Top SOS for Teaching Students To Cite Evidence

Welcome to our special SOS Top Ten series. In this edition, we highlight some of the most popular ways to use Spotlight on Strategies (CDN Version) to teach and model how to cite evidence.

Backing up what they think they know with factual information is an important skill for students to practice and master. Simply stating a claim isn’t enough. When we ask students to not only give us an answer, but also to prove it, we ask them to make connections and understand at a deeper level.

With many of these strategies, you might find it helpful to provide students with sentence stems to guide their thinking and processing about the media. Examples include:

  • “According to the text…”
  • “For instance, in the video…”
  • “In section ___ of the video I noticed…”
  • “The author/director/narrator said…”

The strategies listed below provide opportunities to use sentence stems to model and teach students how to cite evidence.

We hope you try one or more of these strategies and share your experience with us in the comments or the DEN Online Community.


Pause and Play (CDN Version) helps you to focus student attention on understanding the content in a piece of digital media. Each time you pause the media selection, emphasize the importance of citing evidence by providing a discussion structure for students. For example, ask them to state an idea or insight they have gained from the media and then provide evidence from the media to back up their claim.


Multiple Perspectives (CDN Version) The Multiple Perspectives strategy uses images to engage students in multiple perspectives of a topic in a way that plays to their unique learning styles. By closely examining the details within an image or video clip, students can immerse themselves in a topic and express understanding according to their unique learning style.


They Said What?!?  (CDN Version) helps students use their imagination to demonstrate what they know about a topic. Students receive content-related images with embedded characters and create a logical dialogue, based on content knowledge. They can use the dialogue boxes to cite evidence from their reading or viewing to back up their information.


MVP (CDN Version)  encourages students to analyze the meaning of song lyrics by close reading. Students then identify the main idea, by labeling it as the Most Valuable Point (MVP).


Would You Rather (CDN Version) requires students to consider different options within the context of history. Students are asked to choose one of two options presented to a particular figure in history and justify their choices with evidence.


Persuade Me (CDN Version) helps students understand and make use of the six elements of a persuasive argument. Using Toulin’s model, students evaluate a media selection for the strength of its claim and evidence.


Inquiry Chart (I-Chart) (CDN Version) provides students with a table that guides them in using multiple sources to research a topic. The chart helps students think critically about the results of their research, supports students in their efforts to synthesize multiple sources of information into a cohesive and meaningful product, and provides a mechanism for students to record the source of their information.


The 4Cs (CDN Version) helps students develop synthesizing and organizational skills. A graphic organizer focuses small group discussion around specific look-fors in digital media, helping students make sense of what they are reading or viewing.


Listen Up (CDN Version) encourages students to watch and listen carefully. Students switch roles between viewer and listener and assist each other in putting the pieces together to understand a piece of media and use evidence they find to emphasize their view on the content.


Let’s Roll (CDN Version) keeps students engaged and actively participating in a discussion that helps them synthesize what they’ve learned about a topic. Modify this strategy by asking students to provide not only an answer, but also evidence from the media that supports their claim.



Related posts