Twelfth Grade

Senior Capstone Project Overview

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Senior Capstone Project Overview

For this project you will select and research a significant social issue. You will report your findings in both a formal MLA-format argument research paper that states and defends a claim with research evidence and a multi-genre portfolio made up of six products that creatively and effectively convey your research findings. You will submit your paper to your teacher and present your portfolio to your classmates.

What should you create based on all the research, reading, sharing and writing you will do?

I don’t know what your Senior Capstone will look like, how long it will be, or what forms it will take. I hope that you use your individuality and interests to choose different topics, to research topics in different ways, and to create final produces that reflect the uniqueness of your personality. These are the things I DO want: I want your papers to be thorough; I want to know your subject when I am through reading your formal papers and watching your portfolio presentations. I want your papers to be creative; I want to see imaginative uses of words, unique types of writing, graphics or artwork to convey the information, and fascinating arrangements of the pieces of writing both on individual pages and within the portfolio as a whole. I want your projects to convey that you were completely involved with your subject, that you were willing to take risks, that because you care, you gave your very best effort. I want to be able to turn to whoever is around when I am reading your paper and say, “Wow! Listen to this!” Your classmates should leave the room after your presentation feeling like they truly understand your topic.

What to consider as you begin your research.

  • You will select six genres to tell the story of your research topic.

  • Information about your subject should not be repeated in several pieces.

  • Choose the best genre for the research information; e.g., a map would not be the best genre choice to present biographical background on a scientist!

  • The multi-genre pieces should look professional and authentic.

  • The multi-genre pieces should be arranged in some logical order.

  • Not all genres are created equal! Some genres may not earn as many points as others because they do not require the same amount of effort OR they do not incorporate sufficient information from your research. Therefore, choose wisely! More “light-weight” genres are included at the bottom of the genre choice boxes below. They can be included for to enhance your portfolio and truly make it stand out.

  • You will see several samples of genre work by former students so you know what you are expected to do.

Genre Choice List


Trivia game



Medical Records


Encyclopedia Entry






Public Service Announcement



Short Story

The ABCs of…

Two Voice poem

Found poem

Diary entry

Letters b/w 2 people


Personal Data/Favorites

Scrapbook Page

Book Jacket



Visual/Digital Display


Glogster (collage)



Facebook page







Pinterest Board






Flow Chart




Nutritional Label


Newspaper article



Letter to the Editor

Advice Column

Magazine article


Want Ads

Other Options

Board game

Shopping list

Song lyrics


Various presentation apps-clear with teacher first

Visual with Words


Trading cards

Wanted poster


Birth Certificate

Death Certificate

Photo journal


  • Are there 15-20 facts?

  • Is this the best genre for the info?

  • Does it look authentic?

  • Is it my original work?

  • Are the info & purpose clear?

Additional genre options (for use as extras, for effect or “above and beyond” components)



Wanted Posters



Birth Certificates
Death Certificates


Comic Strips

Medical Records

Job Applications

Six Word Memoirs

Shopping List


Bumper Stickers



Personal Data/Favorites sheet

You should have a topic that is interesting to you. You need to narrow the topic down and generate a thesis statement for your topic. For example, my topic may be world hunger. That is far too broad and will not get me anywhere. I might want to focus on a specific area of the world that experiences hunger; however, will that provide me with enough information? I might want to research what causes world hunger which narrows the field again, but will that give me enough sides of the issue to examine? I might want to look into what people are doing to stop/alleviate world hunger; and more specifically, I might want to argue that countries such as the United States (or other developing nations) should provide their resources to fledgling nations in order to stop the spread of world hunger. There. Now I am getting somewhere. After you have a topic and a thesis statement you need to provide for me the following:

  1. What are you going to be researching and then presenting?

  2. What is your thesis statement?

  3. Why are you interested in this topic? How is this topic relevant to you and your audience?

  4. What do you think you will learn by researching this topic?

  5. Do you think there may be any potential challenges with the topic you have chosen to research?

Your proposal needs to be typed, double spaced, AT THE VERY LEAST ONE PAGE, with complete thoughts and all the above questions answered fully that demonstrate critical thinking. This is an assignment that cannot be late. No Exceptions. If your topic and thesis are sound, then I will give you the go ahead to proceed with the Capstone Project.



