LAFS.1112.RH.3.8

Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
General Information
Subject Area: English Language Arts
Grade: 1112
Strand: Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies 6–12
Idea: Level 3: Strategic Thinking & Complex Reasoning
Date Adopted or Revised: 12/10
Date of Last Rating: 02/14
Status: State Board Approved

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Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Lesson Plans

Poverty in America:

Using NY Times articles and interactive features, students learn about the historical basis for the "War on Poverty", modern vs. historical factors that determine poverty, and compare approaches for combating poverty. Students will practice noting bias when examining sources to draw their own conclusions.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Guatemala:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: How and why did the U.S. fight the Cold War in Guatemala? The teacher begins by explaining how covert actions were part of the Cold War. Students read 2 brief accounts of the CIA takeover from recent textbooks. Students answer questions in pairs. Class discussion: Why does each textbook include details the other leaves out? Students then read a declassified CIA document-an assassination list with names deleted-and discuss: how does this document challenge the textbook accounts? A final class discussion attempts to place this incident in the larger context of what students have learned about the Cold War.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Great Society:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was the Great Society successful? Students first read LBJ's "Great Society" speech and answer sourcing, close reading and context questions about it before discussing as a class. The teacher then hands out a list of Great Society programs and asks: Which have you heard of? Which do you think were successful? Students then watch a film clip about the Great Society, streamed via Discovery Education. This is followed up with 2 secondary sources: a "Pro" perspective from historian Joseph Califano and a "Con" perspective from Thomas Sowell. They fill out a graphic organizer in groups and discuss: Which historian is more convincing? What kind of evidence does each use to make his case? How do these arguments still play out today?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Korean War:

In this lesson, students analyze secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who started the Korean War? The teacher begins by first explaining that textbooks can be biased sources and then uses a brief PowerPoint to show the geography of Korea and why/when war began there. Students then form pairs and read 2 accounts of the war: one from a South Korean textbook and another from a North Korean book. For both, students not only summarize and answer questions, but they must identify which source is which (North or South Korea?) and use textual details to prove it. In a class discussion, students share their answers. If time remains, the class may corroborate these sources with their own class textbook.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Social Security:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Which historical account of Social Security is more accurate? Students begin by responding to a prompt: should out-of-work Americans receive government assistance? The teacher then streams a video on the New Deal and its critics, including Huey Long, followed by discussion. Students then look at the summarized views of 2 historians, Carl Degler and Barton Bernstein. In pairs, students summarize and discuss. They then read 3 primary source documents: 1) a 1935 speech by FDR, 2) the testimony of NAACP spokesman Charles Houston before Congress, and 3) a letter to Mrs. Roosevelt by an anonymous critic of Social Security. For each, students answer guiding questions. In a final class discussion, students corroborate the documents and use them to side with the views of 1 historian-Degler or Bernstein-over the other.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Chicago Race Riots of 1919:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What caused the Chicago race riots of 1919? The teacher begins with a mini-lecture on the Great Migration and then streams the video trailer for a documentary film called Up South. Students then read 2 secondary source accounts of the riots: 1 from a generic textbook and another from John H. Franklin's From Slavery to Freedom. Students analyze with a graphic organizer and discuss: which account is more believable and why? They then do the same for 3 primary sources, drawn from contemporary newspapers and magazines. A final class discussion attempts to identify the real cause of the riots and places them in a larger context of racial violence at the time.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: U.S. Entry into WWI:

In this lesson, designed to follow a more general lesson on the causes and warring parties of WWI, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the U.S. enter World War I? The teacher begins with a mini-lesson on Woodrow Wilson. Students then read 2 Wilson documents: 1) a 1914 speech urging American neutrality and 2) Wilson's 1917 speech on the U.S. entry into the war. Students then read their class textbook's explanation for the end of U.S. neutrality, followed by an excerpt from Howard Zinn's People's History of the United States. For all documents, students answer guiding questions which stress contextualization and close reading. A final class discussion evaluates Zinn's views and compares them to the other sources.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Stamp Act:

In this lesson, students study the origins of the American Revolution and the colonial protests against the Stamp Act in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why were colonists upset about the Stamp Act? Students will read three primary source documents:

  1. a short piece form the Boston-Gazette urging protest,
  2. a letter from an English newspaper expressing bafflement over the protests, and
  3. a letter from tax collector John Hughes complaining of his ill-treatment and blaming it on the Presbyterians.

