Paragraph Writing

Paragraphs are the building blocks of writing compositions and they are often defined as having a certain number of sentences with a beginning, middle and end. However, paragraphs need unity and coherence in order to express one main idea, so length does not determine whether a group of sentences is a paragraph.  This lesson is important in teaching students how to apply the writing process to develop organized paragraphs using the six traits of writing, scaffolding into essay writing.  The six traits of writing will be used to help the students to revise for


Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 10.09.23 AMStudents will learn to apply a thinking routine “Claim, Support, Elaboration” to develop a coherent and unified paragraph, focusing on the topic sentence, or claim, in which the paragraph is about. Through teacher modeling, the use of tutorials,  and student- centered activities, students will further develop their understanding of writing developed paragraphs. Differentiation: Students will be provided a variety of materials and instruction in order to customize the learning experience. This includes: Audio and Visual tutorials; graphic organizers; class discussion; sharing examples.

Learning Objective(s)

  • The students will draft an organized paragraph on any topic of choice.
  • The students will revise the paragraph for word choice, sentence structure, and style.
  • The students will edit for spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.
  • The students will apply a thinking routine “Claim, Support, Elaboration” to help with organization and development.
  • The students will apply the writing process to write a paragraph.



Lesson Introduction  (15 minutes)Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 10.17.30 AM

The lesson will begin with using a thinking routine Think, Puzzle, Explore. This will help students connect to prior knowledge, to stimulate curiosity and to lay the groundwork for independent inquiry as they begin to learn to develop paragraphs for the six traits of writing.

  1. Begin by giving students a few moments to consider what they Think about paragraph writing. Have them to brainstorm all that they have learned about paragraph writing and what good writing might look like.
  2. Then ask what puzzles them about writing paragraphs.  Have them to think about the parts of a paragraph as well as all of the traits.  What do they have questions about or what do they not understand?
  3. Finally, ask them what they want to explore further. Where might they find the information that they are looking for? What ways could they gain new insight on writing paragraphs effectively?


Then, work as a whole class or in small groups and brainstorm ideas in the three areas.      Some may have misconceptions about paragraphs writing that can be worked through others will discover a specific skill that they want to learn to explore to enhance their writing.

  1. The students will make a copy of their digital paragraph Graphic Organizer, Alphabet Organizer, and Customized Word Bank and organize it in their Google drive in a writing folder.  For organizational purposes, all three graphic organizers for brainstorming, drafting a paragraph, and revising for word choice can be combined into one document.
  2. The students will receive a mini lesson on how to provide proper and adequate feedback to peer work. Notes for feedback expectations.
  3. The student will use the thinking routine “Claim, Support, Elaboration” for the paragraph. They will apply the knowledge of the routine to help them develop thoughtful interpretations.  They will be encouraged  to reason with evidence. Students learn to identify truth claims and explore strategies for uncovering truth (Ritchhart, 2011).
  4. The students will compose a topic sentence or claim for their paragraph topic after receiving notes on broad and narrow topics.
  5. The students will create a Customized Word Bank for writing to incorporate into their paragraphs.
  6. The students will post 10 of their best wordbank examples that range from specific nouns to figurative language.  They will give feedback to three of their classmates.
  7. The students will begin the prewriting stage of the writing process by brainstorming.  They will watch Tutorial on how to accurately use the document to brainstorm ideas for their paragraph. Here is a sample of a brainstorming list. They will use their own brainstorming list to compile ideas on a topic of their choice.
  8. The students will post 10 of their best brainstorming ideas to the discussion forum on Haiku or Edmodo.  They will give feedback to three of their classmates.
  9. The student will watch Cronin’s Tutorial 1  Tutorial 2 Tutorial 3  (2012) on writing supports and elaborations for their paragraph.  They will use the graphic organizer for organization, one of the six traits of writing, that follows the thinking routine “Claim, Support, Elaboration.”  The topic sentence that has already been composed will be placed in the top of the organizer for the claim.  The learner will come up with three supports that will each be followed by an elaboration for greater development, another of the six traits of writing.
  10. The student will post the best support and elaboration to the Haiku or Edmodo discussion forum. They will give feedback to three of their classmates.
  11. After the draft of the paragraph has been completed, The students will revise according to the feedback they have received from the discussion forum.
  12. The student will revise the paragraph for word choice, one of the six traits of writing, by using their word bank to replace overused or dull words.  They will also use words that were shared by their classmates on the discussion forum.
  13. The students will watch a tutorial on Verb Quality and revise their verb choice accordingly.
  14. The students will watch Cronin’s   tutorial on sentence structure (2012), another trait of writing, and revise accordingly.
  15. The students will edit their writing for spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.

Students will share their published paragraph with the class as well as post it on the LMS discussion forum to make it visible for other sections of classes.



Paragraph Writing Rubric

Student Work Sample



Cronin, Ginny (2012). Edmodo lesson tutorials. East Valley Washington Academy of Arts and Technology FLEX Spokane Valley, WA
Ritchhart, R., Church, M., & Morrison, K. (2011). Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote   Engagement,   Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA:   Jossey-Bass.
Writing As Learning. Andrew S. Rothstein, Evelyn Rothstein, Gerald Lauber, and Skylight Publications, 2006.