Want some ideas on how to teaching students how to integrate quotes and textual evidence in to writing? I’ve got you.
A couple weeks ago, a colleague and I were planning a lesson 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.
If you’re looking for a full argumentative writing unit plan, I’ve got you covered–>_____________
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.
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:
- 3 min: Show an excerpt of Colbert video (minute markers 1:50–2:27*), 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.
- After clip: discuss what they find
- 10 min: Short Powerpoint Presentation
- when to quote
- common errors in quoting
- ”quote sandwich”–show a second excerpt from Colbert video (minute markers 2:27–4:00), have them talk about what parts were “part of the sandwich”
- 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.
- 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.
- 5 min: Have students get into groups and share with each other
- 5 min: (If time) Each group can share one member’s sentence sandwich to class.
And that’s it! Good luck! Let me know how it goes in the comments below–or any ideas you have for teaching about quotes and evidence. I’d LOVE to hear.
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A variation of this lesson is actually part of a full unit plan you can find here. One of my all-time favorite units I’ve ever taught, this argumentative unit starts with students identifying an issue they care most about, and then identifying who they can write to to change it. The rest of the 25, CCSS-aligned lessons take them through writing letters that they’ll mail at the end of the unit. Teach students how to argue well while learning to use their voice to make real change. Check it out here!
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*As always, please make sure you preview videos to evaluate the appropriateness for your students. Though I give recommendations on specific excerpts from the video (that I believe to be acceptable for my own students), I am not responsible for the content of any material that you choose to show to your students.