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Writing for Social Studies. Writing is thinking. When students write in Social Studies they must think critically about the events and issues they are studying.  Four basic types of writing are frequently used in Social Studies:  reporting, exposition, narration, and argumentation. 

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Writing for social studies

Writing for Social Studies

Writing is thinking. When students write in Social Studies they must think critically about the events and issues they are studying.  Four basic types of writing are frequently used in Social Studies:  reporting, exposition, narration, and argumentation. 

Students can report the basic facts about an event or person.  They can explain an idea or compare and contrast events.  Students can narrate an event from the point of view of a participant, or argue and defend or refute an idea or belief.  All of these types of writing demand that students think critically about the content they are exploring. This is true whether the student is writing one sentence, one paragraph, or a whole essay.

All writing, no matter what the purpose, has four basic parts: introduction, basic facts, explanation, conclusion


The question

THE QUESTION

  • Describe

  • Explain

  • Compare/Contrast

  • Evaluate

  • Analyze

  • AND OTHERS

  • Identify the TOPIC

Before you can write, you need to understand the task.

  • Identify ADDITIONAL FOCUS (usually a prepositional phrase)

  • Location

  • Time period

  • Restrictions

  • Groups/Peoples

  • Quantities

  • AND OTHERS


Introduction

INTRODUCTION

The INTRODUCTION simply introduces the TOPIC. Make the TOPIC known. Very simply, restate the question without the “critical thinking” direction. Do so in a complete sentence. Do not begin new information in the same sentence. If this is a longer writing, it is acceptable to continue with a brief summary to “set the stage” for the reader to know the content of the essay.

  • NEVER NEVERNEVER list a preview statement. This is now considered “poor writing.”

  • TRY following the introduction with a CLAIM: an argument or opinion about the topic you will prove as you continue. Depending on you “critical thinking” direction, a claim may be required.


Let us practice

  • Assess why the British failed to win the war in the South.

  • Describe how the British were finally defeated.

  • Explain how the war and the peace treaty affected minority groups and women.

  • Assess the impact of the American Revolution on other countries.

LET US PRACTICE

Write a short essay describing the American Revolution.


Basic facts

BASIC FACTS

  • Brainstorm what you can

  • Use previous notes

  • Research additional information

  • Sort them in a way appropriate for the QUESTION

  • Toss any facts that do not fit the format

  • LISTING, EVALUATING, AND SORTING BASIC FACTS DOES NOT STOP UNTIL THE WRITING IS COMPLETE – you may need to toss weak facts or find new ones to fill holes or answer new questions

BASIC FACTS need to be listed, evaluated, and sorted. This is where “prewriting” is necessary.


Let us practice1

LET US PRACTICE

Write a short essay describing the American Revolution.

Initial Incident


Explaination

EXPLAINATION

  • Create a sequence – either chronological or more of a “summersault effect” linking one to another

  • Refer back to the “critical thinking” direction – EXPLAIN the FACT through description, explanation, evaluation, assessment, judgment…

  • It may be helpful to repeat the TOPIC and/or ADDITONAL FOCUS occasionally to stay on task

  • Inserting EXPLAINATION breaks up the facts to prevent unacceptable lists. List can only be allowed if the facts grouped together share the same explanation

FACTS need to be EXPLAINED. How does this FACT connect to the TOPIC? How do the FACTS connect to other FACTS?


Conclusion

CONCLUSION

The CONCLUSION neatly ends the writing by wrapping up all lose ends. One of the simplest ways to think about this is, “if I could answer the question in one sentence, how could this be done?” It is NOT the same as restating the INTRODUCTION, but it does repeat the TOPIC and possible ADDITIONAL FOCUS.

anything

  • NEVER NEVERNEVER list a preview statement. This is now considered “poor writing.”

  • IF YOU MADE A CLAIM: restate the claim AS A FACT.


Basic rules

  • Use facts

  • --

  • Do not assume

  • Write full name of acronyms

  • No “text speak”

  • Do not abbreviate

  • ---

  • refer to people by LAST name (after you call them by FIRST and LAST)

  • Do not assume

  • Do not assume

  • No contractions

  • Capitalize correctly

  • ALWAYS 3rd person

  • ALWAYS 3rd person

  • ALWAYS 3rd person

  • past tense

  • There. It is lazy to start a sentence.

  • Never assume anything

  • Use synonyms

BASIC RULES


Your turn

YOUR TURN!

Write a short essay describing the American Revolution. This is FORMAL WRITING.

You may hand write it on this paper, on notebook paper, or you may type it.

Follow the Basic Rules

Use the RUBRIC to know how you will be scored.

This is due MONDAY – you may bring in a copy tomorrow for me to check

This powerpoint will be posted online.


Introduction1

Setting

Action

Character

Reflection

Event

Dialogue

Quotation

Question

Fact

- location, time, people/groups involved

Introduction:

- More of a “creative writing” starter, like a documentary that start with the most exciting event to get the audience hooked, then they take it back to the beginning to connect the dots

- (example: George Washington led the Patriots to victory in the American Revolution”

- (example: Looking back, the American Revolution set into motion a series of events that would produce the modern world.)

TOPIC: American Revolution

HOW TO BEGIN/INTRODUCE: SACRED QQF

Once you have your starter/introduction, you transition into your EXPOSITION. Do not be afraid to use words like “causes/d” (“The American Revolution was caused by..,”). You need to smooth the movement from INTRODUCTION to FACTS with TRANSITION. Transitions do not have to be single words or phrases – a explanation can serve as a transition.