Tag Archives: Organizing Evidence Based Claims

English 9 Regents: Part III- Organizing Evidence-Based Claims

The next part of the Evidence-Based Claims unit is Organizing Evidence-Based Claims.  As I looked over this particular worksheet, I noticed a similarity to work that I have done previously when we worked on the research papers.  The Organizing Evidence-Based Claims worksheet allows for an expanded claim that includes two points, and then the two points are separated out so that evidence may be given in support of each point.  This is like the thesis statements we created during the research project.  Students had to make a claim (take a position) about a topic, and then back it up with two reasons (signposts) why the reader should agree with them.

What I have here is the progression of two students from Forming EBCs, to Making EBCs, and finally Organizing EBCs.   You can see the growth in the train of thought as they worked through paragraphs 7-12 of Plato’s “Apology.”

Jessica’s progress: Forming EBCs

Jessie 1

I questioned Jess’s use of the word “unique” in her claim.  What was it she was really trying to say about Socrates at that point?  I also asked for pronoun clarification.  Who is the “they” she is referring to?

Jessica: Making EBCs

Jessie 2

While the first claim may be an improvement over “Socrates is unique…,”  the evidence she offers does not support her new claim.  Neither evidence #1 or #3 really support how people can “benefit from his teachings.”  I asked Jess to go back into the text to come up with stronger evidence if she still wanted to make that claim.  The second claim was confusing because of the spelling error (“believes” instead of “beliefs”).  I thought this was stronger than either of the original claims, so I asked her to think more deeply about Claim 2.

 Jessica: Organizing EBCs

Jessie 3

By the time Jessica got to this page, she had re-thought her claim and was able to come up with an expanded version that had to clear points that she could defend.   Her textual evidence is also stronger than it had been in the Forming EBC stage.  She is now ready to write.


Lauren’s Progression:  Forming EBCs

Lauren 1

Lauren’s claim is confusing because of the pronoun usage (“them” and “they”) and wordiness.   Her thinking and evidence are fine, but she needs to be more concise and precise in her claim.

Lauren: Making EBCs

Lauren 2

Lauren amended her claim in the first set, yet I encouraged her to use stronger diction than “killing him would not be a good idea.”   She obviously put a lot of thought into her second claim because you can see that she used WhiteOut to make changes.   This demonstrates that she is thinking and making adjustments as she is working.

Lauren: Organizing EBCs

Lauren 3

Lauren went a bit overboard and tried to incorporate everything from the Making EBC worksheet.  The result is a confusing, wordy claim.  I am asking her to trim down the wordiness and get to the heart of what it is that she wants to say.  I would still like her to rephrase “killing him would not be a good idea.”  Once she does that, then Lauren will be ready to write.


Once they have completed the Organizing EBC worksheets and revised them a bit from my feedback, the students went head-to-head with their partners in a dry run of what they intend to write in a paragraph.  I asked them to work in pairs, giving impromptu “speeches” to their partners using their claims as the thesis, and the points as signposts.  They had to attempt to convince their partner to agree with their claim.

The partners, while they were listening, had to decide whether or not they were convinced to agree with the speaker and then back that up with reasons why (or why not).  They had to refer to the textual evidence given as support for the argument to determine its strength and clarity.  They also had to critique the speaker’s argument for its logic and progression.  Finally, the listener had to write down three clarifying questions for the speaker.  The homework for the speaker , then, was to write a response to the three questions while also revisiting his/her argument in preparation for an essay.

The partners then reversed roles so that everyone left the room with three questions to answer.  When they come in next class, they will be permitted to use the worksheets, their question responses, and their text to write an essay in support of their chosen claim.

