What is the Texas Performance Standards Project?

The Texas Performance Standards Project is a statewide standards and assessment system designed to capture the high levels of achievement of GT students.  The goal of the TPSP is for students to create work that reflects the professional quality that the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students requires.  The Texas Performance Standards Project is designed for use by teachers of students in grades four, eight, and twelve.

How is the TPSP used at FMS?

At FMS only 8th grade Humanities students are required to complete a Texas Performance Standards Project assignment.  Eighth graders have four possible performance tasks to choose from.  Although the four TPSP tasks vary somewhat in their structure, the general process is as follows:

  1. The student begins by selecting one of four possible TPSP topics to explore & research.
  2. After the student selects a TPSP topic, they begin the process of formulating a set of guided research questions (what they are trying to find out) that will guide their research of the topic.
  3. After the student has developed a list of guided questions, the student will prepare a research proposal. In a way, the research proposal is like a contract that details all the key aspects of the assignment and how it will be graded. All research proposals must by agreed to by the student and the Humanities 8 teachers.
  4. After the research proposal has been approved, students begin their research of the topic. This process is quite involved, and it involves the use of several "sources." Although, students may use internet websites as sources of information, they are required to use other forms of sources (i.e. books) as well.
  5. The research phase of the TPSP project will be broken into two phases, so that a teacher "spot check" of student progress can take place. Although students are given in-class library time during these phases to assist with the workload of this project, the Humanities teachers still expect students to conduct research outside of the classroom.
  6. After the student has completed the research process, they will complete the designated product for their selected topic.
  7. In addition to the completion of a research product, all TPSP topic selections require a student presentation of the product and findings. The presentation phase usually consists of a "science fair-like" group display of projects in the cafeteria.
  8. Students will be assigned various daily grades for their work in progress. Separate test grades will be given for both the research product itself and the oral presentation.

 

Project Introduction:

The Sudden Impact project allows students to investigate and examine the impact of an

influential contributor to history of contemporary society. As the title suggests, students

selecting this project must select an individual of significance, an individual whose actions

created a "sudden impact" that changed the world for the better or worse. This project

is much more than a basic biography of the individual. Think of it as an examination of not

only how the world is different because the chosen individual lived, but a contemplation of

what the world would be like if they had never lived.

 

Something to Consider Before Choosing This Topic:

On the average year, more than half of the Humanities students choose to complete

Sudden Impact projects. Typically, Humanities students and Humanities teachers disagree

about the concept of what it means to be an "influential contibutor to society." Therefore,

students choosing the Sudden Impact project may not choose pop culture icons or athletes

as topics. While it is great that you may be the biggest Jimi Hendrix fan alive, we are not

interested in finding out how Jimi Hendrix had a "sudden impact" on the world of guitarists.

 

Students choosing this topic must choose an individual from one of the "Top People" lists

provided below (pop icons & athletes excluded of course). The individuals on these lists were

chosen specifically because experts felt that they had "sudden impact" on the world. Read

through these lists and see how many of these people you have actually heard of--not as

many as you would think. But, when you read about who they were and what they did, we

think you will begin to understand the true meaning of what "sudden impact" means.

 

Most Influential People Lists:

A&E’s Top 100 People of the Millennium

The Atlantic Magazine Top 100 Most Influential Americans

1,000 Years, 1,000 People - A Listing of 1,000 Most Influential People

 

Phase One - Preparing a Research Proposal Sheet & Gaining Topic Approval:

After you have chosen the individual that you want to research, you need to prepare

a TPSP Research Proposal Sheet. This sheet will serve as the starting point of your

TPSP project and requires you to brainstorm a list of questions about your individual

that will guide your research. You will receive this form in class, but you can also

download one from the "Forms" tab on this page.

 

One of the first things you want to do is to briefly look at the person's biography so that you

know enough to begin to formulate the questions that will guide your research. For example, you

might want to consider things such as how the person's experiences growing up led to their

chosen field of endeavor. You could also consider things such as how the progress/failures

of others in their chosen field of endeavor impacted your chosen person. Of course, you want

your research to be guided by how the world is different because your chosen person lived,

while considering how the world would be different if they had never lived.

 

TPSP Research Proposal Sheets will be turned in to your Humanities teachers for topic

approval before you begin any true in-depth research. We want to ensure that the individual

you have selected is truly "sudden impact" material, and we also want to avoid any duplicate

individuals.

