A Human Approach to Teaching Textual Evidence to Secondary Students

I recently gave my students a test on using textual evidence in an expository paragraph. On one of the questions they have to read a passage (that I whipped up quickly in the morning, yet deeply entrenched in thought), and where they had to write an expository response using textual evidence, citing the source correctly, and answering the prompt: Why are grandmothers so important especially to the author?  

Who says you can’t teach kids to be humble, to be of service to others, or what love really means? Also, Grandfathers are awesome too this passage could easily be said for both. However, this definitely hits the nail on the head when it comes to femininity and family.

“Grandmothers” by Ms. McCourt

        There are no spaces between the word grand and mother. A grandmother is someone who is truly grand with years of patience and love to go around, has years of experience mothering children, and always has a never ending supply of cookies in the cookie jar. A grandmother is someone who loves unconditionally, and disciplines you when necessary. My grandmother is someone who I deeply admire and respect. Always with a story to tell and wisdom to share; she shares these gifts with me. She always says on the phone, “I love you with all my heart and hope you are healthy and happy; if you need anything let me know.” She is someone who cooks with love in her heart to feed the people she loves. It is always delicious and filling.

      At some point though a grandmother collects too many years in her pocket. At some point the roles become flipped. Grandmothers become children not able to take care of themselves, and children become old enough to take care of themselves and others. Grandmothers are then to be served in any way they need. She can no longer cook for long periods of time or bend her body to clean that mess on the floor that she has grown to look past because it would drive her absolutely nuts. So I serve my grandmother in the ways she needs even when she doesn’t ask or is aware. As I grow older, I am now starting to take her place, and fulfill my role to be the server, and not to be served. As I serve her it brings me joy, and my heart is full of love for her.


The majority of my title 1 students who did the previous work in class, received feedback, and studied my 3 steps for textual evidence were all successful and able to write very insightful pieces that impressed me. Common core does not quite reach the center core of hearts like literature is meant to do.

I will be working on sharing my lessons, and the scaffolds I created to help get these students ready for research and using textual evidence asap, and will be linked here.

Oh and by the way here’s a cute picture of my Oma and the cookie jar. 🙂

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and of my Opa

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