Project Overview
Language Arts Unit 1
Language Arts Unit 2
Science Unit
Social Studies Unit 1
Social Studies Unit 2

Arts (1)

Unit Introduction

I. Introductory Activities

2. MLA & APA Activities

3. Preliminary Research Steps

4. Working Bibliography

5. Intro to Primary Sources

6. DI Final Project

7. Appendix


“Bringing It Together and Making a Plan”

Classroom Activity

Students are now ready to commit to their topic, choose a project and begin research!

After completing the student handout “Bringing It Together and Making a Plan,” students will look over the grading rubric for project choices.  They will then fill out a learning contract and conference with the teacher.  It is important to have a student conference one-on-one with the teacher and sign the learning contract before spending any more time on research.  In this conference the teacher needs to make sure the topic is workable, the student is capable of achieving the plan, and the plan significantly challenges the student.  This works well in a library or lab setting because the teacher can let students begin to work right after the plan is approved and begin to conference with the next student.  Presenting the student handout one day and letting the students finish it at home might help stagger the conferences.  Students should be encouraged to come in before or after school if they are ready to conference or if they have questions. 

I would consider letting students work together if the topic could be divided and each student’s responsibilities are clearly identified.  If two students choose the same topic, I would let them debate, share, and learn from each other. I would carefully monitor their progress to be sure that they are each completing the steps and doing the work.  Identical projects are not acceptable

Bringing It Together and Making a Plan

Student Handout

1- 2 hours

Now that you have had a chance to find out what information is available, it is time to make a plan for your project.  Use To Kill a Mockingbird, any sources you’ve gathered, and your own knowledge to answer these questions. 

1. What is the topic of your research?


2. Is your project going to be expository, informative, persuasive, or narrative?
(Use your English textbook for definitions if you are rusty on these terms.)
Describe what you want your project to do? 


3. What quote, situation, or character in the novel sparked your interest in the topic?
(This is important because it should be a part of your final project!)


4. Do you have at least three good sources for your project?  Do not include the encyclopedia.


5. What unanswered questions do you still have about your topic?


6. What is your timeline? 


Now look at the Research Project Rubric.  Decide what project will work best for you and your topic.  When you have decided, meet with your teacher and complete a learning contract for this project.  Then you will be ready to work on your project!

Research Project Rubric

Student Handout and Grade Sheet
Each column to the right builds on the one to its left.  To get an “Excellent” you must meet the requirements of all four columns. 


Step 1

Basic Requirements to Pass

Step 2

Average Work

Step 3

Above Average

Step 4


Poem, Song, or Rap


Research notes from at least five sources

Clearly thematic, and influences or informs audience

Ties clearly to the novel characters and time period

Acceptable grammar and vocabulary for  genre

Enlightens audience

Shows accurate and thoughtful research



Professionally presented to the class

Meaning is extended to our time

Board Game or Game Show


Research notes from at least five sources

Playable, informative, and fun

Well organized

Correct grammar and mechanics in rules, instructions, and playing pieces or cards

At least an allusion to the novel

Well presented and attractive to players or viewers

Unique, not just a copy of a game you’ve seen


Marketable quality!

Players and viewers are not only informed about the topic, but see how if affects their lives

Power Point Presentation


Research notes from at least five sources

Slides are carefully done

Organized and attractive to view

Significant tie to and inspiring event or quote from the novel.

Proofread for grammar, spelling, etc.

Contains pictures, visuals, and documentation of sources

Provides a unique and informative view of the topic

Shows evidence of student comprehension

Gives audience something to think about.    Goes beyond the obvious

Shows application to the world and our experience 

Original Art Work


Research notes from at least five sources

Notes must be proofread and organized

Tied to the theme of the research and to the novel


Shows not just a simple picture but an image of time, place, and understanding of subject

Inspires the audience with an insight into the artist’s unique perceptions 

Time Line of a historical event or of Scout’s childhood and the real events in history.


