A Lesson on Integrating Text Evidence that my Secondary Students Loved

A Lesson on Integrating Text Evidence that my Secondary Students Loved

A couple weeks ago, Sam and I were given the task of creating a lesson plan to teach how to properly cite and analyze textual evidence (or integrate a quote into your paper), as students were struggling to incorporate them fluidly within their paragraphs.  Desperately, we searched google, Youtube, and educational sites alike for some sort of video that was even half-entertaining with tips or demonstrations on how to do it, but to no avail.

But then, the clouds parted, and we came across this clip from the Colbert Report.  Compared to what we had been finding previously, it was perfect.  Colbert satirically presents a message from Wheat Thins, expertly quoting from and commenting on a memo they had sent him as a guideline.

Colbert clearly made this video for teachers to use in lesson plans about textual evidence. Clearly.

They even zoom in on the quotes during the clip, making talking about his usage of quotes that much easier during class.  It went over great!  And no fear, it is a miraculously politically neutral clip for Colbert, so no discomfort about ideological undertones necessary.

As we had had such trouble developing an engaging lesson plan for this,  I decided to go ahead and post it for others for ideas, as teaching how to integrate quotes will not be going away anytime soon for any middle or high school teacher.  Enjoy, and feel free to comment or expand!

Incorporating Textual Evidence Lesson Plan:

  1. 3 min: Show first part of clip (1:50–end of hummus part) from Colbert example, ask students to notice how he leads into a quote, how much of the quote he uses, and then how he continues after the quote.
    1. After clip: discuss what they find
  2. 10 min: Short Text Evidence Presentation
    1. when to quote
    2. common errors in quoting
    3. ”quote sandwich”–show second clip from Colbert example (where stopped to 4:00), have them talk about what parts were “part of the sandwich”
    4. show examples of good intro and supporting sentences (and explain why they are absolutely necessary–stress that if they take anything away, this should be it)—possibly excerpts from newspapers, etc.
  3. 10 min: Writing activity. Have each student pick a quote out of a bag. Tape/glue it onto a lined sheet of paper (note: we actually ended up amending this during class, and simply gave each student a sheet full of quotes to choose from, and they copied it into their notebook–much simpler).  Each student must write an intro and supporting sentence for their quote using the “quote sandwich” idea.  Walk around room to answer questions and give suggestions on how students can push their writing even further.
  4. 5 min: Have students get into groups and share with each other
  5. 5 min: (If time) Each group can share one member’s sentence sandwich to class.

*I actually originally wrote and posted this on Pedablogical Thoughts with a colleague quite a few years ago while we were still a pre-student teachers, and it turned out to be a popular lesson.  Since I’ve switched to this new site, I took this post with me so it could get proper upkeep and TLC.  

4 thoughts on “A Lesson on Integrating Text Evidence that my Secondary Students Loved

  1. For the last writing activity with the sheet of quotes: do you add context to the quotes, or are they JUST the quotes?

    So that in the end when the students share, the sentences might not be completely accurate with the context of where the quote came from, correct?

    So some could be funny, depending on what the student comes up with.
    Does that make sense?
    Thanks so much, by the way. This sounds like a really fun lesson, I’m breaking it up into two mini lessons and am excited to try it out.

    1. Hi Amelia!

      That does sound fun! It depends on the level of my students. Yes, quotes without context could get really fun! And it would work for the skills of this lesson. If my students were pretty low in this skill, I would give students a claim, though, so they have direction in their choice of quote, and we can compare quote choices afterward. It could be a fun claim! Like “Cats are better than dogs,” or “Fidget spinners are the key to happiness,” and then give them quotes from a few articles. The only context I might provide is info on who the author is, so they can assess if it would add credibility to their argument.

      Hope that gives you some more ideas–thanks for reaching out! Good luck!! I’d love to hear how it goes 🙂

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