 

Phase Two - In-Depth Research:

Shortly after all the TPSP Research Proposal Sheets have been turned in, you will begin the

in-depth research phase. This phase will be broken into two periods of research, each lasting

for about a week. During each of those periods of research, students will be given time for

in-class research. Sudden Impact projects require that students use at least ten sources of

information. You will also be required to turn in a MLA Works Cited page that provides

a citation of the sources you used during your research. A sample Works Cited page and a

MLA citation website can be found in the "Forms" section of this webpage. In the first period

of research, you will gather information from the first five sources, complete the required

TPSP Source Worksheets for each source, and turn those in to be checked/graded. After the

worksheets from the first five sources have been looked over by the Humanities teachers,

they will be returned and you will begin the second period of research. At the end of the

second period of research, you will turn in the second set of TPSP Source Worksheets to be

checked/graded. After the second set of worksheets have been looked over, they will be

returned to you. At that point you will begin to prepare your Sudden Impact "museum display"

that will showcase the sudden impact of your individual.

 

Phase Three - Product Development

After the research phase, you will create a museum exhibit with at least ten artifacts

highlighting the impact that your chosen individual had upon the world. Each artifact must

symbolize key details discovered during the research phase. While you may use science fair

display boards to display your artifacts, you must have at least two (you could have more)

artifacts that are not pasted to the board. Be creative. Your museum display (a test grade

by the way) will not only be viewed by an audience during our exhibition session, it will

also serve as a prop for your oral presentation. At some point, you will be asked to submit

an artifact listing of your display, along with a justification of each artifact.

 

Remember that the point of this project is discover how the world is different because your

individual lived, and to speculate about how the world would be different if they had never

lived. This project IS NOT a simple biography report. In the past, students have received

failing grades because they failed to remember the point of the project, and presented only

biographical information. The critical thinking comes from taking the information that you

discovered during your research and asking yourself "So what?" Therefore, your display

should showcase the "Sudden Impact" of your chosen individual.

 

Remember that you are responsible for creating a MLA Works Cited page. Your Works Cited

page should be part of your museum display. Remember that a sample Works Cited page

can be found in the "Forms" section of this webpage.

 

Phase Four - Presentation of Displays & Docent Talks:

At some point, the Humanities teachers will have all students display their projects in

the cafeteria to be a part of a TPSP Project Display Fair. At this display fair, all student

displays will be viewed by FMS students, teachers, and other invited individuals. While

groups are walking through the displays, you will provide an oral presentation of your

findings, using your museum display as a speech prop. You should be able to clearly

explain how your chosen individual had a "sudden impact" on our world, and justify

the artifacts in your exhibit.

 

 

Project Introduction:

The Analyzing Awesome project allows students the opportunity to conduct an in-depth analysis

and investigation of a selected author to understand the ways in which the author's experiences,

the author's culture, and the author's society have impacted the content and context of the

author's written work. Students selecting this topic must choose an author that has written

several works, not just a single work. The works of the author do not have to be part of a

series (i.e. Twilight) but they can be.

 

Basically, this project asks you to become a literary scholar who examines the author's works

not for plot, but for examples of how the author's experiences have colored the words on the

page. For example, if the chosen author lost both of his/her parents at the age of five, and

struggled with grief during childhood, does this new understanding of the author's life bring

a new understanding to why a particular character acts a certain way in the author's latest

novel? Perhaps, it is more than a coincidence that one of the characters in their novel lost

his/her parents at a young age, too.

 

Something to Consider Before Choosing This Topic:

Because this project asks students to look for patterns in an author's life and works, students

selecting this topic must have read at least two books by the selected author prior to beginning

this project. In addition, students selecting this project will be expected to read at least one

additional book by this author during the research phase of this project. This project is not

a book report project. In the past, students have received failing grades when they failed

to demonstrate the connection between the author's experiences and the author's works.

Humanities teachers expect more than simplistic plot summaries of the author's works.

 

Phase One - Preparing a Research Proposal Sheet & Gaining Topic Approval:

After you have chosen the author that you want to research, you need to prepare

a TPSP Research Proposal Sheet. You will receive this form in class, but you can

also download one from the "Forms" tab on this page. This sheet will serve as

the starting point of your TPSP project and will require you to brainstorm a list

of questions about your chosen author that will guide your research. This form

is also used to demonstrate that you have previously read at least two works

by your chosen author and are already somewhat familiar with their works. After

you have completed this form, it will be turned in for project approval before you

begin any in-depth research.

