I'm Freezing & Steaming!!-Write 2 Expository Paragraphs (Day 2 of 3)

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SWBAT complete 2 informational paragraphs by writing topic sentences, 3 supporting statements and concluding sentences.

Big Idea

Liquids to Solids & Liquids to Gases-Write to describe what happens.

Focus of the Lesson

This is the second 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 lesson to this was I'm Melting!!! Writing an Expository Paragraph (Part 1 of 3).   We wrote about melting snowmen and are continuing in this lesson to write about freezing icicles and steamy hot chocolate. In part 3/3 of these lessons, students will compose an introductory and concluding paragraphs to complete a final 5 paragraph essay.  

I taught several lessons about supporting the main idea in a paragraph that led up to this essay composition. The kids learned how to find the main idea by using repeated words in Points of Informational Text-Main Idea and Details and then how to write a topic/concluding paragraph in the lessons Strip the Paragraph with Strong Introductory and Concluding Sentences and Writing Great Topic and Concluding Sentences.

We are writing about a icicles and hot chocolate because the students have been studying states of matter.   Instead of writing any informational text, I chose to use this science topic because I want the students 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 important 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 paragraph 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

  • Show the 'I'm Freezing & Steaming' powerpoint slide 1 - what do you see in this picture?  
  • Here's my introduction and how I prompted students to connect to their own ideas - LOTS of connections is that video.
  • Ask for ideas for vocabulary – solid, liquid, gas, freeze, change, water, vapor - write these words on the board


Common starting point - review from the last lesson

  • "We write expository text - write about facts about what we know."
  • "Paragraphs need topic sentences and concluding sentences" - reference the colored sentence strips  This is what we used in the previous lessons to distinguish them as main idea sentences
  • "We use repeating words to find the main idea."   Refer to the top arrow on the organizer and repeated words as those that occur again and again-we circled them in the last 2 lessons
  • "Key details are in a paragraph."   Refer to the organizer with the arrows


Teacher's Turn

15 minutes

Give the purpose of the lesson

  • "We wrote a great paragraph about things that melt. It had topic and concluding sentences and 3 details."    Show the last paragraph.


Review strategy – guided practice


Demonstrate project

  • Show slide 2 - "The main idea is icicles."
  • Add details to the organizer – liquid to solid, water changes to ice, water drips, etc  Here's my organizer with main idea & details.  
  • Add an introductory and concluding sentence.  Here's my teachers' sample of paragraph one.
  • Write 3 details sentences with at least one main idea word so I could find repeating words
  • Repeat the whole process with the steam topic - slide 3 - you are writing 2 paragraphs - Here's my 2nd organizer with main idea & details and here's my paragraph  

Students Take a Turn

20 minutes

Organize the ideas

  • Look at the powerpoint slides 3-5– revise the vocabulary list- cross off and add words that apply to their topic  Here was our new vocabulary for freezing and for steaming.
  • Students use the worksheet - write a main idea words on the line & add 3 ideas under the line


Assign the task

Share What You've Learned

15 minutes

Students share their ideas

  • Volunteers to come up and share their ideas
  • Here are some of my students writing samples - writing sample 1 writing sample 2writing sample 3.
  • Comment on how writing pieces about the same topic can can different details
  • Encourage those that use good introductory and concluding sentences and detailed sentences


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

Students with academic challenges should be paired with a good writer. Idea generation should be equitable, but the organization and actual sentence writing may be challenging. You could also work with them in a group to write a paragraph together.

Encourage students with more ability to use some of the higher level vocabulary – ‘evaporate’,  ‘condensation’, and ‘change states of matter’.