The process of writing an essay usually begins with the close reading of a text. Of course, the writer's personal experience may occasionally come into the essay, and all essays depend on the writer's own observations and knowledge. But most essays, especially academic essays, begin with a close reading of some kind of text—a painting, a movie, an event—and usually with that of a written text. When you close read, you observe facts and details about the text. You may focus on a particular passage, or on the text as a whole. Your aim may be to notice all striking features of the text, including rhetorical features, structural elements, cultural references; or, your aim may be to notice only selected features of the text—for instance, oppositions and correspondences, or particular historical references. Either way, making these observations constitutes the first step in the process of close reading.
The second step is interpreting your observations. What we're basically talking about here is inductive reasoning: moving from the observation of particular facts and details to a conclusion, or interpretation, based on those observations. And, as with inductive reasoning, close reading requires careful gathering of data (your observations) and careful thinking about what these data add up to. http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~wricntr/documents/CloseReading.html
How to Conduct a Close Reading of Literary Passage
Beyond the Bubble - Using the Library of Congress Primary Source Documents with Assessments
Beyond the Bubble unlocks the vast digital archive of the Library of Congress to create a new generation of history assessments. Developed by the Stanford History Education Group (http://sheg.stanford.edu), Beyond the Bubble is the cornerstone of SHEG’s membership in the Library of Congress’s Teaching with Primary Sources Educational Consortium. We “go beyond the bubble” by offering easy-to-use assessments that capture students’ knowledge in action – rather than their recall of discrete facts.
Assessing the 21st century skills with Library of Congress documents-a new generation of history assessments that includes 55 formative assessments tied to social studies topics. The History Assessments of Thinking (HATs) use collections of documents, photos, paintings, radio broadcasts, and film clips to measure students' historical understandings and critical thinking skills. Interactive scoring rubrics link to sample student responses and many assessments include a "Going Deeper" video that extends teachers' understanding of that task and the historical skills it measures.
Mastering the Common Core: A Social Studies-Centered Approach
This powerpoint is an excellent model demonstrating how we must change our way of teaching history as a set or compilation of facts and dates to more thinking like an historian approach. It examines how we must use primary source documents and allow our students to examine and compare primary source documents.
National History Education Clearinghouse
Teachinghistory.org is designed to help K–12 history teachers access resources and materials to improve U.S. history education in the classroom. With funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) has created Teachinghistory.org with the goal of making history content, teaching strategies, resources, and research accessible.
This site contains useful information and teaching strategies for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. There are videos and a wealth of information on this site. It comes highly recommended!
Ambitious teaching is supported by four sets of core practices that work together throughout every unit of study. These practices start with designing units of instruction (Planning for engagement with important science ideas); they then focus on making visible what students currently know about the science being taught (Eliciting students’ ideas); they help the teacher guide sense-making talk around investigations and other kinds of lab activities or readings (Supporting on-going changes in thinking); and finally they help the teacher scaffold students’ efforts to put everything together near the end of a unit (Pressing for evidence-based explanations).