Citing Evidence Help for Struggling Learners


Support your struggling middle school learners by breaking down the concept of citing evidence into these 4 steps!

Maybe it's just me, but I always have students who like to cite evidence by just picking anything from the text.  Of course, I teach what relevant evidence is, but always struggled with getting kids to use their knowledge until I started breaking it down and taking students through the entire process:

1.  Read the prompt and determine what the claim or statement is that is being made.

After reading the prompt, it is critical that students know what information they are looking for.  

So for example, if the prompt is "Write an argumentative essay in which you take a position on whether DDT should be banned or not.", then students need to be looking for information on both sides of this issue as they read the text.  

Why both sides?  Because the side with the most evidence is the one to write about in the essay (even if the student doesn't personally agree).

2.  Locate evidence that can be used to support the claim or statement.

This sounds easy enough, but students need to be reminded to ask themselves "Does this sentence answer the prompt?"  Using the same example, just because the sentence mentions DDT doesn't mean it's about it being banned or not.  Students need to be reminded to continually check.

3.  Determine if the evidence is relevant and sufficient.

When I teach this, I talk about relevance in terms of answering the question in #2, but for sufficiency, we need 2 pieces of evidence for each body paragraph.  So in order for there to be enough evidence, there need to be 3 sets of 2 sentences that support the claim.

4.  Cite evidence by preparing and quoting.

Now that students have collected the evidence, they need to know how to insert that into their writing. I came up with this silly idea of "Minding your Ps and Qs".  This is an old idiom that refers to "minding one's manners" which to me is about doing things right.  So in order to do things right when citing evidence, one needs to mind their Ps and Qs by Preparing and Quoting the evidence correctly.

These steps are in my FREE citing evidence digital lesson.  Click here to get a copy in my resource library!

Need more detailed lessons with editable lesson plans?  You will love my entire printable citing evidence bundle that provides a vocabulary worksheet, vocabulary game, interactive guided notes, a processing (practice) menu, a quiz, and remediation and enrichment.  It's differentiated and ready to go!

A perfectly differentiated unit bundle that will help you teach, assess, reteach and enrich your middle school students for citing evidence!

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Use these 4 steps to break down the concept of citing evidence for your struggling middle school learners!

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