Four Square Writing for Grades 3-5 What is Four Square Writing?



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Four Square Writing for Grades 3-5

What is Four Square Writing?

  • Four-square writing is a method of teaching basic writing skills that is applicable across grade levels and curriculum areas. It can be applied for the narrative, descriptive, expository and persuasive forms of writing.

What is Four Square Writing? Cont…

  • Prewriting and organizational skills are taught through the use of a graphic organizer.
  • This visual and kinesthetic aid is employed to focus writing, to provide detail and to enhance word choice.
  • The visual organizers help students to conceptualize, understand, and structure a piece of written discourse successfully.

Guidelines

  • Four square instruction should be done weekly to bi-weekly.
  • It should be accompanied by other writing activities. Ex. Journal Writing
  • It is recommended to use the same prompt repeatedly when introducing the steps because the familiarity will aid instruction.
  • It is important for students to understand the relationship of ideas as demonstrated in the four square format before moving on to paragraphs.

How to Create a Four-Square Graphic Organizer

  • Fold a sheet of manila construction paper into four equal squares.
  • Write a topic sentence in the middle of the paper.
  • In three of the squares write a complete sentence which states reasons, examples, or explanations that support the sentence in the center of the paper.

In the fourth box the students will write a feeling sentence to support the topic.

  • In the fourth box the students will write a feeling sentence to support the topic.
  • Students will then draw in each box, which will describe their sentences.
  • Students will then use their Four Square writing to write a story.

Step 1: Categorizing - Pictures

  • Pets

Step 1: Categorizing - Words

  • Zoo
  • Lion
  • Elephant
  • Giraffe
  • Camel

Step 2: Examples and a Feeling Sentence

  • Zoo
  • Lion
  • Giraffe
  • Elephant
  • I like going to the zoo to see the animals.

Step 3: Using Complete Sentences

  • Center box now contains a complete sentence.
  • Boxes 2-4 contain complete sentences which state reasons, examples or explanations.
  • Each must be different, real, and quantifiable.
  • Students should be encouraged to illustrate these four squares.

Step 3: Cont…

  • 2. Reason –
  • We learn here.
  • 3. Reason –
  • We meet friends.
  • 4. Reason –
  • We do experiments.
  • 5. Feeling –
  • I love school.
  • Complete sentence –
  • School is a great place.

Step 4: Writing a Paragraph

  • Paragraphs are several sentences on the same topic.
  • Now transfer the sentences from the four blocks to lined paper for paragraph building.
  • Whole class modeling is best to teach this.

Step 5: Adding More Details

  • Moving from a 5 sentence to an 8 sentence paragraph; go back into the 4 square.
  • Add one additional detail sentence in each box.
  • Elaboration: tell more about the topic or tell what is so great about it.
  • Reason: We learn here.
  • Detail: I like to learn
  • science.
  • Reason: We meet friends.
  • Detail: My best friend is in my class.
  • Reason: We do experiments.
  • Detail: I built a volcano yesterday.
  • Feeling Sentence: I love school.
  • Complete sentence –
  • School is a great place.

Step 6: Add Supporting Details

  • The reasons, examples or explanations developed in the previous step now need further development.
  • In a sense, boxes 2, 3, and 4 will each be four squared independently.
  • These details will make up the substance of the body paragraphs of the multiple-paragraph essay.
  • Using the four square to develop these ideas ensures that details are aligned with the main ideas, and topic sentences start every paragraph.

Step 6: Adding Supporting Details

  • Learn
  • read
  • math
  • science
  • School is a great place because we learn, meet friends, and play.
  • School is a great place.

