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If you haven’t seen the writing tool that’s causing so much excitement amongst teachers on Twitter, you should try it in class tomorrow, says Rebecca Jakes.
‘Structure strips’ is a new teaching strategy that’s taking the EduTwitter world by storm. The idea was first created and shared on Twitter by teacher Stephen Lockyer (@mrlockyer) before being championed by Caroline Spalding (@mrsspalding), an assistant head at an all-through school.
Put simply, a structure strip is a tool that supports pupils with structuring a text, prompting them to consider what they should include in each paragraph. Though initially used to support children in KS3, the strips are now being picked up by primary schools across the country.
Structure strips are designed to be stuck in the margin of an exercise book. Every strip is divided into sections that act as a guide for the content, order and relative size of each paragraph. They can be colour coded to make each section stand out, or left plain for simplicity.
Let’s take teaching children to write a basic short story as an example. A common approach is to ask pupils to use a simple format: build up, problem, resolution, ending. Placing a structure strip with these headings in the margin of a child’s book provides them with a clear reminder of which part of their story they are developing as they write.
This download includes a PDF of this lesson, originally published in Teach Reading and Writing, Why all the Fuss about Structure Strips?, and the accompanying resources: printable structure strips for writing fiction/suspense, traditional tales, basic story structure, non-chronological report, instructions and explanations.
Rebecca Jakes is Year 4 teacher at Brockhurst Primary School and a freelance teaching and learning consultant