Students can use the organizational patterns and corresponding research questions below to effectively convey research information in their formal argument paper and in their multi-genre portfolios.



Cue Words


Students describe a topic by listing characteristics, features, and examples

for example, characteristics are


Students list items or events in chronological order.

next; then; finally

Compare and


Students explain how two or more things are alike and/or how they are different.

different; in contrast; alike; same as; on the other hand

Cause and Effect

Students list one or more causes and the resulting effect or effects.

reasons why; if...then; as a result; therefore; because

Problem and Solution

Students present a problem and lists one or more solutions for the problem. A variation of this pattern is the question- and-answer format in which students pose a question and then answers it.

problem is; dilemma is; puzzle is solved; question... answer

Narrative Embedding

Students embed narratives within the researched information for specific purposes, such as clarification, elaboration on a point or connections between the subject matter and personal experiences.

This reminds me of…

I remember a time when…

I can relate to this because…

Questions to ask


Category of the research that must be covered

Genres that link to the pattern and category. (To be determined by students).


What are the key statistics/terms/people associated with your topic?


Why is your topic an issue? What is the background and historical basis for your issue?

Compare and Contrast

What are the multiple perspectives surrounding your topic? Rarely there is a “right” or “wrong” way to view things…

Cause and Effect

What other issues contribute to your topic? How does your topic affect other issues/people/ nations, etc.

Problem and Solution

It is clear your topic is an issue. Now what? What does the future look like? What happens now?

Narrative Embedding

How does the issue relate to you personally? Your community? The world as a global community?

Genre Suggestions for Units 1-4
Unit One: The Power of Words

  • Letter to the Editor

  • Editorial

  • Cartoon/Comic

  • Found Poem

  • Two-Voice Poem

Unit Two: Archetypes and the Archetypal Hero

  • Recipe for a Hero*

  • Interview

  • Facebook Page

  • Character Pie Chart*

Unit Three: Utopia and Dystopia

  • Book jacket/folder

  • Board Game

  • Photo journal

  • Trading Cards

  • Travel Brochure

Unit Four: Equity and Disparity

  • Charts, diagrams*

  • Trivia Game

  • Magazine/News Article

  • Interview

  • Nutritional Labels

Who Is Responsible? (SAMPLE GRAPH GENRE)

Directions: You will be determining who was responsible for creating the Holocaust and to what extent they are guilty of crimes against humanity. Keep in mind Moshe the Beadle’s council to Eli in Night: “He explained to me, with great emphasis, that every question possessed a power that was lost in the answer.” Below are the criteria for the assignment:

  • Create a pie chart where you assign the person(s)/group(s) listed below a percentage of responsibility you believe they should bear for their role in the Holocaust. Remember, all percentages must add up to 100%. In addition, you must include all person(s)/group(s) in some capacity.

  • The pie chart should have a key and be clearly labeled. Use colors listed below for each graph section.

  • After you have made the designations of responsibility for each person(s)/group(s), you must also provide written evidence indicating why you assigned the given amount. Each person(s)/group(s) will have a claim and a minimum of two pieces of logical evidence substantiating your claim. Logical evidence could include the following suggestions: statements that explain their role in the Holocaust; specific government policies or reports; quotes from individuals; statistics from reputable historical sites; media reports; propaganda. Keep in mind what are credible sources vs. what are not. Additionally, keep in mind what is considered evidence.

For example: stating that Hitler should be assigned 70% of the blame (claim) and then indicating he was a man who hated everyone because he is prejudice (evidence) is not sufficient evidence to support such a large portion of blame. While it could be deduced that he was indeed prejudice, that is not enough to merit 70%. Your evidence should be of logical quality to support the percentages you choose to assign…

  • You will also need a works cited page indicating your sources.

  • You will be evaluated based on the professionalism of your graphic, the quality of your evidence, and the credibility of your sources.

 RED: Residents of Auschwitz and other towns near concentration camps who knew about the camps but did nothing to stop them.

 BLUE: Minor Nazi soldiers who carried out the mass extermination orders without questioning their superiors.

 GREEN: Hitler, the leader of the German nation, who hated Jews and wanted them destroyed.

 YELLOW: German citizens who voted for Hitler and the Nazi Party to revitalize their morally and economically depressed country.

 ORANGE: The Jews who did not try to escape from the Nazis prior to their departure to the camps.

