Accelerating Student Learning and Motivation in Your U.S. History Classroom

Rubrics and Scaffolds

Why Study U.S. History?
Using the Standards
Standardized Exams
Developing Themes in U.S. History
Historical Stories and Unit Hooks
Using Primary Sources in the Classroom
General Strategies
Alternative Assessments
Rubrics and Scaffolds
Long Term Projects
Additional Resources
Kevin Williams: Contact and Information


Brainstorming / Reviewing Scaffolds
If you are interested in seeing a website with:
  1. Rubrics made for you
  2. Guided rubric making
  3. Tools for you to customize rubrics

Then go to

(Sample Page - "Give One, Get One" - see page 253 in your handbook)

1. Pass the Paper
Rationale: Often the best way to introduce a subject is to find out what students already know, or think they know.  This technique allows us to find out what we should teach, but it also gives the students an opportunity to state what they already know, and a connection to what they will study.  Pedagogically, "Pass the Paper" is one of the most sound approaches to unit preparation and teaching.
2. Give One, Get One
Rationale: Reviewing for exams is an important technique, especially on final exams. However, oftentimes we end up re-lecturing or re-teaching. Good review should give students the opportunity to discuss and get answers from their classmates. Give One, Get One can be used as a brainstorming technique, but in the seminar it was discussed as a test review strategy.
As David Vawter says, "If you want long term retention, you must have reflection."

Sample essay rubric for U.S. History classes - see page 260 in your handbook

1.  Essay Rubrics
Rubrics can assist both the student and the instructor:
1.  Student - It gives them both a visual and a written way to view their progress.  Oftentimes, our comments on essays can be esoteric, but usually a rubric is clearer for students.  If it isn't, it at least gives them a starting point for asking questions.
2.  Teacher - We often write the exact same comment on each essay.  In turn, this turns many of us off to the idea of assigning essays.  Rubrics significantly reduce the time spent grading papers.
*For A.P. Classes:  See pages 244-45 and 247-248 in your handbook

1.  Class Evaluations
Class evaluations are an excellent way to end the semester or year:
  • They show students that you value their input
  • They give valuable feedback about what students felt went well and what may not have been effective

*See pages 249-251 of your handbook for an example.