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English 9 Regents: Lesson Plan Breakdown for Plato’s “Apology”

Based on the unit created by Odell Education (see link in a previous post), I outlined a breakdown of the lessons and activities relating to Evidence Based Claims (EBCs):

Plato’s “Apology”- daily lesson plans

(Broken down from the on-line unit from Odell Education)


 Day 1- Part I (activities 1 and 2):

  • Intro to materials and the unit (10-15 min)
  • Independent reading paragraphs 1 and 2 ONLY (RHA) and then PARAPHRASE the two paragraphs sentence by sentence (P1=9, P2=2).  To demonstrate understanding, students must put Plato’s words into their own.  Any new/unfamiliar words go in the boxes at the bottom with definitions.
  • Once paraphrased, answer the question:  What is Socrates accused of?  Determine specific parts of the text that make you think so and add embedded quotations to your response.  Citation will be (Plato, line ___).
  • Finish for homework: will be collected


Day 2-Part I (activity 3):

  • Teacher reads aloud paragraphs 1 and 2 that students have already paraphrased.

Comprehension Quiz:

      1.   What is Socrates being accused of? (already written in the homework)

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

3.  How does Socrates distinguish himself from other teachers?


  • Students may use homework to complete the questions.  All muse be based on specific textual evidence as support and include embedded quotations.
  • Choose two students and place their paraphrases on the ELMO.  Discuss paraphrases: did students get it in an independent read?
  • Collect and grade (falls under “Reading” in the grade book)


Day 3-Part I (activities I-4 and II-1):

  • Pass out Forming Evidence Based Claims Handout and go over (point out similarities to See/Think/ Wonder that we have done in Visible Thinking exercises).  Point out the “thinking” details; they will need to come up with others that support the same claim (work with partner)
  • Independent reading paragraphs 3-6 (RHA) and then PARAPHRASE the paragraphs sentence by sentence.   To demonstrate understanding, students must put Plato’s words into their own.  Any new/unfamiliar words go in the boxes at the bottom with definitions.
  • Pass out blank Forming Evidence Based Claims worksheets; students complete for paragraphs 3-6
  • Finish for homework; to be collected.


Day 4-Part II (activity 2):

  • Teacher reads aloud paragraphs 3-6 that students have already paraphrased.
  • In partners, students will discuss and write responses to the following questions:
    • 1. What does the oracle say about Socrates?
    • 2. What does Socrates do in an attempt to test the truth of the oracle’s prophecy?
    • 3.  Why do Socrates’ actions incite the anger of his peers?
    • All responses must include embedded quotations as supportive evidence (taken from the Forming EBC sheets)
    • Collect paraphrases and Forming EBC worksheets (reading grade) and answers to questions (analysis grade)
    • Choose two students and place their paraphrases on the ELMO.  Discuss paraphrases: did students get it in an independent read?


Day 5-Part II (activity 3):

  • Briefly discuss responses to questions from previous day (use ELMO)
  • Pass out Making Evidence Based Claims handout and go over
  • Go over Clarity Checklist (in packet)
  • Students must make claims about what they have read so far (paragraphs 1-6)
  • Pass out blank Making EBC worksheet for them to fill out
  • Making EBC worksheet due for homework; to be collected (analysis grade)


Day 6-Part II (activities 4 and 5):

  • Check HW for completion and pass out 2 Post-It notes (different colors) for a Visible Thinking exercise
  • First color Post-It: one claim that they made (from HW)
  • Second color Post-It: best piece of evidence that supports the claim (from HW)
  • Face partners: exchange Making EBC worksheets.  Make notes (on clean sheet of paper) of how well the worksheet stands up to the checklist, being sure to comment on each of the criteria.  When finished, verbally share the critique with partner.
  •  Collect Making EBC worksheets and critiques (analysis grade)


Day 7-Part III (activity 1):

  • Read paragraphs 7-11 independently.  RHA and put the paragraphs into your own words; not a summary, but a rephrasing (does not have to be sentence by sentence this time).
  • Fill out Forming EBC and Making EBC worksheets for paragraphs 7-11
  • Complete for homework



Day 8- Part III (activities 3 and 4):

  • Check homework for completion-  Forming EBC (reading grade)and Making EBC (analysis) for paragraphs 7-11; students will use the HW to do today’s work
  • On the overhead, ask students to copy questions to ponder about making claims:

–          1. What do I mean when I make this claim?  What am I trying to communicate?