Sep 6: Adding Supporting Details

  • ___________________________
  • _______________________________
  • _________________
  • _____________________________________________________________________

Evaluating – a Checklist for the Teacher

  • Student Name: ____________________
  • Topic: ___________________________
  • Yes No
  • 1. Are the four square reasons quantifiable and not
  • opinions? ___ ___
  • 2. Is there repetition of detail? ___ ___
  • 3. Are the details logical expansions of reasons? ___ ___
  • 4. Are the details quantifiable and factual,
  • free of opinion? ___ ___
  • 5. Are there mechanical errors in the wrap-up
  • sentence? ___ ___

Step 7: Adding Connecting Words to Provide Transition Between Ideas

  • By now the thesis is developing into three reasons.
  • These reasons should be different from each other and therefore necessitate the use of transition or connecting words.
  • Connecting words can be explained as the “little sticking out part” of the puzzle.
  • Connecting words hold the
  • different parts of the puzzle
  • together.

Step 7: Adding Connecting Words to Provide Transitions Between Ideas

  • First
  • Learn
  • read
  • math
  • science
  • Also
  • Friends
  • share lunches
  • invite over
  • do homework together
  • Next
  • Play
  • in centers
  • on playground
  • recess
  • So you can see
  • School is a great place because we learn, meet friends, and play.
  • School is a great place.

Step 7: Adding Connecting Words to Provide Transitions Between Ideas

  • Connecting Word
  • __________________________
  • Connecting Word
  • _______________________________
  • Connecting Word
  • ______________________________
  • Wrap-Up Sentence:
  • _____________________________________________________________________

Rote Instruction

  • When moving from the information from the four square to the multiple essay, use a rote lesson by:
    • The whole class builds a four square.
    • Build the story one sentence at a time.
    • As the composition is built one sentence
    • at a time, students copy it down.
    • During this time, the teacher integrates
    • rules of composition.

Expository – Usually nouns in boxes 2 – 4

  • Gives information
  • States reasons or examples
  • Very structured
  • Connecting words a must
  • Few quotations
  • Little action

Narrative – Boxes 2 – 4 events or verbs

  • Entertains
  • Has events
  • More loosely structured
  • Connecting words only as needed for chronology
  • More dialogue
  • Lots of action

Descriptive and Persuasive Writing Styles

  • The expository form is a combination of persuasion and descriptive detail.
  • Begin with the expository form. It varies in the following manner:
    • Topic sentence
    • Intent of information in boxes 2-4

Four Square in the Language Arts Program

  • Four square is a way to organize thoughts. It is not the writing program. However, four square exercises can be published by following the writing process.
  • Brainstorming: Generating ideas
  • Organizing: Four square or other methods
  • Drafting: Rough or first draft
  • Revising: Revision of content and style
  • Editing: Editing for surface features, punctuation, spelling, capitals, etc.
  • Remember this is a slow process. Try not o over teach.

Language Arts Use

  • Book Review
  • Title
  • Beginning
  • End
  • Middle
  • Did you like it?

Language Arts Use

  • Speeches: Use the format for organizing and giving the speech.
  • Reading Comprehension:
    • Have students create a four square from a passage written by an author. Discuss the organization.
    • Have students create a four square written by a student.
    • Cut up a student’s composition by sentences. Have students draw a sentence at a time and reconstruct the composition then reproduce it on at chart paper or overhead. (students can work in groups at centers for this)

Four Square in Science

  • An excellent way to review or summarize information learned about a specific process.
  • Volcanoes
  • What are they?
  • How do they operate?
  • Where are they?
  • Volcanoes are a powerful, natural force.
  • Workers
  • Resources
  • The workers, resources, and transportation are important to a community.
  • Community
  • Transportation

Four Square in Math

  • Word problems require the employment of logic and reasoning different from the usual compute and solve drills.
  • These problems require that students develop their own equation, and then perform an unnamed operation to find a solution.
  • Process
  • Information
  • Solution
  • +
  • 4, 2
  • 6 A Students
  • Mrs. Smith had four straight A students.
  • Then 2 more in her class got straight A’s.
  • How many A students does she have in all?
  • 4+2=___
  • Question
  • Compute


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