Using PEEL Responses as a Framework for Making Connections

The Ontario Language Arts curriculum document is divided into four strands—Oral Communication, Reading, Writing, and Media Literacy.  In both the Oral Communication and Reading strands, expectation 1.6 requires students to “extend understanding of texts by connecting, comparing, and contrasting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them.”   Being able to make a meaningful connection to the text is essential for reading comprehension and strategic reading; however, some students may have trouble actually getting their words down on paper.  In order to help my students produce a well-developed written response (one paragraph or multi-paragraph), I tried to find some strategy that they could use to help sort out their ideas and give them a framework to follow. I first found the PEEL strategy on and it appears that this writing framework is very popular in the U.K.  After a small adjustment, I decided to try it out with my class and have achieved tremendous success with it.

So, what is PEEL? Well, PEEL is the acronym for POINT-EVIDENCE-EXPLANATION-LINK and works in the following way:

Point:  provide the opening statement for your argument…what point are you trying to prove?

Evidence:  provide evidence in the form of quotes from the text

Explanation:  explain the evidence you provided through purpose and context

Link: a statement that links back to the main point

When actually using PEEL with my students, the “L” became make a link by connecting to a personal experience, another text, or the world around you.  This worked really well with my students and helped them not only make deeper and more meaningful connections, but they were able to easily extend their written responses without much struggle!

Also, some of my students preferred to flip around the middle section and make it Point-Explanation-Evidence-Link because they wanted to first explain their argument and then provide evidence to back up their claims.  After reading both sets of responses, I tend to agree with them and like having the explanation first and then the evidence as proof.

I’m providing two worksheets to cover both formats (evidence-explanation and explanation-evidence).  Also some classroom posters!  Have fun!


PEEL posters

‘Drugs are NOT for me’: Enrichment Activity

Let's further engage our students

After discussing the different types of drugs, their uses, effects, etc. with your students, this is a great activity for them to engage in to further their knowledge and understanding.


You have been learning about specific substances – the important facts, the risks involved, where to seek for help, as well as, other ways to cope with substance abuse or addiction. Next, we are going to combine all the information that we learned and present it in an original and creative way such as:

· A pamphlet that you would see at the health centre, hospital or resource center

· A poster that educates a specific audience on this particular substance

· An article for a newspaper or magazine

· Any other interesting way you can think of – let me know first!

You must include all the components as highlighted on the research assignment handout which are:

1. Important facts

2. Risks

3. Get help

4. Use your voice

As well as…and don’t forget about:

· Pictures

Be creative– add color, big fonts, titles….be neat, clear and organized!


You will be presenting your research to the class. You will be educating us on the substance in which you chose. Remember, some of us, if not most of us, have never heard of some of these substances so we do not know anything about them so by the end of your presentation, we should know all about the substance and of course, why we should not take it.

Work together….Get it done!

Please read through research assignment. At the end of the assignment, there is a link that you can follow which includes a rubric for both the enrichment activity and research assignment.

‘Drugs are NOT for me’: A Research Assignment


You and your partner(s) are going to complete research on a specific type of drug (choose from a list). Most of the research can be found on; however, you can also include additional information from other websites, as well as, information or pictures found in books, advertisements, magazines, etc.

Getting started…

1. Begin the research process. Follow the link Information you must research and include are:

a. Drug Facts– Include any important facts related to the drug. Be sure to be able to explain each fact.

b. Risks – There are 10 different risks provided to you on this link. Choose between 3-5 different risks. Explain each and give an example of each.

c. Get Help – Look up different help resources and provide a list of at least 3 different phone numbers and locations.

d. ‘Use your voice’ – Read this section with your partner(s). For each of the following categories, include some information from the site along with your own opinions, ideas, suggestions, etc.: Tips, how to help a friend and talk to an adult.


1. As you research, write it down! Be sure to put all information in your own words!

2. Use your time wisely. We will only have two 45 minute work periods in the library. All incomplete work research must then be completed on your own time.

