Common Core

Assignment Types Aligned to the CCSS

Think 7th graders can't handle the demands of the Common Core? Think again! The assignments below have been used with my students and have worked very well.

Dossiers - A comparative assignment using primary source quotes and secondary source information about historical subjects. Information is gathered into one-page sheets (dossiers) for students to analyze. They use the information to answer critical thinking questions using the dossiers as their evidence.

Who Killed Jesus? I Richard vs. John I Reformers or Criminals? I Chinese Dynasties

History Mystery - Investigation-style activities where students review primary sources (both real and recreated) to draw conclusions about a historical mystery. Closes with the creation of a ARE argumentative paragraph with the citation of evidence drawn from the exhibits.

Julius Caesar I The Black Death I The Medici Assassination I Mayan Disappearance I Did Polo Go?

Gold vs. Halite I Roanoke: The Lost Colony I The Death of Meriwether Lewis

HAM - History Analysis Mondays are 30 minute assignments meant to teach close reading skills such as marking the text and meta-cognition using primary sources. Many focus on a specific history analysis skill such as detecting bias.

Robin Hood I Art Analysis I Marco Polo I Nacerima (Reading) I Charlemagne 1 2 I Ptolemy

Origins of the Inca

DBQ - Document Based Questions use a series of documents centered around one essential question. Students are led through a step by step analysis of the documents and then must synthesize them to form a conclusion which they then defend.

*The documents referenced are often from our textbook (Holt's Medieval to Early Modern Times) and I do not have the legal right to repost them. I am happy to share what the documents are but I'd recommend using your own textbook as most will have sufficient documents to work with the provided EQ.

Rome (Docs) I Reformation & Scientific Revolution I Aztec & Inca I Japan

Weigh The Evidence - Using multiple sources of information ranging from quotes to movie clips students take a position on an open-ended question. Each sources is "weighted" based on which position it supports (or if it supports none at all.) Focuses on teaching students to consider the reliability of a source before using it as evidence.

Rome I Robin Hood I The Maya I Ninjas I Washington I War of 1812 I John Brown

Legit or Legend? (formerly known as Did it Happen?) - This activity begins with a claim from a modern secondary source such as the students' textbook or from pop culture then evaluates the validity of that claim by analyzing historical sources. I love the idea of students being forced to question their acceptance of everything they read in the book or online and I'm excited to see what future topics I can come up with.

Legit or Legend: Columbus I Legit or Legend: The Inca I Legit or Legend: Davy Crockett

Quizzes - Mixed mode quizzes with an emphasis on open-ended answers requiring evidence. Each quiz has a short multiple choice section that hopefully will be phased out as our district tests are. The bulk is made up of identifications and mini-essay questions.

Social Studies Common Core Grades 6-8 Literacy

Key Ideas and Details

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3 Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).

Craft and Structure

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.5 Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6 Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance of particular facts).

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.10 By the end of grade 8, read and comprehend history/social studies texts in the grades 6–8 text complexity band independently and proficiently.


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1 - Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.2 -Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.3 - Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.

Production and Distribution of Writing:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.4 - Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1-3 above.)

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.5 - With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.6 - Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.

Research to Build and Present Knowledge:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.7 - Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions for further research and investigation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.8 - Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.9 - Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.10 - Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.