Discipline: Social Studies

Grade Level: 6th

Course: American History and Geography

©Literacy Design Collaborative. September 2011

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The Individual and the Community: My Responsibilities in a Time of Crisis
  • Student Work Samples
    • Within the Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) framework, student work samples answer the critical question, "What Results?" The inclusion of student work within the module design provides teachers insight into how to improve the quality of the teaching task and the feedback they give on student strengths and challenges.

  • Classroom Assessment Task
    • Optional: May be used as a pre-test or post-test

      Background to share with students (optional):

      Margaret Mead was an anthropologist who studied groups of people in tribes and societies.

      Classroom assessment task:

      Do you agree or not with what Mead is saying about an individual's proper response to a disaster? After reading the following quote from Margaret Mead, write a short essay that addresses the question, and support your position with evidence from the text.

      "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

      Reading texts:

      Margaret Mead quotation

  • Argumentation Classroom Assessment Rubric
    • Meets Expectations


      Addresses the prompt and stays on task; provides a generally convincing response.


      Demonstrates generally effective use of reading material to develop an argument.

      Controlling Idea

      Establishes a credible claim, and supports an argument that is logical and generally convincing.

      L2: Acknowledges competing arguments while defending the claim.


      Develops reasoning to support claim; provides evidence from text in the form of examples or explanations relevant to the argument.

      L3: Makes a relevant connection that supports argument.


      Applies an appropriate text structure to address specific requirements of the prompt.


      Demonstrates a command of standard English conventions and cohesion; employs language and tone appropriate to audience and purpose.

      Not Yet


      Attempts to address prompt but lacks focus or is off-task.


      Demonstrates weak use of reading material to develop argument.

      Controlling Idea

      Establishes a claim and attempts to support an argument but is not convincing.

      L2: Attempts to acknowledge competing arguments.


      Reasoning is not clear; examples or explanations are weak or irrelevant.

      L3: Connection is weak or not relevant.


      Provides an ineffective structure; composition does not address requirements of the prompt.


      Demonstrates a weak command of standard English conventions; lacks cohesion; language and tone are not appropriate to audience and purpose.

  • Teacher Work Section
    • Here are added thoughts about teaching this module:

      Teachers should keep in mind the following:

      Given that this module includes a Paideia Seminar, the Speaking and Listening Rubric is included in the Appendix/Instructional Resources to help guide the dialogue. This module would be better used early in the school year, so allow ample time for the pre- and post-seminar process work to help students understand how the seminar will take place in the classroom.

      Later in the year, the pre-seminar will shift to include more rigorous content, and the process steps will be adjusted based on students' participation habits.

      If you have not had experience with the Paideia Seminar, a good place to start is with the Paideia Seminar Manual referenced throughout this module: Teaching Thinking Through Dialogue (2nd. ed. 2010). This manual and other materials can be ordered from the National Paideia Center via their website at www.paideia.org.


      Teach to the rubrics. Instruction should attend to the demands and qualities of performances embedded in rubrics, particularly the proficient level. As students acquire the fundamental skills to demonstrate proficient work, teachers should focus instruction on Levels 2 and 3. A key strategy embedded in the Instructional Ladder involves keeping students on task and addressing the prompt.

      Teach responsively. LDC Modules are designed for teaching students to reach proficiency or advanced levels of performances aligned to the CCSR and Common Core State Standards. To assist students in reaching this goal, teachers should employ direct and indirect instructional strategies, whether they question, demonstrate, intervene, guide, or lecture. They should give students multiple opportunities over the course of a year to learn at Level 1, or the foundational literacy skills and thinking embedded in LDC Modules. If students become adept at this level, they are then poised to "upgrade" their skills to Levels 2 and 3 and to combine text structures. By scaffolding the LDC Modules, teachers can ensure that students become increasingly at ease with writing situations and demands. In this way, students progress from dependent readers and writers to independent ones.


      Also, please note that the student product of the teaching task is a letter that follows the structure and characteristics of an essay. For the classroom assessment, our experience has been that students are able to transition to producing an essay by the teacher clearly explaining the commonalities between the teaching and assessment tasks and emphasizing that the original letter from the teaching task is also an essay.

  • Appendix
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