Facing History and Ourselves Bullying Summit September 29th 2012 in Los Angeles CA

Refining the Thesis and Finalizing Evidence Logs

Students reflect on the unit as a whole and begin to write a strong thesis statement for their essay.


Last Updated:

At a Glance



English — US


  • History




One 50-min class period
  • Genocide
  • The Holocaust
  • Human & Civil Rights


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.

How can learning about the choices people made during past episodes of injustice, mass violence, or genocide help guide our choices today?


This assessment includes:

  • 4 activities
  • 3 teaching strategies
  • 1 book

Preparing to Teach

Save this resource for easy access later.

Save resources to create collections for your class or to review later. It's fast, easy, and free!
Have a Workspace already? Log In



  • Now that students have completed all of the lessons for this unit, ask them to complete a entry in response to unit assessment prompt:
    Over the course of this unit, you have examined the atrocities committed by the Ottoman government during the Armenian Genocide, the rise of Nazi Party in Germany following World War I, and the pursuit of racial purity in Nazi Germany that resulted in the murder of 6 million Jewish individuals and millions of other civilians during the Holocaust. You have also looked closely at the choices made by individuals, groups, and nations that led to these events. For the culminating unit assessment, you will construct a written argument that you support with examples from these historical cases in response to the following question: How can learning about the choices people made during past episodes of injustice, mass violence, or genocide help guide our choices today?
  • Have students debrief their rapid writing with a partner, in a small group, or together as a class.
  • Students should add to their evidence logs events any information from Lessons 23 to 25 that helps them answer the essay topic question. As in previous lessons where you gathered evidence, start the process together as a class by making a list of readings, handouts, and videos from these lessons that help students answer the essay topic 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 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?
    • What have you learned over the course of this unit about how the choices people made in the past can help inform how we respond to injustices in the world today? Which text (reading, video, image), lesson, or activity was most significant in helping you 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 Strategies supplement.

  • On exit cards, ask students to respond to the writing prompt in a statement that takes a clear stance, includes reference to the historical moments they will address, 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.

How are you planning to use this resource?

Tell Us More

You might also be interested in…

Unlimited Access to Learning. More Added Every Month.

Facing History & Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

Using the strategies from Facing History is almost like an awakening.
— Claudia Bautista, Santa Monica, Calif