Writing Part 7: Four Square Writing Model

by C. Elkins, OK Math and Reading Lady

One of my favorite models for organizing writing is the Four Square Model.  I got the chance to attend a workshop conducted by the author of these books and I have been a fan ever since. This organizational model can be applied from KG to 5th grade (and beyond).

Four Square Writing:

Order HERE.  It is developmentally appropriate to start with pictures for the youngest and gradually add sentences to explain the topic. For those who can write sentences, this model can help students build from a single five sentence paragraph (first and second grades) to the 5 paragraph essay (3rd and up). This model is great for expository, persuasive, and descriptive types of writing. For intermediate students, this format helps them organize the main idea, subtopics, details, and transition words.

  1. Students become better at seeing the relationship between the main topic and sub-topics such as: Fruit — apple, grape, cherry. I believe if students can write about a topic and the supporting details, then they can more easily recognize these in text. Description is one of the five main text structures.
  2. KG students start with pictures. Then young students (first or second) create a topic, 3 supporting details, and a beginning or concluding sentence to create a single paragraph.
  3. See this precious video from a first grade class showing how to use the four square method First Grade 4-Square Writing (Mr. Alba’s Class)

Thank you to teachers in Lawton for sharing some of the the work students did when I worked with them on use of this model. Here are a few samples (first and fifth grades): Continue reading