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ERIC Number: EJ1002605
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1056-0300
Strengthening Student Thinking and Writing about World History
Balantic, Jeannette; Fregosi, Erica
Social Studies and the Young Learner, v25 n2 p16-17 Nov-Dec 2012
According to the authors, five years ago their school district embraced Understanding by Design as the organizing framework for curriculum. The emphasis on enduring understandings and essential questions led the sixth grade social studies teachers to reevaluate what they were teaching in their World History Curriculum. Together the authors worked to identify the essential questions and challenges that would be the underpinnings of their curriculum: (1) How has geography shaped history and culture?; (2) How do art and architecture reflect the values of a society?; (3) How has religion shaped the historical and cultural development of civilizations?; (4) Evaluate the role individuals played in history; (5) How have societies tried to achieve and maintain order?; and (6) Evaluate the impact of technology on the way people live. In each unit, the authors tailored these questions to the region of the world under study. Many of these essential questions became writing prompts. When students arrived in the sixth grade, the authors aimed to strengthen their writing skills. The students often made broad, general statements that they did not substantiate, and they frequently failed to elaborate on their ideas. As a result, the authors undertook an initiative to help students strengthen both their writing and thinking. They wanted to ensure that, by the time students left the sixth grade, they would have a solid writing foundation. Instead of focusing on writing an entire essay, they introduced students to a template for writing a paragraph that they refer to as a TEES paragraph, where "T" stands for topic sentence, "E" stands for evidence, "E" stands for expansion, and "S" stands for summary sentence. As a result of their efforts to teach specific writing skills, integrate essential questions into daily lessons, and use instructional strategies that demanded a higher degree of cognitive engagement, the authors saw dramatic improvement in students' writing. (Contains 2 notes.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800: Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 6
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A