Every year in English class, the teacher will identify a research topic that will serve as the Keystone Writing Assignment for that grade. This research will be connected to one of the curriculum unit’s essential questions. For example, teachers in 9th grade might select topics relating to Romeo and Juliet for their students’ research projects. The essential questions in the curriculum for Romeo and Juliet are:
- Do our differences define us?
- What constitutes the loss of innocence?
Students will select one of these essential questions and use it to help frame their research and analysis of Romeo and Juliet.
Teachers in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades will follow the same guidelines using topics from their course’s curriculum units and the essential questions that relate to them. The grade level’s research guidelines and the academic level of the students will determine the length of the paper.
At the end of the project, the students in each grade will analyze their work and write a one-page reflection outlining the skills they have learned during the research process as well as what they have learned about themselves in completing it.
Teachers will use the PA Domain Scoring Rubric to grade the students’ work. The completed research will be placed in the student’s portfolio with the refection paper and designated as the Keystone Ribbon Assignment for that grade.
At the end of senior year English, the students will have completed four Keystone Ribbon Assignments for their portfolios. The personal reflection papers and analysis of these four research assignments will form the basis of the Senior Grad Project presentations. Senior year English teachers will allot time in class to help prepare students to review their work and to make their oral presentations. The presentations will be no shorter than seven minutes in length. Students will be expected to respond to questions from the board members about their experiences.