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paper suggestions

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hello, at my school we have a project called the Junior Project (I am a junior in highschool) and I would like to do something having to do with skiing/backcountry/avalanches etc.

It used to be just a fun little (well big, 10 minute presentation, 8 page (or so) paper) but know the english department decided to be bitches and it needs to be analytical. Like some question you can debate both ways or something, you need to have a thesis statement


I was wondering if someone had a good idea, the only idea I thought of was that if you would like need a permit to go backcountry skiing or something, meaning you had a pass a small test, or have taken a class, or something to prove that you are not an idiot, and then be allowed to go into the backcountry.


any suggestions on analytical things having to do with backcountry skiing or something of the sort???


thanks a lot
ps. anyone have experience, or know where I can get directions to making model avalanches??
post #2 of 21
can you post your objectives as written by your teacher? I'd hate to steer you in the wrong direction.

Sounds like an argumentative essay. There are 3 types of essays; argumentative, persuasive, or informative. (all use a thesis statement.) I guess I could assume that analytical refers to a process or sequence of actions that would be used as a backbone to your argument. They also may have asked you to choose a topic that can be argued both ways because there is no point in writing a paper arguing a topic of which everybody agrees... like- cigarettes cause cancer. When there is no disagreement, it becomes informative or persuasive.

Meaning- analyze the risks of entering the BC and forumate an argument as to why a certification process would or wouldn't save lives.

You can also focus this project down to just one resort. The BC is really vague and treading on people's rights to access free land.

What's your home resort and their BC policies today? Are there gates that open in spring? Is BC permanently closed?

If you apply this to your home resort, it will be much easier to write because you won't have to make anything up, and it'll actually apply to your real world... making your voice a valuable asset. Trust me, once your personal passions get sparked, the writing comes easily.

Look around these forums and you'll see some other topics, like- Helmets should be mandatory, etc. But I think you are on the right track about avalanches. Some resorts do actually have certification programs.

(btw- I'm an English teacher... don't call us bitches. )
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
you can probably understand me saying that when last year it was a fun project, mostly a presentation to the school on a topic of your interest, know they wanted to make it this analytical stuff (and yes they are pretty vague on it) pretty much they want you to find some sort of a question and answer it.

I ski in lake tahoe mostly, get a week in Alta each year (just got back)
resorts differ on having gates open, I know that you can go into the backcountry of sugarbowl, the ski team does every once in a while, and I have had friends that have gone back there to. When I backcountry ski (have not actually done much, just recently did an AIARE avalanche 1 course) I probably will not usually be going out from a resort, just driving to a certain place and skinning up etc.


I believe the essays used to be more of an informative, but know they want it to be a little bit more argumentative, like taking a position and proving it.

It annoys me because we had a final where were were supposed to take a statement on something, and I aced that, proving that I can do that, can't they just let this be fun?

but yes in the end they are making this change for us, to prepare us better for college etc.


thanks a lot for the reply

(btw I was not calling my english teachers bitches (like directly) I actually really like my english teachers, I was saying they are being bitches (just in the moment) but ya I like them, I would edit it out, but for some reason I can't)
post #4 of 21
First of all- sorry that the first guy to respond to your thread happens to be another English teacher. I bet that's not what you had in mind. Oh, and I never took any offense to the bitch statement. To be honest, I hated English in High School. Quite frankly, the tone in your posts sounds familiar.

Vagueness is the new student-centered instruction. They're leaving the objectives relatively free so you can approach it from your preferred angle. Getting students to take initiative away from what we tell them to do is a really difficult task. If your teachers tell you exactly what to do, you'll become a robot. And that's no fun. Simply put, your teachers don't want to hear you repeat the beliefs to which they adhere. We like it when our students stand up for themselves. Especially when they tell us we're wrong... and prove it.

You may have aced a past final about arguing a point, but I assure you- arguing your beliefs doesn't end. And when you're older, you'll be able to recognize those who were never taught how to do it. Trust me, you wanna be one of those who learned. Losing arguments sucks. And if you consistently lose arguments, you'll be a bitter, old, opinionated prick who doesn't understand why everybody thinks the way they do. "What is with kids these days? When I was young..."

Which brings us current.

Thankfully, you're certified and avvy-savvy for a teen and you live surrounded by a dozen resorts. I was scared you lived in Wisconsin and didn't speak the lingo. Issue #1 = Resolved.

Before you get overwhelmed by the size of your paper, understand that it will only take you about 1-2 hours to type it up. However, it may take a few more hours than that gathering what you're going to say. The best voices in arguments refer to other voices (quotes/citations). That means, you need to find resources that support your opinion before you even state it. Then, you'll be using these other voices to iterate your point... leaving the one to whom you are arguing incable of using an argument aimed at you. They'll be speachless, essentially. Or- convinced. Resources/quotes/citations are code for I know WTF I'm talking about, now shut up and listen.

