Two female students writing at their desk.
Assessment

Introducing Evidence Logs

In step 2 of the unit assessment, students start to gather evidence from historical sources that supports or challenges their initial thinking about the writing prompt.

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At a Glance

Assessment

Language

English — US

Subject

  • History
  • Social Studies

Grade

6–8

Duration

One 50-min class period
  • The Holocaust

Overview

About This Assessment

After students have completed Lesson 8: The Weimar Republic, it is an appropriate time to revisit and revise the working thesis statements they drafted in the initial assessment step Introducing the Writing Prompt. At that time, students were introduced to the first part of the writing prompt, which did not include the specific historical events they are studying in this unit, and they developed an initial position for an argumentative essay in response to a question about the importance and impact of choices in history. Now that students have learned about the Weimar Republic, they will reflect on the writing prompt a second time by adding this historical lens. It is important that students keep the materials for the essay (journal reflections, evidence logs, writing handouts) in a safe place, because they will refer back to them over the course of the unit in preparation to write the essay assessment.

This assessment is designed to fit into one 50-min class period and includes:

  • 4 activities
  • 4 teaching strategies

Preparing to Teach

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Lesson Plans

Activities

  • Ask students to reread their journal responses from Introducing the Writing Prompt and then respond to the following question:

    What does learning about the choices people made during the Weimar Republic teach us about the power and impact of our choices in the world today?

  • Have students share their ideas with a partner or small group, or you might use the Two-Minute Interview strategy and encourage students to add new ideas to their journal responses that expand or challenge their thinking about the prompt.

If you have not yet taught students how to annotate or paraphrase sources, you might want to devote a class period to modeling and practicing this skill. You could select a reading from Lesson 8: The Weimar Republic to reread with the class, modeling annotating and paraphrasing sources, or you might select a new reading about the Weimar Republic from Chapter 4 of Holocaust and Human Behavior that they didn’t already read.

  • We recommend that students start to gather evidence that supports or challenges their initial thinking about the writing prompt at this point in the unit. Evidence logs provide a place where students can centralize and organize evidence they collect over the course of a unit. There are two templates for evidence logs on our website and an additional index card format in the Common Core Writing Prompts and Strategies Holocaust and Human Behavior supplement.

  • Before students start to collect their own evidence, it is helpful if you model the process by doing a “think-aloud” where you complete the first row of an evidence log on the board. In your think-aloud, you might first select a piece of evidence that is irrelevant to the topic and then explain to the class why you are not going to use it. Then select a relevant piece of evidence and enter it into the chart.

  • Students should work individually, in pairs, or in small groups to gather evidence from their readings and class notes about the Weimar Republic that helps them answer the essay topic question.

  • After students have gathered their evidence, have them share their findings and add more evidence to their logs using the Give One, Get One strategy.

  • Final Reflection
    In a final journal response or on exit cards, ask students to respond to the following questions:

    • Has any evidence that you recorded confirmed your initial thinking about the topic question?

    • Has any evidence that you recorded conflicted with or challenged your initial thinking about the topic question?

    • Which choices by individuals, groups, and nations in the history that you have learned about so far in this unit seemed most significant? What made those choices powerful or impactful?

In a final journal response or on exit cards, ask students to respond to the following questions:

  • Has any evidence that you recorded confirmed your initial thinking about the topic question?

  • Has any evidence that you recorded conflicted with or challenged your initial thinking about the topic question?

  • Which choices by individuals, groups, and nations in the history that you have learned about so far in this unit seemed most significant? What made those choices powerful or impactful?

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