Steps for Back in the Day Project

posted Feb 25, 2012, 11:03 AM by Paul Schwan   [ updated Feb 21, 2015, 1:27 PM ]
Introducing Back in the Day > Steps for Back in the Day Project

The Steps below are taken from a Google Document shared with the children listing all the steps in this project:

Back In the Day

A Research Paper looking back on your parent’s graduation year

Steps to Follow

1. Pick a parent and graduation year (due dates listed each year)

Points: 2 (if in on time)


2. Research Your Topic (3 weeks, due dates listed each year)
  1. Fill out 3 Bibliography cards for 3 (or more) sources

(due dates listed each year) Points: 20 

    • copy down the source info as you gather it (Bibliography card) → Tip: use easybib.com or citation machine to create your Bibliography info
    • number your Bibliography cards (1, 2, 3, etc.)
    • use those numbers on all Notecards whose information comes from that source (notecards’ numbers should match bibliography cards’ number)
    • those numbers keep your info organized so you know where you got it from.
    • Later, you will “cite” your sources in your first draft using this same numbering system. IMPORTANT!
    • use at least 3 different KINDS of sources:
      1. websites *
      2. newspapers (paper or online)
      3. encyclopedias (paper or online)
      4. magazines (paper or online)
      5. interview your parent (record using Audacity, then take notes later when you play back) *
*required source type
    • avoid personal websites created by individuals, or at least verify the information you find on these sites with information from more reliable sources
    • Class time will be provided to do most of the work for this project. You must also plan on some homework time to complete this assignment if you find you're running behind schedule.
  1. Complete one or several Notecards for all info you find from each source for a total of 30 Notecards from at least 3 different kinds of sources (due dates listed each year) Points: 30 
    • Rearrange Notecards as you add/subtract info to be used in your first draft
    • Use at least 3 kinds of resources, including an interview of your parent
    • Let sources lead you to others: if important name is mentioned in one source, look it up in another source
    • Write down info IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Don’t just COPY; it’s plagiarism!
    • Use BULLETS, not complete sentences, on your notecards

3. Organize Information, write First Draft, revise and proofread (2 weeks, due dates listed each year)

(due dates listed each year) Points: 24

    • Put Notecards in order you’ll use them
    • Make simple Outline with sub-points for each main section using the outline below as your guide, but adding YOUR DETAILS where the general outline point is found 
      • example: in place of "Number one song" list the name of the actual #1 song from that year
    • Use notecards for details
Outline of Back in the Day Paper
    • Introduction and Thesis* with Parent Introduction and Background
    • Current Events from parent’s graduation year
      • News
        • National Events 
          • near parent's graduation, such as May or June of the graduation year
          • it's better to have 3-4 major events than to list a dozen minor events. 
          • Give more detail on 3-4 things, rather than giving less information for more events.
        • International Events 
          • near parent's graduation, such as May or June of the graduation year
          • same thing here: less is more, but be sure to give plenty of detail on fewer events!
      • Entertainment (same guideline as above; less is more. See explanation above)
        • Movies
          • Oscar winners (from that year)
          • Teen favorite (from that year)
        • Music
          • Number one song (near parent's graduation)
          • Popular music (music trends, musicians, bands, hit songs from that year)
        • Trends
          • Teen appearance (clothing, name brands, hairstyles, etc.)
          • Expressions (slang expressions people used)
          • Cars (favorites, most popular)
      • Pick another area you would like to research (same guideline as above; less is more. See explanation above)
        • sports
        • weather
        • politics
        • TV shows, etc.
    • Compare and Contrast today and Parent’s Graduation Year; Your Opinion (which is/was better?)
    • Conclusion and Restated Thesis*

4. Final Draft (due dates listed each year)

Revise and proofread. Use the guideline: 3 and then me:

  • 2 student/peer editors who give you feedback, make suggestions for changes
  • 1 parent editor who gives you feedback, makes suggestions for changes
  • Use CUPS (capitalization, Understanding, punctuation, spelling) -- fix errors and revise sentences and paragraphs to "make them better"
  • Update/revise/change as needed, then share final draft with me

Notecard Format


This is what your Notecards should look like. Notice the heading (main idea), the Bibliography number (1, meaning this Notecard came from your first source), and the bullet points (the details in your own words, listed in simple phrases)


Bibliography Card Format


This is what a Bibliography Card looks like. Notice, there’s NO information on it. This only tells you the location of one of your sources. In this case, it’s the first source you used. Remember, use easybib.com to create these citations. It’s easy!


Getting started with your First Draft

Your Introduction paragraph must have a thesis. What’s that?

* Thesis —

a proposition stated or put forward for consideration, especially one to be discussed and proved or to be maintained against objections

Example of thesis statement:

1972 was a very good year.

-or, a better example would be-

My dad thought high school was boring, but it turns out that his graduation year of 1972 was a very interesting and exciting year.

You could begin your rough draft with a statement like this, then support it with details that preview what your paper will be showing about your parent’s graduation year.

Start by using this as your opening sentence. You can always change it to something better later on!

“The hardest part of a paragraph is the beginning. Begin by putting your pencil on the paper and writing something down...”


Write First Draft
  • use your Outline to guide each paragraph
  • use your Notecards for the details in each paragraph
  • use your Bibliography card numbers to properly cite your sources as you write
    • number should be on each Notecard
    • put number in parenthesis at end of paragraph containing info from that card
    • if you use more than one source in a paragraph, put the number in parenthesis at the end of the sentence(s) where you used that notecard’s info
    • you may have several citations in some paragraphs
  • You will have time to write during class. However, you are also expected to work on your First Draft as homework

Publish Your Research Paper (1 week) (due dates listed each year)

Final Draft Points: 40

  • Revise your First Draft; make it better
  • Proofread your First Draft; fix all mistakes
    • correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, spacing, capitalization, spacing, and other errors.
  • This corrected draft will eventually be your Final Draft
  • Make a Bibliography Page
  • Make a Title Page
  • Double-check everything
  • You will be provided class time to revise/proofread and work on Publishing your Final Draft. You are also expected to spend time in homework working on this project.
  • Turn in Final Draft