3 Steps for Teaching THESIS STATEMENTS

Heimler's History Teachers
18 Jan 202306:01
EducationalLearning
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TLDRIn this educational video, Steve Heimler, an AP History teacher, shares his journey and insights on teaching students to write strong thesis statements. He emphasizes the importance of good theses as the foundation for strong arguments and discusses the initial challenges he faced in instructing his students. Heimler then outlines a structured approach to teaching thesis writing, which includes showing students examples of good theses from the College Board's scoring samples, explaining the evaluative criteria, and guiding them through the process of selecting and crafting effective theses. His method involves providing students with a clear set of rules for thesis writing, engaging them in exercises to identify the best thesis for a given prompt, and offering formulas to simplify the process. The video concludes with Heimler's encouragement for teachers to use his teacher resource packs to enhance their teaching of AP History.

Takeaways
  • ๐Ÿ“š The importance of teaching students to write strong thesis statements was emphasized as it is foundational for good arguments in AP History classes.
  • ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿซ Steve Heimler introduces himself as an AP teacher providing tactical advice and inspiration for conquering AP History classes.
  • ๐Ÿ‘€ The first step in teaching thesis writing is to show students examples of good theses using the scoring samples released by the College Board.
  • ๐Ÿ“ Educators should not shy away from showing students the actual rubric used for evaluating theses to help them understand the evaluative criteria.
  • ๐Ÿ“‰ Two key rules for a good thesis are that it must be a historically defensible claim and it must establish a line of reasoning.
  • ๐Ÿค” A historically defensible claim is one that can be disagreed with, indicating that the thesis has to take a position and be arguable.
  • ๐Ÿ” Establishing a line of reasoning means the thesis should contain specific historical vocabulary that previews the categories of argumentation.
  • ๐Ÿ“ˆ An intermediate step between learning rules and writing own theses is beneficial, where students evaluate and select the best thesis from given options.
  • ๐Ÿ“‘ Providing students with thesis writing formulas, such as 'Although X because A and B therefore Y' or 'Restate important parts of the prompt because A and B', helps in structuring their arguments.
  • ๐Ÿ’ก The process of breaking down thesis writing into manageable steps significantly improved students' ability to write effective theses.
  • ๐Ÿš€ Steve offers teacher resource packs for further assistance in teaching thesis writing and other AP History course content.
Q & A
  • What is the main concern the teacher initially had about their students' ability to write thesis statements?

    -The teacher was concerned that if their students couldn't write a thesis, they would be unable to argue effectively, which would lead to failure in the AP class and potentially dropping out of school.

  • Who is Steve Heimler, and what does he aim to provide for AP teachers?

    -Steve Heimler is an educator who offers tactical advice and inspiration to AP teachers to help them manage and teach AP History classes effectively.

  • What was the teacher's initial advice to students on writing a thesis?

    -The initial advice was quite basic, simply telling students to write a thesis and treat it as an argument.

  • What resource did the teacher use to show students examples of good theses?

    -The teacher used the scoring samples released by the College Board each year, which include essays with varying scores.

  • Why is it important for students to understand the evaluative criteria used by the College Board?

    -Understanding the evaluative criteria helps students to know what is expected of them when writing their theses and how they will be graded.

  • What are the two key rules for writing a historically defensible thesis according to the script?

    -The two key rules are that a thesis must be a historically defensible claim and it must establish a line of reasoning.

  • What does a historically defensible claim mean in the context of thesis writing?

    -A historically defensible claim means that the student must take a position that someone could disagree with, indicating that the thesis is arguable and not just a statement of fact.

  • What is meant by 'establishing a line of reasoning' in a thesis statement?

    -Establishing a line of reasoning means that the thesis contains specific historical vocabulary which previews the categories of argumentation or shows briefly how the student will prove their claim.

  • What intermediate step did the teacher find helpful before having students write their own theses?

    -The intermediate step involved giving students a prompt and writing several theses for them to evaluate and choose the best one that answers the prompt.

  • What are the two thesis writing formulas mentioned in the script, and what are their purposes?

    -The two formulas mentioned are 'Although X because A and B therefore Y' and 'Restate important parts of the prompt because A and B'. The first formula is complex and helps students create more nuanced arguments, while the second is simpler and ensures students meet the basic requirements for a thesis.

  • How does the teacher's approach to teaching thesis writing evolve over time?

    -The teacher's approach evolves from a simple instruction to write a thesis to a structured method involving showing examples, teaching the evaluative criteria, providing intermediate exercises, and offering thesis writing formulas.

  • What resource does the teacher offer to help with teaching thesis writing and other AP course content?

    -The teacher offers a teacher resource pack that includes thesis writing exercises and activities for every unit and topic of the APUSH and AP World curriculum.

Outlines
00:00
๐Ÿ“š Teaching Strong Thesis Writing in AP History

In the first paragraph, Steve Heimler, an AP History teacher, shares his initial struggles with teaching students to write strong thesis statements, which are essential for building solid arguments. He emphasizes the importance of a good thesis for student success in his class and beyond. Realizing his initial advice was insufficient, Steve sought a better method. He decided to show students whatๆž„ๆˆ a good thesis by using scoring samples from the College Board, which include essays with varying scores. Steve also stresses the importance of understanding the evaluative criteria, or rubric, used by the College Board to assess theses. He introduces two key rules for a good thesis: it must be a historically defensible claim and establish a line of reasoning. He uses examples to illustrate these concepts, clarifying what makes a claim historically defensible and how to preview argumentation categories within a thesis.

