Lesson Plan

How to Write a Paragraph

Paragraph writing is an essential skill. Some may know it already by instinct, while others need additional support. A well structured paragraph is the foundation of great writing.
Nolan V.
Classroom teacher
Boone Central High School
Albion, NE
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My Grades 10, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to...

1. Write a good paragraph.

2. Write anything from stories to essays to research reports.

English Language Arts
Grades 10
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook/Attention Getter: Paragraph Pretest

Activity: Creating

On the first day of writing, I will ask students to write a paragraph about something that they did over the summer (This is a nice, broad topic and allows you to spot key mistakes right away). Will the students write about several different activities or just one? Will they stick to one main idea? How many sentences will they write?

The only help I give them is to say that I am checking to see if they know how to write a paragraph. "What ever you think a good paragraph should be, show me." is all I say.

Finally, I will have the students read their paragraphs.  I will have a checklist to see how many students are using a topic sentence, closing sentence, at least four supporting details, and stuck to one main idea (This information will be used later to show how close, or far, they are to writing strong paragraphs).

Student Instructions

Write a paragraph about something you did over the summer.

2 Direct Instruction: Learning the Five Parts


I will number 1-5 on the board.  The students will try to guess the five parts of a paragraph.

A Good Paragraph:

1. One Main Idea

2. Topic Sentence

3. 5-7 Sentences

4. Closing Sentence

5. Indent; Spelling and Punctuation

When finished, I will heavily emphasize that a paragraph is about ONE MAIN IDEA.  I will repeat the next step several times with multiple students: I will call on students and ask for a response to the question: "What is a paragraph about?" The student will respond, "ONE MAIN IDEA." (I will continue this throughout the school day when I see students in the hallway).

Student Instructions

Students will use their Chromebooks to take notes. Students will type 1-5 on an open Google Doc. 

Students will guess the five parts of a paragraph.

Students will respond to: "What is a paragraph about?" by saying, "ONE MAIN IDEA."

3 Guided Practice: Memorizing the Five Parts

Activity: Drawing

The students will draw a paragraph with my assistance.  Here are the directions, followed by an example:

1. Put an X where the paragraph should be indented.

2. We'll draw a line with a period at the end to represent the Topic Sentence. The topic sentence tells the ONE MAIN IDEA

3. We'll draw five more lines with periods then write 5-7 on top of them to represent 5-7 sentences

4. Finally, we'll make a large circle for the last period and put a CS to represent the Closing Sentence.

          X -----------------------------------------------------------------. ----------------------------------------------------. ----------------------------- 5-7 Sentences --------------------------------. --------------------------------------------------------. -------------------------------------------------------. ------------------------------- CS

Following this exercise, I will have the students repeat the five parts of a paragraph.  The goal will be to repeat this enough times for the students to be able to say the five parts in under five seconds.

Student Instructions

Students will draw a picture of a paragraph.

Follow along with the drawing.

Recite the five parts of a paragraph in under five seconds.

4 Independent Practice: Write a Paragraph: The Prewrite

The students will be given some time to gain some familiarity with creating a Mind Map.

When students hav shown that they understand how to set-up their papers, I will have them write a paragraph.  To keep it simple, they will write a paragraph about how to write a paragraph.

Here are their instructions:

1. Give the topic "The Paragraph." Immediately, the students will write the topic above the word "Prewrite."

2. One Main Idea: In one sentence, the students will explain what the paragraph is about (Later, I will explain that they are actually writing the topic sentence). The sentence can be written in many ways.

3. Using the Mind Map, the students will think of five details that will support the main idea.  Obviously, they will include the five parts of a paragraph around the cluster ("The Paragraph" Prewrite). The students should put them in the order that they will appear in the paragraph. This will help the paragraph have a smooth flow.

Here is the link for an example:


Student Instructions

Students will create a Mind Map for their prewrite exercise.  This will be expected to be completed and turned into Google Classroom by class time the next day.