Writing the Ship

Historical writing has been a Challenge for seventh graders this year. While synthesizing information into a unique argument is always difficult, this year student historians have struggled to put that argument into words. As this is the most important component of History Fair, we’re spending lots of time righting the ship. Making slow but steady progress.

Today’s lesson was designed to have students evaluate their own work. Some students used highlighters others used their devices; whatever the method, students took a critical eye to their own work to identify gaps in the argument. We used the familiar topic sentence-evidence-analysis structure to tighten their arguments. Students should come home today with packets that looks like this: 

  • Topic sentences (blue) should state the claim and introduce the purpose of the paragraph/label.
  • Evidence (yellow) should be factual information related to that claim. Strong evidence includes quotes, statistics, accomplishments and specific actions.  
  • Analysis (pink) is your interpretation of that evidence.

The purpose of highlighting is to point out what exactly is missing. (Note that Jason/Thomas noted missing analysis after this exercise.) If you’re looking to guide students on writing, this should help.