Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Logic stage history - researching and writing, part 2

9So in researching and writing a paper, I remember doing 5 basic steps back when I was in school:
  1. Pick a topic
  2. Read and take notes
  3. Organize the notes into an outline
  4. Write a rough draft
  5. Write a final draft
Simplifying the steps for Jessie to get her comfortable with the process, I came up with the following plan of action:
  1. Assign a topic.
  2. Provide questions to be answered based on reading & discuss answers.
  3. To start, I'm providing the outline with topic sentences for each paragraph.
  4. Jessie writes the draft independently. We edit it together.
  5. Jessie creates the final draft to go in her notebook.
Here's how it played out this week.

Step 1: I assigned Jessie the topic of hieroglyphics.

Step 2: I gave her the following list of questions organized by book based on her assigned reading.
Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World (124-125)
1. Where did the name hieroglyphs come from and what does it mean?
2. What are some of the different ways hieroglyphic symbols are used?
3. What is a cartouche?
4. What directions can hieroglyphics be written?
The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt (3-19)
5. Describe how the Rosetta Stone was found.
6. What was on the stone and why was it so important?
The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone
7. What did Champollion believe that the hieroglyphs represented?
8. How did he prove that theory and work out the Egyptian alphabet?

Step 3: Outline: I gave her the following directions for her essay. I gave her topic sentences for each paragraph because that is how the paragraphs have been handled so far in R&S 5. I hope to move to her organizing the questions and coming up with her own topic sentences over the course of the year.
Paragraph 1 should discuss what are hieroglyphs and give some reasons why they are so complex using questions 1, 2, and 4. Topic sentence: Deciphering the writings of the ancient Egyptians was necessary in order to learn more about this culture, but the task was not an easy one.
Paragraph 2 should discuss the Rosetta Stone and its importance using questions 5 and 6. Topic sentence: The mystery of the hieroglyphs might never have been solved if it were not for a very important discovery in August of 1799.
Paragraph 3 should describe how Champollion deciphered the hieroglyphics using question 3, 7, and 8. Topic sentence: The final breakthrough in understanding hieroglyphics came in 1822 by Jean Francois Champollion.

Step 4 and 5: Here is the essay that resulted. I though it was a good first try.

My Summary About Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Deciphering the writings of the ancient Egyptians was necessary to learn more about this ancient culture, but the task was not an easy one. Hieroglyphics were not the Egyptians only means of writing, but they were very hard to understand for a good reason. Hieroglyphics were written left to right, right to left, or top to bottom. Pictures stood for words or sounds, and extra symbols beside or below meant that the hieroglyphic had a slightly different meaning. Determinatives were hieroglyphics that explain somewhat the meaning of other hieroglyphics.

The mystery of the hieroglyphics might have never been solved if it were not for a very important discovery is August of 1799. A French soldier was digging a trench as preparation for a war against England. While digging, he found a large stone upon which three languages were carved. After bringing Major Bouchard, it was taken to Cairo where it was discovered that the languages were Egyptian hieroglyphics, a strange language that nobody knew, and Greek (which almost all of the scholars knew and thus was easily deciphered). The story upon the stone was repeated once in each language, as later deciphering showed.

The final breakthrough in understanding hieroglyphics came in 1822 by Jean Francois Champollion. The most repeated word on the stone in Greek was Ptolemy, so Champollion figured out the most repeated hieroglyphics stood for that. Then an old colleague sent a hieroglyphic copied from an inscription found in a temple on an island called Philae on the River Nile. He compared the hieroglyphics and discovered the second hieroglyphic was Kleopatra, wife of Ptolemy. He deciphered cartouche after cartouche, the list of hieroglyphics and their translations getting longer and longer till at last he had deciphered all the cartouches. After he died, he had not deciphered every hieroglyphic, but he had left a firm path for others, and it was a little easier for others to finish the deciphering.


Paige said...

Fantastic post! Thanks for breaking it down. I'll be bookmarking this for the future.

Ritsumei said...

That looks like a great way of introducing essay writing - may I remember it when Monkey gets to that age! Would you be interested in submitting this post to the Classical Homeschooling Carnival?

tburchell97 said...

This post has just brought peace to me two years after you wrote it! I also have been battling the essay writing for history based on TWTM's directions. My son is a very young 5th grader (Sept. birthday) and having him choose his topic, choose his books, take the notes and organize it all on his own has been more overwhelming than exciting for him. I love the way you break it down into chunks and gently introduce each piece to your daughter. I'll be using this idea with my son. I can't thank you enough for sharing! Many blessings!