On this page you’ll find all the documents related to the first Humanities unit on Identity.

Identity Portfolio Sequence

End goal: You will create an Identity Portfolio that features a historical narrative based on an event that happened to someone in your family. You will use primary (interviewing a family member) and secondary (researching the historical event) resources.

Here are the steps to reach the end goal:

I. Family Tree
a. You, your parents’ generation, your grandparents’ generation
b. Place of birth
c. Current place of residence
d. 3 interesting experiences

II. Questions/ Generating Ideas
a. Develop probing questions for parents

III. Interview family member (due Oct. 12, 2015)
a. Develop open-ended interview questions
b. Interview practice
c. Interview family member
Sample of Exemplary Interview:  Interview exemplary

IV. Research
a. Research notes
b. Timeline of major moments in the historical event
c. Find historical photo(s)
d. Informative map of the area
e. Annotated bibliography
f. Expository Afterword/Author’s note. Samples of author’s notes:  Author’s Note Freedom SummerAuthor’s Note Lotus Seed (see below as well)

V. Narrative (due: Oct. 30, 2015)
a. Focus:  Ideas, Voice, Word Choice, and Conventions
b. Blend of interview information and research information in a narrative format

Samples from previous years:  Annie, Alison

VI. Reflection
a. How has working on this project  help you learn about your family’s history and given you a better sense of your identity?
b. Why do you think doing a project like this is important?
c.  How does looking at this event from multiple sources (primary source interview, secondary source research, required reading) help shape your understanding of the event? Were the perspectives similar? Why or Why not?
d. How have you grown as a writer during this project?
e. What specific challenges did you have while doing this project?

a. Use online publishing format to create your Identity Portfolio
b. More information forthcoming to help us tie it all together


Ideas, Word Choice, Voice, and Conventions

Writing that is strong in IDEAS should have:
*clarity and focus. The story should be narrow and manageable
*rich and vivid details
* a clear sense of purpose right from the start
*everything mentioned should be important to the telling of the story
*sensory details (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting)

Writing that is strong in WORD CHOICE should have:
*vocabulary that conveys meaning. The writer should use words as tools to build the piece in just the right way.
*active verbs. The writing should be lively and show action. Avoid “to be” verbs (is, am, are, was, were, being, been, feel, appear, become, seem, etc)
*special moments or memorable phrases
*visual writing. Descriptions should be vivid enough so that hte reader can almost see what’s happening
*specific and precise words. The writer should take care in choosing the best words to express thoughts to match the purpose of the piece.

Writing that is strong in VOICE should have:
*expression of  personal flavor or tone.
*commitment fo the topic.  “No tears for the writer; no tears for the reader.” Robert Frost”
*writing that suits the audience
*dialogue that adds information, shows the speaker’s personality, keeps the action moving
Here are some tips from the WriteSource:  How to create VOICE in your writing

Writing that is strong in CONVENTIONS should have:
*correct spelling, punctuation, capitalizaion
*proper grammar
*paragraphs that are indented
*complete sentences (no comma splices, run-ons, or fragments)
*consistent tense 


Author’s Note

The author’s note is where you give the background to your historical narrative. There are two parts to the author’s note:

Paragraph 1: the facts and backgound about the event that happened to your family member. This paragraph should include the Who, What, When, Where and Why of the historical event that affected your family member.

Paragraph 2: includes who the family member was that was affected by the event and HOW the event affect them, i.e. how their identity was shaped by this event.

Below are a few samples you can refer to as you write your author’s note:

Professional authors: Author’s Note Freedom Summer and Author’s Note Lotus Seed

Student portfolios:  Amy01pd2018.Historical Narrative Portfolio and marc01pd2018.identityportfolio


Family Tree

Use or to create your family tree.

Geni or   Family Echo


Annotated Bibliography

For your annotated bibliography, you should site your sources using MLA format (Mrs. Boyer had shown you how to get this when you were researching or you can use to create your citation).

You also need to write a sentence or two telling HOW and WHERE you used the information in your Identity Portfolio


“World War II.” Europe Since 1914: Encyclopedia of the Age of War and Reconstruction. Ed. John Merriman and Jay Winter. Vol. 5. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2006. 2766-2781. World History in Context. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.

Document URL

I used this article in World History in Context to get an overview of World War II.  This article provided me with the basic facts about the war: who, what, when, where and why. I used this information in my author’s note.  Also, I used one detail (about Hitler invading Poland in September 1939 in the conversation my grandpa was having with my grandma at the dinner table).


 Editing and Revising

Use the following tools as you revise (changing your piece for Ideas, Word Choice, and Voice) and edit (fixing convention errors: spelling, punctuation, capitalization, tenses, etc). You should have copies of these in your writing folder.

1. Narrative Checklist
2. Having a Conference With Yourself


Narrative Formats

If you struggle with the narrative style, you might want to use the following structure to compose your piece: A Narrative Format or A Narrative Format 2


Final Reminders

*The narrative should be in the 1st person (I, me, my, mine)

*Thoughts should be in italics.  Eg. When will she be here? I wondered to myself.

*Too much dialogue is as bad a too little or no dialogue

*Review how to punctuate dialogue

*Watch your tense shift. You’re writing in the past, so stay in the past tense.  Dialogue, however, can be in the present tense.

*Watch out for comma splices (CS), run-ons (RO), and fragments

*Transitions words have commas after them. Eg. “No, ” “Yes,” “However,

*Write out numbers under 10 as words.  E.g. She was eight years old on that faithful day.

*Don’t start a sentence with “There was” or “There is” or “There were”. Just start the sentence!

* Put a comma when addressing someone: Eg. Let’s eat Grandma. (get the knife and fork) v. Let’s eat, Grandma.( Hey Grandma, dinner’s ready.)


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