4 square writing

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by lcluigs03, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    Sep 16, 2007

    does anyone use 4 square writing? i just found it and am excited about it. wondering if it is easier to implement than power writing...hm. haven't done either really, but power writing seems to be a bit confusing...for me anyways. :)

    whatcha think?

    thanks!
    LC
     
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  3. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Sep 16, 2007

    We have used it at my school. The squares were a bit confusing for my kids, so I turned it into a pyramid and put it into a document. Think I have it on my work laptop if anyone is interested :)
     
  4. mhcooley

    mhcooley Companion

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    Sep 17, 2007

    My school uses it. We just got a new writing curriculum but the third and fourth grade are still using the four square writing. It helps the children to stay on topic and use supporting sentences.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 17, 2007

    loves2teach, I would like to see an example of your pyramid. PM and I'll give you my email addy.
     
  6. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Sep 17, 2007

    I have used it for a few years and I love it. I introduce it from scratch; I don't know how much they do with it in 4th grade. I do tons of practice with each step until I feel they understand it before moving on to the next peice of information. What grade to you teach?
     
  7. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    Sep 17, 2007

    i teach 3rd grade. what do you mean you teach each step? just want to see how you do it. :)

    thanks
    LC
     
  8. ~Nicole

    ~Nicole Comrade

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    Sep 17, 2007

    we use 4 square now but I've taught using power writing. I honestly liked the power writing better (we used an umbrella as the organizer).
     
  9. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Sep 17, 2007

    I am teaching my first (3rd grade) 4-square lesson tomorrow. Apparently, the entire school (K-8) uses it. I still feel lost, even though I have a ton of handouts & worksheets (from the teacher who develops the LA lessons), in addition to an ebook I purchased from Teacher Created Materials last night. Wish me luck!
     
  10. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Sep 18, 2007

    Just start really small, especially if the kids are not familiar with it yet. Have you been given the teacher's resouce book? I think the one you need is Four Square Writing Method for grades 1-3 (or maybe K-3?) I have the 4-8 book. If you just follow it straight through you should be OK.

    Start with finding groups. Give them a topic (or whatever) like pets. Then have them name three different animals that are pets and just list them on the board. Then do something else, say snacks. Have the class come up with three different kinds of snacks like popcorn, pretzels, and cookies. The possibilities are endless. After you do a few together as a class put them in groups and have the small groups do the same sort of thing for other topics. I wouldn't worry about spelling or anything at this point. They just need to get the idea of classifying or subject and examples. They really have to get good at this before you can even introduce the Four Square template. Save all of these examples though because you will use them to show the kids how the four square works. Hope this helps. You can PM anytime also.
     
  11. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Sep 18, 2007

    Thanks, runsw/scissors -- I really appreciate the quick tutorial! Just wish I had gotten it yesterday! LOL We started today with the prompt: snacks I like to eat. The kids listed their favorite snacks on the board. Then, they started with writing one sentence per square, with the fourth square being their "wrap up" sentence. We added the introductory sentence as a fifth sentence a little later. It seems that our entire school uses this method, so they start with it in kindergarten, thus I think most of the kids are at least a little familiar with it. I'll let you know how tomorrow goes!
     
  12. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Sep 20, 2007

    Please do!
     
  13. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Sep 20, 2007

    VERY LONG -- But please read!

