Writing Tips for Social Studies Classes: This is helpful to better understand what Social Studies questions ask students. This will soon be a handout for our binders. Please enjoy because this will really help and was written by our Social Studies Department Head Mr. Peek.
Adapted from Timed Writing Practice: Comparative Essay developed by Chris Peek at Bellaire High School, Bellaire, TX.
Successful Social Studies essays have an underlying shared core structure. This core plays an essential role in a student’s ability to construct a logical argument. This core consists of a thesis, supporting paragraphs and a conclusion. The following steps help guide students through the process of understanding the formal writing prompt.
1. Determine the task: What are you being asked to do?
Examples of possible task words which often appear in essay prompts:
The process of separating the parts of a given topic into its component parts in order to examine each part in detail and to reach a conclusion or determine the relationship of the parts to the whole topic.
The process of presenting a case for and/or against a particular proposition.
The process of determining the importance or validity of a topic/statement/idea; to judge the worth of something through examination.
The process of examining a given topic(s) for the purpose of determining similarities AND differences.
The process of showing points of difference between two or more topics/events/ideas.
The process of examining a subject closely to present arguments for and against in order to reach a conclusion; to present in detail for examination in order to reach a conclusion.
The process of making a judgment about the worth or value of something based on evidence and stated including one’s opinion.
The process of explaining the meaning of something in clear, explicit terms.
The process of proving something to be right or valid in order to absolve from possible guilt.
2. Determine the parameters of the prompt: What dates, places, people, ideas, and/or events are mentioned specifically?
3. Identify the key terms: What key words such as economics, nationalism, and/or gender are included in the prompt?