Research notes from at least five sources

Neat and chronological

Mechanically correct
 May be hand drawn or computer generated

Shows important events in relevant to the setting of the novel

Centered on a clear thematic element

The time line has a meaningful point

Shows relevance to author’s (Harper Row’s) life

     and /or

Significant events in the country and the world

Write a play or screenplay.  (This must be written and may be performed if arrangements are made beforehand.) 


Research notes from at least five sources

Uses conventions of drama – stage, costume, lighting, etc.

Mechanically correct and neatly presented

Target audience should be defended…  “This play will appeal to …”

Whether narrative or documentary style, the work should inform and interest the audience

 Effective adherence to the researched theme

Stage directions, costuming, and dialogue all enhance the theme of the work

The theme that has been researched becomes important and inspiring to the audience

Create a family tree on the author’s life.  Include branches for friends and other influential people if needed.


Research notes from at least five sources

Present “tree” on poster paper, butcher paper, or graphic organizer software

Mechanics are correct. 

“Tree” connections are logical and clear

Project centers around a meaningful theme

Significant people are explained in thumbnail biographies

Significant people and their influence are analyzed and evaluated.  Who was most influential and why?

Write an expository, reflective, persuasive, or analysis paper. 


Research notes from at least five sources

Paper is proofread

In text citations and documentation is correct

Mechanics and grammar are correct.

Theme is central and clear.

Paragraphs are well formed

Ideas are logically presented

Ideas are innovative and inspiring

Analysis or conclusions are well developed and supported

Design website.


Research notes from at least five sources

Website is effective and usable

Spelling and mechanics are correct

The information is correct and helpful

Space and colors are not distracting to viewers

Website has a professional and honest voice 

Links are active and relevant

The site is interesting and attractive 

Website is a tribute to the topic and inspirational to the audience 

Documentation and credits are proper.
Shows refined purpose

Give a speech or debate an issue.


Research notes from at least five sources

Presentation is clear and effective

Student is well prepared to answer questions and expound on the topic


Students can cite or refer to authorities and studies from the research


The student presents a solid case for his theme

The information is not only accurate, but shows analysis and application

Student Idea

Fill in during consultation with teacher

Fill in during consultation with teacher

Fill in during consultation with teacher

Fill in during consultation with teacher

Note:  The teacher will use this rubric to grade each project and will highlight items that have been accomplished and write notes.  The teacher may highlight something outside of the row if it applies to the work.  For example a teacher may highlight “Ideas are innovative and inspiring” for a debate not just for a paper. Everything a student does well in a project will help to achieve an “excellent”.  Gifted students should be nudged to achieve an “excellent”.  Teachers may assign point values to each column if desired or  assign letter grades.  The “basic” column represents “D” or low “C” work.  The “average column represents “C” or low “B” work.  The “above average” column represents “B” and low “A” work.  The “excellent” column is “A” and “A+” work.

Project Contract

Student name _______________________________________________________
1. I have completed all other assignments in this unit.       Yes or No

2. Description of project choice…

3. Number of research sources I have for this project _______________

4. I understand that I will have   _________ class hours to work on this project.

5. I understand that I will have to complete the rest of the project on my own time.  I will need approximately ____________ hours of time outside of class. 

6. My project due date is ________________________.

7. Things I need to do to finish my project. Plan your actions here.     
                                                          Goal Date / Check when completed.
_________________________________ Date____ Completed __
_________________________________ Date____ Completed __
_________________________________ Date____ Completed __
_________________________________ Date____ Completed __
_________________________________ Date____ Completed __

8. Things I need to complete this work.  (Do you need poster board…?)

Students are responsible to keep all research information and supplies in a binder, box, or drawer in the classroom.  Work taken home is the student’s responsibility and must be brought to class on the appropriate days.

Credit will be granted ______________________________.
(For English, social studies or both?)

Student Signature _____________________________________    Date ________

Parent Signature _____________________________________    Date ________

Teacher Signature ____________________________________     Date _________


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