If you are looking for ideas to teach paragraph writing, you are in the right place! From the series of over 30 mini-lessons for writer’s workshop, the paragraph writing includes three posts (lessons 5, 6, and 7). It starts 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!


Before you begin with topic sentences, show students a hamburger or vegan burger 😋 anchor chart. This will introduce the three lessons on paragraph writing and give them a visual. Tell them that they are going to be writing juicy paragraphs!

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! (That is why I use the MAIN STREET for the visual. Main Street-Main Idea. Get it?)

A topic sentence:

  • Answers questions like why, how, or where.
  • Has supporting sentences or relevant details.
  • Can prove, explain, or describe something.


Prompt example: What is your favorite season?

ParagraphFall is my favorite season. The weather is perfect for outside activities. I like going on hikes with my brother and fishing with my dad. I look forward to the smell of a fire and the taste of burnt marshmallows. I love fall weather!

Notice the underlined sentence is the topic sentence. It is the main idea of the paragraph.

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 when you move the first line of a paragraph to the right and create 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 give examples. This will provide them with a great reference for future writing assignments. If using a digital format, you can still have students write with interactive notes by having them move pieces and fill in text boxes!

4.  Practice

Provide students with practice. Have them identify topic sentences, write topic sentences, and write rockin’ beginnings. Task cards and self-check slides are a great way to give students extra practice in centers or at home.

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:

6.  Apply and Share

Students should brainstorm ideas for a paragraph of their own. Then they can use these ideas to write a paragraph using a topic sentence. After everyone is finished, students can present their paragraphs in groups or whole group and other students can point out the topic sentence.

Whole group idea: As students are reading their paragraphs, ask other students to hold a hand up to their ears when they hear the topic sentence. This will help keep their attention!

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 this helps with your instruction! Keep rockin’ your teaching!


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“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