Choose a short text or a section from a novel to reread
For example: Jacob Two Two and the Hooded Fang, by Mordecai Richler
Make sure that the selected text is one with which students are already familiar
Photocopy the Four Square worksheet for each student
Reread your chosen text
Introduce the Four Square chart to the students
Refer to each square and read the sentence starters: First, Then, Next, Finally
Explain that students will be trying to retell the most important events in the story using the squares
Brainstorm ideas for completing each square
You may wish to record ideas on a piece of chart paper
Explain to the students that they will complete the Four Square chart in small groups
Support students as they complete their Four Square charts
For example, encourage younger students to reread their sentences aloud and include all of the sounds they hear in each word, encourage older students to try to determine the most important events
Invite students to share their charts with the class
English Language Learners/ESL:
- Include a visual cue for each block - Allow students to share their ideas orally before writing them down - Have students draw their pictures first then scribe their ideas
LD/Reading & Writing Difficulties:
- Allow paragraph to be written using a typing program or speech-to-text software program - Scribe written paragraph for student so that the student's ideas are the focus
Cultural Appropriateness & Diversity:
- Choose a text with which students are familiar
- Provide alternative sentence starters as examples from which students can choose - Include mixed-ability groupings during small group instruction
Source: Hall, D. P. & Cunningham, P. M. (2001). Month-by-month Reading, Writing, and Phonics for Kindergarten: Systematic, Multilevel Instruction for Kindergarten. Greensboro, NC: Carson-Dellosa Publishing.
Evidence: Brunn, M. (2004). Teaching ideas: The four square strategy. The Reading Teacher, 55, 522-532.
The goal of Four Square Retelling: A Graphic Organizer for Retelling Narratives is to provide students with a graphic organizer to help them identify the main ideas in a story and organize these ideas to write a retell.
What You Need
10 minutes - Select a short text - Photocopy the Four Square worksheet for each student
2, 30 minute sessions Session 1: - Teacher rereads text - Teacher introduces activity by explaining how to complete worksheet Session 2: - Students complete Four Square charts - Students share their Four Square charts
Teacher: Selected text Students: - Worksheet Pencils
What You Do
Modeling: - during read aloud and when introducing the activity Supporter: - during small group instruction and sharing time
Whole class: - during read aloud, introduction of task and sharing time Small groups: - when students complete chart
- Create an individual requirements checklist or rubric to assess students' ability to retell the text
- Record anecdotal notes as students complete four-square chart
- Model how to use the chart as a guide for organizing ideas when writing a longer paragraph or summary
- Have students write a longer paragraph or a summary using their four-square chart as a guide
- Have students write a picture book using their four-square chart as a guide
- Create a center with familiar texts, four-square charts and writing materials
- Providing students with an opportunity to organize their ideas in a graphic organizer or chart prior to writing a paragraph or summary allows them to clearly plan and understand the important parts of the text.
- Students need to understand that writing is a process that usually begins with planning and organizing ideas. It is important to encourage students to continue to develop their writing by editing and revising their work.
- Emphasize writing as a process during any writing workshop or activity and refer to the process with an authentic context by using a real author as an example.
- Provide an option of working independently for students disturbed by sound
- Work one-on-one with students who require scribing or direct instruction
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