Senior Project Packet 2011-2012
Monadnock Regional High School
Monadnock Regional High School Senior Project
Definition and Description
The Senior Project is a performance-based exit requirement at Monadnock Regional High School. It consists of multiple requirements, ending in a presentation to an outside panel that will determine if credit is earned. In addition, the Senior Project Class Presentation and Final Portfolio will take the place of the English final exam.
The purpose of the Senior Project is to provide every student with the opportunity to explore and experience interdisciplinary topics of his or her choice. It is also intended to demonstrate competency in the skills the Monadnock School District intends to instill in all students, and serves as a culmination of a student’s highschool experience. Therefore, there must be a career or community service connection, and the student must demonstrate knowledge and public presentation skills that have been acquired through twelve years of schooling in the Monadnock School District.
In order to be successful,there are several required steps. Students must:
1) Choose a topic
2) Enlist the aide of an expert in the field of study who will serve as mentor. A Mentor Agreement Letter must be completed and saved in the Final Portfolio.
3) Complete an interview with the Mentor which will be documented in the Final Portfolio.
4) Develop and implement a plan that draws upon knowledge from varied courses of study, and complete research to find solutions to problems relating to the project. This research will be documented in a Research Paper which will be included in the Final Portfolio.
5) Successfully log and maintain all records, research, and material in a Final Portfolio.
6) Complete the project as designed and approved.1
7) Successfully pass in the Final Portfolio to secure a presentation night with the final panel. Write an Introductory Letter to the Senior Project Panel.
8) Present their Senior Project to their English class.
9) Successfully present their Senior Project, together with their Final Portfolio, to the Senior Project Panel.
10) Write a Thank-You Letter to the members of the Senior Project Panel and Mentor.
Senior Project Philosophy and Rationale
The Mission Statement of Monadnock Regional High School is:
The community of Monadnock Regional High School is dedicated to engaging all students in personal, civic, and academic growth.
The Senior Project is designed to demonstrate all of the skills and abilities expected from a graduate of high school, and to provide a culminating assessment of student growth. The Senior Project unites and engages all students in the senior class in a common assignment that allows each individual to develop and meet his or her individual goals while exploring future career possibilities and participating in work that helps the local and global communities.
1 Projects that require modification must be discussed with the student’s English teacher.
Descriptions of Individual Requirements for the Senior Project
The Mentor is any individual who has expertise in the area of the Senior Project. The mentor will guide them, suggest resources, (especially reading material) participate in an interview designed to provide an overview of the subject area, help solve problems, and supervise the student’s progress. The mentor may be any adult who can guide the student responsibly; often parents and teachers are very successful mentors.
Your Mentor will:
1) Help define the Senior Project focus.
2) Help define and accomplish reasonable goals.
3) Provide a minimum of 3 hours of real life observation time (this must be time actually spent by the you observing active processes, not reading, viewing, or other similar activities).
4) Suggest resources (relevant books, articles or manuals) and methods to the student.
5) Be aware of the progress the student is making and be prepared to help through any problems that are encountered.
6) Participate in an interview, and fill out and sign the Interview Evaluation form.
7) Verify that the project has been completed/attempted and represents learning goals, quest for quality, acceptable performance and meets or exceeds the time requirement (minimum 45 hours)
8) Fill out and sign a Mentor Agreement form.
9) Fill out and sign an Interview Assessment form.
10) Fill out and sign a Mentor Assessment form.
11) Read and sign learning log entries (minimum 16 entries) and initial clock hours form to verify the process, progress, and time spent on the project.
12) Participate as an assessing member of the Senior Project Panel in June.
Mentors are invited, and encouraged to attend, a luncheon at Monadnock Regional High School on October 6 from 11:00–12:30. Specific information about their role in the senior project, as well as an oppurtuninity to meet the English teachers who will be working with the students, will be provided. Students should encourage their mentor to attend and are responsible for delivering the letter of invitation they will receive from their English teacher.
The Proposal is the plan created in conjunction with the Mentor to accomplish the Senior Project. The proposal is due at the end of September and must be approved by the senior English teacher before work on the project begins. The proposal must take the form of a letter, and explain the work that will be done, the learning that will occur, a description of the work, and an idea of what the Final Presentation will look like.
