Research Paper Reflections

Yay! You are done with the research mega-paper! This is a cause for celebration.

In times like these, it is also good for you to reflect on what you did well, and what you would do better if you had the chance to do this again. I would like to start next year’s research paper process by showing students your comments to the following two questions. As someone who just completed the project, you should be able to provide a detailed expert opinion.

Please respond to the following two questions with regard to the research paper you have just completed. You may number your responses.


1. Was the paper as difficult as you thought it would be?

2. If you had the chance to do it all over again, what would you do differently to be even more successful?

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MLA Citation for E-Reader Books

Good question brought up in class today about how to cite sources accessed on an e-reader. Please see the following web page to get MLA instructions.


How-To Videos for Using LMC Research Databases

For some of you who were absent or need a refresher course, here are some FASCINATING videos I have made teaching you how to access the online LMC databases. Click the links below to view the videos. Created with Jing software, so may run on FLASH. Sorry, Apple users.

Part 1: ABC-Clio

Part 2: World Book

Part 3: Gale

Part 4: Formatting your works cited page


More videos to come!


Research Day One Reflections

At the end of day one I wanted to send out a brief note to students and parents about some of the common issues and hiccups that go with the first day.

1. The SOURCE CARD – Students should make their first notecard of information a source card. On the front side they write down the citation information. If they have cited it on their page already, then the front is reserved for a brief summary of WHAT the article is about and HOW they found it.
The BACK of the Source card is a great place for students to place their dissected bibliography entry.

2. KEYWORDS – If you can’t find your topic under the terms or phrases you and I have created for your research topic, make sure to use keywords (similar words and topics) and see if the database has information related to those words.

3. Double check that you are citing the source FIRST!!! – Even after two or three tutorials and a web video, I still had to remind many students today about citing the source first and then taking notes.

4. Save properly – Make sure you have saved your works cited onto your EMS drive AND/OR your flash drive or EMS H:drive. Always have your original and a couple of backups in case something goes wrong.

5.  Talk with Mr. Markham or I by the end of class tomorrow if you are still struggling to find resources. We want you to be successful and have a good list of sources to choose from.

All the best!

Mr. Stewart


Stolen Valor or Violation of Free Speech?

Last week, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the United States v. Alvarez case.

Xavier Alvarez is being charged with violating the 2005/2006 Stolen Valor Act which makes it a crime to falsely claim that one has served in the military, earned medals, makes it illegal to wear medals one has not earned, and etc. As a public official, he claimed that he had served for over 20 years in the armed forces, was wounded in battle, and won the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Alvarez and his lawyers claim that the Stolen Valor Act violates his first amendment rights to free speech. Since the nature of his lie did not do harm to anyone, in their opinion, the charges that he violated the Stolen Valor Act should be dropped and the Supreme Court should declare the Act unconstitutional under the First Amendment.


I want to know what YOU think. Should people’s free speech be protected in this instance? Many, including the New York Times have spoken out against the act.


Here are some articles you should read on the subject:

The first two come from the New York Times who, full disclosure, support the side of Alvarez.

The following article comes from the American Legion, a veteran’s organization, who clearly support the Stolen Valor Act being upheld.

Also, by going here you can read the court proceedings, legal briefs and etc. I recommend the brief
from the American Legion
in support of the Stolen Valor Act, and the Brief
from the Thomas Jefferson Center
in support of Mr. Alvarez.

If you are looking for a real entertaining hour, you can listen to the full court hearing.

To receive full credit, you need a solid 7-10 sentence paragraph supporting either the side of the United States (the Stolen Valor Act) or Mr. Alvarez. The topic sentence should state your opinion on the topic, the body of the paragraph should contain at least three supporting ideas with evidence, and a conclusion.

Again, the topic at issue: Whether a federal law that makes it crime to lie about receiving military medals or honors violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of the right to free speech.

Comments (203)

Blog of the Week – February 6-10

Please turn in by beginning of class on Friday.

The nation experienced its first financial crisis directly after Washington took office. The United States had massive debt from the Revolutionary War. Washington put Alexander Hamilton in charge of finding solutions.

Take a look at this graph to get an idea of how bad the debt was.


Compare this with the following graph showing our current National budget.


I would like for your post this week to discuss what Alexander Hamilton would do to try and solve the current budget crisis. Insert your own thoughts and opinions as well, making sure to reference the two graphs I have given you. I’d like for you to also discuss how your views on solving budget issues may put you into certain political categories.




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Denver Post Student Writing Challenge!

This is an article from the Denver Post dated January 29th. It was written by Barbara Ellis and comes from Page 4D

Like Twitter, but Longer

I recently had lunch with a brilliant man. He was one of our Colorado Voices columnists for 2011. He showed me several essays he had already written in anticipation of his turn on the pages of The Denver Post.
His writing was thoughtful, his sentences solid. He had passion, and great ideas. He had talent.
What he didn’t have was an opinion.
In the 13 years that The Post has sponsored the writing program, it’s something that comes up quite often.
So I give my writers a tip: Come up with one sentence that expresses an opinion. Then write some 650 more words to support that sentence.
Of course, not every newspaper columnist writes that way, and not every column has a clear-cut opinion. Powerful points of view, effective observations, and subtle persuasion can accomplish the same thing. But that tip certainly helps our Colorado Voices writers take their observations, reporting or ranting to another level.
That said, we’re hoping you’ll want to be among our readers who want to compete for the opportunity to get your opinions aired in The Denver Post. And this year, with more emphasis on social media, we’ll be utilizing Twitter and Facebook to give more of you opportunities to participate and share your opinions with readers.
Keep in mind that this program is intended to broaden the local voices we offer in The Denver Post, so your opinions on world peace, while valuable, are less attractive to us than how you would start to solve the state’s budget crisis. We want writers who can give us insights on what is happening in their communities, and the people in them.

Here are some rules:
1. Send us two examples of your writing, each around 650 words, and a cover letter that gives us an idea of who you are and what you could contribute to the pages of The Post.

2. Include the basics: name, address, phone number. (That data will not be used for any other purpose than this contest.)

3. If you’re a student, please note that in the subject line. We like to judge you separately, giving writers with less life experience a fair shot.

4. E-mail your entries and cover letter to   (we prefer straight text rather than attachments). Or mail them to Mary Idler, Denver Post Editorial Page, 101 W. Colfax Ave., Suite 600, Denver, CO 80202.

5. Deadline is Tuesday, Feb. 21, at5p.m.

In April, we’ll announce the winners, who will be asked to submit up to six columns for print and online. (The Post does not pay stipends for writers in the program.)
For an idea of what previous Colorado Voices columnists wrote, go to
And if writing columns isn’t your thing, consider a letter to the editor (maximum 150 words, sent to  ) or a guest commentary (maximum 650 words, sent to  ).
Your opinions are valuable. Bring ’em on.
E-mail Barbara Ellis at  .


Please let me know if this is something you are interested in doing. I would love to see one of our students’ articles grace the pages of the Denver Post.


MLA Citation Rules

Watch this video to help you with MLA citation of web sites.


Rights that Apply (and Don’t ) to You

The blog assignment for this week is to discuss what you have learned about what first amendment rights, as well as other rights protected under the 4th, 5th, and 9th amendments apply to you and which ones don’t. You are often told that as a minor you have certain restrictions placed on your rights. What are these restrictions? How does that make you feel? You also should understand that there are additional legal rights granted to you because you are under eighteen. What are some of these additional rights and why do you think they are granted to you?

Posts are due Friday when you walk into class.

Please post in at least 7-10 sentences and respond to one other person.


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Constitution Choice Project

Here are the directions for the choice project! 



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