Following the teacher's model, students answer sourcing and contextualization questions for the first two documents and do the last on their own. Discussion questions which corroborate all three documents conclude the lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Albert Parsons SAC:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was [Haymarket Riot defendant] Albert Parsons a dangerous man? First, the teacher uses a timeline to introduce Haymarket and the 8 men put on trial in its aftermath. Students are then given 6 documents-several by Parsons himself, but also a newspaper account of the trial, trial testimony, and a 2006 secondary source-and answer guiding questions. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group. Each pair presents the argument to the other that Parson was/was not "dangerous"; only at the end can students abandon their previous positions, reach consensus in writing as a group, and defend that view in a final class discussion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Battle of Lexington:

In this lesson, students will study the first outbreak of violence in the American Revolution in an effort to answer the central historical question: What happened at the Battle of Lexington? Through sourcing and contextualization questions students will study a textbook passage on the battle, two primary source documents (one from a British soldier and one from a group of minutemen), and two paintings of the battle. As a final assessment, students will rewrite the textbook's account, taking into account the new perspectives they have learned.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Declaration of Independence :

In this lesson, students study primary and secondary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Founders write the Declaration of Independence? Students will examine contrasting views by two historians. Then they will read the preamble of the Declaration (2 versions of varying reading complexity are provided) and rewrite it in their own words. Students will also examine a simplified list of the grievances against King George specified in the Declaration. Finally, students and teacher attempt to answer the central question and determine which featured historian has the better argument.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Explosion of the Maine :

In this lesson, students analyze primary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: What sank the Maine? The teacher introduces the concept of media sensationalism and shows a painting of the Maine's destruction and a propaganda song blaming the Spanish. Students then receive opposing newspaper accounts from Hearst's New York Herald and the New York Times; for each, they fill out a graphic organizer and/or guiding questions. A class discussion explores how the reporting of news influences readers' opinions. For homework, students explain--using textual evidence--which account they find more believable.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Great Awakening:

In this lesson, students study the Great Awakening and one of its most notable preachers, George Whitefield, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why was George Whitefield so popular? After viewing an online film clip and a brief PowerPoint to establish context for the Great Awakening and some of its "superstar" preachers, students are presented with three primary sources regarding Whitefield:

  1. a long-after-the-fact anecdote by Benjamin Franklin,
  2. a contemporary (but undated) account by a born-again Whitefield follower Nathan Cole, and
  3. a hostile and dismissive letter by a rival preacher, Nathanael Henchman.

For each, students answer sourcing and contextualization questions and formulate a hypothesis as to Whitefield's popularity. A culminating class discussion addresses the central question.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Hamilton vs. Jefferson:

In this lesson, students analyze two primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: What were the differences between [Alexander] Hamilton and [Thomas] Jefferson? Students first read a textbook summary/description (not included) of the Hamilton/Jefferson dynamic. Then, students are given a letter by each man—both addressed to George Washington and written on the same day—each of which addresses the ongoing feud with the other man. In pairs, students read the documents and answer sourcing, corroboration, contextualization, and close reading questions, including some intriguing ones which encourage students to "pick sides" in the rivalry.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Homestead Strike:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Why did the Homestead Strike turn violent? The teacher first recaps labor/industry relations of the era and introduces the Homestead Strike with a timeline. The teacher then models sourcing and close reading techniques with a document: Emma Goldman's 1931 autobiography. Students then do the same with an 1892 newspaper interview of Henry Frick, followed by corroboration guiding questions that pit the 2 authors against each other. In a final class discussion, students evaluate the validity of the sources and debate whether the historical "truth" about the strike is knowable.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Lewis and Clark SAC:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary source documents, as well as engage in a Structured Academic Controversy, in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were Lewis and Clark respectful to the Native Americans they encountered on their journey? Detailed directions are provided for both teacher and students as to how to conduct a Structured Academic Controversy. All primary and secondary source documents (a letter from Thomas Jefferson, 4 excerpts from Clark's journals from 1805 and 1806, and a Time magazine article exploring the expedition from the Native American's point of view) are included with the lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Nat Turner:

In this lesson, students analyze 3 source documents in an effort to answer the central historical question: Was Nat Turner a hero or a madman? The lesson begins by first reading the class textbook's account of the Nat Turner massacre and then reading a timeline which includes Turner's capture and execution. The teacher them models the first document, an excerpt from Thomas Gray's Confessions of Nat Turner, by helping students answer sourcing, contextualization, corroboration, and close reading questions. Students then do the same with 2 more documents: a newspaper editorial contemptuous of Turner and an admiring 1843 speech by Henry Garnet to the National Negro Convention. Finally, students use all 3 documents to write a response to the central question and discuss as a class: what kind of person was Nat Turner?

