Organizing Writing

This year my students are having a VERY hard time organizing their writing.  Most students are familiar with story structure when writing a fiction or realistic fiction story.  However, when students write to persuade or inform, they have no idea how to organize their writing.  Often it turns into a long and boring list of facts.
We are using the “stoplight” writing method that will hopefully transform into multi-paragraph essays later. We will see.

I made this poster for students to see.  Then I have modeled writing paragraphs using a green marker, orange marker (yellow is too hard to see), and then ended with a red marker.  As I wrote the paragraph, I thought aloud crafting a hook and including appropriate transitions.

Next I will give students this paper with the stop lights as a reminder to include all the parts.  I can’t decide if I will print the paper on the color printer (most likely not- too expensive).  I will probably have the students color in the stoplights with marker to show what part of the paragraph they are writing.  Does that make sense?
If it works (fingers crossed), I will post some student work samples!



  1. I love this stoplight paper idea!

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  2. I love your stoplight paper! We use the OREO in my class. We start with our Opinion, the tell a Reason with a/a few supporting Examples, and then finish our writing with our restated Opinion. I tell my kiddos that since we are 3rd graders we make our OREOs triple stuffed. I think I have a copy of the planning paper we use at school if you would like to see it (although it sounds like you have something AWESOME!) When we published we made tri-fold brochures. The kids really loved it. My spring break project is to upload some examples on either my website or blog (fingers crossed).

  3. Great idea! Would love to try it.

  4. I love the stop light idea! I just awarded you 2 blog awards. Stop by and check it out!

    Lesson plans & Lattes

  5. Wonderful idea! Can't wait to try it with my son. :)

  6. This idea is great! I may use it with a kido i tutor who has a difficult time writing! Thanks for sharing!


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