Quick Lesson Plan on Paragraph Writing and Revising
Remember the last time you graded essays and you swore if one more student turned in an essay with one gigantic paragraph, you would kill him?
An Olympic Moment
After teaching students how to write paragraphs, I felt good about myself once again. I bragged to the administration at my school and nominated myself for teacher of the month. Then I reread their essays and realized they had no concept of paragraphing. In shock, I ran back to the front office and rescinded my teacher of the month self-nomination and cancelled my weekend trip to Santo Domingo.
I had work to do. I had to devise lesson plans about writing paragraphs and help students write and revise paragraphs more effectively. Here’s what I came up with.
Common Core Standards
This lesson plan for writing and revising paragraphs satisfies the following common core standards and establishes the basis for teaching all the common core standards in writing for all grade levels.
W.9-10.1 Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.
W.9-10.1a Introduce precise claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that establishes clear relationships among claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.
W.9-10.2b Develop the topic with well-chosen, relevant, and sufficient facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic. W.9-10.2a Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information to make important connections and distinctions; include formatting (e.g., headings); grap
W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of L.9-10.1-3.) hics (e.g., figures, tables); and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
W.9-10.3c Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.
W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
L.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
Paragraph Writing Lesson Plan Procedures
This lesson plan works best with revising essays. Introduce the lesson with the following; then group students.
- Write the following questions on the board: Are paragraphs necessary? Why do writers use paragraphs?
- Discuss the following answers: dialog, emphasizing a point, making transitions, developing an idea, keeping the readers’ interest, a change in the action, a change in time, a change of setting.
- Instruct students to write the above reasons for a new paragraph. In addition, have them copy the following: “Paragraphs are a writers building blocks made up of well developed sentences with varied patterns, giving meaning and organization to writing.” (This definition courtesy of Susan Geye, Minilessons for Revision)
- Explain when writing dialog, a new paragraph should begin with a new speaker.
- Inform students that good writers avoid overly long paragraphs.
- Hand out magazines, newspapers, novels, or short stories and have students justify new paragraphs. This activity works effectively in groups of 3-4.
- Make copies of a writing sample without paragraphs and give one to each student. I generally copy and paste an item from something we are currently reading and get rid of paragraph indentations.
- Have students place the paragraph symbol where they believe a new paragraph should begin along with reason(s) why.
- Show students the original passage with paragraphs and have them compare the original paragraphing to their paragraph choices.
- Allow for discussion. Students may have legitimate reasons for wanting to place a paragraph in a particular spot.
- If using this lesson for a revision exercise, have students revisit their rough drafts and make necessary paragraph changes.
Lessons on Paragraph Writing
Here are some more lesson plans and lesson ideas for writing paragraphs.