i think concluding sentences are the hardest part of the paragraph to write and the hardest part to teach. What's the purpose of a concluding sentence? It restates or summarizes the main ideas of the paragraph. The main ideas of the paragraph that were introduced in the topic sentence. So fundamentally, the concluding sentence repeats the topic sentence but using different words or writing the words in a different order.
This reference sheets has the critical information about concluding sentences within a conclusion. This reference sheet has information about both topic and concluding sentences. It also has examples that show how a writer can change a concluding sentence.
I give my students lots of reference sheets. Lots of them. See this video to see how my students organize all the reference sheets.
I used two different passages while teaching the parts of the paragraph. One was about Rachel's Challenge and the other was about making homemade soap. I also used an example from a story that we hadn't yet read, but would read in a week or so because I wanted a literary example and I'd already had this one written.
I asked students to read the examples in the first picture. One is nonfiction (soap) and the second is nonfiction (Langston Hughes' "Thank You M'am").
In the first example, the topic and concluding sentences both say that it's important to stay safe when making soap. The concluding sentence, though, has a bit extra. It reminds the reader of the specific things one needs to do to be safe (protect eyes and mix ingredients correctly). Since this paragraph is in a multi-paragraph essay, it also helps transition to the next paragraph. That's what the last part is doing when the writer talks about the fun part of soap making.
In the second example, a paragraph written about "Thank You M'am," both the topic sentence and concluding sentence say that Mrs. Jones is kind, but has high standards. The difference is that the topic sentence merely introduces the topic. The concluding sentence repeats that idea, but also gives the reader something to think about--why Mrs. Jones' kindness matters.
Next, I gave students the task of evaluating five different concluding sentences written bout Rachel's Challenge. I wrote five different sentences of varying degrees of effectiveness and asked students to work together in their groups to determine which one(s) were not effective. I gave students dry erase boards so they could discussion, write, and show.
One of the sentences couldn't even be considered a concluding sentence, but it is a sentence that my students frequently write. The sooner I banish it, the better. Yes, it's number 2. Number 5 is also ineffective. So what makes those two sentences so ineffective? They don't summarize the main ideas. They don't give the reader something to think about. If concluding sentences were employees, numbers 2 and 5 would so get fired. In the check/check plus/check minus system, they would receive an X.
Next, I asked students to work in their groups to evaluate the other three sentences. That would be sentences 1, 3, and 4. As they discussed, all they needed to do was write the number and whether it was ineffective (check minus), effective (check), or very effective (check plus).
Sentence 3 would be considered ineffective. It repeats main ideas, but that's pretty much it. That, and the use of the word 'good' makes this ineffective as a concluding sentence.
Sentences 1 and 4 would be considered effective.
Next, students practiced writing concluding sentences for their own "King of Beasts" or "Booker T. Washington" paragraphs. I asked students to re-read their original topic sentence and think about how they could say the same thing but in different words. I asked students to think about the main ideas they wanted to convey in their paragraph and make sure that that idea was in the concluding sentence. That right there would get a rating of a check. So how do you get a check plus? In order to get a check plus, students had to let the reader know why it was important or give the reader something to think about.
Students wrote their concluding sentences on their outline. Then, since students had written an outline of a paragraph, they wrote their final drafts.