Sample Senior Project Proposal Outline
I. Statement of Intent
b. Outside Sources
IV. Time Commitment
b. Final Presentation
V. Final Presentation Plan
VI. Conclusion (Why should we consider the proposal?)
September 30, 2011
Sample English Teacher
Monadnock Regional High School
580 Old Homestead Highway
Swanzey, New Hampshire, 03446
Dear Ms./Mr./Mrs. Teacher:
I have chosen to explore the topic of children and their disabilities. I am interested in this topic for several reasons. Next year, I hope to study elementary education and possibly special education at Keene State College. I also know, because of a personal connections, that being disabled can create a variety of problems for a young child. I am aware of this problem because my cousin has been deaf since birth. I have several questions that I would like my research to answer. First, I would like to know what problems children with disabilities face. I would also like to know how they overcome these difficulties. I hope to take this information and use it as background for a children’s book that would be appropriate for grades 1-3.
In order to write this book, I will need to know how to write for children and know more about disabilities and their impact on the very young. I have also found several books that would help me. The books are I Have a Sister—My Sister is Deaf by Jeanne Whitehouse Peterson, The Way to Write for Children by Joan Aiken, Writing Books for Children, by Jane Yolen and Language Instruction for Students with Disabilities by Edward A. Polloway.
Jill Booker, an elementary school special education teacher, has agreed to be my mentor. I have arranged to shadow Ms. Booker as she works with her students. I plan to interview her and a few of her students to get a better idea of what disability I want to focus on.
Although I haven’t really decided what my presentation will be in the spring, I think I would like to have the opportunity to read my book to a local elementary school class. Perhaps I could videotape that experience and discuss the outcomes when I present.
I hope you will consider my proposal. I feel that it is important for children with disabilities to see themselves positively and know they are not alone in their struggles. I feel that through my research I will develop an understanding and a depth of knowledge that will enable me to accomplish my goal.
The letter should be single-spaced and should be at least one page long.
It is important to identify resources, and the knowledge and skills that should be developed. What will the student be able to do at the end of the project that they cannot do right now?
There should be some sort of sketch provided of what the senior project, and the presentation, will look like.
The purpose of interviewing the mentor is for the student to gain a clearer picture of his or her experience in the field the student is exploring.
Before the student conducts the interview, there should be at least five questions prepared. The interview should take at least 20 minutes and may be done in person or over the phone. The questions that are asked, as well as the notes that the student takes to record the mentor’s responses should become part of Final Portfolio. The student must also turn in a typed paper, including the interview questions and the responses, to his or her English teacher on the assigned due date.
The Learning Log
An extremely important part of the Senior Project is the learning log. Learning logs represent a special kind of journal keeping in which the student will record what is going on with the project. The personalized tracking of the student’s involvement in this experience should not only encourage active learning, but also help students reflect on the process. Students should actively reflect on their progress and what has been learned, as well as make connections and comment on the value of their discoveries.
The learning log must be part of a three ring binder, and all learning logs must be part of the Final Portfolio. Students should have a minimum of 16 entries and 45 hours accounted for in the learning log. The mentor will need to sign each entry to verify the time spent and initial them for the hours that have been spent. The learning logs will need to be turned in to the English teacher once a month from November to April. The due dates are below.
The learning log is the primary way of tracking a student’s growth in understanding and their ability to reflect, grow, and learn from the work he or she is performing. They are a vital and important part of the senior project, and must meet certain key requirements:
1) Be typed, and at least 300 words in length (roughly 1 1/2—2 pages double-spaced)
2) Follow all MLA guidelines in terms of formatting and contain elements of good written communication.
3) They should review prior experiences
4) Connect current work to the prior experiences (what was done this time, and how does it relate to previous work)
5) Discuss problems or challenges faced in the work (see sample questions)
6) Clearly describe new learning, realizations, or thoughts.
7) Explain and describe next steps and plans for the future and why this is necessary.
