Notable Quotables | Facing History & Ourselves
The back of a white book with a quote from Brianna Wiest which reads "I thought becoming myself was improving each part piece by piece. But it was finding a hidden wholeness seeing the fractures at the design."

Notable Quotable

Students reflect on a meaningful, inspirational, or thought-provoking quotation.


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At a Glance

activity copy


English — US


  • Advisory
  • Civics & Citizenship
  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies


  • Culture & Identity
  • Equity & Inclusion


About This Activity

This routine invites students to consider a meaningful, inspirational, or thought-provoking quotation. Depending on the quotation you choose, you can use this routine for lighthearted community building or, more seriously, to invite students to share their perspectives on important topics and ideas. When you choose quotations that resonate with students and are relevant to their lives, you demonstrate that you care about their identities and interests. 

Preparing to Teach

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Steps for Implementation

Write or project a quotation on the board so it is visible when students enter the room. Start by asking students to reflect on the quotation in their journals, providing them with the following Notable Quotable sentence starters if needed:

  • The quotation makes me think of/about . . .
  • The writer/speaker wants me to consider . . .
  • I wonder what the writer/speaker means by . . .
  • Parts of the quotation I agree with are . . . , and parts I disagree with are . . . 
  • I don’t understand . . .
  • This quotation resonates with me / relates to my experience because . . .

Then ask students to share their ideas in a pair or triad discussion with their peers. Debrief with a Wraparound activity or brief class discussion.


Share a quotation on a virtual whiteboard or in a Google Doc, and have students use the Notable Quotable sentence starters (or their own ideas) to respond to the quotation. Give them a minute to read each other’s comments, and then, depending on your tech tool, have them use a different colored sticky note (Jamboard) or different font color (Zoom whiteboard or Google Doc), to respond to two classmates’ comments. If time allows, invite students to notice patterns of thinking, places of agreement, and places of disagreement.

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Facing History & Ourselves is designed for educators who want to help students explore identity, think critically, grow emotionally, act ethically, and participate in civic life. It’s hard work, so we’ve developed some go-to professional learning opportunities to help you along the way.

Using the strategies from Facing History is almost like an awakening.
— Claudia Bautista, Santa Monica, Calif