 

Phase Two - In-Depth Research:

Shortly after all the TPSP Research Proposal Sheets have been turned in, you will begin the

in-depth research phase. This phase will be broken into two periods of research, each lasting

for about a week. During each of those periods of research, students will be given time for

in-class research. Most TPSP projects require that students use up to at least ten sources,

but due to the unique nature of the availability of source information about certain authors

a minimum source requirement will not be set. However, students completing an Analyzing

Awesome Author project are expected to be resourceful in finding sources--examples would

include attempts to contact a living author or the author's representatives, or finding author

interviews in magazines. You will also be required to turn in a MLA Works Cited page that

provides a citation of the sources you used during your research. A sample Works Cited page

and a MLA citation website can be found in the "Forms" section of this webpage. In the first

period of research, you will gather information from up to five sources, complete the

required TPSP Source Worksheets for each soure, and turn those in to be checked/graded.

After the worksheets from the first set of sources have been looked over by the Humanities

teachers, they will be returned and you will begin the second period of research. At the end

of the second period of research, you will turn in the second set of TPSP Source Worksheets

to be checked/graded. After the second set of worksheets have been looked over, they will

be returned to you. At that point you will begin to prepare your Analyzing Awesome Authors

"museum display" that will showcase your research findings.

 

During the research phase you might consider the following questions:

  • What do you wonder about when reading the author's works?
  • Is the author's works influenced by politics, religion, etc.?
  • Why did the author chose the points of view that he/she did?
  • What if the author had lived 25 years earlier or later?
  • What if the author lived in another region of the world?
  • Are the author's works more or less popular than when first published?
  • What literary works influenced the author?
  • Have the author's literary works influenced the works of other authors?

 

Phase Three - Product Development

After the research phase, you will create a museum exhibit with at least ten artifacts

highlighting significant influential factors on the author and his/her writing. Each

artifact should provide significant insight into possible interpretations of the author's

works. One of the ten arifacts of the museum exhibit must be a chapter of a biography

of the author written by you, using information from your research. Your biography

chapter should focus on one period of the author's life, specifically containing information

connecting the author's life experiences and the author's works. While you may use

science fair display boards to display your artifacts, you must have at least three

artifacts that are not pasted to the board (the biography chapter may be one). Be

creative. Your museum display (a test grade by the way) will not only be viewed by

an audience during our exhibition session, it will also serve as a prop for your oral

presentation. At some point you will be asked to submit an artifact listing of your

display, along with a justificaiton of each artifact.

 

Remember that you are responsible for creating a MLA Works Cited page. Your Works Cited

page should be part of your museum display. Remember that a sample Works Cited page

can be found in the "Forms" section of this webpage.

 

Phase Four - Presentation of Displays & Docent Talks:

At some point, the Humanities teachers will have all students display their projects in

the cafeteria to be a part of a TPSP Project Display Fair. At this display fair, all student

displays will be viewed by FMS students, teachers, and other invited individuals. While

groups are walking through the displays, you will provide an oral presentation of your

findings, using your museum display as a speech prop. You should be able to clearly

explain the connections between the experiences of the author's life and the author's

works. In the past students have received failing grades when they were unable to

explain the connections between these two, and instead gave Humanities teachers

"book reports" of the author's works.

 

Project Introduction:

Whereas the other TPSP project topics ask students to examine the past, the Challenging the

System project asks students to examine the present and/or future. Students choosing this project

topic have two options open to them. They will choose either Option One or Option Two.

 

Option One: Current Societial Problems

The first option involves examining a current societial problem, one with no easy solution,

in the hopes of clarifying the issues and researching potential solutions. The key to this

option is choosing an issue that you passionate about. If the issue interests you, your

results will probably interest others. Examples of potential problems fill the headlines of

news websites and newspapers daily. Pick an issue that many have heard about, but one

that they know little about. For example, the BP oil spill or global warming or immigration

control. If you choose this option you will define the problem, examine all sides of the issue,

brainstorm potential solutions, and project into the future.

 

Option Two: A Cutting Edge Technology

The second option involves the investigation of the current state of a cutting edge

technology that is on the cusp of becoming mainstream in the next decade or so.

Magazines like Popular Science and Discover are full of articles about such technologies.

Examples include nanotube technology, designer organs and space elevators just to name

a few. In the first few years of the 20th century, the work being done by the Wright

Brothers and others in the field of aviation would have been cutting edge, now who thinks

twice about getting on an airplane?

