Lesson: SWBAT: dissect top quality introductory paragraphs and fix poor quality introductions.

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Lesson Objective

SWBAT: dissect top quality introductory paragraphs and fix poor quality introductions.

Lesson Plan

Essential Questions:

What must a top quality introductory paragraph have?



  • Daily Writing Prompt (5 minutes) - In their Writer's Notebooks, students must respond to the following prompt: Should Amistad’s students be allowed to talk in the halls? Using your lawyer's tool box (from previous unit) write as many arguments you can think of.
  • Share-out (2 minutes): Choose two students to share their responses.  Give one piece of positive and one piece of critical feedback to each student. 
  • Hook (3 minutes) - Have students respond to the following in their Writer's Notebooks:  "Why is it so important to make a good first impression?  When did you need to worry about a first impression?"
  • Share-out (2 minutes) - Instruct students to share with their neighbor their answers. 

 Mini-Lesson (I)- 5mins.

 Teacher says, "I think we can all agree that it's crucial to give a good first impression. Whether it is meeting your date, interviewing for schools, or interviewing for your future job, the first impression is often first and foremost in our minds.  The same can and should be said for your writing.  In persuasive writing, you want to give your audience a Knockout introduction.  You want to prove you know what you are doing and you know what you are talking about.  This encourages the reader to trust your opinion as well as entices him/her to read-on.  A knockout introductory paragraph has 6 pieces/punches.  Pass out student copy of the Knockout Worksheet

"As I read and explain the six peices, complete the blanks and take any additional notes you may need."  Teacher goes through the six pieces and students take notes.

"Today, before we even think of writing our own top quality introductions, I want us to be able to look at an introductory paragraph and know that it has all six elements.  If it has all six, it's top quality.  Later in the lesson, we'll lend a hand to some of the poorly written paragraphs.   Let's look at example One."

Example One (See attached handouts).  Have the students read the example.  Mark the example on the overhead or projection screen.  Mark all six parts and have students do the same.  The first example has all six parts.


Mini Lesson (We)-5 mins

Teacher says, "Now, I need your help.  Let's look at example two.  Can someone find me the hook, can someone help me find my three specific and distinct arguments, can someone help me find the issue and position statement?   Is there anything missing?  There is, than this is not top quality, but I bet we know how to fix it.  In the margin, fix the paragraph so that it's top quality. "

Give students 2 minutes to fix example two.

"Great job, writers.  Now I want you to work on your own to identify the parts of the introductory paragraphs in examples 3, 4, and 5.  If they are not top quality, please fix them."


Mini Lesson (You/ Independent Practice)--20mins

Examples 3, 4, and 5 (see attached documents).  Have students share number 3 with a partner before allowing them to move onto four and five.


Exit ticket-(5 mins)

On a separate piece of paper, write down whether or not example 5 is top-quality, and if it is not, please rewrite a top quality paragraph.  I will be giving these a score out of 6 (One point for each correct part).

Review the Punches: It's fun to have a student mime getting knocked out as the students call out the 6 punches.


Worksheet- Fix the poorly written Introductory paragraphs (see attached documents).


1. What went well?

2. What would you change?

3. What needs explanation?


 The students quickly mastered the aim.  The six punches work well with call and response.  In addtion, the students, one instructed how to, did a fantasic job of correcting the poorly written paragraphs.




Make sure the teacher points out that the position and issue statements can be combined into one sentence.  This is quite common. 


The hook: The first impression metaphor is used to describe the power of the introduction paragraph.  Make sure to make the connection for the students.  I used the example of an attactive woman being a knockout. 


Lesson Resources

Knockout Introductory Paragraph Student s Copy   Notes
Knockout Introductory Paragraph Teacher s Copy   Notes
Evaluating Knockout Introductory Paragraphs Student Copy   Classwork
Evaluating Knockout Paragraphs Teacher s Copy  
HW Fix the poorly written Intros   Homework


Elaine Jakusz Posted 4 years ago:

You explain a "knockout" as an attractive woman????????????  That is OUTRAGEOUS!

Michelle Hassell Posted 4 years ago:

Great lesson! Thanks for sharing!


Todd Seal Posted 5 years ago:
I like the idea of giving students models for performance and allowing students a chance to improve those models. I think that's a powerful way for students to begin to see how writing works. I do something similar with my Introduction Inspections. I provide three intro paragraphs. There're high-, medium-, and low-level paragraphs there and students need to figure out which is which and list their reasons: http://betterlesson.com/unit/71631/introduction-inspection I also have Better Body and plan to put together Crafting Conclusions. Yeah, I know... I do a whole series of alliteratively titled writing exercises.
benita skidmore Posted 5 years ago:
Thank you for giving me an idea to improve writing for my students



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