Writing with Text Evidence

      Text evidence writing is near and dear to my heart. It gives
me a chance to tell my students not to dump and run.
     “No evidence
dumping!” I say. “Your answer does not belong in a commode! Present your
evidence in a lovely little box, and proceed to tell your reader why they need
this special gift.
       I always start
the year by teaching how to answer questions that require text evidence. I use
the RACES technique, Restate, Answer, Cite evidence, Explain, Cite evidence,
Explain and Sum it up. The RA part is easy, as long as students wisely use the
language used in the question itself. I tell kids that the person who wrote the
question chose the words to the question very carefully. They wrote and rewrote
the question several times and they would LOVE students to use those very
words- or synonyms for those words- in their topic sentence.
      Then comes the
evidence.  Finding the evidence is not a
problem for most students. But stating a wonderful text detail- without
connecting it to the topic and answer- is like presenting someone with a beautiful
gift that is located at the bottom of a toilet.
And then proceeding to flush. It’s just plain useless.
     I tell them that
the evidence is so much prettier when it’s wrapped up in a nice package. And they
should also pretend readers are not very bright. They know nothing about the
text, except for what we tell them. So readers need an explanation as to why
the “gift” is important to them. They need an explanation that connects the
evidence to the topic sentence.
     The kids love it.
I’m sure they go home and tell their parents and friends that I tell them not
to dump and run. That’s perfectly fine with me. At least they remember.
      Try this freebie
for some text evidence terminology:


                                                Free: Evidence Based Terminology