Start off by making a general claim about one of the students. For example: Tanner is very athletic.
Ask the students to support this claim based on evidence from our own experience with Tanner. Now, present another claim that is possibly not true. I usually choose myself for this one, so that I don't hurt anyone's feelings. An example might be: Mrs. Coughanour is an excellent basketball player. I am 5'1, and my students know all my great stories like the time scored for the other team, so this would be pretty easy to refute. I ask them what evidence do you know that refutes this claim. Is there any evidence to support this claim? Tanner is a pretty good sport, so I could probably ask the class if there is evidence to refute the claim that Tanner is athletic.
I would have a little discussion with them about the nature of claims. Are they facts or opinions? Why is it important to have evidence to support and refute them. When could you possibly use this skill in real life? I always like to throw in the practical application to help students see the value of the activity.
Next, I will give everyone a copy of the Support / Refute Organizer. I will give them 2 claims that they investigated during the second reading of the story. During the second reading, they highlighted parts of the story where Squeaky's attitude helps her in one color and hurts her in another. The 2 claims come from this activity:
Squeaky's attitude helps her.
Squeaky's attitude hurts her.
I let the students choose which claim they feel is the most valid and write it in the "statement" part of the chart. Then, they look through their story at the highlighted evidence and find 2 or 3 parts that support this claim. Next, they will go through the story and look for parts that do not support the claim. This part is tricky for them, so I like to model my thinking aloud. I just pick one of the claims and model finding supporting and refuting evidence from the text. Most kids will catch on quickly and find the evidence easily if they did a good job highlighting evidence in the previous lesson.
Citing evidence to support a claim is a big shift in CSS. Students need to be able to pose a argument and support it with textual evidence. By breaking this process into steps and providing support, I am hoping that they will be successful!
Click here to see a video of this strategy.
Now, students will answer an interpretive question using their charts to guide them.
They will use the RACE method because we are still plugging through it! My students are still struggling to explain their evidence, so I am trying to simplify it even more today.
Restate the question.
Answer the question.
Cite specific evidence from the text.
Explain HOW the evidence answers the question.
I encouraged students to use "My evidence explains that...." for this last step, and most of them were able to do it! Yahoo! I did circulate and read many answers, so I had a chance to help them refine their explanations before they turned them in to me.
Besides having trouble explaining the evidence, the other issue I saw was that instead of citing a specific part of the text, kids would say, "I know this because my chart says so."
I know, but WHAT does your chart say! Geez, this process is painful at times!
Overall, once I looked at all of the answers, about 90% of my students can answer a question using RACE! I will keep working with the other 10% on explaining their evidence!
Here is a student example.