Closing Up Our Writing by Summing Up the Main Ideas

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SWBAT...write a strong concluding paragraph that summarizes the main ideas of the research essay

Big Idea

The closing paragraph restates the outlined points of the essay and helps our readers remember the information we want to share with them. Its our chance to reflect on what we learned, too!

Creating the Purpose

5 minutes

I open by asking students "Do you remember everything we have reviewed in ALL the lessons on researching and writing reports?"

I share that when I wrote the lesson plans for the unit I first thought of all the topics I wanted to teach you about - like a first opening paragraph.  I then created lessons that taught you about each part - like our middle explanatory paragraphs, and finally I taught a review lesson so I knew you would be prepared to show your new knowledge on your unit assessment - like your closing paragraph.

Today you are going to learn how to write a concluding paragraph that restates all the subtopics and shares your final reflections on your research topic. 

My objective is to teach them not only how to summarize the main points in their conclusions but also to reflect on what they learned and the life skills they used to complete their work and research. Here's a video outlining some points to consider when conducting this lesson. I also attached a list of life skills for students to use as a reference if you want to add this part to their writing. 



Guiding the Learning

15 minutes

I share with students that a good conclusion lets the writer bring all the ideas he/she has just written about into one place, like tying them up in a nice, neat package. It summarizes the five main ideas of what has been said inside and then ties a card on top that restates why this paper was written or restates what we call the thesis statement.

Some strategies you can use are:

I review using transitional words to sum up a paragraph and ask students for examples - either using a sample with their topic or thinking of other words that we could use.

I introduce the other four strategies and call on students to give examples using their own topics for each: summarize, take action, think about, convince

(these can be written on the board or a chart for reference if you want a reference for examples) 

I pass out the worksheet "Creating A Concluding Paragraph"and review it with them.

After answering their questions I set the timer for 5 min and have students brainstorm on their worksheets their thesis statement and five main ideas of their reports.

I then instruct them to write below these sections what they want their readers to remember and feel after reading their report. (I copy the "final copy of my concluding paragraph" to the back of this worksheet to save on paper but instruct them not to turn it over until instructed)




Independent Learning

30 minutes

Students turn their papers over to the second worksheet and are now instructed to write their ideas into a strong concluding paragraph with all parts included - opening statement or question, thesis restated, summary of the main ideas and a concluding sentence that addresses readers purpose.

Timer is set for 10 minutes. This part went quickly and only a few students needed help with addressing all their main ideas (advised to use their notes and cross them off as they shared them), writing sentences that showed too little description (advised to share it like a story - what's still so exciting about this topic?), or needing grammar and punctuation assistance.  

Signal given and students exchange with elbow partners and edit and critique each others' writing. Signal given and students exchange back and share thoughts for 5 min. Students loved the sharing part and the conversations were effective in explaining what could be improved (alot gave advice to add more description but needed to be specific on where and what to make it effective for their partners to make the changes) 

Second signal given and students give their work to their across-the-way partners and repeat the same steps. (this can also occur in a circle format on the carpet if you don't have small groups in your classroom)

After the second signal, students confer and share. I answer questions at this time to clarify points of confusion or difficulties they faced.

Then signal is set for 15 minutes and students are given the opportunity to write/ type their final paragraphs.     

Closing the Loop

5 minutes

We meet together and I call on students to share their concluding paragraphs. Peers are called on to share what they feel the thesis of each paper is, to identify a main point stated, to state the purpose for their writing, etc. (I vary my questioning and call on random students to keep them involved in the listening and learning) We log our ideas on a summary chart.

I close with asking, "What is the purpose of a concluding paragraph?" and "When will you need to use this in life?"