If you know me, you know my mantra: “Give them tools, not excuses!” We can’t give them excuses, they have enough of those. We need to give them tools. One of my favorite tools for writing is 4 square. (Check out the 4 Square blog post here.)
Kindergarten students can easily write 4 sentences on a topic with the use of 4 square. The basic 4 square contains a topic sentence in the middle, surrounded by 4 supporting details. When we pair 4 square with biographies, we can teach students to write about a person in history.
I used this idea to make a 4 square set about “Special People in Black History.”
BIOGRAPHIES: WHERE TO START
When starting with 4 square biographies, choosing one to complete as a whole group writing lesson is a great start. During the week, read a picture book, like this one for President Obama, Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope or this one for Harriet Tubman, Harriet Tubman Freedom Fighter.
Show the class the 4 square and discuss each square. Then, each day Tuesday through Friday collaboratively composing the sentence for one square, then interactively writing the sentence.
Biographies: Writing Essays
Once the whole group lesson is complete, these 4 squares can be put in a center. Students can complete a chosen 4-square independently.
This set includes a 4 square and writing paper for 27 special people in history. Students can a write quick biography by completing a predictable sentence:
He was born in Hawaii.
He was a senator form Illinois.
He was a president.
He won a Nobel Peace Prize.
Students can elaborate by adding a topic sentence, adding details they know, and/or having a closing sentence.
Biographies: Making Books
Another method of using the 4-square templates are making books. You can also use the writing papers as a book cover.
On the samples in the picture to the right, I cut the picture and a few lines of the writing paper to make the cover.
Each page can be about one square on the 4 square mat. For a special class book, give students different people and make a book to treasure.
Likewise, students can write essays about several special people and make a personal book.
Biographies: Special People in Black History
I tried to highlight both historical and contemporary special people in this set. I also tried to be sensitive to the seriousness of their lives. The artwork has been carefully chosen.
In addition, I asked a former principal to vet this set. I was honored she approved. The set also comes with an explanation of each 4 square, so the intent is clear.
Check out all the people included!
You have entrepreneurs, politicians, activists, athletes, entertainers, servicemen, authors, inventors, and more!
The Special People in Black History 4 Square set is available, just click the link.
This set is also in the MEGA 4 Square Big Bundle. Check out the link.
If you would like to get a 4 Square Special People in Black History sample of the set, click the link for the SAMPLE set below.
This site contains affiliate links to products. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links.