I am a big proponent that the basic (less than 10) reading standards have to be introduced EXPLICITLY. I always stick with the I do, we do, you do model. My routine is pretty basic and repetitive. I use an anticipatory set or engaging intro, connect the skill to something the kids already know, then model how to use the skill. After that, I scaffold, model, scaffold, and do it again. Slowly, I release responsibility and let student have collaborative, guided, and independent practice.
Here is how I introduced Standard 8: Evaluating Evidence. Thanks to vertical alignment, all students have some variation of this exact standard.
1. “Has anyone ever seen one of those lawyer or police dramas on television?” Lead a discussion and allow students to name a few. Possible responses: CSI, Scandal, Damages, Law & Order, etc.
2. “One of my favorite parts of any show like that is when they try to prove if someone is innocent or guilty. How do they usually decide if someone is guilty? What makes the difference?” Solicit responses. Possible responses: testimony, witnesses, evidence, video, etc.
3. Focus on that fact that they have to have evidence to prove their points.
4. “What about when they have evidence, but the criminal gets away? Have you seen that happen when the person is guilty, they had evidence, but the jury or judge didn’t believe the evidence?” Lead students to the conclusion that not all evidence is equal. Sometimes evidence is there, but it is not strong enough, doesn’t seem as convincing, or just doesn’t really relate to the case.
5. “I like to hold writers to the same standards as they do on those shows. I want to see evidence that I should believe what they are saying.” Discuss how newspapers and magazines feature text where people say all types of things, but a good reader should look at the evidence and decide if the argument the writer is making has sufficient support.
6. “We will spend some time looking critically at what authors say. You and I will be the judge and jury. We will decide if there is enough evidence to support what these authors are saying.
7. Introduce vocabulary words to students and explain that everyone will use these words we discuss evidence in informational text.
Next steps? Model with a text…