental Congress,” written by Reverend Samuel Seabury, and “A Full Vindication of the Measures of the Congress,” written by Alexander Hamilton. Students compared both excerpts to the lyrics of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s “Farmers Refuted” to correlate how the songwriter was able to use both perspectives from the primary source documents to create a song. In addition, students analyzed the lyrics of the opening song “Alexander Hamilton” to gain background information before seeing the show and to help them in their research.

Students began their individual research by selecting a historical person or event. Students then used online search tools to locate primary and secondary sources. Throughout their research, students needed to use annotation strategies to understand the argument and identify perspectives for each document. Based on their interests, students chose whose perspective they wanted to use to “tell their story.” For example, a student writing about The Boston Massacre could use the voice of a British soldier, a Colonist, a bystander, or the English monarchy. Students were able to collaborate and use peer feedback to refine their pieces until the story they wished to convey was comprehensible to all.

After completing their “masterpiece,” students delivered it to an audience of their peers at Channel View. The top students performed live on the Hamilton stage to an authentic audience of New York City (NYC) high school students and cast members from the show. Students then met cast members and were able to ask them questions before watching a performance of Hamilton. After the performance, students completed an online survey, reflecting on the process of creating their “masterpieces” and connecting their writing to the performance that they saw. This project brought history to life for our students and enabled many of them to experience their first Broadway show.

Example 1: Poem: “The Boston Tea Party”

This student creates a beautiful piece of work in conception and execution of poetic form. She transferred her understanding of United States History to tell the story of the colonists from the beginning of their revolution starting with the Boston Tea Party. This masterpiece demonstrates original and creative thinking based on primary source documents.

Example 2: Poem: “Hercules Mulligan”

These students analyzed primary source documents to dig deep into the historical figure Hercules Mulligan. The students pay to attention to accuracy, while still maintaining poetic beauty within their piece, to explain the significance of Hercules Mulligan and the part he played in the American Revolution.

Example 3: Song: “Theodosia Burr”

These students connect the big concepts of Theodosia Burr’s advocacy for her father’s re-instatement to the United States and the tragedies of her life by uniting United States History, English, and the Arts. These students beautifully execute profound song lyrics by rewriting an original Hamilton Broadway song to show their research and understanding of Theodosia Burr.

Example 4: Hamilton Broadway Live Performance: “Theodosia Burr”

In addition to the students creating their masterpiece, one group was chosen by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History to perform their piece on the Hamilton Broadway Stage. Here they executed professionalism, singing and playing the guitar, to an audience made up of their peers as well as other NYC students and teachers, and Hamilton cast members.

Students created beautiful final products that successfully identified different perspectives, using documents from the Founding Fathers to create projects to reflect on those perspectives. However, students did not cite these sources. Next time, we will require students to include a Works Cited page that lists at least two resources they used. We will model how to evaluate sources and review citation formats and standards from the professional world. This addition will ensure that their evidence is credible and a true reflection of the people or events that they presented.