For this Writer’s Notebook, you will complete the following quoting activity over the article “Your Brain Lies to You” by Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt. Be sure that you have read and taken notes over both the article and the lesson The Art of Quoting before beginning this activity (they are both posted above). The Art of Quoting ExerciseUse the following topic sentence and quote from the article “Your Brain Lies to You” by Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt to create a PARAGRAPH with a correctly embedded quote sandwich. Your quote sandwich needs the following four parts: an introduction, the quote, the explanation (or interpretation), and the commentary. Be sure to introduce your quote with the authors’ names and titles (credibility). Make sure your paragraph follows the tell, show, share method of paragraph development. Be sure to refer back to your thesis at the end of your paragraph. Thesis statement that you are defending (be sure to refer back to your thesis at the end of your paragraph):Political campaign advertisements should be required to be truthful and accurate.Topic sentence (use exactly as it is to start your paragraph):Political candidates use the brain’s own power of forgetting to spread and reinforce false rumors about the opposition.Quote from page 79: “Even if they do not understand the neuroscience behind source amnesia, campaign strategists can exploit it to spread misinformation. They know that if their message is initially memorable, its impression will persist long after it is debunked.”Grading rubric:
- Topic sentence, 5
- Includes author’s name and credibility, 10
- Does not include the title of work, 5
- Uses the correct quote, cited correctly, 10
- Uses a strong signal verb, 5
- Translation/explanation of quote, 10
- Analysis of quote, 20
- Reference to thesis, 10
- Uses college level grammar and punctuation, 10
- Is an actual paragraph, 10
- Total, 100
Handout created by Justine White www.richlandcollege.edu/englishcorner
The English Corner at Richland College
Paragraphing and the Tell, Show, Share Method
Paragraphing is sectioning and organizing your essay into paragraphs. Paragraphs are a visual
way of dividing your essay into sections organized by a unifying idea. Paragraphs help your
reader visually know when you change ideas. Without paragraphs, the reader is overwhelmed by
the sheer amount of words on a page. Paragraphing helps reduce confusion when reading by
focusing on only one point at a time. How you organize a paragraph helps the reader understand
what point you are trying to make in relation to your thesis. Focus and organization are the keys
to a good paragraph.
Each paragraph needs to focus on one main idea or claim. Your introduction should focus on
introducing your topic and providing a roadmap of what you will be writing about in your body
paragraphs. Your introduction needs to include your thesis statement as well (See the handout on
Creating Thesis Statements for more information about strong thesis statements).
All of your body paragraphs need to focus on one idea that supports your thesis (your claim)
stated in the introduction. For an argument essay, each body paragraph should be a reason that
supports your thesis. For a literary analysis, each body paragraph should be a different aspect of
the poem or literature (symbolism, metaphor, character, setting, voice, tone) that proves the
thesis. For a visual analysis, each body paragraph should be an aspect of the visual (color,
background, foreground, framing, juxtaposition, superimposition) that proves your thesis. See
the handouts Ten Tips for a Visual (or Literary) Analysis for more help with writing those
When putting your body paragraphs together, think about how they flow. Is the flow logical?
You might organize chronologically or thematically depending upon your purpose (literary
analysis versus visual analysis). Argument essays should be organized on the strength of your
evidence. Begin with a strong claim, put your weaker claims in the middle, and end with your
strongest evidence. That way your reader finishes your essay with your best argument.
The Tell, Show, Share Method
All body paragraphs include three main parts: the topic sentence, the evidence, and the
explanation or analysis. The Tell, Show, Share method is a mnemonic device to help you
remember the parts of a well-developed paragraph.
Tell: your claim (topic sentence)
Show: your evidence (quotes, examples, statistics, analogies, anecdotes)
Share: your opinion, explanation, or analysis (answer the so what, who cares, why does it
The Tell, Show, Share method reminds you to open with a topic sentence and close with your
own ideas. You shouldn’t have a quote opening or closing a paragraph. Opening with a quote
means that you have forgotten to make a claim about what you will be discussing in your
paragraph. A strong paragraph opens with a topic sentence that makes a claim.
Handout created by Justine White www.richlandcollege.edu/englishcorner
Ending a paragraph with a quote is called a dangling quote (other terms are quote bomb, quote
suicide, hit and run quote, or orphan quote). You must always explain the purpose of another
author’s words in your paper. Your job is to relate all quotes back to your main claim or thesis. It
is important that you analyze your quote and explain its purpose. Answer these three questions
after each piece of evidence you present: So what? Who cares? Why does it matter?
Here’s an example paragraph that uses the Tell, Show, Share method of paragraph development.
Each section of the method is identified in brackets.
[Tell] Most Americans will agree that our fundamental rights guaranteed by The Bill of
Rights are the cornerstone of our democracy. [Show] In the book, The American
Democracy (2009), authors Thomas Patterson, Professor of Government at Harvard
University, and Gary Halter, Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University,
assert that citizens have constitutional rights and suggest that these liberties should be
upheld at all times. Patterson and Halter are unwavering in their belief by emphatically
stating, “A constitutional guarantee is not worth the paper on which it is written if
authorities can violate it at will” (86). [Share] In other words, American citizens should
demand no less than the liberties afforded them within the four corners of the
Constitution. If a law violates the Constitution, it should be repealed. The question
remains, though, whether these red-light cameras infringe upon citizens’ rights.
The author has a strong topic sentence that sets up her claim about democracy. She then proves it
with evidence from experts. In this example, they are professors from prestigious universities.
But she doesn’t stop there. She ends her paragraph with a relation back to her overall thesis about
red-light cameras. Even though her stance is only implied, it is clear from her language that she
disagrees with the validity of red-light camera tickets.
Here’s another paragraph that uses several quotes as examples and switches back and forth
between the Show and Share throughout the paragraph. The example is from Denise Noe’s
article “Parallel Worlds: The Surprising Similarities (and Differences) of Country-and-Western
and Rap.” Each section of the Tell, Show, Share Method is identified in brackets.
[Tell] While the differing attitudes toward law enforcement are real enough, much of the
difference between violence in country-and western music and in rap lies not in the songs
themselves but in the way they are heard. [Show] Thus, when Ice Cube says, “Let the
suburbs see a nigga invasion / Point-blank, smoke the Caucasian,” [Share] many whites
interpret that as an incitement to violence. [Show] But when Johnny Cash’s disgruntled
factory worker in “Oney” crows, “Today’s the day old Oney gets his,” [Share] it’s merely
a joke. [Show] Likewise, when Ice Cube raps, “I’ve got a shotgun and here’s the plot /
Taking niggas out with the fire of buckshot” (“Gangsta, Gangsta”), [Share] he sends
shudders through many African-Americans heartbroken by black-on-black violence,
[Show] but when Johnny Cash sings of an equally nihilistic killing in “Folsom Prison
Blues” — “Shot a man in Reno / just to watch him die” — [Share] the public taps its feet
and hums along…It’s just a song, after all.
Notice how smoothly Noe transitions between each quote (and song). After she presents a line,
she immediately explains and analyses what the line means in relation to her topic sentence (and
overall thesis, which can be identified from the title). The reader can follow her train of thought
easily because she continuously explains herself throughout the paragraph and in the end.
- Paragraphing and the Tell, Show, Share Method
- The Tell, Show, Share Method