The New Idea

Contributor: Erin Jones. Lesson ID: 11738

What's a balloon without air? Or a hot dog without the dog? Empty and useless. The same is true for a great topic sentence with nothing to back it up! Learn to support your great topic with substance!



English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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How would a hamburger sandwich taste without the burger? Empty? Unsatisfying? Like an empty promise? So is a paragraph with a great topic sentence and no meat! Cook up a great paragraph with this lesson!

In the first lesson of this Writing a Perfect Paragraph series, found under Related Lessons in the right-hand sidebar, you learned about the three parts of a paragraph:

  • the topic sentence
  • the new idea with explanations or examples
  • the conclusion

In the previous lesson, you explored topic sentences. In this lesson, you will explore the new idea and explanations or examples.

As you learned previously, the new idea and explanations or examples is the "meat" of a paragraph. In other words, this is the information you want to share with your readers. You clarify the information through the use of explanations or examples. The new information supports the topic sentence of your paragraph.

Think back to the first lesson in this series. You underlined the new idea and explanations or examples in yellow because yellow means caution. Remember, you want the reader to slow down and cautiously read the new idea and explanations or examples to make sure he or she truly understands your message.

Below is an example of a paragraph that includes a topic sentence and a New Idea with Explanations or Examples:

My favorite family vacation was last summer, when we went to the beach. First of all, we spent every day on the beach collecting shells. For example, we ate breakfast and then we put our toes right in the sand! We didn't come back from the beach until it was time to eat dinner. Next, we slept with all of the windows open and listened to the waves crash against the shore. It is relaxing to fall asleep listening to the ocean. Finally, we had fires on the beach every night. We roasted marshmallows on the beach every evening. We made smores, and one evening we even cooked hotdogs over the fire!

The new ideas in a paragraph support the topic sentence. Can you identify the new ideas in the paragraph above?

There are three new ideas in the paragraph above that support the topic sentence and provide explanations and examples why the author's favorite family vacation was a trip to the beach.

They are:

  • collecting shells
  • sleeping with the windows open
  • fires on the beach

Do you know what transitional words are? Transitional words or phrases let your reader know that a new idea is coming. Did you notice how each new idea begins with a transitional word or phrase?

They are:

  • First of all,
  • Next,
  • Finally,

Discuss with your teacher or parent what the explanations or examples are that support each of the new ideas. What are the examples for collecting shells? Sleeping with the windows open? Fires on the beach?

In the Got It? section, you will identify examples and explanations for new ideas. Are you ready? Let's transition to the next section!

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