Teach Your Students to Write a STRONG Paragraph
When I’m thinking about sending my students to third grade in just a few months, there are lots of skills I know they need to have under their belts. One of the biggest ones is without a doubt being able to structure a strong, coherent paragraph. We all know how rigorous the writing standards get once students cross over into upper elementary, and I think our standards in the primary grades are a little too difficult, too quickly.
When I taught fourth, the fact that my students had done a research project before, or they had constructed a personal narrative before did them absolutely no good when I asked them to do it, because they didn’t understand the foundations of writing. They couldn’t put together a simple paragraph, let alone write 5 of them. I get the pressure to bypass this stuff, though. I teach second now, and the standards demand that the kids can compose a full essay, or complete a presentation. One school year doesn’t leave a lot of time to teach structure and flow and organization AND stamina. What it ends up looking like is one teacher wanting to pull her hair out as she edits and edits on the fly with kids whose writing doesn’t look suitable for the hallway.
We’ve gotta take it back to basics sometimes, friends.
The BEST part is you can differentiate the way you introduce these to students, or the way you have them complete them! They work as a center, a whole group lesson, a small group lesson, or as early finisher work. The possibilities are endless, and because they are ‘puzzles’, your students will be engaged trying to put them together.
Three different types of graphic organizers are included to meet different students’ needs. You can have students copy over the paragraphs as they are, or have them expand on what the paragraph says by adding some extra examples in between the sentences that are already provided. You can take a mini-lesson on topic sentences for one group, and turn it into a lesson on creating flow in your writing for the next group, but only have prepped ONE THING!
I have used these a multitude of ways in my room, but most recently I’ve started putting them in my writing centers (see a video here), because the kiddos are ready to independently put the puzzles together.
My favorite part? I have these babies for August-May! You can buy them as seasonal bundles, or buy the bundle for the year! It’s the perfect thing to grab now, and prep over the summer to have great writing lessons/centers prepped for the whole year!