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Story Writing

A strategy I use with my EL students is 4-square writing.  In order to understand the concept of how to develop a story with all the components, I use this approach.  There are 4 ziploc bags labeled Who, What, Where, When.  Students randomly pick a card from each bag and tape it to their 4-square sheet.  The funnier the combination of choices, the more creative the student becomes.

FBeginningor example, a student may choose: Who - pirate, Where - at museum, When - at midnight, What - students lost on a field trip.  Students develop a simple story using those elements.  With the Beginners and Early Intermediates, I use pictures in the ziploc bags and have them develop sentences.  When I see a funny photo in a magazine, Internet, or old book, I will cut it out and add it to the ziploc bag.  For the intermediate to advanced, I will use cards with more detailed phrases and expect a paragraph or two.

Students are also using the Scholastic writing site, which is the same idea as the cards, except the kids have fun spinning the wheel!  It can easily be differentiated by choosing a grade level. Click on the the link to take you to the site and see how kids love writing! 


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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Strategies for English Language Learners are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.