Each day, I begin my ELA class with Reading Time. This is a time for students to access a range of texts. I use this time to conference with students, collect data on class patterns and trends with independent reading and to provide individualized support.
As I saw students working on their rough drafts and after looking at some of them when they asked me to look at them either before school or after-school, I noticed that student were not structuring their citations properly. Yes, I explained it in the beginning of the project. Yes, they have resources available to them that shows them how to do this (my web-site among them). No, they did not listen and can not apply it directly unless I teach it directly. While some teachers may throw their hands in the air and blame the students, and it may be their fault, I think it's important to pick certain battles. This is obviously an important skill and I want to make sure students know what to do.
The lesson starts with the Using Quotations and Citations Notes. For me, most of this paper is supposed to be an independent study so I want students to learn how to use the resources available to them on their own. With this in mind, I quickly review the major parts of the notes to the class as whole. The major aspects are how to structure citation and how to use quotes. I tell them briefly how to use a direct quotation in their paper (use of quotation marks, parenthesis, author's last name, page number and punctuation of it all). I tell them that the expectation is that they will review the notes on their own since the information is straightforward.
Here is where and how you can decide how you want to structure the lesson. You can decide what would work best. Perhaps you want to read through the entire handout with your class and give them a copy. You can also have them copy notes down. Either way, keep in mind the make-up the class. Are lower-level students going to keep up if you review it quickly? Are higher-level students being challenged and engaged if you read it verbatim?
This section of the lesson moves from understanding the format of citation to analyzing information to support certain claims. Students have the rest of the class time to specifically work on the direct quotations they want to incorporate into their research paper. Giving them this time allows them to think and analyze their quotations in ways that will help them along the way as they write their research paper. This is an important skill that needs to be addressed as it will really prepare them for the writing they will be doing in the future. Analysis can be a tough skill to teach, so the more we can do it, the better.
I pull up the Using Direct Quotations Worksheet on the Smartboard and review what students will need to work on for the remainder of class. This worksheet has students write down what quote they will use and why. It also has them think about the claim and the reason behind the quote. This language (claim, proof, reason) is not new. We reviewed it when discussing document based question essays. By asking what is the claim and what is the reason, students are able to analyze these quotations even further to build a stronger paper.
Here are two examples of student work on this worksheet and the conference I would have with them.