Collecting evidence to support claims can be one of the most difficult things to get students to do, and it’s even harder sometimes to get them to write about it.  Many times they just “know it” because they “know it”. Asking them to dig into the text doesn’t always come naturally. To throw a rock in the chain here, each book is different, different genres work differently, and then there are typically many different claims which could ALL be supported by the text.  I had some students who thrived on the generic graphic organizer to written page approach, but some students were needing something more. Here are some of the ways I taught and practiced collecting evidence to support a claim with my students in both first and third grade.


1.Generic Graphic Organizer-

Using a general boxes and bullets sort of organizer for collecting evidence is a great way to help students to organize their ideas. I think it is one of my favorite ways to get them ready to write because it lends itself to supporting an organized writing piece so well.

2.Sticky Note Evidence Hunt-

Any time I bring sticky notes into my classroom, whether for identifying story parts,  retelling, or engaging in reading discussions. (I’ve written more about this here). However in terms of finding evidence, there are a couple ways I have done this. If you’re working with a whole group book ro read aloud, you can give each student a sticky note. Have them generate either a claim, or evidence for a claim during a whole group or partner lesson.  Then share it and stick it onto the chart paper. This is also a great jumping off point if you’re planning to go onto a graphic organizer and writing activity.

If you’re working with independent reading or reading groups, students can jot on sticky notes to collect evidence as they read.

3. Catch My Evidence-

This was one of my students’ favorite type of activities from first grade to third. They would generate a claim (Something that is true based on the text). Usually they would do this in partners or small group. Then, they write their claim on the top of a graphic organizer. Then, they swap papers with a group and the teams have to find evidence for each others claims!

4. Evidence Board Gallery Walk-

This is kind of a fun way to work through collecting evidence for books in a way that also keeps students engaged and moving. There are a couple ways to implement this activity, and it really depends on your student level, need for support, and the amount of time you’d like to invest in the activity.  I love this method because it requires students to collect the evidence when they create the claim (one of their jobs is to make sure there will be evidence for the other teams to find), and then investigate and support the claims of others. You can have students respond to a whole group text, or you can have them each respond to short read aloud books that other groups have done, and have a copy of the text at each station (a more complete post about this activity is coming soon!).

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