*Note: this lesson plan is not linked to a particular course, but was developed by Writing at Queens to be easily adapted for any course. You may view and download all lesson plans in this series or download this lesson plan in .docx format.
Outcome: Students will learn to integrate evidence into their writing, emphasizing analytical strategies as well as proper citation of sources through definition, example, and practice.
Work Completed Before Class: Students are working on the draft of an essay using evidence from an assigned text. Students should: read the assigned text(s) noting the key points and main ideas underling any words, phrases, or brief passages that they believe might be useful to quote or paraphrase in their draft essay.
Sequence of Activities (about an hour):
1 (10 min) Read aloud Harvey’s definitions of Orienting, Evidence, and Analysis and discuss proper citation and integration of evidence. Collectively, students should identify sentences from the assigned reading that demonstrate Orienting, Evidence, and Analysis.
2 (10-20 min) Individually, students should choose 3-4 quotes from the reading that pertains to their draft or essay idea. For each quotation, students should draft a sentence that begins by “orienting” the unfamiliar reader.
3 (10 min) Now, students select 1-2 of these quotations and draft a body paragraph of 5-7 sentences that orients readers, introduces the quotation as evidence, and then analyzes the quotations.
4 (20 min) A few students should volunteer to read their paragraphs out loud. Ask fellow students to workshop paragraphs by identifying strong examples of orienting, evidence, and analysis; and by suggesting revisions for weak examples. If possible, compare two students’ paragraphs who chose the same evidence.
Hand-out for Students:
Based on Gordon Harvey’s key terms from “Elements of the Academic Essay” (doc): Orienting, Evidence, and Analysis.
1 Orienting includes bits of information, explanation, and summary that orient the reader who isn’t expert in the subject, enabling such a reader to follow the argument. This includes necessary information about the text, author, or event (e.g. given in your introduction); a summary of a text or passage about to be analyzed; pieces of information given along the way about passages, people, or events mentioned. The trick is to orient briefly and gracefully.
3 Evidence: the data—facts, examples, or details—that you refer to, quote, or summarize to support your thesis. There needs to be enough evidence to be persuasive; it needs to be the right kind of evidence to support the thesis (with no obvious pieces of evidence overlooked); it needs to be sufficiently concrete for the reader to trust it (e.g. in textual analysis, it often helps to find one or two key or representative passages to quote and focus on).
4 Analysis: the work of breaking down, interpreting, and commenting upon the data, of saying what can be inferred from the data such that it supports a thesis (is evidence for something).
EX: In his famous and influential work The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud argues that dreams are the “royal road to the unconscious” (page #). According to Freud, actual but unacceptable desires are censored internally and subjected to coding through layers of condensation and displacement before emerging in a kind of rebus puzzle in the dream itself (page #). –The Owl @ Purdue.