Four Square Organizer

Use this graphic organizer to keep track of ideas or processes that have four features or steps. You can also use this organizer to show four different examples of something.

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Four Square Organizer Teacher Guide

Teach the skill

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Interactive Lesson

Assess and track growth

Performance Tracker
Teacher Reflection

Plan your lesson

Planning Journal
Lesson Planner

Differentiate and support learning

Space Method
Reading Rubrics
Guide To Group Work

Four Square Organizer Lesson

Classroom ready student presentation.

Step 1: Check In and Review

Student Presentation

Four Square Organizer
Check In
Discuss the following questions and
record youranswers in your notes.

New to the Skill

  1. What do you know about this skill?
  2. Predict how you might use the skill?
  3. Where have you used it before?

Experience with the Skill

  1. What are the steps to this skill?
  2. Why is this strategy useful?
  3. How does it help you?
  4. How do you use this strategy in other classes?

What Teachers Do

Asks a few questions to assess what students know about the skill.

Teaching Tips

Questions can be answered individually or in pairs/small groups.
Have students use the skill with little to no guidance in order to assess what they know.
Have students explain each step either verbally or in writing.

Step 2: Instructions

Student Presentation

Four Square Organizer
  1. Create out of paper a Four Square graphic organizer.
  2. Fold your paper into four squares/rectangles or draw two lines that divide the paper into four even sections.
  3. Label the four sections/quadrants. Write or draw ideas in each of the four sections.
  4. Close the organizer using the SPACE Method at the bottom of the organizer.
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What Teachers Do

Go over the instructions and explain the activity.

Teaching Tips

Consider modeling how to complete the activity/steps before students do it on their own.
Consider having students complete the activity/steps in pairs or small groups.
Consider printing or projecting the Guide to review with students.
Consider using a timer to pace each activity/step.

Step 3: Set Expectations and Explain Grading Criteria

Student Presentation

Four Square Organizer
  • Create or draw your own organizer.
  • Complete the organizer.
  • Close the organizer by summarizing, analyzing, or evaluating the ideas on the page.
  • Write neatly.

Options for Formative Assessment

Collect student work and use the rubric to assess how the students are applying the strategy.

Have students read a text and talk in groups about the information they recorded in their graphic organizers. Have groups share their work with the whole class.

Call on students to share their organizers with the whole class. Encourage students to place their organizers under a document camera and have them share what they have done.

Walk around the room and assess what students are doing. This informal assessment takes only a few minutes but can give the teacher valuable information.

What Teachers Do

State the expectation for task completion and review how students will be assessed.

Teaching Tips

Consider printing or projecting the rubric and go over grading criteria with students.
Model expectations so that all students are clear on what is expected of them.
Consider having students demonstrate the expectations for their classmates.

Step 4: Support

Student Presentation

Four Square Organizer
This slide contains support resources and
other materials to help you learn and master this skill.

Support Resources

Space Method

What Teachers Do

Use the resources to support student learning.

Teaching Tips

Consider printing or projecting the language resources.
Explain and demonstrate how to use the language resources.

Step 5: Students reflect on their learning

Student Presentation

Four Square Organizer
  1. What did we do today (or the past few days)?
  2. What was the purpose of this lesson?
  3. How did this skill (or lesson) help you meet the learning objectives?
  4. How did today’s learning build on what you already know and are able to do?
  5. How will this lesson help you in the future?

What Teachers Do

Close the lesson with a debrief. Give students time to think about and process their learning.

Teaching Tips

Select one or two questions from the menu and have your students discuss the questions in groups of two to four.
Have students write their reflection on a lined piece of paper or in a journal.
Ask students to chart their progress, assess growth, and set new goals for the next lesson.
Strategically select scaffolding techniques to maximize growth.
Rehearse skills as often as possible to ensure students move toward mastery.

Literacy Standards In Action

We've mapped our literacy lessons and reading, speaking, and writing skills to state standards, Common Core, and NGSS. The standards are "the what" to teach. Our lessons are "the how" to meet the expectations defined by the standards. Click on the links below to view our quick reference table that maps standards to literacy lessons.

Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital resources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.

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