Lesson: Non-fiction Text Structures: Author's Purpose: Descriptive Paragraphs (Lesson 23)

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Lesson Objective

Paragraphs have purposes. Some paragraphs are meant to be descriptive.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 23:

Standard: Identify the purpose of common textual features (for example, title, headings, key words, paragraphs, topic sentences, table of contents, indices, glossary,  captions accompanying illustrations or photographs).

Identify topic sentences, supporting details, and elaboration in paragraphs. 

Determine the purpose of individual sentences and paragraphs and how they contribute to the text as a whole. 

Big Idea:  Writers use lots of evidence to support the main idea or theme.  These supporting details fill the text; they are found in every paragraph, all textual features, and all graphic features. 


Teaching Point: Paragraphs have purposes. Some paragraphs are meant to be descriptive.


RW: Reading binders, pencils, copies of Exploding Ants pgs. 29-32, post-its

RA: copy of “Exploding Ants”, small post-its



Reading Workshop Lesson:

  • Readers, we know that every paragraph has one purpose – one topic that it is about. It is our job to notice that the author is moving on to a new topic and figure out what that new topic is.
  • Can anyone remind us of the three paragraph purposes that we’ve learned about so far? (T&T and share out – they should be able to explain that some paragraphs hook the reader some paragraphs teach the reader the main idea, and some paragraphs explain a sequence of events.] We are going to use what we know about paragraphs to re-read the “Getting It Down” section of Exploding Ants and find evidence for this open response question [put up OR topic.]
  • How many parts does this question have? (1)
  • Where am I most likely to find evidence for this question? (The “Gulping Eyeballs” section – we can skip past all the other ones and just read this one very carefully)
  • Re-read “Gulping Eyeballs” and underline relevant evidence.
  • As a large group, in small groups, or independently, come up with a topic sentence that uses words from the question and write a paragraph.



Read Aloud Lesson:


  • We are going to continue looking at the purpose of the paragraphs in the last section of “Exploding Ants.” We know that paragraphs have many purposes – to hook the reader, to state a main idea, to explain a sequence of events, or to describe one thing.
  •  [Start reading “The Mating Game.” Make predictions based on headings and pictures before starting each section. T&T to discuss the purpose of hook, main idea, sequence, and descriptive paragraphs, and mark them with post-it notes.]
    • Page 33, paragraph 1: Hook and main idea
    • Page 33, paragraph 2: Sequence
    • Page 33, paragraph 3: Sequence
    • Page 34, paragraph 1: Main idea
    • Page 34, paragraph 2: Sequence
    • Page 34, paragraph 3: Descriptive
    • Page 34, paragraph 4: sequence/descriptive?


  • Revisit the main idea that you came up with when you first started the book. Is it still correct?
  • Show glossary and index if you have time. Next time we will look at the purposes of paragraphs in a new book.


Lesson Resources

Lesson 23 Open Response.docx  


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