–          2. How did I arrive at this claim?

–          3. Can I point to the specific words and sentences in the text from which the claim arises?

–          4. What do I need to explain so that an audience can understand what I mean and where my claim comes from?

–          5. What evidence (quotations) might I use to illustrate my claim?  In what order would I use them?

–          6.  When my claim contains several parts (signposts), how can I break it down. organize the parts, and organize the evidence that goes with them?

–          If my claim involves a comparison or a relationship, how might I present, clarify, and organize my discussion between parts or between texts?

  • Pass out Organizing Evidence Based Claims handout and go over.  Be sure to point out that each claim has more than one part (signpost)
  • Pass out Organizing Evidence Based Claims worksheets.  Students use claims from their homework, expanding upon them to include more than one point (see model in handout) and complete the worksheet.
  • Finish worksheet for homework


Day 9- Part III (Activity 5):

  • Check Organizing EBC worksheet for paragraphs 7-11 homework for completion
  • Go over the Checklist (in packet) before pairing up
  • Each student must verbally present his/her claims and evidence to a partner, attempting to convince the partner that their claim is correct.  Partners listen and then formulate (in writing) three questions about the claim, based on what they have heard.   Partners then switch roles.
  • After both partners have spoken, and they have handed over their written questions to the other, each will then write a written answer to each of his/her partner’s questions.   Students must use citations from the text to support their clarifications.
  • Written responses to questions will be finished for homework; to be collected with Organizing EBC worksheet


 Day 10- Part IV (activity 1):

  • Collect Organizing EBC for paragraphs 7-11 along with the responses to partner questions  (analysis)
  • Read paragraphs 12-17 (end) independently.  RHA and put the paragraphs into your own words; not a summary, but a rephrasing (does not have to be sentence by sentence this time).
  • Fill out Forming EBC and Making EBC worksheets for paragraphs 12-17; complete for homework


Day 11- Part IV (activities 2 and 3):

  • Check homework (two worksheets): Forming EBC (reading) and Making EBC (analysis) for paragraphs 12-17
  • Complete Organizing EBC worksheets for paragraphs 12-17, using HW as help
  • Turning Organizing EBC sheets into a written response:
    • Read through Writing EBC criteria handout (in packet)
    • Pass out the model for Writing EBC and compare to the model for Organizing EBC handout.  Note how the worksheet lent itself to creating the writing piece.
    • In pairs, students will create a three paragraph piece based on the model (paragraph one makes the claim with two points, while paragraphs two and three explain the points with textual evidence respectively)
    • Must finish for homework; to be collected


Day 12- Part IV (activities 4 and 5):

  • Collect Organizing EBC worksheets for paragraphs 12-17 and written responses
  • Using the ELMO, place student responses on the overhead for class discussion.  Class will then use the criteria for Writing EBC from their packets to critique student work.
  • Students will then turn to the rubric in the packet, and rate each piece that they have seen on the overhead.


Day 13- Part V (activities 1 and 2):

  • Students will go through all notes and completed worksheets for the entire piece.  They will review the text and make a new claim based on the overall piece (cannot be a claim they have previously made).
  • Students will complete a new Organizing EBC worksheet for the entire piece using the THREE POINT claim worksheet instead of the TWO POINT claim sheet they had used earlier.  This worksheet is in the packet.
  • Students will now be using three points (signposts) to support their new claim
  • Finish worksheet for homework



Day 14- Part V (activity 4):

  • Check Organizing EBC worksheet for completion for the entire text
  • Students will use the Organizing EBC worksheet in order to create their final written responses.  These must now be four paragraphs and will follow the criteria listed on the checklists (in packet)
  • Collect written responses at end of class.

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Filed under Domain 1: Planning and Preparation, Domain 3: Instruction, English 9 Regents