Textual evidence, textual evidence, textual evidence. I feel like every day I am repeating these two words like a mantra. And yet, this is what I typically get in response:
Me: Make sure you use textual evidence to support your point!
Student Essay: In the beginning of the book, Scrooge is very mean and stingy. “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!”
Me: I want you to actually USE your textual evidence.
Student: I did! See? There is a quote!
One thing I have truly learned is that there is a big difference between inserting textual evidence and using textual evidence – and unless you explicitly teach them, most students will simply insert it and call it a day.
In an effort to hook my students and to create an easy way to refer to actually using quotations in writing, I created a method I call the Oreo-method. I used to only teach this to my 7th and 8th graders, but this year I introduced it to my 5th graders and they caught on just as well! Below is a quick explanation of the process, as well as a link to buy the powerpoint I use when I introduce the concept!
I show students examples of two small (very small) paragraphs. One I call the “dry” paragraph, and one is “delicious.” In reality, one is simply inserting a quote while the other is actually using it.
Together, we discuss similarities and differences, and then I explain to them that they should envision an Oreo whenever they have to use a quote.
This is the introduction to the quote. This include an original thought that you, the writer, has as well as a transitional phrase leading into the quote.
I stress to the students that this is the good stuff. This is the quote you use, the information you paraphrase, the support you find to back up whatever thought you wrote for your top cookie.
No Oreo is complete without the bottom cookie, and no quote is complete without something to wrap it up. For the bottom cookie, I have students simply write WHY they used the quote. For my younger graders I give them a template and let them simple write: “This shows that…” As my students get older and more accustomed to this method, I encourage them to make the transition more seamless and original.
Here is the example from above re-written as an Oreo Quote:
In the beginning of the book, Scrooge is very mean and stingy. Dickens writes, “Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” This shows that Scrooge is very strict with his money.
In the beginning of the book, Scrooge is very mean and stingy. Dickens writes that Scrooge “…was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” The diction -“wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching” – all emphasize how tight Scrooge is with his finances.
After I teach this to the students, I usually have them try writing their own using a non-fiction article from Newsela (click here to read my review of this website!) And of course, no lesson on Oreo Quoting would be complete without giving students Oreos after they show me a correct example of an Oreo quote!
Click here to buy the PowerPoint I use when I teach this lesson!