Strengthen Textual Evidence for Video-Based Texts While Writing on a Screen

Posted on November 13, 2017

Strengthen Textual Evidence for Video-Based Texts While Writing on a Screen

Posted on November 13, 2017
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Strengthen Textual Evidence for Video-Based Texts While Writing on a Screen

After initially teaching how to write constructed responses, fine-tune students' skills with some additional instruction. Make sure they can cite evidence from videos (not just print text) and that they can compose their responses directly onto a screen. The video accompanying this article reveals the gist of a 15-minute mini-lesson created and delivered by Nadine Gilkison. (Nadine is the Smekens Education Digital Resource Designer and the Integration Specialist for Franklin Township Schools in Indianapolis, IN).


Introduce the lesson's purpose--to strengthen students' explanations of the textual evidence they supply in a constructed response. Clarify that the "evidence" may not only come from print passages but also multimodal (e.g., video-based) texts.


Reveal a short video and explain that students are watching it to gather information to answer the question (e.g., Why do we hiccup?). Review how the sentence stems used to introduce print-based evidence (e.g., . . .according to the passage. . ., in paragraph four. . ., as stated in the text. . ., etc.) sound a little different when applied to video-based texts (e.g., . . .according to the video. . ., . . .at 1:37 in the video. . ., . . .from the video. . ., etc.).

Before clicking "play," retrain students when viewing videos, movies, or any multimodal excerpt. Many look at them as entertaining rather than informational. However, students need to "read" these texts with a viewing purpose and be collecting details to show what they know. This is easy to say but hard to do once the music starts, the visuals pop up, and the interesting Snapple Facts roll out. So, be explicit with each video's viewing purpose (e.g., We are watching this video in order to explain why we hiccup. Gather information and evidence to support that question.).

After playing an excerpt, pause the video and ask students to orally answer the question. Then, begin the real teaching in this lesson. Label their responses using the terms a standardized assessment Test LadyTM would use (e.g., did not pass, pass, pass plus). Clarify the difference between a vague or blanket answer (e.g., You hiccup when you drink a lot.) with a specific one with explicit details from the text.

Describe the pass-plus answer as one that utilizes sentence stems to introduce the evidence and provides specific words restated from the video. Work with students to craft a revision. (The students are "orally writing" while the teacher is scribing at the board.) For example, According to the video, one reason we may hiccup is because we take in a great deal of air when we drink soda pop.


Rework a second weak example (e.g., You hiccup because of emotions.). Label it a potential passing-level answer, but push students to achieve pass plus with stems and specifics. A revision might sound like In the video, it stated that sobbing, anxiety, and extreme excitement also cause hiccupping.

Pause to honor that often these more specific textual details include precise word choice and hard-to-spell vocabulary. But again, push students to be spelling risk-takers as that, too, sets apart a passing response from a pass-plus one.

Once students are understanding the goal, transition from speaking strong responses to writing them. This includes using the technology to compose on a screen. Explicitly show students how to glide from the video to the typing window, to note the change in the cursor, to highlight the text, to backspace, and then to compose their answers.

Reiterate the importance of the sentence stems and specific words from the text. Providing students with the why they should do this in addition to the what they are to do gives them the purpose and the push to craft stronger constructed responses.

Within this same whole-class lesson, after some teacher modeling and students' oral participation, have students take a few moments to type out their own individual responses. Encourage a few students to share out and receive feedback. More than simply labeling their attempts as did not pass, pass, or pass plus, be sure the conversation includes revising them to improve the written response. Let peers chime in, too.


Wrap up the mini-lesson with an explanation of the independent writing time to follow. Students are to select a new video from the Google doc, read the question, watch the video for that purpose, and then type out a strong 2-3 sentence explanation--all in 15 minutes.

For more technology tools and resources follow Nadine Gilkison (Smekens Education Digital Resource Designer) on or @nadinegilkison on Twitter.