by Stephanie N. Brown
Have you ever used quotes in your class? I am confident when I say that most of you reading this…have used quotes in your class one way or another. Well, you might be thinking, “I already know quotes are interesting, I don’t need to read this.” But, I want you to think about how you picked your quotes, how you used these quotes, and how your students reacted to these quotes. This kind of reflection, can be key as you spice up your lesson plans to help motivate your students. Lets take a look at these questions…
How did you pick your quotes?
There are many ways to pick a quote to use in class. You could pick a quote from something the students are reading, from a related content area that you are studying, from inspirational people and more. But, picking the right quote means that you have to think about your students and your desired outcomes for the class. Do you want your students to learn how to quote correctly? Do you want your students to demonstrate critical thinking? Are you interested in using a quote for a reflective activity? As the teacher, what are you looking for?
I have used quotes in many different ways, but selecting the right quote can be difficult. Often, I want to pick a quote that has relevance to both my students and the classroom as a whole. I want to make sure that my quotes are coming from people of diverse cultures, identities, and backgrounds. I want to select quotes that are relevant to my students lives and interests.
How did you use your quotes?
So now, you have picked the perfect quote. Now it time to really layout what you want the classroom outcomes to be. There are countless activities that you can to with your students related to any quote. You could have them connect it to their life, the classroom, or specific content. You could ask students to deconstruct the quote to get at the authors meaning in a given context. You could have students draw a picture that depicts the meaning, to share with the group. Again, there are countless actives that you can do.
With my quotes I think, what is the focus of this quote for my class? What will they do to demonstrate their understanding? How can I structure this activity to create a memorable learning activity?
How did you students react to these quotes?
At this point you have a quote and you have outlined how you want to use it. But, how will students react to this quote? Is the language accessible? Is there a learning moment in this quote that will be beneficial to all? Try to think about your quote from all angles. Will everyone in the class enjoy this quote? If not, why will they dislike this quote?
Often, I use quotes for inspirational moments and classroom motivation. I try to structure quote activities to demonstrate critical thinking, therefore I want students to think about themselves and others. I want everyone to walk away from the activity with a quote that they want to remember.
Quotes can be a great way to liven up the classroom and creating meaningful learning experiences for students. However, selecting the right quote, outlining its use, and predicting the reactions of students takes a bit more work. Teachers shouldn’t just throw a quote at students, but instead use a quote to enhance a teachable moment.