Lesson Plan - Get It!
Did you ever have a really good idea, but no one would listen or take you seriously?
Sometimes it seems impossible to make your point, but if you present it just right, maybe someone will listen.
First, you need to get the attention of your audience.
Then, you need to share that great idea in just the right way.
Next, you need some details to support your idea.
Finally, you need to let your audience know you're done sharing.
Sharing an idea out loud is the same as writing a paragraph. There is an easy formula to follow that will get your readers interested and wanting to read more!
Share Those Ideas in a Paragraph!
Paragraph writing is the foundation of all essays, whether they are informational, narrative, persuasive, or expository. Whether you are writing for school or for fun, practicing your paragraphs is essential for sharpening your writing skills. Trying to write an essay without knowing how to write a paragraph is like playing baseball without knowing how to throw, or playing hockey without knowing how to ice skate, or painting a picture without a paintbrush.
Writing the perfect paragraph begins with writing a series of well-structured sentences and placing those sentences together in proper order. The most important thing about a paragraph is that each paragraph is about ONE MAIN IDEA.
Keep these Super Writer Rules in mind:
The best paragraphs have:
- One Main Idea
- An incredible Hook or Attention Grabber (this applies only to stand alone or introductory paragraphs – body paragraphs in an essay would have a transition sentence in this sport, but we will tackle that in a later lesson)
a) an interesting fact
b) a question
c) a quote
- An Awesome Topic Sentence
- 5 – 7 Sentences Total
- A Closing Sentence or Transition
- An Indented first line
- Proper Spelling, Punctuation and Conventions
Imagine, if you will, that you were told by your teacher to write a paragraph about an animal that lives in your town.
Let’s start with your attention grabbing or hook sentence. This is your one and only chance to get your reader interested in continuing to read your paragraph.
Read the following sentences and decide which one makes you want to read more.
- Chipmunks are really cool animals.
- Have you ever seen an animal walk on its tail?
Hmmm… Did you say sentence two? I think your teacher would agree. A question is a great way to get the reader in the mood to learn more information.
Let’s move on to the second sentence, or topic sentence. As you may have guessed, the topic sentence tells your reader what information is in the rest of the paragraph.
There are always two basic rules to writing a good topic sentence:
- Introduce the topic without announcing it.
- Make it interesting. You have your reader’s attention – don’t lose it now!
- I am going to tell you all about chipmunks.
- Chipmunks are one of the most amazing indigenous animals; we are blessed to have the chance to watch these creatures walk on their tails and much more.
Hopefully, you said that the second sentence was the better topic sentence. If you did, give yourself a huge pat on the back (but don’t hurt yourself… you need to stay in one piece so you can finish the lesson).
Ok, let’s take a look at why the second sentence is the winning topic sentence. We will start by looking at the first sentence.
I am going to tell you all about my favorite indigenous animal, chipmunks.
Within the first six words, the writer broke the first basic rule of writing a good topic sentence. Here the writer simply announces the topic, using the pronoun “I,” and does not include any interesting information about the topic.
The second sentence, however, introduces the topic of chipmunks and answers the question presented in the hook. It makes the reader wonder what else those tiny little critters can do!
Now we are ready to start adding some supporting details. In our topic sentence, we stated that chipmunks are amazing. We have already pointed out the fact that these little guys can walk on their tails. Now we need to tell our reader some more reasons why they are special.
Here are some more facts about chipmunks:
Chipmunks may be tiny, but they are very strong. They can carry up to 33 pounds of acorns in their cheeks, and they can even balance on their tails while carrying all that weight!
(stay focused…we’re almost finished)
They are also very good at digging. Chipmunks like to travel through underground tunnels called burrows. They also live in burrows, which can be up to 20 feet deep. They keep their burrows very clean and well stocked with food.
Now that we have enough information to support our claim, we can close our paragraph. We do this by restating our claim in a fresh, new way:
These little guys lead very busy, interesting lives right in our backyards.
Have you ever seen an animal walk on its tail? Chipmunks are one of the most amazing indigenous animals; we are blessed to have the chance to watch these creatures walk on their tails and much more. Chipmunks may be tiny, but they are very strong. They can carry up to 33 pounds of acorns in their cheeks, and they can even balance on their tails while carrying all that weight! They are also very good at digging. Chipmunks like to travel through underground tunnels called burrows. They also live in burrows, which can be up to 20 feet deep. They keep their burrows very clean and well stocked with food. These little guys lead very busy, interesting lives right in our backyards.
Now, that whole process may have seemed like magic if you don’t consider yourself a strong writer. You’re going to learn a trick to make it almost as simple as waving a wand (you will have to move a pencil around a bit).
It all begins with the topic. Sometimes you have the freedom to choose your own topic for your paragraph. Other times, your teacher will give you a specific topic, such as “write a paragraph about something exciting you did during the weekend,” and there will be the more difficult times when you are given a broad topic that you will need to focus into one paragraph.
Ok, get your paper and pencils ready, because you’re about to get hands-on with this.
Set up your paper so it looks like this:
Now let's start an example together. The topic is ice cream.
Ice cream is a very broad topic, so we’ll need to get more specific since we only have one paragraph. Since this is not a research paper, we don’t need solid facts, we just need to be able to support our topic sentence, even if it's with opinion. Let’s get started!
Before you move on to writing, let’s review our elements and how to begin your draft:
- The Hook: Grab the reader’s attention and make him or her want to continue reading your paragraph. It should flow nicely into your topic sentence.
- The topic sentence should be based on ONE main idea. Be as specific as possible – this will make adding details easier.
- Supporting Details: Remember to write a sentence for each of the items in the bubbles in the order in which you numbered them. Concentrate on how you want to say things – be creative and take chances with your writing.
- Closing Sentence: Think of the closing sentence as the cherry on the sundae. The closing sentence adds that nice final touch to your paragraph.