Evidence and Argument

Dr. Michael Kamil, Emeritus Professor at Stanford University and contributing author to the ELA Common Core State Standards, explains what students need to know about evidence. He notes that research about argumentation and citing evidence indicates that schools are not teaching these skills, regardless of content area (including science), and that even if we were, it takes a long time for students to secure this outcome.

At minute 2:57, Kamil outlines what an argument is and breaks down its components into: Topic or main contention; claims about the topic; evidence for the claims; and a warrant explaining how the evidence supports the claims. At minute 4:38, we learn what evidence is and strategies to help students differentiate between claims supported by evidence and claims that are not. Then, at minute 11:50, Kamil describes warrants and ways to evaluate them.

One strategy that Kamil promotes, to assist in pulling all these elements together, is the Inquiry Chart Template (14:09) that you can learn more about here.

Kamil’s entire video presentation is located here.

About Aaron Grossman

I am a 5th grade teacher at Roy Gomm Elementary in Reno, Nevada. I started working with elementary students as part of the Montana Reads program and AmeriCorps. In 2001, after graduating from the University of Montana and moving to Reno, Nevada, I student taught at Rita Cannan Elementary before receiving a 6th grade position at Veterans Elementary. I moved out of the classroom to be a Literacy Coordinator, then an Instructional Coach, and finally a School Improvement Program Coordinator. In 2011, I began working on the Nevada Academic Content Standards in the district’s Curriculum & Instruction Department. I returned to the classroom for the 2015-2016 school year to teach 4th grade at Huffaker Elementary. Before returning to the classroom, I helped develop the Core Task Project that has been featured by National Public Radio, the Gates Foundation, American Radio Works, Eduwonk, the Fordham Institute, Vox, and the Center for American Progress. In 2014, I received the Leader to Learn From Award for my teacher-centered initiative and work to bring college, career, and civics ready outcomes into Northern Nevada classrooms (here). In 2015, I was appointed by Governor Sandoval serve on the Statewide RPDP Council. The same year, Nevada’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction Steve Canavero placed me on the state’s State Improvement Team. This year I will be part of the National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Advisory Group. I am Google Certified Educator and a Nevada Teacher Ambassador. I believe strongly that teaching content is teaching reading and I make sure my students have ample opportunities to work with social studies, history, science and art outcomes. I do what I can to blend the learning for my students and this blog is part of that effort. You can contact me at coretaskproject@gmail.com
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