What I have tried so far is to be very purposeful in modeling and guiding both large and small discussions in which students use text evidence to support their answers, as well as speaking in complete sentences. I have given students sentence stems and group discussion norms to guide their discussions (this is a chart).
The norms are:
- each person must contribute to the discussion, but take turns
- Each person should show the others specific details from the text
- students should ask questions.
- What would you like to add to my idea?
- Tell us what you're thinking"
- My evidence is here on the ________ page in the __________ paragraph (students read the evidence out loud)
I have noticed a few things:
- Students need to be consistently nudged/reminded to go back into the text (this is not a natural behavior for them or any of us:)
- Students need lots and lots of practice, guidance, and modeling of how to have an oral discussion as well as how to transfer that oral discussion into writing
- Citing evidence to support their thinking is not yet transferring to their writing. Why not I ask?
My next steps:
- Give the sentence stems to them so that during discussions, they have them right there as a guide.
- Purposefully model how to write using evidence from the text