3. Divide the work between you and your partner(s) so to ensure all work is complete during the time given.

Please follow the link for a handy rubric for both the enrichment activity and the research assignment:

Science Resource: To Mine or Not to Mine…That is the Question!

The following case study is designed for grade 6-8 students who are learning about natural resources, the Earth’s crust, the human impact on our environment, land use, and industries.  Students will be deciding whether a copper deposit should be mined in a fictional town based on the information provided to them. I provided my students with a map of the town, a brief history of the town and its economy, and its present situation. Students were then provided with six characters that are affected by a possible mine and there are three “pro” characters and three “con” characters. Students have to read the information and determine whether they agree or disagree with the potential mine; once they have formed an opinion, they are to choose a character that matches their opinion and write a persuasive paper in that character’s voice. The main purpose of the report is to explore issues surrounding the use of natural resources and have students develop critical thinking skills. Students will also learn that the knowledge they gain in school plays an essential role in their everyday lives.

This is a cross-curricular activity that can be used for science, geography/social studies, and Language Arts.  Teachers can extend this activity one step further by holding a debate with students taking on the persona of various stakeholders.

Brief Teaching Notes:

Teachers should give students the case study and rubric at the same time; this way, students will understand what is expected of them and how their reports will be marked. Teachers must also explain to students that there is no right or wrong answer to describe what the residents of Drew’s Falls should decide but there are consequences to all choices. It must be clearly explained to students that they are able to choose any of the six characters and their report will be correct as long as they use information and logic to support their reasoning. I also gave my students some time to work on their reports during class, so that they could approach me with any questions they came across while organizing their ideas and writing their actual report. I suggest that teachers make sure that students understand the components of the assignment: the report must be written in the voice of one of the six characters, the report must be persuasive, students must express an opinion and use facts to support their thoughts, and various formats may be used (essay, letter, newspaper article etc).

Here are the student handout and rubric!  I hope your class enjoys it!



Science Resource: That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles!

Brief Teaching Notes:

The following activity is a simple lab that teachers can use when teaching about mining, the Earth’s crust, rocks and minerals, or human land use issues. Depending on the position of this strand within the annual science curriculum, it could potentially be the first lab students experience that year. Reviewing (or even teaching for the first time) the scientific method is useful, even though students are not required to produce a formal lab report upon completion. Using this as one of the first labs of the year helps students practice their skills at following simple procedures, collecting data, analyzing data, and making inferences based on their observations and the data obtained. Students really enjoy this activity as it is one of the few science labs where they are allowed to eat the results! Prior to beginning, however, check for food allergies. If food allergies are present, different cookies can be substituted. Teachers should use their discretion whenever they are dealing with food in the classroom.

In this lab, students must mine as much chocolate from the chocolate chip cookies as possible. In the first attempt, students can break apart and crumble the cookie to extract the “ore,” but in the second case, students must attempt to keep as much of the cookie intact and damage-free. Students will learn the consequences of mining on the environment and how mines must disturb the environment as little as possible.

Materials Required and Instructions:

Each student will need to receive two chocolate chip cookies, 2 paper towels, and 2 toothpicks. Two digital scales will be used to weigh the chocolate.

Explain to students how the chocolate will be mined (draw a diagram of a cookie on the board to demonstrate):

With the first cookie:

1. Look at the first cookie and fill in the first three parts of the chart.

2. Extract as much chocolate from the cookie as possible using toothpicks. You may break the cookie up if you want. Crumbling the cookie is allowed!

3. Weigh the amount of chocolate and the amount of leftover cookie separately. Fill in the next three parts of the chart.

4. Fill in the remainder of the chart. Eat the cookie.

Repeat steps 1 to 4 with the second cookie, but make sure there is as little damage to the cookie part as little as possible. The goal is to leave as much of the cookie intact as possible, while extracting the chocolate.

Feel free to use the following worksheets during this simple and fun lab!