Body Paragraphs: Lesson Plans
Introductory (10-15 minutes)
Teacher should explain that most paragraphs that we write are organized similarly, even though their content is not the same. There are exceptions as with most things in English. Paragraphs that introduce or contrast may not follow the same pattern. Today, we are going to learn the general
outline for forming a paragraph.
Separate students into groups of three
Give each member an index card that defines a type of sentence used in
paragraphs (topic, supporting, conclusion)
Have each member of the group share their definition and ask the group to line up in the order that the sentences should appear in a paragraph.
Randomly choose group members to share the definition of each word with the entire class, in the order of topic sentence, supporting sentences, then conclusion sentence. Ask students to take their seats once their definition has been read aloud. Make sure to acknowledge that the cards are read in the order that sentences most often appear in a paragraph.
Developmental (25-35 minutes)
Show an example of a paragraph, labeling the sentence using the terminology just reviewed by the students.
Provide each group with a set of sentences. Ask them to put the sentences in a paragraph in the order of topic, supporting, conclusion.
Have groups share their paragraphs with the class and discuss why they arranged the sentences in stated order.
Review the original paragraph, explaining why sentences appear in the
order that they occur.
Explain “Bake the Cake” handout.
Culminating (5-15 minutes)
Students should review paragraphs from their journal writing to make sure that their paragraphs follow the correct order then revise any errors.
Students should write a paragraph that follows the given outline (final version of the revised paragraph or another paragraph on the same topic if the first paragraph is correct).
Organizing Body Paragraphs: Sample
The following paragraph presents the main idea, a childhood memory and offers sentences to support this idea.
Some of my earliest memories are of the storms, the hot rain lashing down and lightning running on the sky—and the storm cellar into which my mother and I descended so many times when I was very young. For me that little room in the earth is an unforgettable place. Across the years I see my mother reading there on the low, narrow bench, the lamplight flickering on her face and on the earthen walls; I smell the dank odor of that room; and I hear the great weather raging at the door. I have never been in a place that was like it exactly; only now and then I have been reminded of it suddenly when I have gone into a cave, or when I have just caught the scent of fresh, open earth steaming in the rain.
--N. Scott Momaday,
Topic Sentence- a sentence that states the main idea or topic of a paragraph
Supporting details- facts or examples from reliable sources that can be used as evidence to explain a particular thought/idea.
Conclusion- a rephrased or summing up of ideas in a paragraph that brings it to a close.
Some of my earliest memories are of the storms, the hot rain lashing down and lightning running on the sky—and the storm cellar into which my mother and I descended so many times when I was very young.
For me that little room in the earth is an unforgettable place.
Across the years I see my mother reading there on the low, narrow bench, the lamplight flickering on her face and on the earthen walls; I smell the dank odor of that room; and I hear the great weather raging at the door.
I have never been in a place that was like it exactly; only now and then I have been reminded of it suddenly when I have gone into a cave, or when I have just caught the scent of fresh, open earth steaming in the rain.
Organizing Body Paragraphs: Bake the Cake
Name ___________________ Class _____ Date __________
* When writing body paragraphs for an essay, another way to think about them is to organize them visually. If we look at a body paragraph as a three-layer cake, we can divide it up as follows:
Top Layer (Topic Sentence): Statement and/or Reason
This layer is thick since it can usually be accomplished in one or two sentences.
Key question: Why? (some topic sentence(s) offer the topic and answer this question)
Ex. One reason I hate taking out the garbage is that it smells to high heaven.
Middle Layer (Supporting Sentences): Examples/Descriptions
This layer is the thickest of the three because it will contain particular details supporting the topic.
Key question: How? (this should relate to the question why)
Ex. For example, the kitchen trash is really nasty. That plastic bag always bulges full of things like last week’s meatloaf surprise, old moldy tuna fish cans, moldy cheese, and gobs of mushy turnip greens. This whole mess floats in a pool of spoiled milk.
Bottom Layer: (Conclusion Sentence): Summation
This layer is also thin because, like the top layer, it can be accomplished in one or two sentences.
Key question: What difference does this make? (consequences of How?)
Ex. That smell almost always soaks into my clothes, and, when I get to school, nobody will be my friend.
Bake the Cake!