    I am so sorry I didn't get back here to post sooner -- it has been a couple of LONG and HAIRY days! (But that is another post entirely.) I have been really pleased with the way my kids have taken to four-square. Now don't get the idea that they are little 3rd grade Einsteins, by any means, but they seem a least a little familiar with the method and enjoyed the work we have been doing with it! I started with just having them list items that pertained to the prompt (snacks I love to eat, then People in My Family). Once they got that idea, I encouraged them to develop a topic or introductory sentence using the prompt (in any way they needed to). We did this with the People in My Family prompt, since they already had lists for it. Once the students had done that, we moved through the other "boxes," and they made detail sentences from the first three squares. Then they created a preliminary conclusion sentence (picture an impromptu vocabulary lesson on what the word "conclude" means) from the last (bottom right) square. They each did their own versions on their own copy of the graphic organizer. Next, I asked for volunteers to come up, to write their sentences in the large graphic organizer I had drawn on the board, and have the class help to edit them. I was really proud of my students -- they were brave enough to WANT to do this! :wub: We worked our way through several students' work, editing our little hearts out (in different color chalk, so the changes would stand out). Then, oh, my, it was time for lunch! I provided a very quick closure set of questions for the kids to answer, and the went to the lunch room. Here's a point I haven't mentioned: my university supervisor came in while I was in the middle of the lesson (unexpected, unscheduled and unannounced!) and sat there watching the entire thing! :eek: My cooperating teacher took the kids to lunch, so I could meet with the supervisor, who LOVED it! Whew! Talk about sweating it out! :whistle:
    Cut to today's lesson.
    I decided to break the students up into four small groups. We began this process yesterday afternoon, when we assigned the students to their groups (based upon desk location mostly), and they chose a leader, scribe, group "cryer" (picture town cryer), parliamentarian, and materials manager. We practiced getting the kids to their group formations time after time until they could do it in under 10 seconds (the kids were loving this). Cut back to today. We practiced grouping a couple more times first thing this morning, then moved on to a spelling review. Following the review, I said "group," with no advance warning, and they were fantastic! Next, I took a topic I had promised the boys we would work on today -- Insects. The class as a whole came up with a topic sentence: Insects can be small and creepy. :woot: Then came the interesting part. Three of the groups (the Eagles, the Thunder Thinkers, and the LSU Wildcats (please excuse them purple and gold -- they are only 3rd graders!) had to independently develop one sentence as an example of or reason for what they chose as their topic. The fourth group, the Wolves, had to write the concluding sentence -- again, with no cross-communication! :lol: We got some VERY interesting results! My only requirements for the sentences were that they had to be about the topic sentence subject, had to be spelled and punctuated correctly, and had to be AT LEAST 5 words in length. Here is what they came up with:

    Insects can be small and creepy. (topic)
    They are creepy because they have more than two legs. (Eagles)
    They are creepy because of what they eat. (Thunder Thinkers)
    They are often small and hard to see, and that makes them creepy. (Wildcats).
    So you can see why insects are small and creepy. (Wolves)

    To top it off, my supervisor popped in again, in the middle of it all! Luckily, she liked it! :2up:
     
  14. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Sep 21, 2007

    Good for you! Sounds like your kids really have a handle on things. Another excercise you might do in the future is give out five detail sentences, only three of which connect to the main idea sentence you tell them. Then the groups or pairs have to sort through the detail sentences and decide which to keep, which to discard, and write a wrap-up sentences. I have done this with my fifth graders and even use it as a learning center from time to time.

    The next step, after they have mastered the main idea, three detail sentences, and the wrap up sentence is to work on adding three examples in each detail sentence box. This can take quite a while for my fifth graders to master, so don't get frustrated if your students struggle. Just take things slow. Working with the small and creepy insect example above, take one sentece they created and work on expanding the idea. For example, "They can be creepy because they have more than two legs." How many legs do insects have? How do they move their legs? Does having more than two legs make them faster? Does speed make them creepy (If it's a roach it's speed certainly creeps me out!)? etc. Then take just that one box, make it really big on the board and add these new examples. This is also a good time to talk about logical sequencing if it fits with the sentences you have. The end result (eventually) will be that each detail sentence with examples can be rewritten as a paragraph. Of course the main idea with the detail sentences and wrap up can become a single, more general, paragraph as well. One thing I love about Four Square is that once my kids become preficient with it, I can translate it to a formal outline and introduce them to that without tons of confusion! Makes life so much easier!
     
  15. lcluigs03

    lcluigs03 Cohort

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    Sep 22, 2007

    WOW! i'm so glad i posted about this. i'm excited for you that it's working out. i've gotten some great ideas from both of you! i actually have our literacy coach coming in this week to help me. she's going to model 3 lessons for me and hopefully it'll help me out even further. i appreciate your conversation!

    thanks
    LC
     

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