Paragraph Writing

I suggest to teach paragraph writing at the beginning of the year.  This way students will have a good foundation of complete sentences and paragraph form when writing in journals, reading responses and essays.

1.  Subjects and Predicates.  Remind students that the subject of the sentence is the “who” or “what” the sentence is about.  It should be a noun (person, place, or thing).  The predicate is what the subject is or what it is doing.  It should be a verb (action or linking).  You may also go into dividing the complete subject and complete predicate by dividing the sentences.  The group of words that go along with the subject is the complete subject and the group of words that go along with the predicate is the complete predicate.  Make sure to point out that a complete sentence must have a subject and a predicate.

Lesson:  Teach the lesson by gathering students to the front on the carpet to keep them from distractions. Introduce the lesson using chart paper, poster, or smart board.  Then send students back to seats to write in notebooks.  First, I like to have students put the title of the lesson, and standard (if there is one) in their interactive notebooks.  Next, students should write a paragraph of their choice.  When finished, exchange papers with their shoulder partner (person who sits next to them) to underline the subject and circle the predicate.  My class likes to use color pens for this activity.  As a whole group, we share some of the sentences on the board.  Last, I provide an independent printable for more practice.
2.  Fragments:  On the carpet, I remind the students of yesterday’s lesson on subjects and predicates. Explain to the students that a fragment is a part of a sentence.  It is missing either a subject or a predicate.  Show the poster or write examples on chart paper.  Remember that teaching is not limited to the poster.  Use student examples on the chart as well.

After the lesson, students should add the title and standard in their notebooks.  Then have students create their own fragments and exchange with their partner who will make them complete.  Come back to the whole group to share some examples. As a final practice, hand out an independent printable.

3. Complete Sentences:  Have an assessment on complete sentences.

4.  Run-On Sentences:  Use the same method as above.  A run-on sentence is two complete sentences that run together.  During notebooking, ask students to write run-on sentences that their partner will have to correct.

4.  Topic Sentences:  Explain to students the topic sentence is a complete sentence that expresses the main idea of a paragraph.  It answers questions like why, how, and where.  It has supporting sentences or relevant details.  It can prove, explain, or describe something.
For notebooking, I have students write a paragraph with a partner.  They need to decide on a topic sentence for that paragraph.  When we come back together as a whole group to share, I have students hold a hand up to their ears if they HEAR a topic sentence.  I sometimes use this independent printable for homework.
6.  Relevant Details:  Explain to the students that within a paragraph, writers need to STICK to the topic!  This means that everything in the paragraph is related to the topic sentence.  They support the topic and give true meaning.  It may create imagery, personal experiences, or detailed examples.  In the paragraph on the poster, notice that not all the details were used in the paragraph.  The writer left out swimming.  Explain that it is perfectly fine not to include all the details that were brainstormed as long as there are enough relevant details to go along with the topic.  Maybe the writer couldn’t think of any relevant examples or experiences to include.  For notebooking, have students write a paragraph starting with the graphic organizer.  When exchanging with partners, have them highlight all the relevant details of the paragraph.
7.  Clincher:  A clincher is the concluding sentence of the paragraph.  It summarizes the main ideas or feelings of a paragraph.  It is not a relevant detail.  It can be strengthened by turning the topic sentence into a question, adding humor, excitement, or a future thought.
8. Hamburger Model-  Put a paragraph together using the hamburger model.  Then give the students the graphic organizer to write their own.

9.  Paragraph Assessment:  After teaching all the mini-lessons, I like to provide students with an assessment.  If you need the student printables for notebooking or independent practices and assessments, they can be purchased at :  MY STORE
I hope this helps you get started for the year!

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