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Pocahontas:

This lesson focuses around two different versions of John Smith's "rescue" by Pocahontas. Students compare and contrast the two versions and encounter the idea of subjectivity versus objectivity in primary source historical documents. Finally, they read the brief opinions of two historians who provide their perspectives on the incident.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Reconstruction SAC:

In this lesson, students analyze primary source documents and engage in a Structured Academic Controversy in an effort to answer the central historical question: Were African Americans free during Reconstruction? After an introduction/review of the time period, students answer detailed guiding questions on 4 text documents and a set of photos illustrating the post-Civil War freedoms and restrictions which blacks faced. Students then divide into groups of 4 and into pairs within each group. Each pair presents the argument to the other that blacks were/were not free; only at the end do students abandon their previous positions, reach consensus in writing as a group, and defend that view in a final class discussion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Sharecropping:

In this lesson, students analyze a primary source document in an effort to answer the central historical question: How accurate is the textbook's description of sharecropping? Students first view an 1898 photo of sharecroppers-most will probably assume the workers to be slaves. In pairs, students then read their textbook's description of sharecropping and compare it to an actual 1882 sharecropping contract. Guiding questions on the document and a final discussion allow the class to judge the accuracy of the textbook's depiction.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: Shays' Rebellion :

In this lesson, students analyze a primary source in an effort to answer the central historical question: How did Americans react to Shays' Rebellion? Students read a textbook excerpt (included) about Shays' Rebellion and a letter from Thomas Jefferson speaking about Shays' rebels. Students answer questions that ask them to analyze the letter through sourcing, contextualization, close reading, and corroboration questions. A final class discussion corroborates the textbook passage and the Jefferson letter in an effort to challenge the popular account in which all Americans feared the rebellion.

Type: Lesson Plan

Reading Like a Historian: The Battle of the Little Bighorn:

In this lesson, students analyze primary and secondary sources in an effort to answer the central historical question: Who was responsible for the Battle of the Little Bighorn? After a mini-lecture on the late 1800s Indian Wars, students read a textbook account of the battle, and then compare it to 2 documents: 1) a report by the War Secretary, and 2) an account by Kate Bighead, a Cheyenne Indian. Students answer guiding questions for all documents, followed by a class discussion. For homework, students write a new textbook account using primary source information.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorials

Literacy in History: The Pullman Strike, Part 2:

Practice literacy skills while learning more about the Pullman Strike of 1894 in this interactive tutorial.

This is the second tutorial in a two-part series. Click HERE to launch Part 1 where you'll learn the history behind the same event.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Literacy in History: The Pullman Strike, Part 1:

Learn the history behind the Pullman Strike of 1894 in part 1 of this interactive tutorial.  In Part 2, you'll practice your literacy skills while learning more about the same event! 

Click HERE to open part 2.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Original Student Tutorials Social Studies - U.S. History - Grades 9-12

Literacy in History: The Pullman Strike, Part 1:

Learn the history behind the Pullman Strike of 1894 in part 1 of this interactive tutorial.  In Part 2, you'll practice your literacy skills while learning more about the same event! 

Click HERE to open part 2.

Literacy in History: The Pullman Strike, Part 2:

Practice literacy skills while learning more about the Pullman Strike of 1894 in this interactive tutorial.

This is the second tutorial in a two-part series. Click HERE to launch Part 1 where you'll learn the history behind the same event.

Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.

Original Student Tutorials

Literacy in History: The Pullman Strike, Part 2:

Practice literacy skills while learning more about the Pullman Strike of 1894 in this interactive tutorial.

This is the second tutorial in a two-part series. Click HERE to launch Part 1 where you'll learn the history behind the same event.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Literacy in History: The Pullman Strike, Part 1:

Learn the history behind the Pullman Strike of 1894 in part 1 of this interactive tutorial.  In Part 2, you'll practice your literacy skills while learning more about the same event! 

Click HERE to open part 2.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Parent Resources

Vetted resources caregivers can use to help students learn the concepts and skills in this benchmark.