Meat and Potatoes: Details for Writing, Adding More Explanation

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SWBAT choose three details from a brainstorm and write a sentence followed with an explanation or added idea that relates to the sentences they have chosen.

Big Idea

Details make your writing more interesting to read. To prepare them for paragraph writing, we start with a brainstorm of a topic, in this case a trip they took this summer. They choose three of those ideas to help create the body of their paragraph.

Warm up:

10 minutes

Before we begin writing I like to get them talking about the topic. I want them to discuss what details might be good to include if I were writing about my vacation. I "think aloud" how I choose details and why I think I can explain them further.


25 minutes

Once they have brainstormed their ideas on a summer trip or trips they have taken, they will now be ready to write. I ask students to choose 3 items they believe they should share in order for the reader to understand where and what happened on their trip. This is when I let the class know that they can always treat me as the "reader." As the year progresses, we can then identify others that might be our readers.

I model where they start their writing, by using the document camera and the graphic organizer I have given them. I show how for each topic I begin with a good sentence that contains my thought or the important detail I chose. I then add a sentence under the explanation section to explain the detail I just wrote. I then ask them to try it out for one detail. I give them about five minutes to write their two sentences. I walk around and help those that might need extra guidance.

Next, I ask for a couple of students to share their first detail and explanation sentence. I like to take the time to do this because students can be very creative and you can always find one who can model the correct form and wow the other students. It also allows others to see what the expectation was and they will be ready on the next sentences.

I  ask if any student, who was struggling with their writing if they wouldn't mind getting help from the whole class. Some might only want my help at first, but hopefully as trust build more and more will allow the class to help them out.  This is also is a meaningful way to help a student while modeling good detail writing.

Student Practice:

20 minutes

Based on the class feeling confident and ready to move on, we are ready for the next step. It is now their turn to practice. This is where they will use the worksheet to complete the next two details and explanations. I walk around and check student work, make observations, help guide those that need it, and make notes on anything that I might need to conduct a mini-lesson on. An example of a mini lesson might be one on punctuation or capitalizing Proper nouns.


Closing Note:

1 minutes

I do not collect their work at this time. I have walked around and taken notes and helped who needed it.

This is only the first step in writing their paragraph. The next lesson we will do will be on Topic and Closing sentences. They are starting to learn my writing expectations and many have stated that they have not written a lot. I do not want to overwhelm them with too much. My goal is to have students work on this paragraph in pieces so they understand each section of it and confidence in the process.