Today's Snack: Shoelace licorice can be bitten off into different
lengths to "doodle" a house or an animal or a car or anything you want, on a
paper plate or napkin. Then eat your "outline"! Wash down with a glass of milk.
Print out this Treat for each student, or provide drawing paper
Pencil | Stopwatch or clock with a second-hand
Colored pencils | Lined paper
you've done your research, and now it is time to put your information into written
form as a report. What do you do? Put all your information into the oven and
hope it pops out as a nice report?
would be "hot," if it worked. But no! You have to plan it out.
as with baking, if you follow a "recipe" for your writing, there's a better
chance that what you create will be delicious. With writing, that may mean a
name for a "recipe" in writing is an outline.
An outline is like a sketch that shows just the main parts of something.
do you like to draw? Cars? Cats? Faces? Horses? Most of the time, when you draw
something, you are just making an outline of it. You aren't adding all the
details and shading that make it look realistic.
10 seconds to make a quick outline of your favorite vehicle or animal in the
space below, or on drawing paper:
take 30 seconds to add details and finish up your drawing.
how big a difference there is between your "outline," and your finished
product? It's the same thing with a piece of writing.
builder starts building a house by nailing up the wooden boards that are the
framework for the walls. Framework is to a house as an outline
is to a report.
a great idea to plan ahead. An outline can help make writing a snap. It's a way
to help you remember to include lots of interesting details and descriptions
that can bring your writing alive.
plan a three-paragraph report by making an outline.
outlines, you show the order with Roman numerals. You don't have to use them
later, on your report, but you can if you want. On a piece of lined paper, number
your paragraphs I, II and III along the left-hand column. Going down the left
side of your paper, put your I in the upper left-hand corner, your II kind of
in the middle, and your III near the bottom. They stand for these three main
the first paragraph -- the beginning -- the Introduction. You tell the reader exactly what you are going
to write about. You might start with an interesting "hook" to capture the
reader's attention, and then include a couple of facts to back up your thesis (THEE-sis), or main idea.
the Body of your report - the
middle -- where you will include all the facts
and ideas that follow from
your Introduction, and prove your thesis. You might want to use "the Rule of Three"
-- include three facts or ideas about each topic. One or two facts or ideas are
not quite enough to "prove" your point, and four or more are usually too many
for most people to absorb. Remember Goldilocks, and how the THIRD bowl of mush,
chair and bed was always "just right"? Use that principle, that three is "just
right," in the body of your paper.
the Conclusion - the end --
which summarizes your point,
explains why the reader
should care, and closes with a "bang"
-- something exciting, deep or memorable that will make the reader go,
When you make an outline, there are
(1) write key words that represent the concepts that
you want to make sure to include next to the I, II and III,
(2) write a "topic sentence" that sums up what that
paragraph will say, and
(3) fill in the rest of your content.
Here's an example:
"Cats Vs. Dogs"
are best, cats or dogs? Meow, bark, beauty, friendship, describe Tiger (your
cat) and Sunny (your friend's dog)
about cats and dogs, size, ease of care, damage or mess to house, cost, noise,
play, stress reduction,
like dogs best. Will offer to dog-sit Sunny to enjoy having both a dog and a
Topic sentence for Introduction:
Cats and dogs are both beautiful and interesting, but
which one makes the best pet?
Topic sentence for Body:
Cats keep themselves clean and are quiet and curious, but
dogs are more fun to play with and act more like a friend.
Topic sentence for Conclusion:
I like dogs best because when I get lonely, I like having
a four-legged friend who is always ready to play.
and dogs are both beautiful and interesting, but which one makes the best pet? Adults
and children might have two different ideas about that. It depends on the
purpose of having a pet. For me, it's to have fun! I love our orange tabby cat,
Tiger, but she doesn't play with me. On the other hand, my friend's golden
Labrador, Sunny, is always ready to chase a ball when I throw it - over and
Cats keep themselves clean and are quiet and curious, but
dogs are more fun to play with and act more like a friend. When
a cat bats at a ball of yarn, it's adorable. But cats don't fetch, or at least
the ones I know don't. Dogs, on the other hand, love to run and explore. If you
throw a ball or a stick for them to retrieve, you can go on all day doing that
because they love it! That gets you outside for exercise, and it's a great way
to relieve stress.
I understand why some people love cats
because they are wonderful animals. But I like dogs best. When I
get lonely, I like having a four-legged friend who is always ready to play. I'm
going to offer to dog-sit Sunny next time my friend goes out of town, so I can
have the fun of having both a dog and a cat!
Now write an outline for a three-paragraph report on
"What I Like About My Teacher." Use colored pencil or markers to help you stay
First, write key words for your:
Then write topic sentences for each of those
Then start writing your three paragraphs, adding more
facts and ideas. If you follow your outline, it'll all flow together well.
When you're done, be sure to share your writing with
your teacher. You'll probably see the outline
of a great, big smile!