 

Phase One - Preparing a Research Proposal Sheet & Gaining Topic Approval:

After you have choosen either Option One or Option Two, you will need to prepare a TPSP

Research Proposal Sheet. You will receive this form in class, but you can also download

one from the "Forms" section of this webpage. This sheet will serve as the starting point

of your TPSP project and will require you to brainstorm a list of questions that will guide

your research. After you have completed this form, it will be turned in for project approval

before you begin any in-depth research.

 

Phase Two - In-Depth Research:

Shortly after all of the TPSP Research Proposal Sheets have been turned in, you will

begin the in-depth research phase. This phase will be broken into two periods of research,

each lasting for about a week. During each of those periods of research, students will be

given in-class time for research. The Challenging the System project requires that students

use at least ten sources of information. In the first period of research, you will gather

information from five sources, complete the required TPSP Source Worksheet for each source,

and turn those in to be checked/graded. After the worksheets from the first set of sources

have been looked over by the Humanities teachers, they will be returned, and you will begin

the second period of research. At the end of the second period of research, you will turn in

the second set of TPSP Source Worksheets to checked/graded. You will also be required to

turn in a MLA Works Cited page that provides a citation of the sources that you used during

your research. A sample Works Cited page and a MLA citation website can be found in the

"Forms" section of this webpage. After the second set of source worksheets have been

returned to you, you will begin to prepare your "museum display" to showcase your

research findings.

 

Things to Consider:

The two options for the Challenging the System project require you to find quality,

current information. While you may find some information in library books, most topics

will probably require you to dig through online databases and read through technical

journals and magazines. If you are researching a topic that most adults find confusing

and difficult, chances are that you will find it even more confusing and difficult. You

need to be prepared for the importance of the research phase with this project.

 

Phase Three - Product Development:

After the research phase, you will complete a "museum exhibit" with at least ten

artifacts. While you may use a science fair board to display your artifacts, you must have

at least two artifacts that are not pasted to the display board. Your museum display

(a test grade by the way) will not only be viewved by an audience during our exhibition

session, it will also serve as a prop for your oral presentation. At some point you will be

asked to submit an artifact listing of your display, along with a justification of each artifact.

 

As you prepare your museum display, you need to remember the overall objective of your

chosen option. If you chose Option One, remember that your purpose is to clearly define

your chosen societial probem, even-handedly present the various sides to the problem,

present potential, realistic solutions to the problem (you can't just suggest spending a

million dollars of taxpayer money to reduce speeding in the school zone in front of the school),

and project the results of the implementation of your suggestions and the consequences of

not implementing suggested solutions. If you chose Option Two, remember that your purpose is

to investigate a cutting edge technology that most people know little or nothing about. You will

need to clearly define the purpose of this new technology, the key players in this technology's

development, the hurdles still to overcome in the development of this technology, and the

potential timeline for implementation of this technology. Basically, your job is to make a

potentially confusing and boring topic, interesting and easy to understand.

 

Phase Four - Presentation of Displays & Docent Talks:

At some point, the Humanities teachers will have all students display their projects in the

cafeteria to be a part of a TPSP Project Display Fair. At this display fair, all student displays

will be viewed by FMS students, teachers, and other invited individuals. While groups are

walking through the displays, you will provide an oral presentation of your findings using

your museum display as a speech prop. Basically, your job is to become an expert that

can provide more than a basic introduction to your topic.

 

 

Project Introduction:

The Time Travel project allows students the opportunity to conduct an in-depth analysis

and investigation of the role of a particular character as portrayed in a historical novel.

After reading the novel, you will use primary and secondary sources to verify the

accuracy of the role as portrayed in the fictional account. For example, if you read

the novel Johnny Tremain by Ester Forbes you could analyze the author's portrayal of

any one of several real-life American Revolutionary participants (i.e. John Adams).

 

What was it like to live in another time? You will become a historical researcher to find

out. As you read the historical novel, you will discover what it was like to live during the

time period of the novel. You will focus on a particular character in the novel to find out

as much as you can about what it was like for a person in that role to live during that time

period. You will need to gather data on questions and document feelings, perspectives, and

changes that the character encounters during the course of the novel. You will also read

diaries, letters, and other historical documents from the time period.

 

Something to Consider Before Choosing This Topic:

By nature, a historical novel is the author's attempt to teach the reader about a historical

event by dramatizing that event, intermixing fiction with the author's interpretation of

the non-fiction event. Instead of reading a history textbook or another non-fiction

account about the American Revolution, historical fiction books allow the reader to

immerse themselves into the world of the event as told from the eyes of a fictional

character inserted into the event. For example, Ester Forbes uses the fictional character

of Johnny Tremain to allow the reader to feel as if they are actually present in Boston

as pre-revolutionary events begin to unfold. To add realism, Forbes adds in characters

like John Adams and Paul Revere. Those characters act in the way the author

suspects they did, and they says the things that the author suspects they did.

