4th Grade - Writing With Focus And Organization, Part 1

Writing with focus and organization, part 1
Use traditional structures for conveying information (e.g., chronological order, cause and effect, similarity and difference, posing and answering a question). (organization and focus)
The ability to sequence in chronological order, foreshadow based on cause and effect, compare similarities and contrast differences, and pose and answer questions in writing.

Sample Problems


What does it mean to order, or sequence? (to organize or arrange things in a certain, structured way)


What is a cause? (the reason something happens)


What is an effect? (the result, consequence, outcome of something happening)


What do you compare? (similarities between two or more things)


What do you contrast? (differences between two or more things)

Learning Tips


Relate information of how you go through a “day in your life” in writing. Make sure to include step-by-step detailed processes. Use time and order words to sequence your writing or use a numbered list of events. For example, “On weekdays, I wake up and eat breakfast first. Second, I brush my teeth. Then I choose clothes to wear and get dressed. Next I walk to the bus station to go to school…” OR

  1. wake up

  2. eat breakfast

  3. brush teeth

  4. choose clothes to wear

  5. get dressed

  6. walk to bus station

Your list or account can be even more detailed if you want!


Write about causes and effects in scientific inventions and discoveries. Think about or research historical events that have forever changed society. For example:

  • What was the cause of Alexander Fleming discovering penicillin, a drug that is still used to cure disease?(He was searching for a cure for staph. Infection and found the mold on accident after returning from a two week vacation.)

  • What are the effects of Alexander Fleming discovering penicillin? It because the most effective, life-saving drug in the world because of its ability to kill many types of bacterial infections.



Choose a story or essay that you have written, or write a short story. Whatever it is, make sure you have at least two characters, preferably a “good” and “bad” character. Compare the two characters’ similarities and contrast their differences. Use a Venn diagram (similarities are in green overlapping area; differences are in separate circles:


Ask different kinds of questions in your writing and inspire others to ask different kinds of questions about your writing. The author can use questions in the story like these, especially in character dialogue:

The character wondered, “Should I have done that?”

Where could we go?”

What could we do?”

What could possibly happen next?

Ask the author questions such as:

Why did you write this – what is your purpose?

What inspired or caused you to write this story?

What are the struggles or problems in the text?

What else would you like readers to know that the text did not include?

Have a discussion using these types of questions. Have the child author read their story and have the listener draw a picture to go with the text.


Choose the strategy that works best for you to organize and focus information (e.g., chronological order, cause and effect, similarity and difference, posing and answering a question). Describe why that strategy works for you and reasons why it works for you. For example, do you like to take notes in chronological order because you can go back to a specific place easily? Or do you prefer to use graphic organizers like Venn Diagrams to compare and contrast information because they show both sides of a situation or character? Elaborate as much as possible on your favorite method.

Extra Help Problems


What is sequential order? (a progressive organization)


What is chronological order? (an organization by time)


What is the difference between sequential and chronological order? (sequential follows a general sequence while chronological is organized by specific time)


What graphic organizer can be used to show order? (Flow Map, timeline)


What are synonyms for a cause? (reason, root, basis, etc.)


What are synonyms for an effect? (result, happening, consequence, outcome, etc.)


How are causes and effects related? (they have a reciprocal, sometimes cyclical relationship where one leads to another)


So can an effect from one cause also be a cause for something else? (yes, although that can be confusing, think of causes and effects like dominoes – sometimes they even make circles)


What graphic organizer can be used to show cause and effect? (Multi-flow Map, cyclical diagram)


What is the difference between comparing and contrasting? (to note what is the same and what is different)


Can you contrast without comparing? (yes)


Can you compare without contrasting? (yes)


What graphic organizer can be used to compare and contrast? (Venn diagram, Double Bubble thinking map)


How do you pose a question? (solidify, or single out, the main topic or idea and create a question including it in the sentence)


What different kinds of questions are there? (fact and opinion)


What kinds of questions could you include in writing? (all kinds of questions)


What stems can questions begin with? (5 Ws and/or H – Who, What, When, Where, Why, How)


What are some keywords that can be used when posing a question? (significance, function, condition, purpose, kind, traits, etc.)


What is foreshadowing? (predicting, forecasting, warning, etc. of something that is going to happen in the future)


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