Writing Great Topic and Concluding Sentences (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT write clear a topic and concluding sentence to support a expository paragraph.

Big Idea

Introduce, conclude, and add a detail in the middle!


  • Informational text at the 2nd grade level – I used Temperature by Rebecca Olien because we are studying state of matter. You can use ANY informational text**
  • Screen, projector, and computer to show the movie
  • Sentence strips – 2 for each group and 4 for the teacher  I cut these in 1/2 horizontally so I actually only needed 1 for each group.
  • Lesson vocabulary words from the Reading/Writing word wall: main idea, key details, topic sentence, concluding sentence, informational text
  • Set up the whiteboard.  I wrote 2 paragraphs about our topic from the text, but took off the topic and concluding sentence.
  • 'Key Words for Topic & Concluding Sentences' chart
  • One chart paper for each group with info text paragraph (no topic or concluding sentence)


** I chose to use the history text because I want the student to get a cross-curriculum experience. Instead of reading an informational text unrelated to the Social Studies/Science topic, I choose to read about what we are currently learning. 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 important step towards supporting students in understanding how to write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately.  Second grade students can usually write a paragraph with details, but often struggle with a succinct related introductory and concluding paragraph.

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)


Common starting point

  • "Yesterday we practiced writing topic and concluding sentences for paragraphs. I brought some more paragraphs today and they're longer!  We're going to write more topic and concluding sentences."


Get students engaged

  • Show the temperature video
  • Review vocabulary on the board - melt, freeze, temperature, thermometer, condensation, evaporation, Celsius, Fahrenheit


**I've completed several lessons about finding the main idea in a paragraph so my students are VERY comfortable with this. Check out these lessons - they are Frame the Story with Informational Text and A Feast of Summaries.

Typically, writing topic and concluding sentences is very difficult for second grade students. I wanted to give them lots of practice using the main idea to construct these sentences so I taught 2 lessons about this topic.

Teacher's Turn

20 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • "Today we'll use what we know about finding the main idea and details to write."  
  • "When we write a good paragraph, we’ll use our main idea to create a strong topic sentence and concluding sentence.”


Model the strategy with the first paragraph


**The reason I'm demonstrating how to find details is that we are working up to writing a full paragraph. The students will have to identify not only a main idea, but also 3 details before they can write a strong paragraph. I'm laying the groundwork for that kind of writing that we'll do in the next set of lessons.

Guided practice with the second paragraph

Student's Take A Turn

20 minutes

Set up groups

  • Assign paragraphs to the students or groups
  • Go over the rules of good group work.  Here's a group rules poster that my students created in an earlier lesson.


Assign Task


As students write the topic and concluding statements for the informative paragraphs (W.2.2), they are using knowledge gained from informational text in academic areas. This use of cross-curricula materials and ideas represents a shift in the Common Core standards toward building knowledge in the disciplines. By reading and writing about informational topics, students are learning academic vocabulary and gaining knowledge that goes across the subjects.

Share What You've Learned

10 minutes

Share what you know

  • Groups share their paragraph
  • Give feedback - "That's a great introductory sentence - now I know what you're writing about!" or   "Wow that concluding sentence is very clear - it really wraps up the paragraph."


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

Group work will allow the challenged and above level students to work on a more even playing field. As students work in groups, they share ideas. Regardless of the level of academic ability, everyone has something to contribute. If your students are good at group work (with teacher prompting and lots of practice) all will benefit from discussion and collaboration.

 The reason I love doing this sharing is that we are reviewing our Social Studies while doing reading - Great activity and review!!