Argumentative Writing in the History Classroom & Connections to the English Classroom - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Argumentative Writing in the History Classroom & Connections to the English Classroom

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  1. Argumentative Writing in the History Classroom & Connections to the English Classroom Stan Pesick / Bay Area Writing Project / 11-6-13

  2. Getting Started: Working With The Things They Carried Read the excerpt from The Things They Carried (1990) by Tim O’Brien • identify a big idea O’Brien wants the reader to understand • annotate pieces of text that might help the reader understand this big idea. You might also note how he uses language to establish this idea. Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  3. Developing an Argumentative Writing Prompt Step 1 - In groups of three, or in table groups, discuss the various responses to the reading and, as a group, develop an argumentative writing prompt for one of your classrooms (can be either history or English – or other). Step 2 - Prepare to share prompt and the class it’s designed for with the larger group, explaining: • What makes it an English or history focused prompt? • Expectations – Given the disciplinary focus, what are your expectations, in terms of evidence and reasoning, for a thoughtful response? • Instructional implications – Given your prompt, what content knowledge, academic language skills, thinking skills, and, if any, additional texts would students need to develop this thoughtful response? • Given these implications - What is one thing you might do in your classroom to help students develop their response? Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  4. What makes an a good argumentative writing prompt?What makes a good historical writing prompt? 1. Generates discussion and encourages varied points of view. 2. Narrow enough to be answerable in a short paper. 3. Demands an answer that is not just yes or no. 4. Demands a critical or careful reading of the text(s). 5. Moves beyond opinion, into connecting claim, evidence, and reasoning 6. Phrased in such a way that the question doesn't predetermine the answer. Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  5. Sharing and Comparing Ideas: What Makes a Good Prompt? • Large group share out of prompts, expectations, instructional implications, and practices Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  6. Turning Our Attention to History: How Might it Lead the Way Towards Improved Argumentative Writing? • What makes a good historical argument? What key aspects, and core skills, of argumentative writing are embedded in the study and the writing of history? Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  7. What is a History Paper?* History papers usually include a narrative that recounts “what happened.” Narrative is a basic element of history writing, and it is crucial that the account of the past events is accurate. Nevertheless, a series of factual statements about the past, however precise they may be, does not constitute a history paper. You will not have written a history paper if you report that something happened. Rather, a history paper explores how and why something happened and its significance. * from Mary Lynn Rampolla, “A Pocket Guide to Writing History, Beford/St. Martins Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  8. What is a History Paper?* A history paper, like other academic writing, usually takes the form of an argument in support of a thesis. A thesis is not a statement of fact, a question, or an opinion, nor is it the same as the topic. A thesis is a statement that reflects conclusions about the specific topic of the paper, based on a critical analysis of the source materials examined. A thesis informs the reader about the conclusion reached. A thesis is always an arguable or debatable point. The purpose of a history paper is to present the reader with enough evidence to convince him or her that the thesis is correct. The thesis is the central point to which all information in the paper relates. * from Mary Lynn Rampolla, “A Pocket Guide to Writing History, Beford/St. Martins Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  9. Inquiry Question: “Was the Vietnam War in the best interest of the American people?” • What do you know about the war America fought in Vietnam? • Do you know enough to make a judgment about whether or not fighting the war was in the best interest of the American people? • If so, what do you think and why? • If not, what else might you need to know? Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  10. Getting started – Working with an Historical Question, Evidence, and Argument • First take – based on current knowledge – “Was the Vietnam War in the best interest of the American people?” • Read “Overview of Vietnam War” from Digital History • Read source documents connected to the inquiry question • Write an opening paragraph to an essay that answers the inquiry question • Bullet out the focus of the body paragraphs to follow. Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  11. Possible Historical Background and Context to Consider • A coherent narrative (1945 – 1972) of how the United States got involved in Vietnam, the involvement evolved through the course of the war, and the American public’s varying responses – The following pieces should be included in this narrative • Vietnam’s place in the world – size and location • Vietnam in the context of the Cold War; the beginnings of U.S. intervention (Eisenhower and Kennedy) • - the Vietcong and the “National Liberation Front” • - the “domino theory” • - Geneva Convention, 1954 • The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution (1964) • U.S. military strategy - ground and air wars • Mobilizing to fight – controversies around the draft and its role in supplying soldiers • Societal divisions caused by the war – “hawks” and “doves”; the generation gap • Changing public opinion on the war • 1968 and the Tet Offensive • Johnson’s decision not to run for reelection • The election of 1968 and how it impacted the war and the home front – from the party conventions to Nixon; from Nixon to Vietnamization; to expanded airwar; to increased anti- war protests • Revelations of the My Lai Massacre (1969) • What happened at Kent State and Jackson State Universities (1970) • The election of 1972 • The legacy of Vietnam Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  12. Writing to the Question: Academic Processes Used and Challenges Faced What disciplinary and academic processes and knowledge did you draw upon as you prepared to write? What disciplinary processes and knowledge did you draw on as you developed your response to the question? Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  13. Developing a Vocabulary for Writing and Thinking Preparing to Write: Important Vocabulary – What important vocabulary might you use for each of the three categories as develop your essay in response to the inquiry question? Content vocabulary Conceptual vocabulary Disciplinary vocabulary Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  14. Working with Historical Content and Evidence: Historical Thinking and Reasoning Focus • Determining the appropriate analytical frame (criterion based evaluation, cost/benefit,cause & effect, multiple causation, etc.) • Sourcing - Using information about the document’s origin to analyze for perspective, reliability, and accuracy. • Corroboration – Identifying and explaining similarities and differences between texts. • Contextualization - background knowledge necessary to use a document as evidence and answer the question Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  15. Why is all this Important? Big Goals for History Instruction “ We must prepare ourselves for the possibility that these people whose lives we are sharing for the moment are not necessarily earlier versions of ourselves whom we can know just by knowing ourselves...To attempt to capture their [his emphasis] way of doing things, their consciousness, their world view, is the stuff of history, the quest that gives historians purpose" - Lawrence Levine, Historian, 1988 "The challenge that teachers face is how to make effective instructional use of the personal and cultural knowledge of students while at the same time helping them to reach beyond their own cultural boundaries" - James Banks, Multicultural Educator, 1993 Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13

  16. Looking Ahead: Building Cross-Disciplinary Bridges • A focus on mutually supportive instruction in the service or argumentative writing – it’s hard work connecting claim, evidence, and reasoning • Reflections – What do you take back to your colleagues and sites about the role history might play in helping students develop the academic literacy skills necessary to write strong arguments? • What academic challenges are shared across the disciplines? • What instructional practices would reinforce each other and support student success in both classrooms? Stan Pesick / BAWP / 11-6-13