I use TREEREEREEZ as an organizer for a well-laid-out paragraph. Here are what the letters stand for:
T-Topic: The main idea of this paragraph
R-Reason 1: The first reason to support your topic, or one of the main ideas
E-Example 1: Give the reader a concrete example of reason 1
E-Explanation 1: Explain how this example relates to and proves the topic
R-Reason 2: The second reason to support your topic, or the next main idea
E-Example 2: Give the reader a concrete example of reason 2.
E-Explanation 2: Explain how your reason 2 and explanation 2 tie to the topic
R-Reason 3: The third reason to support your topic, or last main idea
E-Example 3: Give the reader a concrete example of reason 3.
E-Explanation 3: Explain how your reason 3 and explanation 3 tie to the topic
Z-Zinger: Summary, question, prediction, or universal truth
By giving three solid reasons and backing them up with examples and explanations, very sound and well-organized writing is made easier.
Here is a sample TREEREEREEZ for why technology should be used in school.
T-Topic: Technology should be included in America’s classrooms.
R-Reason 1: Engagement
E-Example 1: Technology increases student engagement in the learning task.
E-Explanation 1:Engaged students are more interested in the topic and their learning increases.
R-Reason 2: Communication
E-Example 2: Students are more willing to communicate with technology.
E-Explanation 2: Increased communication leads to increased learning.
R-Reason 3: Future of our country
E-Example 3: The future of our economy will be largely based around technology.
E-Explanation 3: If we allow students technology access, we are training them for tomorrow.
Summary: Technology in the classroom is useful because it increases student engagement, increases communication, and prepares our students for the future.
Question: Will the students at my school in ten years use technology more than I do now?
Prediction: In five years, students all across our nation will have their own portable computing device.
Universal truth: Technology is becoming more important in all of our futures.
I wrote all four types of zingers just to give you an example of how they might look. The made-up word TREEREEREEZ is just a mnemonic device to help students remember the parts of a strong paragraph. Once my TREEREEREEZ has been filled out, the next step is to write the paragraph from it. That paragraph may look like this:
Technology should be included in classrooms all across America. The first reason is that technology increases engagement. When a student is engaged, she is more interested in the learning topic at hand and her understanding of that topic will go up. The next argument for having student technology in the classroom is that it eases communication. Wouldn’t it be great if every student was unafraid to send a quick email or text to the teacher and not feel the embarrassment of being ridiculed for a “dumb question?” The final reason supporting technology in the classroom is that technology is the future. If we allow students to have access to technology, we are training them for the rest of their lives. As you think about this idea, ask yourself one question. In ten years, will students use more technology than they do now?
Please notice that the sentences in my pargraph are not exactly the same as in the TREEREEREEZ organizer. Is that okay? You bet! Could I have copied the sentences straight down? Sure. Also notice that I chose the question-type zinger to wrap up my paragraph. The TREEREEREEZ organizer has helped hundreds of my students write in a more organized way, adding evidence to back up the claims of their writing.