Lesson: Paragraph Structure

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Lesson Objective

Students will be able to write a paragraph using a topic sentence and supporting details.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins): Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk to this partner throughout the lesson.  Yesterday was a huge day for us as researchers.  You all worked very hard to find answers to your research questions.  Today, we have to take a step back from the research process to make sure we understand the correct format for paragraphs.  Paragraphs are the building blocks for our research paper and we want to start with a strong foundation.

Teach/Active Engagement (10-12 mins):  Writing a paragraph is the most important piece of our research papers.  A paragraph always contains a topic sentence, which explains the reason for the paragraph.  This sentence sets the tone for the rest of the paragraph.  Watch me as I write a topic sentence about my favorite subject in school.  Teacher models process on chart paper for students to watch or may choose to model using one of the graphic organizers students will use later in the lesson.

Teacher writes, “My favorite subject in school is math for many reasons”.  This topic sentence explains what my paragraph will be about as well as explains the plan to give reasons why math is my favorite subject.  The next parts of a paragraph are the supporting details.  These are sentences that you add to your paragraph that support your topic sentence.  If I return to my favorite subject paragraph I know my supporting detail sentences must explain my reasons for enjoying math.  Turn and tell your partner one idea for a supporting detail sentence. Students should turn and talk to their partner.  Teacher calls on students to share their responses.

You all had great ideas.  Teacher models writing the supporting detail sentences using the ideas of students.  We are almost finished with our paragraph.  The last sentence is the conclusion sentence.  This sentence puts everything together and summarizes our paragraph.  If we return to our favorite subject paragraph a good conclusion sentence would be, “For all of these reasons, math is my favorite subject”.  This is a new way of saying our introduction sentence and summarizes our paragraph.  Turn and tell your partner another idea for a conclusion sentence.  Students share out their responses.

I think you are all ready to try!  When you return to your seats today, you will practice writing a paragraph.  Some of you will be given topics and others will come up with their own topics.  This is a great practice for writing your introductory paragraphs tomorrow.  You may return to your seats.

Workshop Time (15-20 mins):  Students return to their seats to complete a paragraph writing activity.  I have varying levels of students in my room and provide two separate templates for students to use.  My lowest students complete the hamburger paragraph worksheet, which requires students to write supporting details and a closing sentence.  However, I provide the topic for students. For students who have more experience with writing paragraphs, I provide the web diagram and they choose their own topics. 

Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Teacher collects the graphic organizers and paragraphs from students.  These are used as an assessment for the day.  I try to meet with students during the next day that did not correctly complete the paragraphs because they will struggle with the rest of the writing process unless they have a strong foundation in paragraph writing.

Reflection: This lesson seems very basic for a fifth grader.  However, in my experience, it is difficult for students to synthesize information they read into paragraphs.  This lesson reminds students of the structures of a paragraph in order to make the research process easier. 

Lesson Resources

Hamburger Paragraph Organizer  
Web Paragraph Organizer  


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