The Learning Log Sample Questions
Learning log entries should include writing on any of the following:
1) What did I learn today?
2) What confused me?
3) What questions do I have now?
4) How will I use this new information?
5) How will this information help me to reach my goal?
6) What do I need help with now?
7) What logistical problems need solving?
8) How am I working with my mentor? What questions do I have for him/her?
9) What do I do next? Goals—short term, long term?
10) Assess the quality of the student’s work
Thursday, October 20 Thursday, November 17
Thursday, December 15 Thursday, January 12
Thursday, February 16 Thursday, March 15
Thursday, April 12
Sample Learning Log Entry
Learning Log Entry #3
October 20, 2011
Time Spent: 30 min.
Total Time: 6 hrs.
Mentor Signature: Ms. Booker
Today I went across the street to Mt. Caesar Elementary School to shadow Ms. Booker. I’ve been doing this for several weeks, and haven’t been able to really work with the students much. I’ve been observing much more and noting the way that Ms. Booker interacts with the students.
When I got there, Ms. Booker was reading to four third graders. She was asking the student to repeat some of the words after she said them. One little girl, Caitlin, has a pretty severe language delay. It’s really hard to understand her, but she tries so hard. I’ve been reading the books that Ms. Booker gave to me about students with disabilities, and I’m worried that this will also effect her social as well as reading development. I’m planning on asking Ms. Booker about this when I meet with her this afternoon to check in on the project.
After I watched for a few minutes, Ms. Booker said it was time to try to write some letters. She asked me to help one student. This was new for me, and I was really excited as well as a little nervous. His name is Ethan, and he’s a sweetheart. I really like working with him. His hand was shaking as he tried to make an O. I held onto his hand and pencil and helped guide it into the circle. He looked so proud of himself when he finished. And that really made me happy.
Not only does this reinforce my desire to be a teacher when I leave school, but it was also a perfect example of “risk, comfort, and danger” zones from some of my reading. Students can do more than they can on their own if they just have a little help, and this realization that the teacher is there not to do it for them but to help them do more on their own was a bit like a light bulb going off.
Ms. Booker gave me a couple of articles to read on fine motor skills. I’m looking forward to reading them. I am thinking of basing my book on some of the children (without using their names) in Ms. Booker’s class. I know I need to read the articles she gave me so that I can be ready to help the student with writing if I get a chance to do so again, and I need to make sure that I ask about social developent with the student with speech impediments. I really want to know how I can help so that the student can be successful, which is the whole point of what I want to do.
The Research Paper
The majority of the Senior Project will be based on primary research, (ie: research that is generated by the student and with learning that the student actively creates). However, the Senior Project Research Paper is based solely on secondary research. Secondary research comes from books, articles, and other sources.
When the student selects the topic for the Senior Project Research Paper he or she should make sure that it is focused on the Senior Project area of study, and write the 6-8 (general credit) or 10-12 (college prep credit) required pages. Also, students should try to select research that will help with their project. For example, if the student is shadowing a pediatric doctor or nurse, avoid a research paper on the history of medicine. Knowing about Greek medicine will not help with the project, but the student will probably want to know about normal infant child development, both physically and mentally.
In any research, it is possible to encounter conflicting points of view. It is the task of the student to understand the material and to distinguish between opinion and fact. The student’s task in the paper is to document the depth of knowledge and learning gained from reading from and about experts, listening to experts, and seeing experts in action.
Furthermore, as the students reflect on the experts’ knowledge and action, they also gain insight. The final document, polished and refined, is the Senior Project Research Paper which counts as the final exam in a semester class or your midterm in a full year class.
The individual English teacher will discuss the structure of the paper and review the MLA format for citations and the works cited page. A student may count up to five hours of research and writing time towards their senior project.
