Once we tackled the basics of thesis statements with our workshop, we developed additional supports to help students as they write their argument-based thesis statement and essay.Essay Roadmap The essay roadmap is our thesis graphic organizer on steroids.
Thesis Statement Writing Workshop Our thesis statement writing workshop allows students to think critically; collaborate; and develop the building blocks for developing strong, clearly written thesis statements.
Students travel through five different stations during the class period, learning how to craft thesis statements supported by evidence.
Then, we use a video created by Andrew Kappel, titled "How to Write a Thesis Statement for Beginners," to introduce the concept.
Next, we model for students how to use our graphic organizer based on the Superman example explained in the video: we introduce an issue, take a position on it, and provide three reasons for support.
We wanted to create a clear and concise way for students to collect and organize their thoughts.
We began by defining a thesis statement: A thesis statement is one or more sentences on an issue or topic that takes a position and offers reasons for support.As mothers of elementary-aged students, and as educators at the middle school level, we couldn't help but notice that the work in elementary-level social studies classes was very different.Our kids were learning a lot about historical figures and topics in the primary grades, but were rarely asked to make an argument about these areas of study.This activity gives them a chance to build an evidence-based argument without asking them to do research, which makes the lesson far more accessible.Closure: Write Your Own (Exit Pass) After students have completed one or more of the station-based activities, they go out into the world and write a thesis statement on a topic of their choosing.It's our job to teach kids that history is not a series of dates or important people.Historical study is an opportunity to make sense of the past and, in doing so, to create clearly stated, evidence-based arguments about it. Just like students write hypotheses in science class, they should be writing evidence-based thesis statements in early-grades history units.This multi-year journey has led us to create a variety of tools that can be used in a writing workshop model or as stand-alone instructional activities.Although we started out with a focus on history, civics, English, and science teachers have also used these tools have successfully throughout our school and district.Station 5: Thesis CSI Students review cards with evidence statements——quotes, statistics, and data—on a specific topic.Students use the evidence to create a thesis statement and then record it in the graphic organizer.