Close Reading + Color Coded Evidence = Not So Bad

“Where is your proof?”

“How do you know?”

“Give me evidence!”

I say these phrases so much throughout a day, that I’m pretty sure I could recite them in my sleep. I’m surprised I haven’t started saying this to my dog. It’ll happen. Needless to say, with Common Core having swept the nation (and I’m pretty ok with that, mostly), many of us are struggling to get our kids to cite their evidence. We can do it, but it’s like pulling teeth. It’s as if our “How do you know?” follow-up questions suddenly cause children’s minds to go blank. It removes everything we’ve ever taught them.

So, out of necessity, I created this.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.16.44 PM

The entire third grade was my guinea pig as I forced this upon my team. And surprisingly, it WORKED. Not only did the kids find their answers swiftly, but they found their evidence almost as quickly. I designed the questions to gradually lead students to write complete answers. The first two questions are ‘easy’ enough to help kids feel successful during independent practice, but lead them to gather enough evidence to answer the more challenging short response questions in the end.

I also designed the passages to be short enough for my babies to complete in 15 minutes or less, which is about how long they have at each center. I also wanted to incorporate close reading. So that’s when I came up with these.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 10.15.29 PM

So here is how it goes in my room.

Day 1: At Read to Someone, students read the text twice, number the paragraphs, and circle words they do not know how to say, or words they don’t understand. Look how wonderful they are, sitting EEKK. 

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 8.59.45 PM

You can see numbered paragraphs below.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 8.58.41 PM

Day 2: Students read twice again, and try to help each other figure out the meanings of their circled words. You can see how amazing they were at this in an example of the final product, a few scrolls down. It’s nice, what a fourth read with a friend can do. 🙂

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 9.01.05 PM

Day 3: They read one more time, and complete the writing portion on the right. It’s on this day that they get to use markers and crayons to underline their evidence. My friend here went a little overkill with the sheer number of markers she had with her, but hey, that’s cool too.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 9.02.05 PM

Finally, it looks a lot like this. You can see my little friend figured out the meaning to all of the words he circled. He used context clues and help from his partners. Before he answered the questions on the right, he underlined where he could find support for his answers in the given color. Click on the image for a better look!

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 9.08.12 PM

I’m proud to say this was completed pretty much on his own. I monitored, I gave a few pats on the back, I said “Keep up the hard work!”, I snapped pictures and said, “Act like I’m not standing above you taking pictures!” but…I didn’t need to help much. And that’s exactly what I want when my kids are in centers. I need to be able to focus on my small group, and feel confident that at other centers, my kids are being challenged but successful.

We did not get to Day 4 this week, since we have Rosh Hashanah off (Happy New Year!) and tests on Friday, but since our learning goal this week was main idea, I would have had my little friends practice creating and filling out a main idea graphic organizer using this passage. In the bundle at TPT, I have suggestions for Creation Day for each passage.

You can pick up this little bundle here. I will be adding different topics in the next few weeks. Let me know how YOU get your little guys to cite evidence, and I’ll be happy to give away this bundle to one fabulous commenter. 🙂


One thought on “Close Reading + Color Coded Evidence = Not So Bad

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