The following are ideas that may help you decide on a research paper topic:
Senior Project Research Paper
Train a horse Horse training
Wildlife study Deer population
Humane Society volunteer Animal abuse
Dept. of Fish and Game volunteer Orphan wild animals
Paint a mural Picasso
Cartoon design Cartooning
Draw blueprints/make model Architecture
Model home Architectural art
Make floral arrangements Floral design
Commercial art advertising Commercial art
Rebuild engine Ford, assembly line
Asian, American engines
Organize local Chamber of Commerce events Public relations
Learn Japanese cooking Japanese restaurants
Shadow emergency room doctors Emergency medicine
Shadow veterinary doctor Veterinary medicine
Program design prevention Child Abuse
Volunteer with group sessions Sexual abuse
Shadow elementary school teacher Learning development
Teach baby-sitting classes Child care
Learn/Teach sign language Hearing impaired
Sew prom dress Fashion
Volunteer at shelter, Community Kitchen Homeless, Poverty
Write/Direct play Famous playwright(s)
Shadow disc jockey Radio broadcasting
Job shadow conductor, Conduct Famous conductors
Make a silent movie Silent films
Nursing home volunteer Care of elderly
Design barrier-free house Handicapped housing
Write/direct/perform play for teens Teen Peer Pressure
Panelist Letter and Panelist Packet
After the Final Portfolio has been submitted and been approved, each student will create a panelist letter that will go to each member of the Senior Project Panel. It will provide an over-view of the Senior Project night, as well as a description of the project and what the panelist can expect to see.
Included with the letter must be a copy of
1) The Senior Project Proposal
2) The Senior Project Presentation Rubric
3) The Reflection Paper
4) One other piece of information or artifact that will help each member of the panel have a better understanding of the student’s Senior Project
Seniors are responsible for printing and distributing this information to the panel members.The goal of the Panelist Packet is to provide enough information that the panel member can accurately judge and evaluate the work of the student before the night of the presentation.
Panelist Letter Requirements
1) Block letter format, with indentations correct and a proper header
2) A formal, serif font
3) At least one page in length
4) Signed by the student
5) One signed copy for each member of the panel made.
6) Students are responsible for making copies and distributing them to panel members.
1) Introduction: The student should introduce himself or herself and the Senior Project, providing an overview of its importance and the requirement being met by the Senior Project presentation.
2) Provide the date and time of the panel presentation, as well as a description of what the project will be and what the duties of the panelist will include.
3) Introduce the research paper or other artifact and explain how it connects to the Senior Project.
4) A closing paragraph which thanks the panelist for their time and presence.
5) A proper signature.
Monadnock Regional High School
580 Old Homestead Highway
Swanzey, NH 03446
Phone: (603) 352–6575
May 2, 2011
My name is Sample Student, and I am a senior at Monadnock Regional High School. One of the graduation requirements for Monadnock is a culminating Senior Project that all seniors must pass to receive their diploma. This Senior Project is defined by the student, involves many hours of research and other work to complete, and finally must be presented to a panel for assessment and review. The Senior Project panel will determine if the student met the requirements of the Senior Project, and if the student has successfully passed the requirement.
I am having my Senior Project Presentation on Thursday, June 10 at 7:00 PM, and I am inviting you to be present. As I am interested in carpentry, for my Senior Project I built a dining room table, which will be donated to the Troy Helping Hand when the project is finished. The table was built entirely using hand tools alone, and is modular in design, which allows more people to be seated if needed. I will be presenting the finished project, and describing the steps necessary to complete it and the challenges that I faced, to the panel. The panelist members will be responsible to evaluate the presentation, as well as to insure that all the requirements of the Senior Project have been met, using the rubric which is attached in this packet.
The research paper that I wrote in December is included in this packet of materials. Since I was interested in doing the work entirely by hand, I looked at various furniture styles through history and how the tools they were using influenced the design. Since some of the techniques that the research paper focuses on were used in the building of my project, it provides some background knowledge which may be useful for the presentation. Also enclosed is a copy of the final evaluation rubric, which will be used to help determine if I have passed the presentation. Please bring a copy of the paper and the rubric to the Senior Project presentation.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and for being at my Senior Project night as a panelist. I look forward to meeting with you and showing my Senior Project.
Enc: Research Paper
This header can be copied as it is.
This is the date the letter is mailed, not the date of the presentation
Sign the letter after the closing, and make sure that your name is in print beneath your signature. Blue ink is preferable.
