Finding Textual Evidence for Struggling Readers: A Poof of Proof-How I Motivate My Students to Find Evidence from the Text! PART ONE

If you've been wondering where I've been...I have spent the past four months researching all things textual evidence. What started with a small idea continued to grow, and grow, and grow until it became this mega toolbox full of goodies for getting students motivated and excited about citing and referring to textual evidence.

I knew I had to do something for one of my fourth graders who really struggled with finding evidence from the text. He would blurt out an answer from his head instead of going back and finding the answer that was explicitly stated in the text ALL. The. Time.
It wasn't just him, so many of my students would skip the part that says, “Use details from the passage to support your answer” on their reading tests.  

If the question said "What is the setting of the selection? Use details from the selection to support your answer." A majority of my students would respond: "The beach." They were missing their proof. I needed a miracle, or magic, to get them to add their proof. That's when "A POOF of Proof" was born! I created an entire magical theme around this to disguise the task as something fun for my kiddos.  

Click the picture above to watch the VIDEO

This Textual Evidence toolkit is an entire textual evidence system that can be implemented throughout the year. I am so glad I came up with this, I just wish I had thought of this over the summer to be able to start my kids in August. I am grateful that it is ready just in time for testing season. 

Last week we started by introducing the Proof Fairy's fool-proof way of writing an evidence-based response to a text-dependent question. We call it "The Fairy Method." I introduce each part of the "FAIRY" method every 1-2 days. 

F: Find the key words in the question and FLIP the question into the answer. 
A: Answer the question by using the key words to help you find the answer in the text.
I: Insert evidence from the text. (In paragraph __ it states, "...")
R: Reread your answer to check for spelling, accuracy, and clarity. Ask yourself, "Does this make sense?"
Y: You're Done!

We made an addition to our interactive notebook, a FAIRY fan, for students to be able to refer to next time they are taking a test or doing a reading response. We just folded the corner of the page up and taped down the side in order to create a pocket.  They took notes on the back of each wand to add more detailed notes of what each letter stands for as I did for you above. 

I love the "ZAP!" one of my kiddos added to their notebook, haha! Let's just hope this student really does ZAP in evidence from the text on her state test! 

F: FIND the key words in the question and FLIP the question into the answer. 
FIND: How many times have you had a student respond to a question and is totally off topic to the point that it is evident they didn't understand the question they were answering. The significance of finding key words makes the students sloooow down and tune into the question. Key words are words they absolutely need to know in order to answer the question. I have my students put a square around the key words. There are certain things that I teach them to look for such as location words. These are words that tell them exactly where to find the answer. Such as: What is the main idea in paragraph 2? Above the box I encourage them to draw eye balls so that they know this is part of the question that is telling me where to look in the passage. I teach my kids to treasure this part of the question because it saves them the hassle of rereading the entire text. Another thing I say to look for in the question is character names.  Earlier in the year, I was teaching character traits. I would have to say close to 50% of my (67) students got questions wrong on the test because they described the wrong character when the question clearly stated the character's name they were to describe. GRR! 
FLIP:   When you flip the question into the answer, you are restating the question. 
Example: What is your name? Flip: My name is...
The Proof Fairy provided some find and flip tips and then we practiced doing both. Flipping was easier than finding key words. My students have been having a hard time determining what's important in the question (as you may notice below). This is something we will continue to practice over and over. I will definitely be starting this at the beginning of the year next year! 

We spread the front and back of this practice sheet over 2 days. The first day was a lot of modeling and guided practice. We began class the following day by completing the back side and going over it. Once we finished the sheet, we practiced Find and Flip a couple different ways:

I didn't spend too much time on the "A" because I will revisit once the student have been taught the second part of answering a question: Inserting the evidence.

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow to read about how I taught the students evidence based terms to use when citing evidence. This is probably going to end up being a textual evidence series of several posts. The "Poof of Proof" Textual Evidence Kit is so huge, I could probably write a post every day this week, so follow me on Bloglovin to make sure you get the updates! Until then, if you'd like to see what's in store check out the preview video! If you enjoy it, please subscribe to my channel!

Or just hop over to TPT now, and get your textual evidence goodies now! Click the pictures below for your grade level!

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