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Take a fashion-forward approach to outlining with this engaging lesson
6, 5, 4
Title – How to Outline: A Fashion-Forward Approach
By – Marcy Winograd
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 4-6
Standard: Clarify an understanding of texts by creating outlines.
Goal: Students will learn how to outline a text by first outlining their clothing.
Specific Objectives: Using a color-coded method, students will outline the teacher’s attire, then their neighbor’s clothing, and finally a short section in their textbook. Outlines will include at least three main headings and their respective sub-headings.
Materials: green, orange, & red highlighters, crayons, or adhesive dots; textbooks
Anticipatory Set: The teacher says, “I never thought I would be a model, but I’ll give it a try.” The teacher walks down the aisle as though modeling an outfit on a runway. “What do you notice about my clothing?” s/he asks.
- (1) After students comment on the teacher’s outfit, the teacher explains the class will organize the observations in an outline that is color-coded:
- Headings: Green
- Sub-headings: Orange
- Minor details under sub-headings: Red
- (2) Modeling on an overhead, the teacher explains the class will begin with one item of clothing, perhaps a sweater or jacket the teacher is wearing.
- (3) The teacher reviews the Roman Numeral system: (I, II, III, IV, etc.) and explains that her/his sweater will be labeled Roman Numeral I. Each main heading or Roman Numeral will be written in the color green, so the teacher must use a green vis-a-vis pen on the transparency.
- (4) The teacher elicits from students details about the sweater. Using the thumb to indent and an orange vis-a-vis pen, s/he lists the details as A and B, under Roman Numeral I.
- Sweater (green pen)
- Wool (orange pen)
- Button-down (orange pen)
- (5) Next, the teacher asks for descriptions of another clothing item, perhaps her/his shirt. This time more clarifying details are generated, so that the outline looks like this:
- Shirt (green pen)
- One pocket (orange pen)
- On the left (red pen)
- Button on the top (red pen)
- Collar (orange pen)
- Small flap (red pen)
- Pointed (red pen)
- One pocket (orange pen)
- (6) After modeling how to outline her/his clothing, the teacher may ask, “Is there a model in the crowd?” When a student volunteers, the teacher invites the student up to the front so that the rest of the class may outline the student’s clothing.
- (7) The teacher may help the class begin the outline, but should let students complete it themselves. Students should use green crayons, highlighters, or dots to label main headings; orange crayons, etc. to identify sub-headings, and red crayons, etc. to label minor details under sub-headings.
- (8) After students complete the outline, they may turn to a neighbor sitting next to them and outline his/her outfit.
- (9) After completing those outlines, students trade papers in cooperative groups to see if they can identify the person whose clothes were described in the outline.
- (10) Finally, the teacher models the same process to outline a few paragraphs from the textbook, which may describe the life of an author or steps in the writing process. A content-area textbook (history or science) may also be used.
Independent Practice: Students outline another passage in their textbook, labeling main ideas, subheadings, and minor details.
Closure: Students do a reflective quick-write: What did you learn about outlining your clothes? How did this help you outline a chapter in your textbook?
Assessment Based On Objective: (4,3,2,1 rubric, 3 meeting the standard of proficiency)
- Students are assessed on how well they outlined their neighbor’s clothing and/or the information in the textbook
- 4 – All main ideas and details are accurately outlined, using the appropriate color code and indentations
- 3- Most main ideas and details are accurately outlined, using the appropriate color code and indentations
- 2 – Some main ideas and details are accurately outlined, using the appropriate color code and indentations
- 1- Few, if any, main ideas and details are accurately outlined, using the appropriate color code and indentations
Adaptations: Only outline main ideas and subheadings, not minor details.
Extensions: Provide students with a more complex text structure to outline.
Possible Connections to Other Subjects: Students may color-code outline an outfit worn by a historical figure, then outline the history text.
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