It is both professional and courteous to send a thank-you note to the mentor and each of the panel members. Remembering to thank them for the time they have volunteered to support the student is appropriate, and the ties that have been formed between the community and the school should be honored.
This should also be a letter in block letter format, though depending on the relationship the student has formed with the members of the panel, it may be slightly less formal than other letters. It is important, however, that it be honest and sincere.
Students are encouraged to be specific and personal wherever possible, especially with the mentor, so the specifics of a letter will vary. A sample letter is included below as a possible example.
The letter must be written as part of the Senior Project Final Portfolio and delivered to the panel member on the night of the student’s presentation.
Sample Thank-you Letter
Monadnock Regional High School
580 Old Homestead Highway
Swanzey, NH 03446
Phone: (603) 352–6575
May 2, 2011
I very much wanted to thank-you and the other panelist members for your presence and time at my Senior Project presentation. I greatly appreciate the effort you devoted on my behalf, and despite the stress I was feeling, I appreciate all you did in order to be present.
My Senior Project was truly a wonderful experience, and I’m grateful that you were present at the end of it. I know that it’s not always easy making time in the evening, so it means a great deal to me.
Once again, thank-you very much for your time and efforts on my behalf. I hope that the experience was as valuable for you as it was for me, and I’m sure I’ll see you around the community.
This paragraph would be the appropriate place to write a personal note to a mentor.
Once again, sign your name. Using a color ink other than black is preferable: Blue is best.
Throughout the year, students have been asked to reflect on their research, the process they took on, and the experiences they have had. The real value of the Senior Project is the ability to understand the lessons about work and life that the project invokes. The Reflection Paper asks students to consider and assess the integrity of the process. This final thoughtful piece of writing is perhaps the most important aspect of the project. Students are asked to use the following guidelines on this journey of introspection:
• How have you sought clarity and accuracy in your research?
• What standards have you generated and maintained during this process?
• What have you discovered about your ability to plan?
• How have you learned to use resources?
• How have you learned to solve problems?
• How do you intend to use the knowledge and skills you have gained?
• What have you discovered about your own thinking?
• What new ways have you discovered to view yourself?
• What have you learned about yourself in this process?
The Reflection Paper should be at least two typed pages in length. It will be due on the day that portfolios are handed in.
The portfolio is a collection of all the work that has been done on the Senior Project. It includes every element of the project, including the proposal, drafts of the research paper, and learning logs. The portfolio must be completed before the student’s Senior Project panel is assembled or a date for the final presentation can be assigned. The Final Portfolio is the key to the final presentation: If it is not completed, then the Senior Project cannot move forward.
The portfolio is to be taken to the presentation night and provided for the panel to peruse. Panel members may use, and will use, the material in the portfolio to help evaluate the Senior Project.
The portfolio must be a three-hole binder. It must be neat, maintain an accurate table of contents, have page numbers, and be divided into proper sections as follows:
Cover Page Format For Final Portfolio
A Senior Project
Presented to the
Monadnock Regional High School
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for The Senior Project
Helen Anne Smith
Items are in the order in which they should appear. Items should be in a three ring binder, neat, orderly, and with page numbers.
• Cover page as outlined in the senior project packet (page 13)
• Accurate table of contents which clearly identify the following:
• Senior Project Proposal
• Mentor Agreement Form
• Mentor Interview
• Mentor Interview Assessment
• Sample learning Logs
• The Research Paper
• Mentor Evaluation
• Reflection Paper
• Copies of Thank-you Letters
• Senior Project Proposal
• Is it a clean, revised draft?
• Is it signed by the teacher and a parent/guardian?
• Mentor Agreement Form
• Mentor interview
• This should be a clean and revised draft.
• Mentor interview assessment
• All 16 Learning Logs
• They should be in order (1-16)
• All logs are revised and typed
• All possess mentor signatures (either on originals or new drafts)
• Clean, neat, and organized
• Hours add up to a minimum of 45
• Research Paper
• All drafts with teacher feedback marked.