A Cake= one body paragraph
Top Layer (Topic
Middle Layer (Support
Organizing Introductory Paragraphs: Lesson Plans
Review the type of paragraphs handout
Show students the sample paragraph worksheet. Chose a student to read aloud the first paragraph while everyone follows along. Then ask students
to decide for themselves what type of paragraph it represents.
Choose a corner of the room for each paragraph and display them so that students can read them easily.
In groups have students approach and read each paragraph and ask students to go to whichever corner represents their answer.
Have one or two representatives from each group explain why he/she
chose the corner.
Have each group sit once their paragraph representative has spoken, and leave the correct corner as the last explanation.
Praise the last group for their correct answer and elaborate on why the F.
answer is correct.
Continue until all three paragraphs are explained.
Review an essay and label the parts reviewed during the lesson.
Students should label their essay as the teacher labels hers on the overhead.
Organizing Essays: Types of paragraphs
Name ____________________ Class _____ Date _______
1. What is an introduction paragraph?
The introduction paragraph is the first paragraph of your essay.
What does it do?
It introduces the main idea of your essay. A good opening paragraph captures the interest of your reader and tells why your topic is important.
How do I write one?
Provide some background information about your topic. You can use interesting facts, quotations, or definitions of important terms b.
you will use later in the essay.
Write the thesis statement. The main idea of the essay is stated in a single sentence called the thesis statement. You must limit your entire essay to the topic you have introduced in your thesis statement.
Hockey has been a part of life in Canada for over 120 years. It has evolved in to an extremely popular sport watched and played by millions of Canadians. The game has gone through several changes since hockey was first played in Canada.
Body (Supporting) Paragraphs
What are supporting paragraph?
Supporting paragraphs make up the main body of your essay. They are the middle paragraphs that appear after the introduction paragraph and before the conclusion paragraph.
What do they do?
They develop the main idea of your essay by establishing subtopics of the main idea. One subtopic is discussed per body paragraph.
How do I write them?
List the points that develop the main idea of your essay. b.
Place each supporting point in its own paragraph.
Develop each supporting point with facts, details, and examples.
Langston Huges loved the jazz experience. In New York, Harlem, and Washington D.C. he listened to the jazz greats make music at learge clubs and small cafes. Hughes recognized the paride of black America in the beats and rhythms of jazz. He heard the essence of the working black man’s life in the words of the blues. He was determined to carry the intensity of the jazz experience into the world of poetry. From 1926 until his death in 1967, Hughes penned hundreds of poems with the rhymes and rhythms of jazz in mind. A prolific author in all styles, Hughes became famous for his jazz-inspired poetry.
Conclusion (Summary) Paragraphs
What is a conclusion paragraph?
The conclusion paragraph comes at the end of your essay after you have finished developing your ideas.
What does it do?
It summarizes or restates the main idea of the essay. You want to leave the reader with a sense that your essay is complete.
How do I write one?
Conclude your essay by restating the main idea in different words. b.
Restate the strongest points of your essay that support your main idea.
Give your personal opinion or suggest a plan for action. d.
Make a reference to your introduction
Overall, the changes that occurred in hockey have helped to improve the game. Hockey is faster and more exciting as a result of changes in the past 120 years. For these reasons, modern hockey is a better game than hockey in the 1890’s.
Each new rotation gave confidence in the churning ascent left me elated that I me more machine. Every had survived the previous death-defying fall. When another nervewracking climb failed to follow the last exhilarating descent and the ride was over, I know I was hooked.
Physically and emotionally drained, I followed my fellow passengers down the clanging metal steps to reach the safety of my former footing. I had been spared, but only to have the opportunity to ride again.
The first ride on beasts gave me an adrenaline. As the started, a lump in one of these fantastic instant rush of death-defying ride my throat pulsed like a dislodged heart
As the ride gained ready to walk the plank. speed, the resistance to gravity built up against my body until I was unable to move. An almost imperceptible pause as the wheel reached the top of its climb allowed my body to relax in a brief state of normalcy. Then there was an assault of stomach-turning weightlessness as the machine continued its rotation and I descended back toward the earth. A cymbal-like crash vibrated through the air as the wheel reached bottom, and much to my surprise I began to rise again.