The Basics of Step Up to Writing

In the year of my teaching residency, I co-taught in a first grade classroom, where I became familiar with teaching writing to young students using a program called “Step Up to Writing”, from where the “Stoplight Paragraph” method originates. With this method, students use colors as visual clues to help them construct a clear, well-written paragraph, with a topic and closing sentence, at least two “big ideas”, and supporting details. I have learned this this fun, colorful method can be used with all types of writing we learn in second grade: narrative (stories), expository (information), and persuasive (opinion).

  • GREEN: Go! Topic Sentence.
    • YELLOW: Slow down! Big idea.
      • RED: Stop! Give a supporting detail.
    • YELLOW: Slow down! Big idea.
      • RED: Stop! Give a supporting detail.
  • GREEN: Go back! Remind the reader of your main idea.

The video below may help parents to gain a better idea of what all of these words and colors mean!

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