Citing Evidence in Elementary School History with the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution

Friday, January 2, 2015: 3:50 PM
Sutton North (New York Hilton)
Tuyen Tran, University of California, Davis
This presentation will begin with an introduction to the CCSS reading standards and the skills involved in citing evidence.  Citing evidence requires much more than properly citing the source of the evidence in an essay.  Students must learn how to differentiate between reasons (or generalizations or conclusions) and evidence; recognize evidence in a text; select logical and relevant evidence to support a conclusion; explain how the evidence supports the conclusion; and use the evidence properly in speaking both formally and informally.  In writing, students must learn how to introduce quotations, how to analyze evidence, how to paraphrase evidence in an indirect quotation, and how to cite evidence both within the text and in Chicago-style footnotes or endnotes.  To help student master these skills, teachers need to use strategies that introduce each of these steps sequentially, build on their learning, and give them lots of practice.  However, those strategies have to be embedded in content so that students will see the applicability and significance of evidence to history.  After this talk, audience members will actively engage in some of the activities from a 5th grade lesson on the preamble to the Constitution.  The lesson’s historical focus question is: What was the purpose of the Preamble?  It has students compare two drafts of the preamble to see the evolution of the document toward a vision of national unity.  The audience will have an opportunity to develop and practice their paraphrasing skills as students would in studying the Preamble.  In addition, they will learn how to guide students through selecting evidence in preparation for writing.  To close is a discussion of how to make best use of writing frames and prompts to support student writing in the 5th grade.
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