A Creative Twist on Text Evidence 

Jim Meininger all photos

Editor’s Note: We love 6th-grade teacher Jim Meininger’s creative gallery-walk idea. Not only is it a great critical-thinking and text-evidence activity, it also gets kids up, moving, and working together.​

 

I recently experienced a “teaching success” that was very exciting. I wanted to bolster my students’ ability to support their claims with text evidence when answering constructed-response questions. I decided to reinforce this crucial reading and writing skill by using Scopes nonfiction article “Teens Against Hitler” from the April 2016 issue. But you can use this idea with any Scope text.

 

What youll need:

Key skills:
finding text evidence, key ideas and details, evaluating a claim

Time: three 55-minute class periods

 

Day 1: Article preview and group work

  • Choose any narrative nonfiction article from Scope. Review the vocabulary as a class.
  • Play the audio version of the article while projecting the text on a whiteboard. Listening to audio articles helps struggling readers and also gives you a chance to walk around the class and monitor the students.
  • Divide students into groups of 3 or 4 and give each student a page with six critical-thinking questions. I took the constructed-response questions from the quizzes, the writing prompt, and a few questions from the lesson plan. Each group was assigned one question out of the six with instructions to collaboratively compose an answer containing a claim, transitional phrase, and a quote that provides evidence. (As students brainstorm, they should write their ideas on one half of the dry-erase board.) Once all group-members agree, they write their final answer on the other half of the dry-erase board.

A group of students collaborates on an answer using a claim, a transitional phrase, and text evidence.

 

Day 2: Gallery walk 

  • The groups reconvene and look over their answer one more time with fresh eyes. This is an opportunity to edit and put the final touches on their work.
  • All the boards are then displayed on a wall in my classroom. Then we go on a gallery walk.

  • Students walk around the room reading the other groups answers. Just as in an art gallery, talking is not allowed. Each student carries the sheet with all the critical-thinking questions. As they walk around the room, they decide if they think each groups answer is right and whether the text evidence is used correctly. If students agree with the answer, they copy it onto their own sheets. If they dont think the answer is correct, they leave a blank on their sheets. By the time the gallery walk is over, all students should have read every groups answer.

  • Come back together as a class and discuss which answers were successful and why, and provide feedback on how the other answers could be strengthened. 

A student participates in the “gallery walk,” assessing the use of text evidence to support a claim.

 

Day 3: Summative assessment: transferring skills to a new text

For the summative assessment, I used the Scope play The Fire-Breather. I wanted to make sure students could transfer their skills to a new text.

  • Read the article (or play, in this case) as a class.
  • Have students individually answer the two constructed-response questions from the quiz. Their answer should include their claim, a transitional phrase, and text evidence.

A student puts his new text-evidence skills to work.

 

This activity was beyond effective as a formative assessment and the conversations were very constructive and productive. My dean of students happened to stop by while we were doing the activity, and she commented on how impressed she was to see all students actively engaged and working together!  

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Meininger is a 6th-grade English and Social Studies teacher at Jane Lathrop Stanford Middle School in Palo Alto, California. He is also a Scope teacher advisor.

 

2 Comments
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This is a simple yet effective activity. I will certainly be using this in my classroom! Thanks Mr. M.

Great lesson, will be using this, thanks!