Not gonna lie…sometimes I dream of being a crime scene investigator. One of my favorite shows is Criminal Minds and I find it fascinating how much the Behavioral Analysis Unit can learn from a few simple pieces of evidence. If I wasn’t such a chicken, I would march right up to the FBI and beg for a job. But my fear always does me in.
Even though I am not part of the FBI and am not a crime scene investigator, I still have a great need and use for evidence. I have really focused the last 2-3 years on practicing using evidence from the text with my kids when they respond to comprehension questions. This emphasis is largely due to Common Core but I also feel that it is an extremely authentic way to prepare students for what they will encounter whether in school or in their jobs later on. To be able to provide evidence for an opinion or to pull from text to advocate for what you feel is right is important no matter what field you will eventually go into. And so I tell me first graders all the time, SHOW ME THE EVIDENCE!
Now it probably comes as no surprise to you that my first graders have never seen Criminal Minds. And most of them have never heard of Law & Order. They may have an understanding of what evidence is from Scooby Doo, but this term is often a bit of a foreign concept to some. Pair that with finding evidence inside a book and I have lost nearly all the rest of them. So I am on a quest to discover how to best teach first graders how to use evidence from the text.
There are many great anchor charts out there with “evidence based terms” which I am beginning to introduce to my kids.
But even with these great colorful and engaging charts, I often find my kids struggling or even unmotivated to diligently find evidence from the text. Then yesterday I stumbled across something I am very excited to try…
I introduce the TBE graph! Jen Jones from the blog Hello Literacy created this with the recognition that students nowadays are motivated by instant gratification and accumulation, which her grid seeks to give to students. Students write their response using text-based evidence, just like I have been doing. But then when you read their response, they get to color in a certain number of squares depending on the quality of their response. For example, if they give an accurate answer, that is one square. Using a quotation gives them another. A page citation gives them yet another box. I may also add in a box if they used any evidence based terms. The amazing thing about this is that according to Jen it is highly motivating to kids but doesn’t give me any additional work besides making a few copies of the grid. Kids continue using the grid throughout the books they are reading and once they complete an entire grid, they join the “TBE club”, which is just an exciting way to say that they are really learning how to use evidence from the text. They can then start a totally new grid. I am really excited to try this in my own classroom! I will let you know how it goes!
For more information on the TBE graph, visit Jen’s page at http://www.helloliteracy.blogspot.com/2014/01/common-core-reading-standard-1-text.html.
Changing lives one evidence based term at a time,