The catch with this project is determining how "accurate" those "real life" characters

are portrayed. To do this, you have to both read the historical fiction AND historical

non-fiction sources to see if the author got it right, or if they put too much personal

interpretation into it to fill in the unknown. Remember this IS NOT a simple book report.

You will be expected to become a historical scholar of the event depicted in the novel,

like a history professor reviewing the historical accuracy of a historical fiction novel.

 

Phase One - Preparing a Research Proposal Sheet & Gaining Topic Approval:

The first step is determining which historical event or period that you want to

investigate. Although you are studying events like the American Revolution and

the Civil War this year, you are not limited to those two events. After you have an

idea of the historical event, Humanities teachers can assist you with compiling a list

of historical novels to choose from. Of course another way to approach the task is to

find a historical novel that catches your attention first. Either way, you will need to

prepare a TPSP Research Proposal Sheet. You will receive this form in class, but you

can also download one from the "Forms" tab on this page. On this sheet you will specify

which historical novel you will read, and you will brainstorm a list of questions that

will guide your research. After you have completed this form, it will be turned in for

project approval before you begin any in-depth research.

 

Phase Two - In-Depth Research:

Shortly after all the TPSP Research Proposal Sheets have been turned in, you will begin

the in-depth research phase. This phase will be broken down into two periods of research,

each lasting for about a week. During each of those periods of research, students will be

given time for in-class research. The Time Travel project requries students to have at least

ten sources of information (the historical fiction novel counts as one). In the first period of

research, you will gather information from five sources, complete the required TPSP Source

Worksheets for each source, and turn those in to be checked/graded. After the worksheets

from the first set of sources have been looked over by the Humanities teachers, they will

be returned, and you will begin the second period of research. At the end of the second

period of research, you will turn in the second set of TPSP Source Worksheets to be

checked/graded. You will also be required to turn in a MLA Works Cited page that provides

a citation of the sources you used during your research. A sample Works Cited page and

a MLA citation website can be found in the "Forms" section of this webpage. After the second

set of source worksheet have been returned to you, you will begin to prepare your "museum

display" that showcases your research findings.

 

Phase Three - Product Development

After the research phase, you will create a "museum exhibit" with ten artifacts. While you may

use science fair display boards to display your artifacts, you must have at least two artifacts

that are not pasted to the display board. Your museum display (a test grade by the way)

will not only be viewed by an audience during our exhibition session, it will also serve as a

prop for your oral presentation. At some point you will be asked to submit an artifact listing

of your display, along with a justificaton of each artifact.

 

The museum exhibit for Time Travel projects must include "side by side" textual examples

of how significant historical events are presented in the "fictional" historical novel and

"non-fiction" primary and traditional sources. The point of your museum display is to show

your audience how "accurate" and "educational" the historical novel is when compared

to the "facts" of what really happened and what the historical characters were really like.

Artifacts can include "blow ups" of textual evidence, items that are symbolic, or graphic

representations that help to impart your findings.

 

Remember that you are responsible for creating a MLA Works Cited page. Your Works Cited

page should be part of your museum display. Remember that a sample Works Cited page

can be found in the "Forms" section of this webpage.

 

Phase Four - Presentation of Displays & Docent Talks:

At some point, the Humanities teachers will have all students display their projects in

the cafeteria to be a part of a TPSP Project Display Fair. At this display fair, all student

displays will be viewed by FMS students, teachers, and other invited individuals. While

groups are walking through the displays, you will provide an oral presentation of your

findings using your museum display as a speech prop. You should be able to clearly

explain the significant background details of the historical event portrayed in your novel,

be able to explain how the author attempted to "teach" the reader about the event through

the fictional style and events of the historical fiction novel, and be able to explain the

accuracies and inaccuracies of the novelist. You should also be able to explain why the

author made certain decisions to include certain historical facts, while leaving others out.

 

TPSP Forms:

TPSP Research Proposal Worksheet:

TPSP Source Worksheet:

TPSP Presentation Evaluation Form:

TPSP Resources:

Google Sites How-To Manual:

Sample MLA Works Cited Page (Purdue University OWL):

EasyBib.com Free Citation Generator:

Sample Sudden Impact TPSP Project:

Official Texas Performance Standards Project Site: