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Setting Up the Workspace

Setting up the workspace

Set Up the Workspace

Consider pre-populating claims and evidence.
When you set up your project in the Teacher Workspace, you will have the opportunity to pre-populate the students’ case with claims and/or evidence. If you want students to gather and evaluate evidence prior to making a claim, then pre-populating the claim area may not meet the learning objectives of your project. However, if there is only one specific claim or a few claims that you want students to evaluate so that they can focus on building quality evidence, creating the claim ahead of time may be appropriate. Or you may want to populate the claim after brainstorming as a whole class. Another option is to provide a limited number of claims from which students can choose.

Creating evidence that will appear in all students’ cases may be helpful when it is the first time students are using the Showing Evidence Tool, for practice projects, for younger students, or when you want to be sure that all students consider certain pieces of evidence. Pre-populating the Evidence Bin with one or two pieces of evidence may also help students to see specifically what is expected of them in terms of the type of evidence and how to describe it. Even when you provide a starter set of evidence, the design of the tool requires that your students determine the rating and provide the explanation for their rating.

Choose a version: standard or simplified.
The simplified version does not require students to rate the evidence or support, nor explain how the evidence supports or opposes the claim. This version may be helpful with younger students or during a practice session where you simply want students to get used to the idea of documenting evidence and weighing support for a claim. 

Choose a vocabulary set.
To support the vocabulary you are already using in your classroom, you can choose a particular set of terms for the areas of the Showing Evidence Tool workspace.

Possible Uses What You're Trying to Prove/Disprove Evidence Quality of the Evidence Relation to Claim
Relation to Claim
General/Default Claim Evidence Quality Strengthen Weaken
Science Hypothesis Data Reliability Support Oppose
Mathematics Conjecture Data Reliability Support Oppose
Social Science/ Science Prediction Observation Reliability Strengthen Weaken
Language Arts Thesis Evidence Reliability Strengthen Weaken
Social Science Position Fact Reliability Support Oppose
Science Proposition Example Plausibility Support Weaken
History Premise Fact Plausibility Support Oppose

Assign teams and reviewers.
Give some thought to how you assign teams. Sometimes you may want to assign like-minded students to the same team to facilitate the decision-making process. Other times, try creating teams where the students will need to negotiate their claims. If you will be assigning different topics for each team, consider having two teams per topic. You can then assign those teams with the same topics as each other’s reviewer. Peer-review teams would then have the content knowledge to comment on the other team’s case effectively. If you are doing a joint project with another class, you will need to set up one project and assign teams from both classes. You can then assign reviewing teams from the other class. Be sure to provide your teacher log-in information to the other teacher, as well. Consider assigning an expert or outside reviewer to work with your students, especially in the case of an independent science research project.

For organization you may want to identify teams by their particular assignment, create teams names based on project, such as assigned student role, perspective or investigative area. For example, in the CSI Verona project in the Romeo and Juliet Unit Plan, the teacher sets up the project so that students have to explore who is responsible for the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. The students use Showing Evidence to write the jury report of one of four trials. The teams could be set up so that students know which trial they are investigating: Romeo and Juliet, the Montague and Capulet families, Friar Laurence, and fate. That way the teacher or the other teams know the position of the teams they are viewing.

Create an initial set of sources for evidence.
To help students use research time effectively, give them a resource list of suggested Web sites, other electronic media (encyclopedias, etc.), and print resources. This will be particularly important for younger students. After they have exhausted your list, you may want to give them more time to conduct research using other sources.