Evidence and Reasoning

Thanks,  , for sharing this great strategy for helping students to get that key component of organizing an argument of explaining the reason why the cited evidence supports the claim. I can see sharing this strategy with my middle school team, introducing it in my 6th grade class and having it be reinforced as our students move through the grades. I like the idea of also giving them lots of shared experiences to learn and get the hang of the strategy before we apply it to content.

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  • I borrowed the Tom Brady example used in the track talk - my kids ate it up! However, in their recent LEQ it was clear that there was a disconnect between what was evidence vs. reasoning in actual practice of analyzing and making historical claims. Anyone have any suggestions for helping them understand this concept in practice? 

    I did use one of the Crash Course video transcripts and have them pull claim, evidence, and reasoning out of it and even here it was clear that there was a disconnect. 

  • Hi  ! This is such a difficult skill to teach and I still struggle with it at times. I've found that I have to present the idea multiple ways throughout the year so that it hopefully & eventually clicks for each of my students.

    I found the "My Dad is an Alien" commercial activity from this website to be a fun intro activity for evidence vs. reasoning. Throughout the start of the year I do a lot more scaffolded activities, usually using some format of a CER chart. It takes some practice and can be frustrating at first, but the more students work on it the better they get with it. It doesn't always have to be a full CER chart either. Sometimes for a Do Now I will give students a claim and piece of evidence and have them provide the reasoning.

    I also introduced the idea of a "quote sandwich". There are a ton of great graphics/posters with this idea if you do a quick google search. The basic premise is to introduce with context, have a quote in the center, and then add an explanation at the end that relates back to the claim. I'd love to hear what others do! I'm always looking for ways to tweak my instruction.

  • Hello  .  I was literally just cueing up that Crash Course claim/evidence activity for next week.  The reasoning piece is definitely tricky, I agree with you (and  ) on that one!  On the AP rubric there is a specific point awarded for the ability to connect evidence (documents) to the thesis each time, rather than just citing the evidence (documents).  With AP students, sometimes that lingering point is a motivator, but I definitely do not see that motivation with my on-level World History classes overall.  I have played around with some visual cues, such as color coding.  I've also tried some silly tactile methods (desperate times, what can I say?)  In one game, I allow groups to compete by giving them cut-out claim cards, and cut-out evidence cards, and asking them to correctly pair/match them, and then not accepting the match as a win unless the students can defend the connection by providing reasoning.  If they articulate the reasoning, they get to grab the glue and stick their matches onto our big paper.  The group that defends the most matches wins.  So then I will often refer to "reasoning" as the "glue" after that, telling them that arguments don't stick without it.

    Typing this out is embarrassing, LOL, but it did help a little and at least it was fun.  The Crash Course activity is really solid, but not as fun, so I do that one after a fun one like this.

    I don't know if this is helpful, but at least you know it's not just you :)  

  • I like to keep this idea simple.  When I introduce claim testing in the beginning of the year I ask for my students help.  I tell them that I'll often let my own children eat something even after it fell on our kitchen floor as long as it's been there for less than five seconds.  My wife won't have it, she thinks its disgusting and that our kids could get sick.  I try to reason with her and explain that there is no way that anything that could make them sick could get on something if it's only been there for a second or two but she wants evidence.  There's the challenge:  find me the evidence I need because reasoning with her won't work OR take her side if you find the evidence to support her argument.  

    We are then able to apply this to something like writing. I've found that the OER writing assignments help my students the most in understanding how to use evidence to support a claim or thesis.  The feedback is extremely beneficial for them and they can see how credible evidence from the texts works to support a thesis. 

  • I've been starting to break this down by leaning back into our Claim Testers from the beginning of the year. Perhaps I am using this incorrectly but I think about Logic and Evidence as follows:

    Logic is using what is in your head while evidence is something out there in the world that you can grab and use for support. I am thinking, now, that perhaps I should start to change my verbiage in class to offering 'support' and not just 'evidence' when working on writing assignments since support can more easily translate, I think, to the many different ways in which one can strengthen an argument.

    Now, of course, with this example one can then support their argument with evidence and then the 'reasoning' would be using their logic. They could also support their argument by leaning on authority or intuition and, of course, we want to use a combination of all of these to be successful. The only problem with this, though, is that every other teacher simply says 'evidence' so it would definitely be an uphill battle. Does this sound like something that could help though? I think the conversation, and framing, itself could still be helpful to nudge them in the right direction.