by Alejandro S. Bernardo
University of Santo Tomas, Philippines
Research paper writing remains an uninteresting and unexciting activity for many university students. They may not have realized its indispensable value in their respective disciplines and target workplaces. Hence, teachers must provide more enticing and more motivating classroom-based writing tasks to spur students’ interest in producing varied academic texts. It is in this light that this paper proposes a number of “fun tasks” that teachers may use as their pre-writing tasks, lesson springboards or enrichment exercises when they teach the rudiments of academic writing or research paper production. The use of these “fun tasks” is based on the premise that cultivating students’ interest in research largely depends on the creativity of the teachers and the appeal of classroom activities and that learning could better take place when students are motivated and when they enjoy the learning process at the same time.
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Scholastic’s “Research Papers: A Writing Workshop” offers students (grades 3–5) the opportunity to learn more about a topic that interests them by writing a research paper on it — and makes the task of writing the report less intimidating by dividing the process into easy steps. While the focus of the project is the creation of a research paper, the step-by-step instruction for completing the report focuses entirely on the writing process.
The steps include:
- Mini-Lesson (1 day): Mini-lesson 1 helps students learn how to choose the best resources for their research. Min-lesson 2 teaches students how to name their sources at the end of their paper.
- Prewriting (3–4 days): Students choose a topic to research, gather resources, take notes, and create an outline.
- Drafting (2–3 days): Students review their notes and use their outline to create a rough draft of their report — organizing their work and getting their thoughts down on paper. Encourage them to focus on the content and allow their ideas to flow freely.
- Revising (2–3 days): Students focus on the content of their report. (Remind them that revising doesn't involve making changes for spelling, grammar, or punctuation.)
- Editing (1–2 days): Now, students focus on spelling, grammar, punctuation (including use of quotation marks), capitalization, and subject/verb agreement.
- Reviewing (1–2 days): Students get a final look before taking their work public. They discuss how to conduct a review process, including: peer review, self assessment, and teacher conferencing.
- Publishing (1–2 days): Students celebrate their accomplishments and post their work on Scholastic.com. Other ideas for publishing their research papers are shared.