• Must be in order (final draft first, first draft last)
• Remember: You must revise the research paper that your first semester teacher handed back to you. So, in total, you should have a minimum of three drafts (rough, the one you submitted for your midterm grade, and final revised draft).
• Mentor Evaluation Form
• Reflection paper
• Typed and 2-3 pages
• Minimum of 3-5
• “Artifacts” can be pictures of the process, receipts, brochures, certificates, etc. It’s basically any evidence you have collected pertaining to your project.
• Thank-you letters
• You should have copies of this letter that you addressed to your mentor and panel members.
• Panelist Letters
• Page numbers on all items (may be handwritten on the pages)
At least three people will serve on the panel of assessors: The project mentor, a community member and a teacher. The student is responsible for inviting the mentor and the community member to serve on the panel. The community member must be someone who is not a member of the family. He or she should have some knowledge of the area of study.
Members of the panel will listen to and assess the presentation, look at the portfolio and ask questions about the Senior Project. They will use the rubric, included in this information packet, to assess the Senior Project.
Accelerated Presentation Option
Seniors have the option of presenting their project to the panel before the June evening presentation dates. If the student has completed all of the requirements and finished the work on the project by March 1, they may petition his or her senior English teacher, the senior advisor, and the English Department Chair, Ms. Gigliello, in order to determine eligibility.
Senior Project Assessment Rubric
It is important that students are assessed consistently and fairly, and that every member of the panel provide honest feedback. The following rubric defines the criteria for the Senior Project presentation, and students and panel members should become familiar with the criteria. Time will be provided on the night of the Senior Project for panel members to discuss their scores, and ideally each panel member will have a similar end result, providing inter-operartor reliability.
Senior Project Due Dates 2011–2012
Log Check Due Dates2
#1 Thursday, October 20
#2 Thursday, November 17
#3 Thursday, December 15
#4 Thursday, January 12
#5 Thursday, February 16
#6 Thursday, March 15
#7 Thursday, April 12
There must be a total of 16 entries and 45 hours accounted for in the learning log.
Learning Log Entry Requirements
1) Be numbered
2) Have the date the student worked on the project
3) Have the time the student spent working on the project
4) Have the total time you have spent on your Senior Project
5) Be signed by the mentor
2 If a snow day is called, the log will be due the first day one returns to school.
This information should be written in the top left hand corner of each entry.
October 20, 2011
1 hour and 20 minutes
Total time: 6 hours and 40 minutes
Mentor’s signature: ___________________
Other Due Dates
Senior Project Proposal Due: September 29
Mentor Agreement Due: September 29
Mentor Interview Due: November 17
Mentor Interview Assessment Due: November 17
Research Paper Due: January 5, 2012
Mid-term Check Due: February 9
Accelerated Presentation Option: April 2
Portfolio Deadline: April 19
Panel Presentations: May 22, May 24
The portfolio must include all of the requirements listed in the Senior Project packet. Teacher review of the portfolio is required before the student is scheduled to present.
Reminder: A student must use a spiral notebook or three-ring binder. Loose paper will not be accepted for a grade.
Sample time-line of Senior Project work
August 31 – September 25: Finalize and decide Senior Project. Find a mentor.
September 29: Senior Project Proposal Due
September 29: Mentor Agreement Due
First weeks of November: Interview and transcribe notes for mentor interview. Begin research.
November 17: Mentor Interview Assessment Due
Continue research through the month of November. Begin rough drafts in the third week.
First weeks of December: Drafts of research paper.
January 5, 2011: Research Paper Due
Mid-December through February: Actively working on the Senior Project itself, building portfolio.
February 9: Mid-term check
March through April: Be finishing the Senior Project work. Completing portfolio, starting to practice presentation.
Last week of April: Write panel letters and prepare abbreviated portfolios.
April 19: Hand in portfolio
During the first two weeks of May:
Contacting mentor and panel members for Senior Project night, deliver portfolios
Continue practicing presentation
Write Reflection Paper
Write Thank-you letters
In-Class Senior Project presentations
Last two weeks of May: Senior Project Night, May 22, 2012 May 24, 2012
Deliver thank-you letters to mentor and panel members Monadnock Regional High School