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Writing: Organization

If the Shoe Fits - Matching Structure With Purpose


Today's Snack: There's a familiar saying for working hard and walking around a lot: "putting some shoe leather into it." Well, we wouldn't want to eat shoe leather! But we LOVE to eat fruit leather! All it is, is dried fruit shaped into strips. It's good for you! So have some fruit leather, and enjoy a matching kind of fruit juice with it. So, for example, if you have grape-flavored fruit leather, have grape juice!




Borrow a shoestore foot-measuring device if you wish

All different sizes of shoes, including kids' sizes

Pencil for activity sheet: draw lines to match each structure with a task



Have you ever heard the expression, "If the shoe fits, wear it"? It basically means that if things match up, they should work.


That's a good rule for matching a type of writing structure with a particular writing task. It's best when structure and purpose "fit."


To emphasize this, let's try on some random shoes. If you borrowed a foot-measuring device from a shoestore, have fun measuring everybody's feet with the shoestore device. What size are your feet? Are yours small, large, or in between?


Look at the collection of shoes. Find one pair that's 'way bigger than your feet. Try them on and clomp around. Feels funny, doesn't it? Clumsy and goofy!


Now find a pair of shoes that are too small for your shoe size. Try to squeeze them on your feet. Ouch, right?


Finally, put on your own shoes, or a pair that's just your size. Ahhhhh! That feels GOOD, doesn't it?


It's the same thing with matching the organization of a piece of writing with the topic or purpose. A good "fit" means a good piece of writing. It "feels" right.


So let's practice. On the following activity sheet, there's a list of different types of writing structures on one side, and a list of different kinds of writing tasks on the other side.


Go down these lists and discuss each one, so that you are clear on how they are alike and different.


Now draw a line between a writing structure, and a writing task, to show what kind of a writing structure you would use to accomplish the different kinds of writing tasks.


For example, you would probably use a "List, in order of use" structure to write a "Recipe," so draw a line between them.


You can use the same structure for more than one type of writing task, or vice versa, so some may have two or more lines flowing from them.


When you're finished, discuss your choices with the group, if you're in an after-school group. After you hear how other students reasoned through their choices, you may change your mind on one or more of your matches. That's OK!


With shoes, as with stories, a perfect "fit" feels great!


By Susan Darst Williams Writing 2010

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