Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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History/Social Studies

Reading and Analyzing Texts

Using Texts as Evidence

Begin by considering the purposes of using texts within investigations. While there are numerous purposes for the use of text in history and social studies classrooms, they are described here specifically as potential evidence in the process of addressing essential questions and developing and evaluating historical claims.

Not all texts are written the same way. Some texts pose arguments (e.g., a political campaign speech); others do not (e.g., a tax record). Some describe a cause and effect while others compare and contrast concepts. One task of teachers who incorporate disciplinary literacy practices into their classroom is to assist students in thinking about how the text is structured and how this structure is and is not helpful in exploring the essential question. Teachers will need to support students to think about the original meaning of texts and how they provide evidence for the investigation at hand.

Video and Reflection: Watch Identifying Evidence from Multiple Sources as an example of using texts as evidence in the classroom. You may want to take notes on the questions below.

  • Before you watch: Think about to what extent you and your colleagues use texts as evidence in making arguments. What questions or concerns do you have about working with texts as evidence in arguments?
  • Watch the video: As you watch, notice how Ms. Gore uses texts as evidence in her classroom. What does she do to help students use texts as evidence?


Identifying Evidence from Multiple Sources

Jesse Gore teaches students how to analyze evidence from primary and secondary sources in order to defend ideas.

Teacher: Jesse Gore

School: Dillard Drive Middle School, Raleigh, NC

Grade: 7

Discipline: History

Lesson Topic: Napoleon Bonaparte: A hero or a tyrant?

Lesson Month: November

Number of Students: 28

  • Reflect: How might the ideas about using texts as evidence from this video be incorporated into your own teaching?