And how you can do it too!
When you think of note-taking, you probably don’t think about teaching your first graders to do it. However, with one of the common core writing standards being “Write informative/explanatory texts in which they name a topic, supply some facts about the topic, and provide some sense of closure”, it is necessary to begin teaching them about the note-taking process.
What are four square notes?
Four square notes are broken into four squares. If you google it, you can see there are many different ways people use the four squares for note-taking and writing.
I love using four square notes with first graders. I learned about four square notes in a professional development session years ago. Actually, I learned about it with vocabulary, which I will talk to you about in this post. However, I expanded it and started using it for informative writing as well. I felt that it really worked well for both concepts so I’m excited to share it with you today. The four squares makes it really easy for students to visualize and organize information. It also will help them as they grow older and their note-taking progresses.
Using Four Square Notes for teaching informative writing
When I teach informative writing, we pick our topic and do our research. I will give my students the topics for their four squares. In the picture, you can see we were researching polar bears. As a class, we decided what we wanted to learn about polar bears and those main topics became our four squares. So, our four squares were: what it looks like, what they eat, where they live, and interesting facts. Check out what I use to teach informative writing here.
By breaking up our new schema, we are categorizing our new information which should also make it easier to write about. This will translate into our writing and make the story easier to read and write!
To see more about how I teach informative writing, click here.
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