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.
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
Common starting point
Give the purpose of the lesson
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.
Explain the task
Explain the project
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
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.