Show me the EVIDENCE!

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.

Good Readers Show Evidence- great bulletin board to encourage students to use evidence based terms to respond to their reading! {freebie posters included!}Poster I created to emphasize the use of text-based evidence in the classroom. It will be used right off the bat with my 3-levels of questions and "the Sherlock Holmes method of reading" (inference) lesson!Hello Literacy: Common Core Reading Standard 1 - Text Based Evidence & Motivating Generation Z To "Cite Specific Textual Evidence"

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…

Hello Literacy: Common Core Reading Standard 1 - Text Based Evidence & Motivating Generation Z To "Cite Specific Textual Evidence"

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

Changing lives one evidence based term at a time,

Mrs. L


7 thoughts on “Show me the EVIDENCE!

  1. Lisa, you SO make me smile! I really enjoyed your blog post and am so thankful that you are instilling the importance of evidence in your little ones. It is such an essential skill in all grades! I also really liked the chart you shared. I think it would be a great motivator and it combines using a rubric, which you know is a plus these days. Do you notice a change in your kids’ writing when you emphasize evidence-based answers (as opposed to just oral responses)? Also, what kind of changes do you notice in your students from the beginning to the end of the year? Can’t wait to hear how the TBE graph works! Also, don’t run off to join the FBI yet…the profession would miss you! Thanks for your post 🙂


    • Thanks Natalie! I definitely notice a change but want my kids to continue to grow deeper in restating what the question is answering, using quotations from the text and citing a page number. They an often do one of these things but not all of them easily yet. Our kids’ responses grow as their reading level grows because the types of questions I am asking them change with each level. So that also make a difference throughout the year. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes with the TBE graph!


  2. Wow Lisa! I really love the way you brought real-life examples of evidence to your classroom and introduced this concept in a fun way. Your anchor charts and extremely helpful. I also really like how you were very thoughtful about how to help students understand how to get evidence from the text and how to evaluate their own work. By filling out the boxes that match up with the quality and type of evidence they find, they are continuing to learn more about what evidence is and how to find clear and appropriate examples of evidence, but they are also learning how to hold themselves accountable and assess their own work. Have you ever had the students evaluate the evidence and work of their peers? Having them switch work with another student and having their partner fill out the boxes on the grid would be a fun and useful way to have them practice evaluating the work of a peer. After they evaluate their peer’s evidence, they could try and help each other by strengthening the evidence they found. Did you set up the crime scene in your room to introduce the concept? This could be a really fun way to have the students do some Reader’s Theatre. They could act out the part of the story they have used as “evidence” to try and prove their point. I love getting to see a glimpse of all the wonderful things you are doing in your classroom!


    • Thanks Christina! Thanks for the idea of introducing with a crime scene! I did not do that but will definitely try that next year! I do have the students evaluate each others’ work. We are not quite at the point where they can trade and give feedback but are working on getting there! That is definitely really powerful!


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