Writing A Topic & Concluding Paragraph for the Essay (Day 3 of 3)

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SWBAT complete an informational essay by writing a topic and concluding paragraph

Big Idea

Wrap It Up with an introductory and concluding paragraph!

Materials and Focus of the Lesson

  • Lesson vocabulary words from the Reading/Writing word wall: main idea, key details, topic paragraph, concluding paragraph, essay, informational
  • Set up the whiteboard
  • 'I'm ....Wrap It Up' powerpoint (optional - see reflection)
  • lined writing paper for students
  • 'Key Words for Topic & Concluding Sentences' chart chart  Created in an earlier lesson
  • pictures for the project  one copy for each student
  • construction paper, glue, scissors
  • craft supplies for the project  I had cotton balls, pipe cleaners, construction paper scraps, pipe cleaners


Focus of the Lesson

This is the third of a three part lesson to construct a five paragraph essay. Writing an essay this long is a challenge for my second grade students, so we are working on it over several days. I want to be very deliberate about the process so the students can understand the process of how to write organized paragraphs with clear details to support the main idea, as well as introductory and concluding paragraphs. 

The previous lessons to this were I'm Melting!!! Writing an Expository Paragraph (Part 1 of 3) and I'm Freezing and Steaming!!! Write Two Expository Paragraphs (part 2 of 3). We wrote about melting snowmen and freezing icicles and steamy hot chocolate. In this lesson the, students will compose an introductory and concluding paragraphs to complete a final 5 paragraph essay.  

In this lesson, the students are learning to write about a topic that we are currently studying. We are writing about the states of matter because that is our science unit.  Instead of writing any informational text, I chose to use topic because I want the student to get a cross-curriculum experience. The Common Core standards represent a shift in writing about informational topics, including introducing a topic, using facts to develop points, and providing a concluding sentence (W.2.2)  This lesson is an final step towards supporting students to practice writing an informative/explanatory paragraph conveying complex ideas and presenting information clearly and accurately.  Second grade students can usually write a paragraph with details, but need practice to weave a succinct introductory and concluding paragraph into a essay with a strong main idea and details.

When writing about an informational topic that you are studying, make sure the students are really FAMILIAR with the topic. When they are learning new writing skills, they need to be secure with the information they are writing about.

Let's Get Excited!

5 minutes

Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)


Get students engaged

  • Engage the kids in the writing:  show the Polar Express video clip or the Frosty video
  • Talk about what they see - freezing, melting, solids, liquids, gases....


Common starting point

  • "We have written 3 great paragraphs about our main topic!"
  • "What have we written about so far?"  Engage the kids to give you ideas - hot chocolate, snowmen, icicles... melting, freezing....  informational topics, main idea, detailsexpository writing, essay, (use these words one more time so the kids become more familiar with them)
  • If you use the powerpoint--"Here's a picture of the topics we have talked about ."  Powerpoint slide 1

Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • We’ve done some great writing about 3 different topics. You've used main idea and key details to write your paragraphs with good topic sentences and concluding sentences.”
  • "Now that we have 3 great paragraphs, we need to finish our essay with a short topic and concluding paragraph. We'll use the same organizer and same strategy. The only difference is that we'll write 2-3 sentences for each paragraph.  I changed the words on the whiteboard to 'topic paragraph'.
  • "When we have all 5 paragraphs we'll put them together and make project to help us connect the ideas."


Demonstrate the strategy


In this lesson, we are focusing on writing to explain and describe in an expository text. Using the main idea to create topic and concluding paragraphs helps writers connect details in the text with these paragraphs. The Common Core Standards (W.2.2) encourage writers to write informative texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.  This is last lesson is this series, focusing on writing an expository paragraph. We did these lessons in a deliberate order with significant modeling and practice so the students could understand how to use main idea and details to compose a 5 paragraph essay.

Students Take A Turn

20 minutes

Explain the task

Show What You've Learned

10 minutes

Explain the project

  • Students use their main ideas to illustrate what they know.
  • Demonstrate how to illustrate your ideas


I really wanted to let the kids 'celebrate' finishing this big writing project with some craft time. My second graders still love to work with pipe cleaners, cotton ball, etc, but rarely have time for the creativity. It was a motivator to know that when they finished this last writing piece, they could put it all together and add a visual to what they had written about. They were very proud to have created this 5 paragraph essay! 


Students work on project

  • Pass out pictures, construction paper and craft supplies
  • As my students finished their writing, they came to the craft table.  Here are some students working -example 1 example 2


Students share their ideas


Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

Students with language challenges will need to work with the teacher. The writing will probably be too difficult. I encouraged my students to fill out the organizer with minimal prompting, but then sat with the students who needed a lot of help

For students who have better language, challenge them to use higher vocabulary. They should use the list of vocabulary that we reviewed at the beginning of the lesson and expand with more details.