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Ask for evidence

As students mature, they are increasingly asked to build and defend their conclusions and support opinions from among multiple possible answers. Who’s to say what the theme of the novel is, or what the author intended to show in a given scene? By asking students to describe evidence that supports their conclusion, you stress the process of building and supporting sound arguments in the larger world, where right answers are not so clear.

Teacher: How would you describe Dr. Jones’s personality? What traits is he showing?


Student: He’s spiteful.


Teacher: And spiteful means?


Student: Spiteful means that he’s bitter and wants to make other people unhappy.


Teacher: Okay, so read me two sentences from the story that show us that

Dr. Jones is spiteful.

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