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The Four Square Writing Method is a simplified graphic organizer for teaching writing to children in school. While primarily used to teach persuasive writing, it has also been used to help teach deconstruction[1]. The method was developed by Judith S. Gould[2] and Evan Jay Gould, in 1999[3].

It was developed initially for primary school students, but has also been used in high school classes.

Method

A colour-coded example of a Four Square Writing Method layout.

The method is primarily a visual framework for assisting students with formulating ideas in an organized manner prior to writing an essay.

The concept generally works as follows:

  1. A rectangle is drawn, width exceeding height, and divided into four smaller rectangles of equal size. An additional rectangle is drawn in the center of the figure, taking up some of the area in each of the other four rectangles. A total of five rectangles are thus created.
  2. The student writes a complete topic sentence in the center rectangle.
  3. The student then writes sentences in the lower-left, upper-left, and upper-right rectangles that develop the thesis of the central topic.
  4. Finally, the student writes a summary sentence in the lower-right rectangle. The summary sentence describes how the reader is intended to feel about the topic.

Variations of the above rules may require more or less development in each of the rectangles, depending on the grade-level or maturity of the student.

Results

Results show a consistent increase in the ability of students to write persuasively. A study at Springview Elementary School, in Allendale Charter Township, Michigan, noted, "significant growth was observed in the students' writings in both classes."[4] Another study, done at American Senior High School in Miami-Dade County, Florida, done with older students, showed an increase in FCAT scores. "(P)re/post test results, American Senior High persuasive writing scores improved overall", though not as marked as the Michigan grade school students.[5] It was noted that one teacher had remarkably more success with the program than others, and that teachers must be trained thoroughly to get best results from this method.

References

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