At a Glance
LanguageEnglish — US
- Civics & Citizenship
- English & Language Arts
- Social Studies
About This Teaching Strategy
Use this strategy to stimulate students’ thinking as they investigate an essential question or search for evidence in response to an essay prompt over the course of a unit of study. In this strategy, students formulate initial positions and arguments in response to a question or prompt and then share them with each other through a structured procedure. That way they can test, refine, and strengthen their ideas as they share their ideas and hear the ideas of others. Students will practice being active listeners or readers—an essential skill for learning new information.
Steps for Implementation
Ask students to divide a sheet of paper into two vertical columns. Label the left side “Give One” and the right side “Get One.”
Ask students to respond to a question such as “Do you agree that laws are the most important factor in overcoming discrimination? Why or why not?” Students should write their ideas on the left-hand column on their paper. They do not need to write complete sentences; responses can be in list form.
Tell students to walk around and find a partner. Each partner “gives,” or shares, items from his or her list. For example, Partner A shares his/her responses until Partner B hears something that is not already on his/her list. Partner B writes the new response in the right-hand column on the paper, along with Partner A’s name. Once Partner B has “gotten” one, the roles switch. Students repeat this process with other peers until time runs out.
As students share their ideas, teachers should keep notes. Pay particular attention to these details:
- Patterns of insight, understanding, or strong historical reasoning
- Patterns of confusion, historical inaccuracies, facile connections, or thinking that indicates students are making overly simplified comparisons between past and present
The goal is for students to share text-based evidence effectively and accurately. The following categories can guide you, the teacher, as you listen to your students’ discussion. Listen for these elements:
- Factual and interpretive accuracy: offering evidence that is correct and interpretations that are plausible
- Persuasiveness of evidence: including evidence that is relevant and strong in terms of helping to prove the claim
- Sourcing of evidence: noting what the source is and its credibility and/or bias
- Corroboration of evidence: recognizing how different documents work together to support a claim
- Contextualization of evidence: placing the evidence into its appropriate historical context
As students debrief, weave in feedback. Affirm their insights. Highlight strong historical reasoning and text-based arguments. Choose one or two misconceptions about the content to address. Point out areas where students may want to reevaluate the ways they are connecting past and present.
After this strategy, you will want to debrief in a class discussion and/or a journal writing session. Prompts for journal writing include:
- How might you respond to the prompt or essential question now?
- What did you learn today? How does this information relate to the prompt or essential question?
- What else do you want to know?
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