Lesson: Introductory Paragraph

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Lesson Objective

Students will write introductory paragraphs for research papers using a given format.

Lesson Plan

Connection (3-5 mins):  Students should be seated on the carpet with a partner.  They will be expected to turn and talk throughout this lesson.  Researchers, we took a step back from the research process yesterday to make sure we understood paragraphs.  Today, we will begin to write our introductory paragraphs.  This paragraph is one of the most important in our papers.  It is where we grab the reader’s attention and explain our topics. 

Teach/Active Engagement (12-15 mins): The introductory paragraph can sometimes be very difficult to write.  However, we can follow a format to make sure we write great introduction paragraphs to grab our reader and explain the purpose for our paper.  An introduction paragraph has three main parts, an opening sentence, a lead in, and a thesis statement.  Watch me as I write the three parts of my introduction paragraph about my topic, Abraham Lincoln. 

The first sentence is considered the opener because it introduces the topic and grabs the reader’s attention.  It also expresses your opinion about your topic.  An example of this type of sentence is, “Abraham Lincoln lived a very interesting life”.  This introduces my topic of Abraham Lincoln and expresses my opinion that his life was interesting.  Think for a minute about your topic and what you plan to learn through this research topic.  Turn and tell your partner a sample opener sentence for the introduction paragraph. 

Now we are ready to move into our supporting sentences.  These sentences express two or three main ideas that support the opinion in the first sentence.  These sentences are important because they will become the topics of our paragraphs later in the research paper.  It is a good idea to base these sentences around your research questions.  For example, one of my questions about Abraham Lincoln was focused on his childhood.  Therefore, my first supporting sentence might be, “His life was interesting even in his childhood as he grew up”.  Did you notice how I used my own research question to write that sentence. 

Now you try.  My second and third research questions were based on Lincoln’s accomplishments in office.  Turn and tell your partner a sentence I could use to support my opinion that Lincoln had an interesting life based on my research questions.  Students turn and talk.  Teacher calls on students to share responses and adds sentences to chart paper for students to read. 

Researchers, we are working so hard for this one paragraph but remember it sets the tone for our entire paper.  We can now move onto the last and summarizing sentence in this paragraph.  This closing sentence is a restatement of your opinion.  In our Abraham Lincoln example, our summary sentence could be, “Our president, Lincoln lived an interesting life, that is hard to imagine today”. 

Did you notice, how I followed a formula to write my introduction paragraph.  This formula helps us as writers to plan out our research papers.  Our supporting sentences explain the structure of each of our following paragraphs and without a strong introduction paragraph our paper will not be clear.  When you return to your seats today, you will write your own introduction paragraphs.  You will need your graphic organizers from yesterday’s lesson to make sure you include all of your research questions in your supporting sentences.  I will try to check in with each student as you work today, to make sure we are all reading to move on in the research process tomorrow.  Off you go researchers.

Workshop Time (15-20 mins):  Students return to their seats to write their own introductory paragraphs using a graphic organizer.  This organizer is helpful because it reminds students what needs to be in an introduction paragraph, as well as provides space to write their paragraph.  If students finish before the end of workshop time, they may read each others paragraphs and make corrections.

Exit Slip/Share (3-5 mins): Teacher should collect the graphic organizers at the end of workshop time.  The teacher should read through these paragraphs before the next lesson, providing feedback for each student.  This will ensure each student has a clear understanding of introductory paragraphs.

Reflection: Although this lesson is formulaic, it provides students with the necessary structure to correctly write an introductory paragraph.  Many students lack the structure to write research papers and providing them with a structure will strengthen their writing skills.  Eventually, the goal is to allow more freedom in their writing.

Lesson Resources

Introduction Paragraph Organizer   


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