Using elementary Evidence-Based Terms in social studies classrooms

Another excellent, thought provoking topic. I have spoken with colleagues, students, and my own children about necessary links between language arts and social studies in much the same way that science and math are linked. Expression of true understanding of social studies topics requires strong verbal and writing skills. Conversely, education on how to present strong verbal and written work showing clear and organized thought and research in social studies topics will strengthen language arts skills.

Doing Social Studies

evidence-based-terms2 As we move into a social studies world that is asking kids to collect evidence, organize evidence, create products, and communicate results , writing skills are becoming more and more important.

But for the last ten years or so, at least in the state of Kansas, we’ve asked kids to focus instead on memorizing content. So now when we’re asking our middle school and high school students to not just write more but to use evidence while proving assertions, we get a lot of blank stares.

My suggestion?

Steal a practice used by a lot of elementary teachers and start training your secondary kids to use evidence-based terms while writing.

Evidence-based terms are simple phrases that support the use of, well . . . evidence. So if we ask kids to look a couple of primary source documents and develop a thesis from their analysis, they have some scaffolding to…

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