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