Power writing is a great tool to teach students when they are beginning to learn about structure and organization. This type of writing works best for essays and reports–any nonfiction type of writing. It is similar to outlining and then writing a paper, but the power writing method seems to make more sense to students. Students often get hung up on Roman numerals and letters when they are outlining, but with power writing, students are using terms such as, “This is a power one idea,” or “Here are my power twos.” Teach your students power writing, and get ready to read some great reports!
1. Write a power one idea at the top of a piece of paper. A power one idea is the main idea of your essay, report or article. It is like a topic sentence of a paragraph. For example, if you were going to write a report about ways to entertain a boxer puppy, your power one idea might be, “Boxer puppies are easy to entertain, but they require a lot of attention.”
2. Think of three or four power two ideas, depending on how long your article, report or essay needs to be. Power two ideas are like supporting details of the main idea. They are the support you are providing for your main idea. With the boxer example above, power two ideas could be, “Boxers need a lot of toys. Boxers need daily exercise. Boxers need love and attention throughout the day.”
3. Create power three ideas underneath each of your power two ideas. Power three ideas explain and support power two sentences. These are specific details, examples or pieces of research. Look at the statement from Step 2: Boxers need a lot of toys. Power three ideas to further support that claim could be, “Kong toys are useful, especially when filled with peanut butter. Rawhides are a favorite of most Boxers. Knotted, old socks are fun for boxers to play tug-of-war with their owners.”
4. Take your power outline, and turn it into a essay, report or article. This is very similar to when students use an outline to write a report. Your main sentence or first paragraph will be your power one idea. Your next sentence or second paragraph will be your first power two idea, and so on. Students should understand that they can add more words and details to their power outlines, but these power writing graphic organizers are used as a guide, so they will have an organized paper. Power writing is a very easy tool for elementary-age students who are learning about writing nonfiction pieces.