Grading student papers is no task for the weak. Teachers have to be pumped up to deal with the endless issues with conventions, argumentation, citing/formatting, voice, and many other things. If you’re like me, you can’t read a paper without taking a red pen to it. It’s exhausting! (I’m not going to lie – The red pen eventually turns into red wine!)
So, I finally got smarter. I decided to explicitly teach writing skills BEFORE assigning writing tasks. I discovered that my students produced better papers. (Imagine that!? Teaching improving practice – What a crazy notion!)
The key is to attack one writing problem at a time. In this blog, I will be sharing how I addressed the problem of quotations. I told my students that they were “dropping quotations like bombs.” Students would just insert quotations somewhere in the middle of their papers. It seems like students struggle with how to integrate quotations in their writing effectively.
The Common Core State Standards pushes students to support their thinking with evidence from the text. Teachers are placing great importance on textual evidence in writing and discussions. Textual evidence includes but is not limited to facts, statistics, examples, and quotations. I developed the CLIQUES strategy to help students contextualize quotations when writing expository texts. The following table provides an overview of the strategy:
|CL||Claim||State your claim. This is the topic sentence. It’s the main idea of your paragraph. It’s the argument or the explanation.|
|I||Introduction of Quotation||Prepare to present your evidence. Provide a reason that supports your claim. Build readers up to your quotation by providing some context. If applicable, describe who, to whom, when, and where the quotation takes place.|
|QU||Quotation||State your quotation. Use signal phrases such as For example…, According to…, ___ states,…,|
|E||Explanation of Quotation||Explain how your quotation supports your claim. Explain why you chose this quotation.|
|S||So What?||Explain your point again. Analyze your position in light of the evidence you produced.|
Students can use the CLIQUES strategy to learn how to make quotations a substantial part of their logical reasoning process.
Several tips for successful implementation of the CLIQUE strategy:
- This strategy supports students in writing a supporting body paragraph. If writing a complete paper, students will need additional scaffolds to write introduction and conclusion paragraphs. Consider accessing Annenberg Learner’s Write in the Middle workshops, which provide a more comprehensive model for teaching writing.
- This strategy would be a great follow-up to the Double-Journal Entry strategy explained in Teaching Multicultural Literature, workshop 8, “Social Justice and Action.”
- Before introducing the strategy, spend some time discussing quotations and how they’re used in writing. In News Writing: Interviews, news writers actually share their writing experiences. Many of them discuss the use of quotations.