Students write at their desks.
Assessment

Refining the Thesis and Finalizing Evidence Logs

In the final step of the unit assessment, students will think about unit as a whole as they answer the writing prompt and start to prepare to write a strong thesis statement for their essay.

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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 finishing this unit, students will need time to complete their evidence logs, develop and refine their thesis statements, organize their evidence into an outline, and draft, revise, and edit their essays. The suggested activities that are presented below will help your students think about the unit as a whole as they answer the writing prompt, as well as start to prepare them to write a strong thesis statement for their essay. For ideas and resources for teaching the remaining steps of the writing process from outlining to publishing, we encourage you to consult the Common Core Writing Prompts and Strategies supplement and the online Teaching Strategies collection for activities and graphic organizers to support your teaching.

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

  • 4 activities
  • 3 teaching strategies

Preparing to Teach

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Lesson Plans

Activities

  • Now that students have completed all of the lessons for this unit, ask them to complete a Rapid-Fire Writing entry in response to the writing prompt:
    What does learning about the choices people made during the Weimar Republic, the rise of the Nazi Party, and the Holocaust teach us about the power and impact of our choices today?
  • Have students debrief their writing with a partner, in a small group, or in a class discussion.
  • Students should add to their evidence logs events any information from Lessons 22 and 23 that helps them answer the essay question.
  • Now that students have gathered their evidence and written numerous journal entries, use the Fishbowl strategy to discuss the following questions, and encourage students to pose their own unanswered questions about the unit and writing prompt:
    • Which choices made by individuals, groups, and nations in the history that you have learned about so far in this unit seemed most significant? How do those choices seem similar to or different from the important choices facing people in the world today?
    • How does the evidence you gathered today confirm or challenge your thinking about the writing prompt?
    • What have you learned over the course of this unit about the relationship between choices people made in the past and the power and impact of your choices today? Which text (reading, video, image), lesson, or activity was most significant in helping your understand this relationship?

Depending on what sort of instruction and practice your students have had with thesis statements, you may want to give them an opportunity to practice evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of sample thesis statements before refining their own. You can learn more through Strategy 17: Thesis Sorting in the Common Core Writing Prompts and Strategiessupplement.

  • On exit cards, ask students to respond to the writing prompt in a statement that takes a clear stance, addresses all elements of the prompt, and can be defended with evidence from the unit.
  • You can give students written or oral feedback on their working thesis statements in the next lesson and use the information from the exit cards to determine what skills you may need to (re)teach so that students are equipped to write strong thesis statements.

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