El Dorado County does require permits for camping in desolation wilderness, for example (perhaps you know this.) Which means your original thesis stating that people should be required to pass a course to be allowed in the BC for skiing is quite feasible, and will be supportable with legal literature. (giving you huge muscles.)

So... your homework, should you choose to accept it, is to provide us readers with a collection of topic sentences. (worry about your exact thesis statement later. It's easier to state your opinion after you have heard all the facts.) Read your avy books and El Dorado County guidelines for camping and highlight anything that catches your attention. You should be able to find that literature right at the office in town by camp richardson or, better yet, the internet. Then, find as many themes for your topic sentences from those resources as possible. And- don't spend more than 15 minutes per document. You're not reading for pleasure's sake. Just skim through it and highlight the most important sentence. Then, take a note and chuck it into a pile (or save it in a folder on your desktop) You do actually want to be confused by all the fricking notes everywhere.

Examples of info I'd like you to find-
- 10,000 people hike desolation wilderness every summer. (I know this isn't avy-related, that's okay.)
- 100 skiers venture into the back country via Kirkwood's chair 4 every April and May.
- Avy deaths by non-certified people increase every year in the Sierras.
- The human brain can only survive 6 minutes without oxygen. (not avy-related... yet.)
- Avy certification takes just a few days to complete.
- Most avalanches occur on pitches between 30 and 45 degrees.
- etc. (the key here is numbers and statistics inside single sentences.)

Oh... and a piece of advice, use one index card per note and write your bibliography entry on the back of the note. If you are doing everything on your PC (like I hope)- type direct quotes in a Word document and below each quote, type your bibliography entry, and change it's text color. Keep the quotes black. You need those bibliography entries later, and it sucks balls to spend 2 hours organizing all of your literature so you can simply write a gay bibliography. Do that as you go.

Oh... and if Samurai has turned into a respondent that is taking way too much interest in this topic, please feel free to send him on his way. I won't take offense. I'm just an English teacher/grad student who writes way too much. (ask SMJ- my fictional voices have pissed people off here. Luckily, I have not yet been banned. I gather statistics and argue opinions for a living, and often forget to cut it off when I enter this forum for my relaxing time.)
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
Oh... and if Samurai has turned into a respondent that is taking way too much interest in this topic, please feel free to send him on his way. I won't take offense. I'm just an English teacher/grad student who writes way too much. (ask SMJ- my fictional voices have pissed people off here. Luckily, I have not yet been banned. I gather statistics and argue opinions for a living, and often forget to cut it off when I enter this forum for my relaxing time.)
Definately not, thanks a lot, very helpful, its really great. I am aware that I need to be able to win arguments, but trust me, I am great at winning arguments, I am that little annoying teenager who knows how to win an argument, but that is not the topic right know.

it is a little vague, because they are not really sure either, it is the first year that they are bringing this in, they want the junior project to have a little "more" to it, not just the you research a topic you like and present it to the school, it should teach you more, not just about the topic, but about writing papers with a stance.

I am not worried about the size of the paper at all, if its to short, I can always add in other things that are relevant.

I gotta go to boxing, I will edit this and write more later, about topic sentences etc.

also just gotta add, say whatever you want, I take critism fine, I do not take anything personally, so you do not have to worry about that, if you just say it sucks, I will just say screw you off course, but I will be very greatful if you tell me it sucks and why, or what I can improve etc.

I will edit in more later....to be continued
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by powderhound100 View Post
I am not worried about the size of the paper at all, if its to short, I can always add in other things that are relevant.
Your teachers don't care how long it is either. They just said 10 pages to answer little-miss-teacher's-pet raising her hand, asking; "Excuse me... Mr. ~~~, How long should our paper be? I want to get an A." My answer is usually; "How long is a stick?"** Which aims to get little-miss-teacher's-pet into her own world and to stop trying to please her teachers.

Even at the graduate level, people still ask their professors that question. Grades are what separates the real-world from academia. Apply your project to the real world and you'll get an A because your teacher will see that you don't care about grades, but rather about changing the world.


**(I think I got that from Jer when someone came on this board asking how long their skis should be.)
post #7 of 21
Jeeezus H C, Samurai. Shouldn't you be grading papers or something? (Recovering X Eng teacher here).

How about helmets v no helmets?

The length of a paper whould be like a woman's skirt. Long enough to cover everything but short enough to be interesting.

Teaching sux WAY more than being taught.

PS: Breadloaf was like band camp for English Teachers.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer256 View Post
Jeeezus H C, Samurai. Shouldn't you be grading papers or something? (Recovering X Eng teacher here).
.
No. Next week is test week.

Right now I'm designing a curriculum that will link students internationally through a secure and academic environment. Right now students are writing papers for their classmates. Next year they'll be uploading video presentations viewable by other academic institutions around the globe. Essentially, Powderhound100's argument would be open to global scrutiny and/or agreement... drastically increasing the size of his audience, the relativity of his learning, and his desire to speak up.