 PURPLE: Top SS officers who designed and executed the "final solution" for Hitler.

 BROWN: Non-Jewish Europeans who turned against their Jewish friends and fellow citizens for fear that they too would be imprisoned as Jewish sympathizers.

 WHITE: Leaders of the Allied countries who saw evidence of the Holocaust but refused to get involved or voice opposition to Hitler's plan of extermination.

 PINK: Churches of all denominations who remained silent and refused to intervene when confronted with evidence of the Holocaust.

 BLACK: Yahweh, the God of the Jewish faith, who seemed absent and silent during this destruction of His chosen people.

Writing a recipe (SAMPLE GENRE)

What are the causes of inequity in a community?

Today, I would like us to answer one of the essential questions from our unit: what are the causes of inequity in a community? To answer the question, you are going to write a recipe including “ingredients” you feel contribute to imbalances in society. You will be creating these recipes in small groups. Groups will decide on what the ingredients are and then how to put the recipe together using appropriate nouns, verbs, and directions. In the end, the group should have a recipe that answers our essential question for today. Be creative, have fun, but please take it seriously as the recipe should reflect aspects of your research. Below are the criteria for your recipe:

  1. Use the recipes I have brought as examples to look for various nouns and verbs used in a typical cooking recipe. In addition, use these recipes as the model for yours. For example: in most cookie recipes, flour and sugar are the greatest ingredients in use. However, the use of smaller ingredients such as vanilla, baking soda, or salt is just as important. What will be the four and sugar for your recipe? What ingredients may be smaller in amount (salt, vanilla, etc.), but without them, the recipe would undoubtedly be altered?

  2. Your recipe should have a minimum of 10 ingredients of varying amounts.

  3. Your recipe should use nouns and verbs that would be found in a typical recipe.

  4. Your recipe should have a minimum of seven directions. Recipes indicate which ingredients to add when and what to do with them. Label the directions clearly and use concise language reflecting the appropriate outcome of your recipe.

  5. When you group has brainstormed and made decisions, you will be writing your recipe on a “recipe card”. We will evaluate these recipes and decide which one accurately reflects our essential question: what are the causes of inequity in a community?


Reflection Paper
Name: /Topic
1. Why did you choose your topic? Do you think that this was a good decision? Why or why not?

2. What goals did you have for your research? Did you meet them?

3. What about your topic interested you the most?

4. How easy/hard was it to collect your information? Explain.

5. What did you learn about the research process from this project? Be specific.

6. What criteria did you use in deciding on the genres to include in your paper?

7. What genre was the hardest/most challenging to write? Why?

8. What genre was the most interesting/fun? Why?

9. How did you decide on the organization of the pieces into a cohesive whole?

10. Did you enjoy this project? Why or why not? What changes would you make?

Finally, please provide an overall assessment of your project based on content, organization, creativity, mechanics and effort. How many points out of a 100 would you give yourself?
Overall Assessment (by Student) _______/100

  • Persuade

  • Motivate

  • Excite

  • Scare

  • Warn
AUDIENCE ASSESSMENT: How do you determine the knowledge, opinions, needs, and wants of your target audience?

What are you

Trying to get your

Audience to know,


You need to consider the following questions:

  1. Who:

    1. Who is your audience?

  2. Understanding:

    1. What does the audience already know about the topic?

    2. What background does the audience need to have in order to have a better understanding of your topic?

  3. Demographics:

    1. What is the age, gender, and educational background of your audience?

  4. Interest:

    1. Why in the world is your audience going to be reading/listening/partaking in your topic?

    2. Will the audience be interested by your topic? Why?

    3. Why should your audience care about your topic?

  5. Environment:

    1. Where will this information be received?

  6. Needs:

    1. What are the needs of the audience? Do they need to be informed, entertained, and amused? Should they be motivated to action?

  7. Customize:

    1. What specific needs should you address?

    2. What values to you share with the audience?

    3. What values of yours are different?

      1. Will the audience object to your values?

      2. How to you address any objections within your topic? (Remember: you may not change everybody’s mind, but you can sway them to consider reasonably sound arguments).

  8. Expectation:

    1. What does the audience expect to learn from your topic?

The Assignment: Your task is to complete an audience assessment evaluating these questions in a written form. If you do not know the answers to these questions, then you have not considered the full scope of your topic.

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