Writing the CLAIM for the CER Framework
Classroom, Science

CLAIMS & the CER Framework

This post is the 2nd post in the CER framework series. To read the first post called: Introduction to the CER framework, click here

The Claim – Evidence – Reasoning (CER) framework begins with the “CLAIM.” A claim in general terms is the answer to the question being explored. Surprisingly, students struggle with writing a claim. However, if you ask students the question, they usually can verbally generate an answer. 

Part of developing an answer to any question is helping students identify the key parts of the question that need to be included in the answer. This is critical and needs to be developed as early as possible and will eliminate many of the challenges that students may face in the future and prevent answers that include: yes, no, it, etc. No matter the age, developing this skill will be invaluable. When developing this, have students speak it aloud as common practice in complete sentences. This step goes a long way. 

Before jumping into writing anything let students share their ideas aloud with a partner, team or class. Allow time for students to practice developing sentences verbally by restating the major parts of the question needed. Techniques such as underlining or highlighting keywords can also be a common practice. (Sidenote: I have students use a blue highlighter for the claim as this provides a visual cue as well). Then once students are ready for the writing portion, it is time for them to use developmentally appropriate language. Below are some ideas to get you started. 

Writing the CLAIM for the CER Framework

CLAIM at the Primary Grades:

  • I think ….
  • I believe…
  • It is my opinion that…

CLAIM at the Intermediate Grades:

  • It is my opinion that…
  • It is easy to argue…
  • The effect of ____ on ____ is _______.

CLAIM at the Secondary Level

  • The effect of ____ on ____ is _______.
  • There is a lot of discussion on the topic of _____. It is my opinion that …
  • On the issue of ____, it is evident that …

While the language changes from a personal to specific language as students progress in academic level,  it is important to support students when they transition from speaking to writing no matter their level. Too often, students are given a writing prompt and asked to write right away. Rather students should be provided ample time to practice verbally with academic language in a collaborative activity, before they ever begin to write. . This simple step can make the difference not only in having something quality to read, but provide the student with stamina and confidence to write a high quality claim.

Primary CER

Secondary Science CER

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