English 9 Regents: Part I- Forming Evidence-Based Claims

Days 1-3 (Part I of the Odell unit):

Students independently read/highlighted/annotated (RHA-ed), and I had them paraphrase sentence-by-sentence,  the first two paragraphs of “Apology” by Plato.   I then posed three questions that they had to respond to using only information from the eleven sentences that they’d read.  All responses had to have textual evidence appropriately embedded and cited within them, and students had to explain their answers.  The questions asked were:

1.  What is Socrates accused of?

2.  How does Socrates make it clear that he is innocent?

3.  How does Socrates distinguish himself from other teachers?

After rating their responses (each question was out of 10 points), I returned their papers so that they could use them for the next activity.

We first went over a model of a Forming Evidence-Based Claims worksheet that related to question 2 (the claim made on the model is: Socrates believes that he is innocent).   We looked at how the responder chose three pieces of textual evidence that seemed to go together, explained what he/she thought about each quotation, briefly discussed the connection, and then- finally- made a definite claim about the textual evidence.  I then had the students go head-to-head with a partner, and instructed half the class to work with the claims made in question 1 (above) and the other half to work with question 3.   This way, everyone had something tangible to work with that they had already put some thought into.

Using their paraphrases and responses to the questions, the students then filled out a Forming Evidence-Based Claims worksheet.

Brandon Forming EBC Paragraph 1-2


This is Brandon’s response to question three (How does Socrates distinguish himself from other teachers?).  He needs to work on making a stronger claim by telling us HOW, not just THAT Socrates is different.  However, his first two “thoughts” show promise for some decent support.  The third “thought” shows that he didn’t really get what Socrates was saying about teachers and being paid.  I will give Brandon this feedback that I am putting here, and then I will look for growth in his next Forming EBC worksheet for paragraphs 3-6.



Robby Forming EBC Paragraph 1-2

This is Robby’s response to question 1 (What is Socrates accused of?).  In this claim, you can see that Robby takes the extra step of giving more than one thing that Socrates is accused of.   His claim has more “meat” to it than Brandon’s; however, his first choice of details to support the claim is taken out of context.  I will suggest that he stick to stronger textual evidence to better back up his claim.


Just before they began work, I asked the students to examine the language in the left-hand column of the worksheet.  The first box tells them to “Find details” in the text.  This is something I have asked them to do all year, except that I used different phrasing.  In previous textual exercises (such as with Mercutio’s Queen Mab speech in Act I, scene iv of Romeo and Juliet), I had asked them to write down ten things they SEE in his speech (quotations) that reveal something about Mercutio’s character.  This is the same exercise using a preformed worksheet instead of just a list from 1-10 (I usually make them come up with ten details, share their ideas with a partner, and check off the things they have in common because those are usually the obvious details).  This worksheet asks for three.

The second box tells them to “Connect the details” and explain what they think about what they have selected.  I have also asked students to come up with three things they THINK about what they have seen/heard/read in any of the activities.   For the Romeo and Juliet exercise mentioned above, students had to come up with three things they thought about Mercutio’s character based on the text they selected.

The last box asks students to “Make a claim” about what they have written.  This is a variation of the final piece of a Visible Thinking activity that we have worked with all year… what the student WONDERS based on what he has read and thought.

Once I explained the worksheet as a SEE/THINK/WONDER exercise, the students had a much easier time determining what it was that they were supposed to put in the boxes.   Also, because we have done this exercise routinely throughout the year, I saw fairly strong responses as opposed to the ones in the model provided by Odell.

Based on the correlations above, it is my claim that whoever created this worksheet has some training or background in Visible Thinking activities.



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Filed under Domain 2: Classroom Environment, Domain 3: Instruction, English 9 Regents, Visible Thinking

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