The Evidence Logs strategy provides a place where students can centralize and organize evidence they collect over the course of a unit. Creating these logs is particularly helpful when you introduce a writing prompt that students will be revisiting. Collecting evidence is an important part of essay writing because it allows students to weigh different sides of an argument and eventually craft theses that they are able to defend. By organizing evidence in a central location or structure, students are able to review the information they’ve collected and pick clear and relevant reasons to support their thinking. You might also use this strategy to help students organize evidence they find that is related to a unit or lesson’s essential question.
Introduce one or both of the evidence logs in the accompanying handout to your class before you start studying a history. Explain to students that as they study different documents and watch different historical footage, they will record textual evidence to use when they respond to a writing prompt. Explain that the goal is to collect evidence from multiple perspectives and keep it in their notes to use throughout the unit. Students will later review the variety of evidence and use it both to determine and support an argument in response to the prompt.
As they collect evidence, make sure that students are recording the details of each primary or secondary source. Model for students the type of information they need to include about each source (author, title, publisher, date, page, type of source). You might want to keep a poster on the wall to remind students of these details or give them a handout they can tape into their notebooks. The following are helpful resources (both of these sites post information about MLA and APA styles):
Note: The handout below contains two evidence logs. We anticipate and hope that you will modify, adapt, and create evidence logs to best fit the needs of your particular students and classroom context.