Try power writing with your third graders. It is simply a way to organize their thoughts. You can make a web or an outline format. Basically, the Power 1 sentence is the topic sentence, the power two sentences are the detail sentences, the power three sentences are the supporting detail sentences, and the power four sentence is the closing sentence.
A power 1224 paragraph
I like cats for two reasons. The first reason is cats are soft and cudly. The second reason is, they are playful. That is why I like cats.
A power 123234 paragraph
I like cats for many reasons. The first reason is they are soft and cudly. For example, their fur is always smooth to the touch and they love to snuggle on peoples laps. The second reason is they are playful. For instance, my cat loves to chase balls of crumpled paper. Those are my reasons for liking cats.
Power 1 ___cats____________________
Power 2 ___Furry & cudly__________
Power 2 ____Playful________________
Power 4 _____Cats__________________
This is a quick and dirty explnation of power writing but if you want more details, and if I can figure out how to cut and paste my forms that I use, you can email me at Mariam@edmail.com