Soon, students from various nationalities will be growing up together. Sounds kind of peaceful, doesn't it? I can't wait until they start debating political topics while living oceans apart. The level of cultural awareness that will result from this level of communication will be mind-boggling. And free. (think YouTube secured academically with digital and malleable materials available as well as contact with international University's cybraries.)

That's why I'm here, I'm online 13-14 hours a day... this thread is escape while I ponder ways to reword grant applications. 8 windows open on my desktop right now. Some kid wants to write a paper about avies. Sounds fun.

now, where's my coffee?
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
wow, what kind of a school do you teach at? like a private highschool or something? (I go to a private highschool) or do you teach college?

and about the helmets vs no helmets, that not really that interesting for me. avalanches and backcountry skiing are much more interesting.
post #10 of 21
I teach at a private High School in Japan. However, the curriculum I am designing has nothing to do with my school. It's an academic medium to link schools. Instead of students doing oral presentations to their classmates (as you do now), they'll give presentations to other academic institutions around the world- and view presentations from around the world.

And you thought facebook was just for fun, huh? This is facebook x YouTube, secured, with academic structure, curriculum planning and international agendas working towards world peace. Sounds cliche, I know, but it's happening. To display my eagerness, I'm investing a larger chunk of money than my yearly salary. And I haven't even finished grad school yet. (Yes, my wife was fine with it. Actually, once I told her my plan, she has become my mother- always encouraging me when I express frustration or disbelief in the possibilities.)

I believe in communication. And that is what your paper is about... communicating the importance of education to save lives in the BC. Something I too feel passionate about. I've lost friends to avvies. Not that they weren't knowledgable, but loss is real. I don't know how many times I have read the news about innocent non-avy-savvy people getting hit.

I look forward to you finding some resources that layout a rough outline. If one person is convinced of your argument, you'll have done a hell of an important job... one in which you'll be able to take pride- forever.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
wow this thing your working on sounds really interesting, my music teacher was talking about something she is doing for her masters degree I think. Pretty much she is going to be playing live, with someone else who is in new york. The guy in new york is projected on a screan on one side of the room, and she is on teh other side of the rooom, vice versa in new york.
there is some kind of thing attached to his brain that track his brain waves or something and the graphs that or something in a program (I do not really get it) she has some kind of sensor in her flute that tracks the amount of airflow and he graphs that on some program ....not really sure how it works
she plays flute and the guy in new york plays guitar, but they modify it a lot and stuff (I am in electronic music)
post #12 of 21
Your teacher in Tahoe working with a musician in New York... live.

Gawd, the 21st century rules.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
in San francisco, I do not live in Tahoe, just ski there as much as possible

but yes
post #14 of 21
How about something on the proposals to charge the victims in the recovery of costs?

You survive and you pay for the search, aviation, transport and associated costs?

You die and you don't pay a dime ....


Consider the options carefully ...
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
thats a great idea. thanks.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
**(I think I got that from Jer when someone came on this board asking how long their skis should be.)
That is awesome. Jer, leaving little nuggets of sage like pedagogy all over the internets.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racer256 View Post
Jeeezus H C, Samurai. Shouldn't you be grading papers or something? (Recovering X Eng teacher here).
PS: Breadloaf was like band camp for English Teachers.
My mother was a high school english teacher, EEK!:
But, writing skills were critical to success in college, graduate school. and my career as an epicski troll


Good luck with your paper/project powderhound. Samurai will take good care of you
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
haha thanks

Samurai what do you think of Yuki's idea
post #19 of 21
Sounds like a great topic.

Japan had such an onslaught of suicides by jumping in front of trains in the late 90's and early 00's that a law passed allowing the train companies to go after the family to cover not only the train company's loss of money from being delayed, but also every passenger's loss of money from missing work, or whatever.

The law reduced suicide by train, but that's pretty farked to call up the widow and say; "By the way, you owe us a couple of hundred thousand dollars for your husband's untimely suicide."

The law did not affect suicide rates, however. So, many people wonder and debate what was accomplished by allowing such laws to come to fruition.

Yuki's topic is good because it's bound to stir the pot... assuming you're ready to hold the spoon.
post #20 of 21
Oh, I forgot you're in california.

Yuki's topic is phenomenal.

Convincing people to take reponsibility in one of the most liberal states I have ever lived is always interesting fodder for argumentative discussions.

Liberals vs libertarians. Mmmmmm... the stench coming from that debate is already burning my nostrils.

Remember this last christmas? The family that got lost for four days? Think they'd be happy to be responsible for that search after just getting lost looking for a christmas tree down the road?

Even taking the responsibility off the table in the event of a death, as Yuki suggested, this topic is still bound to piss off the ACLU.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
The law did not affect suicide rates, however. So, many people wonder and debate what was accomplished by allowing such laws to come to fruition.
People started killing themselves in ways that inconvenience fewer people?

Your project sounds fascinating btw, let us know how that is going sometime.
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