Evidence Based Writing in History/ Social Studies


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Evidence Based Writing in History/ Social Studies from Above and Beyond Names and Dates. June 2014

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Evidence Based Writing in History/ Social Studies

  2. 2. Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC)  Item Prompt:  A student is writing a report about the debates that took place during the Constitutional Convention, the meeting where the Constitution was written, and has found these two sources. Explain how each source may contribute to the body of research needed to address the question on the Constitutional Convention debates and which of the texts is most relevant. Support your answer with details from the texts.
  3. 3. What skills do students need to complete this task?
  4. 4. But I’m a History Teacher!  It’s not my job to teach reading– that’s the English teacher’s responsibility!  When I start reading my students’ writing, I have to give up because I’m using the red pen so much to correct conventions.  I have so much content to cover– how can I find the time to teach reading and writing?  I never learned to teach reading and writing. I’m a history teacher!
  5. 5. Our Greatest Fear
  6. 6. Looking Ahead  Have you ever taught any of the following:  Use evidence to support a point (5.RI.8)  Conduct research on a topic, using several sources, while generating additional questions (8.W.7)  Explain the connection between various historical events in a text (2.RI.3)  Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events (6-12.WHST.2)  Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content. (6-12.WHST.1)
  7. 7. You are already teaching to the Common Core!
  8. 8. Productive Partners  What does writing look like in history/social studies?
  9. 9. How do we move our students from this:
  10. 10. To this: A New Constitution and a History of “Democracy” A glance at the late 18th century U.S. political system reveals that the new Constitution was the law of a highly undemocratic land. The early United States was a society in which entire sections of the population were denied basic human rights, where the institutions of the new government were not derived from egalitarian principles, and where millions of people did not receive adequate political representation. As the overarching political instrument of the era, the Constitution bears responsibility for a society in which the many toiled without representation for the benefit of a powerful few. Perhaps the most egregious example of the Constitution’s anti-democratic features was its sanction of the widespread practice of slavery. Rather than ending slavery, the Constitution allowed planters and others to hold their fellow human beings as chattel. Not only did the Constitution permit the existing system of slavery to continue, it permitted the Atlantic slave trade to keep “importing” slaves for 20 more years. It counted a slave as three-fifths of a human being; moreover, this provision was inserted not to protect the rights of the enslaved but to boost the electoral power of the slave states. Such a provision was not the only institutional failure of the Constitution. The arrangement of the new federal government in the Constitution was highly unrepresentative. The president was elected indirectly through the Electoral College, while the Supreme Court was completely appointed. In the remaining branch of government, the upper house, the Senate, provided for each state to have equal representation without regard for how many people lived in the state. By diluting the power of the franchise, the Constitution made a system that was destined to be unrepresentative even more undemocratic. Only the House of Representatives nominally derived its power from the people, and its character was deeply affected by who could and could not vote. The Constitution allowed states to set norms for who could vote in elections and who could not. In the early United States, that meant that people who did not own sufficient property, enslaved people, and women were denied the vote. A government allegedly founded on the idea of “no taxation without representation” violated this rallying cry of the American Revolution. As a result of the Constitution, a majority of people in the early United States could not vote for their representatives. Rather than promoting a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” the Constitution sanctioned practices and structured institutions that were unrepresentative. Ordinary people, whether because they were enslaved, because they were women, or because they were working-class people, lived and worked without any real power. Instead, a small minority of wealthy and powerful men ruled over the majority of the population; the source of their power was the undemocratic Constitution of the United States.
  11. 11. Teaching effective writing in history/social studies Evidence Based Writing
  12. 12. Writing Topic:  If we took this photo 25 years from now, what would it look like? Cite at least three pieces of historical evidence to support this conclusion.
  13. 13. Describe everything you see in the picture:
  14. 14.  Who are these people?  What evidence is there in the photo to justify your hypothesis?
  15. 15. Compare these two photos:
  16. 16.  Which photo is older? What evidence is there to support your hypothesis?  What assumptions have informed your answers?
  17. 17. Writing Topic:  If we took this photo 25 years from now, what would it look like? Cite at least three pieces of historical evidence to support this conclusion.
  18. 18. Everybody Writes  What events have changed our society since the 1920s?  Think of as many as you can  For example:  Moon landing  Roe v. Wade  Cold War
  19. 19. Ranking  Look at your list  Rank them from the most important (had the biggest impact on society) to the least important (had the least impact on society)  Be prepared to defend your responses!
  20. 20. Come to Consensus  In your groups, come to consensus with your rankings.
  21. 21. Everybody Writes  Select one event. How would it have impacted the makeup of the Supreme Court?
  22. 22. Round Robin Share  At your tables, share out.  Try to TAG your peers:  Tell something you liked  Ask a question  Give a suggestion
  23. 23. Writing Topic  If we took this photo 25 years from now, what would it look like? Cite at least three pieces of historical evidence to support this conclusion.
  24. 24. What is the important outcome from this assignment:  Students are able to:  Demonstrate content knowledge by describing three historical events  State an opinion  Support it with evidence from history  Describe the impact of events  Connect events to an outcome  Demonstrate the relationship and roles historical events play in our contemporary lives
  25. 25. Does it have to be an essay?  Could it be:  A podcast?  A video journal?  A journal page from the year 2039?  A sample textbook chapter from the future?  A Supreme Court decision?  A debate?
  26. 26. But how will I know they’ve effectively learned the content?
  27. 27. Collaboratively Build a Rubric  Ask:  What am I going to grade?  How will you know you’ve completed the assignment in a proficient manner?
  28. 28. Once you’ve identified key elements, define proficiency  What does proficient look like?
  29. 29. Give them a Mentor Text  Write your own response  Walk students through assessing your exemplar
  30. 30. Let them get to work!
  31. 31. Questions?