Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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History/Social Studies

Argument Writing

Writing Step 1: Sorting and Deliberating Evidence

A major step in being able to sort and deliberate about evidence is to consider ways that the essential question of the investigation can be answered. Making claims in response to the question often involves developing an interpretation or taking a position. Teachers can simplify this aspect of writing by asking students to “take a side.”

This first writing strategy begins by utilizing the analysis students made of the sources while reading. When students go to write, they can use their annotations of the texts to compare pieces of evidence. This is a process of deliberating about the evidence and sorting annotations in order to develop an interpretation.

At this step of writing, certain graphic organizers (T-chart, Venn Diagram, etc.) can support students in separating evidence into opposing sides for opposing claims. One way to sort evidence is “evidence for” versus “evidence against.” Another would be to sort evidence into three categories of “evidence that supports only side 1,” “evidence shared by both sides,” and “evidence that only supports side 2.” More complex forms of sorting evidence include tracking and comparing key points made by different sources.

Explore: Check out these graphic organizers students can use to categorize their ideas when investigating the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955–1956: Rosa Parks: 5-Day Lesson Plan [PDF] and Rosa Parks: 3-Day Lesson Plan [PDF].