Grade: 3-5
Subject: 4 Blocks

#1126. writing mini lesson ORGANIZATION

4 Blocks, level: Elementary
Posted Fri Jun 25 20:30:07 PDT 1999 by deb (
coloma elementary, south haven MI USA
Concepts Taught: writing

Paragraph Form
1. Writing workshop mini lesson Improving Organization.
Students write about an art project they have created to write a paragraph with teacher modeling. Follow these steps:
1. Prior to the writing lesson, have the children create an art project.
2. Have the children brainstorm ways of describing their projects. Record their responses on chart paper.
3. Distribute writing paper and ask them to write a topic sentence telling what they made. (I painted a jungle.)
4. Afterwards, instruct them to write three sentences that tell more about the project. Tell them to describe their work with more details. (The trees in the jungle are green. A swinging monkey is in the tree. A yellow lion is walking in the jungle.)
5. Attach the writing to the art project.
6. Share/Celebrate/Publish the final product (maybe class book).

2. Writing workshop mini lesson Important Poems
Read the book, The Important Book, by Margaret Brown Wise. If you read her book this makes more sense. She writes "The most important thing about pencils (anything) is you write with them. They
have erasers, they help you do your work. And I have 5 with sharpened points. But the most important thing about pencils is you write with them. The students can use this poem as a guide to write their own

3. Writing workshop mini lesson Safe Topic Sentences.
In grades 2-3, provide the students with a list of safe topic sentences. Have students choose a topic. Then choose one of the following topic sentences. Then have student write three sentences providing the details. I have found that my 2nd graders are very good at writing the "middles" of stories. However they were not good at writing a topic sentence or a concluding sentence. In a grad class on reading strategies a fellow classmate had a poster that she used to guide the students in picking out a "safe topic" sentence. She had the poster up in the room and kids picked one whenever they were beginning to write a story. I modeled how to pick a safe topic sentence MANY many many times before assuming the kids could/would on their own. After reading a science unit on Magnets, I had them pick one of the following three safe topic sentences: 1. Let me tell you about magnets. 2. Have you ever wondered about magnets? 3. I know a lot about magnets.

Then they wrote three or four sentences about magnets after the safe topic sentence. I repeated this activity using different subjects many times throughout the year of 2nd grade. In third the teachers use these heavily for the first marking period and then the kids seem to internalize them and really know what a topic sentence is for. The list below are the sentence "frames" then the kids fill in the missing parts of the sentence with their subject.

Let me tell you about...
Have you ever wondered about...
Have you ever wondered why...
I like to _______ for many reasons.
I know how to_______. First ...
I think _______ was ______ for many reasons.
I just learned facts about...
Let me tell you how ______ and ________ are alike.
Let me tell you how ______ and ______ are different.
It's fun to ________. First you...
Many changes happen to ________ as they grow.
People used to think ________, but now we know...
_______ was a ________ person.

Paragraph Form Continued...
4. Writing workshop mini lesson Writing a Paragraph with Safe Topic Sentence. Read informational article provided in scholastic news or weekly reader. Partner one tells everything he knows about what was read. Switch. Partner two tells everything she knows about what was read. Pick a Safe Topic sentence. Write three details from the article that was read.