Writing

HOW TO TEACH PARAGRAPH WRITING

If you are looking for ideas to teach paragraph writing, you are in the right place!  From the series of over 30 writing mini lessons for writer’s workshop, paragraph writing includes three posts (lessons 5, 6, and 7) starting here with TOPIC SENTENCES, moving into RELEVANT DETAILS, and then CLOSING SENTENCES.  Now that your students are WRITING COMPLETE SENTENCES using the former mini lessons, they are ready to learn how to write a paragraph!

 

 

 

START OFF THIS LESSON WITH THE PARAGRAPH SONG!!  He is so funny!

 

 

 

Show students an anchor chart to introduce the three lessons on paragraph writing.

 

 

 

MINI LESSON #5 TOPIC SENTENCES is the first mini lesson for paragraph writing.

 

1.  Teach

Paragraphs need to have topic sentences.  It is a way of organizing and expressing the main idea of the paragraph!

  • It answers questions like why, how, or where.
  • It has supporting sentences or relevant details.
  • It can prove, explain, or describe something.

 

 

For example:

ParagraphSummer weather lets me play outside.  I have fun under the sprinkler with my brother.  We run through the water and scream each time!  It is refreshing to swim in the lake too.  At night, I play hide and seek with my friends.  I usually hide behind a big bush.  I love when the weather is warm!

 

2.  Teach Indents

This is the perfect time to introduce INDENTS! Point out paragraph indentions in text books or stories to reinforce this lesson!

 

Indents are moving the first line of a paragraph to the right and creating a space.
 
  • It is usually 5 letter spaces.
  • The first sentence of every paragraph should be indented to show where the paragraph begins.
  • The rest of the sentences should be lined up on the left.  If using notebook paper, these sentences should line up on the pink or red line.

 

paragraph writing using indents

 

3.  Take Notes

If using interactive notebooks, create something similar to the following. Students should take notes and show examples. This will provide them with a great reference for future writing assignments.

HOW TO WRITE A TOPIC SENTENCE IN A PARAGRAPH

 

Students should brainstorm ideas for a paragraph of their own.

 

 

4.  Apply

Students use their brainstorming skills to write a paragraph using a topic sentence. Shoulder partners can point out the topic sentence or share as a whole group. Students can hold a hand up to their ears if they hear the topic sentence.  This will help keep their attention!

 

5.  Go Deeper

Do you want your topic sentence to have a Rockin’ Beginning?  This can also be helpful to differentiate in your classroom. Use the following FREE resource to help students write better topic sentences:

How to write a lead or topic sentence

 

6.  Practice

Provide students with practice.  Have them identify topic sentences, write topic sentences, and write rockin’ beginnings.  Task cards are a great way to give students practice especially in centers.  You are welcome to use the samples below when creating your own materials to use in your classroom.

topic sentence task cards

 

 

7.  Assessment and Tracking

Have students work independently on an assignment and record their progress.  This will be helpful when forming small instructional groups and review.

 

 

I hope you learned something in lesson #5!

 

LAST LESSON:  MINI LESSON #4 RUN-ON SENTENCES

 

NEXT LESSON:   MINI LESSON #6   RELEVANT DETAILS

 

CLICK HERE TO START THE FIRST LESSON IN WRITER’S WORKSHOP 

 

Do you need a complete NO PREP Sentence Structure AND Paragraph Unit?  There are anchor charts, interactive notebooks pages, practice worksheets, and task cards for each of the following:  Complete Sentences, Fragments, Run-Ons, Topic Sentences, Rockin Beginnings, Indents, Relevant Details, Transition Words, Closing Sentences, and Clinchers! In addition, you will find a hamburger graphic organizer, a paragraph writing rubric and a paragraph assessment!

 

 

 

Most of this lesson is also included in the STEP-BY-STEP Interactive Writing Notebooks with mini lessons for paragraph, narrative, opinion, and informative writing designed to scaffold through the writing process.  It includes anchor charts for teaching, interactive notebook pages for taking notes, modeled stories, mentor text, practice sheets, tracking forms, goal forms, prompts, and so much more!  Click on the pic below to find out how to motivate students and boost test scores with this STEP-BY-STEP year-long writing program!

 

“My grade level used this last year and our state assessment scores improved greatly in writing!!!  Other grades are using your units!  I am soooo excited to see what the kiddos remember from year to year since it spirals.  It’s helped them TONS and with our population, we always struggle to find successful resources.  We love them!!!” – Megan

ROCK ‘N’ WRITE!!!!!

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