San Diego Jewish Academy
9th Grade Humanities
"California by Rail" Article Assignment Sheet

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Topics | Essential Questions | Writing Tools | Rubric

Assignment Rationale: to recognize contributions made by Jews and others to the larger community or state of California; to prepare a class magazine for our week-long rail trip of the state; to use clear research questions and methods including gathering evidence from primary and secondary sources; to synthesize information from multiple sources; to integrate quotations and citations; to use appropriate conventions for documentation

Kickoff Pieces: tentative trip itinerary and stops; article models from various magazines; Microsoft and InDesign software demo

Essential Ingredients:

In a group of two or fewer students, you will research a stop located on our rail route. You will be teaching the rest of the class about the contributions made by this individual or group to the larger community and state. You must consult a variety of sources and construct a 1-2 page article with a title, byline, pull-out quotations and a bibliography. The article should analyze the contribution of the individual or group to the state of California.

Top | Due Dates and Steps of the Creative Process:

Concept Development (research, notes, brainstorming, sketching, pre-writing, graphic organizers)

April 12 - Friday - Draft Phase (organize research and create coherent product) Ready for Response

Revision and Editing Phase (further develop and refine, get more response, proofread)

April 15 - Monday - Final (tight and as perfect as possible within timeline and parameters) Ready for Assessment


Top |  "California by Rail" Article Essential Questions

In our humanities study this year, we've explored elements of being human including: belief systems, love, hate, triumph, and creative expression. The questions below encourage you to examine these human traits in your subject.

  1. Identify the location on our rail route in which your person or community is located.
  2. Identify the individual or community you'll be researching and analyzing for their contributions to the state.
  3. When did the subject of your article come to California?
  4. Where did the subject come from?
  5. Why did the subject come to California (belief systems, love, hate, or…)?
  6. What contributions did the subject make to the establishment of a Californian community or state? Did the contributions reach beyond the community or state? Determine the longevity of the contribution. Does the contribution affect you today (belief systems, love, hate, triumph, creative expression)?
  7. How did the subject keep traditions/religion/culture alive in California?
  8. What barriers did the subject find and overcome in California (triumph, creative expression)?

Top |  Your draft should be completed by Friday, April 12, and ready for revision.

For the draft, you should:

  • Use 12-point type.
  • Double-space to leave room for suggestions, questions, and changes.
  • Include complete bibliography in the correct format.
  • Address the essential questions with insight, thoughtfulness, and evidence (citing* direct quotes are great!).
  • Write in your own personal VOICE.

Top |  Essential Ingredients for Bibliography and Citations*

Please use the following format. Note the punctuation and spacing in the format and bibliography sample.

Film Format
Author. Title. Director. Distributor, Year.

Book Format
Author. Title. City: Publisher, Year.

Website Format
Author. Title. Date of Access. <URL>.

*If citing from a source directly, complete the sentence in which the quote appears. After the end punctuation mark place the author's last name and page number where the quote appeared in parentheses. This citation in the text leads the reader back to the bibliography to find the source. For example:

Many critics believe that Spielberg's creativity "was nurtured by his high school teachers." (Smith, 26) Even after his first film, he attributed his imaginative ideas to his "fill-the-well-book from ninth grade." (Kipperman, 13)

Works Cited and Writing Style Guides - shows an example of a Works Cited listing and provides links to several writing style guides such as MLA and APA. -

Check out these writing tools to help you create a powerful piece. | Top

Brainstorm - shows how different tools facilitate the brainstorming process.

Sense Web - starts the brainstorming process for creating show, not tell senses.

Design Expectations - standards of design for all projects.

How to Use Quotes - humm, what you do think, it's about using quotes in text. -

Re-vision - another check list, this time intended to correct your vision. -

Top |  Rubric Elements

  • Address the essential questions below with insight, thoughtfulness, and evidence.
  • Use your own VOICE showing your personality and involvement with the topic.
  • Apply Microsoft software or other publication program.
  • Include article format items with rationale for choices: Byline,
  • Pull-out quotes,
  • Columns,
  • Pictures with captions.
  • Demonstrate understanding of correct bibliography format using multiple, credible sources more than one type of media and a variety of copyright dates.
  • Directly and correctly cite evidence to SHOW not tell.
  • Revise and edit the text for clarity and correctness.

Site Map | Grade 9 2001-02 Syllabus | Quotes | WordList | Glossary | Graphic Organizers | Rules of Thumb | On-Line Resources | WriteDesign | Co-Teachers - Doug and Melissa | Gallery | Top
E-Mail Doug at or Melissa at

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