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Creating Folders for “Patches of Thought”

During my first year of teaching I attended a Calendar Day hosted by the TCRWP where I got the idea for creating portable folders for my students to use in Writing Workshop to assist them with collecting “patches of thought” for each of their subordinate ideas during the personal essay unit of study. Though Lucy Calkins & Cory Gilette’s Book suggests using a more sophisticated folder system for this task, I still love the folder system I used in 2004. The kids like it. It works for them. Hence, I keep using it.

I created a little slide show that documents how I put them together this year. (I upgraded! I’m now using labels rather than writing “Body Paragraph #1,” “Body Paragraph #2,” etc. over and over and over again.) I hope you find this useful.

Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

7 thoughts on “Creating Folders for “Patches of Thought” Leave a comment

  1. I am writing my persuasive writing unit of study right now and remembered this post. I am definitely going to use this system!



  2. very cool way to display your process. i can’t wait to share this post with some of my teachers. we did your idea last year & the teachers gave rave reviews about organizing in this way. 🙂


  3. with my fifth and sixth graders, in our essay unit we will be finishing up this friday, we organized things similarly. we only had one “big” folder, though, and just put three “hamburger-folded” pieces of cardstock inside for our three subordinate ideas. i bought several different sizes and colors of sticky notes to fill the subordinate folders with mini-stores, lists, quotes, and ideas. i loved how well the students all did with such a concrete, physical model of organizing their ideas. and sticky notes are always fun.


  4. Why comment on my own post just three minutes after it? Well, I didn’t want to take away from those not-so-amazing photographs. 😉

    Anyway, I think it was Emily Smith from the TCRWP who came up with this idea. I’d love to attribute it to someone and I have a feeling she’s the person to attribute it to, but I’m not 100% sure.


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