05:00
๐Ÿ“ Enhancing Thesis Writing Skills with Structured Approaches

The second paragraph continues Steve's narrative on improving thesis writing skills among his students. He explains that after teaching the basic rules for writing a good thesis, he introduces an intermediate step to solidify the students' understanding. This involves presenting them with a prompt and several example theses, varying in quality, and asking students to select the best one. This exercise aims to stimulate discussion and deepen comprehension of what makes a thesis effective. Steve also mentions his teacher resource pack, which includes thesis writing exercises and activities for the APUSH and AP World curriculum. He then discusses two formulas for thesis writing: the John Irish Formula, which is complex and suitable for advanced students, and a simpler formula that involves restating parts of the prompt with specific historical evidence. Steve concludes by highlighting the significant improvement in his students' thesis writing abilities after implementing these structured approaches.

Mindmap
Keywords
๐Ÿ’กthesis statement
A thesis statement is a central argument or claim that an essay makes. In the context of the video, the teacher emphasizes the importance of writing strong thesis statements as the foundation for good arguments in AP History classes. The video discusses how to teach students to write historically defensible and reasoned theses, which are essential for success in AP exams and beyond.
๐Ÿ’กAP (Advanced Placement)
AP refers to Advanced Placement courses and exams, which are college-level classes and tests that high school students can take to earn college credit. The video is specifically aimed at AP History teachers and students, highlighting the challenges and strategies for teaching and writing thesis statements in this academic context.
๐Ÿ’กhistorical Theses
Historical Theses are specific claims or arguments made about historical events or figures. The video focuses on teaching students how to write theses that are not only historically accurate but also make a clear and defensible claim about the past, which is crucial for success in AP History exams.
๐Ÿ’กCollege Board
The College Board is the organization responsible for administering the AP exams, including those for AP History. The video mentions the College Board as the source of scoring samples, which teachers can use to show students what constitutes a good thesis in the context of AP exam essays.
๐Ÿ’กrubric
A rubric is a set of criteria used to evaluate work, in this case, the quality of a thesis statement. The video emphasizes the importance of showing students the rubric used by the College Board to evaluate theses, so they understand the standards they must meet.
๐Ÿ’กhistorically defensible claim
A historically defensible claim is a position or argument that can be supported by historical evidence and is open to debate. The video explains that a good thesis must be historically defensible, meaning it should be a claim that others can reasonably agree or disagree with, such as the causes of the English Civil War.
๐Ÿ’กline of reasoning
A line of reasoning is a logical sequence of arguments that supports a thesis. The video teaches that a thesis must establish a line of reasoning by including specific historical vocabulary that previews the argument's structure, helping the reader understand how the claim will be proven.
๐Ÿ’กthesis writing exercises
The video suggests using thesis writing exercises as a teaching tool to help students practice and improve their skills. These exercises involve analyzing different theses, discussing their strengths and weaknesses, and learning to identify what makes a thesis effective or ineffective.
๐Ÿ’กJohn Irish Formula
The John Irish Formula is a specific method for constructing a thesis statement, presented in the video as 'Although X because A and B therefore Y'. It is a complex formula that can help students create detailed and nuanced arguments, although the video notes that it may be too complex for some students and an alternative simpler formula might be more appropriate.
๐Ÿ’กrestate important parts of the prompt
The video introduces a simpler thesis writing formula that involves restating important parts of the essay prompt because of specific historical evidence. This approach helps students to directly address the prompt while also making a clear and supported argument, which is essential for AP History essays.
Highlights

The importance of teaching students to write strong thesis statements as the foundation of good arguments.

The initial ineffective advice given to students was simply to 'write a thesis' without proper guidance.

The discovery of a better method to teach historical thesis writing through a step-by-step approach.

Introduction of Steve Heimler, who provides tactical advice and inspiration for AP History teachers.

The necessity of showing students examples of good theses from College Board scoring samples.

Link provided in the description for accessing College Board scoring samples.

The two fundamental rules for writing a thesis: it must be a historically defensible claim and establish a line of reasoning.

Explanation of a historically defensible claim being one that someone can disagree with.

The requirement for a thesis to be located somewhere near the truth and not be unarguable.

Establishing a line of reasoning means including specific historical vocabulary that previews the argument categories.

The exercise of having students choose the best thesis from a set provided by the teacher.

Providing a variety of theses in the exercise to include true, defensible, and those with no line of reasoning.

The illumination gained from discussions when groups get the thesis selection wrong and the learning opportunity it presents.

The introduction of a thesis writing formula to help students structure their arguments effectively.

Two thesis writing formulas presented: the John Irish Formula and a simpler alternative.

The significant improvement in students' thesis writing after implementing the step-by-step method.

A call to action for teachers to subscribe for more tactical advice and inspiration for AP History classes.

The availability of teacher resource packs to assist in teaching thesis writing and other AP course content.

Transcripts
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