Join my VIP teacher email club!
When I look back to my first experience teaching five paragraph essays to fifth graders, I can remember how terribly unprepared I felt.
I knew that the five paragraph essay format was what my students needed to help them pass our state’s writing assessment but I had no idea where to start.
I researched the few grade-appropriate essays I could find online (these were the days before Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers) and determined that there was a structure to follow.
Every essay followed the same basic structure. I taught the structure to my students and they did well.
I have been teaching five paragraph essay structure and everything that goes with it for several years now. I hope that after you read this blog post, you will have a good understanding of how to teach and grade five paragraph essays.
Once you’ve learned all about teaching basic essay structure, you’ll be ready to grow your writers from “blah” to brilliant!
Teaching five paragraph essays is just one part of teaching 5th grade writing. Click here to find out exactly how I teach writing to my 5th graders!
Start with Simple Paragraphs
We always start with simple paragraphs.
Yes, this is basic, but if your students cannot write excellent paragraphs, their five paragraph essays will be train wrecks. Trust me!
We spend a while cementing paragraph structure:
I give students topics, they come up with their own topics, we write together, they write with a partner or independently, the more variety, the better.
We have fun with simple paragraphs. Then, it’s time to move on to body paragraphs.
Organize and Write Body Paragraphs
Please refer to my five paragraph essay organizer below.
The three body paragraphs are absolutely crucial to the success of the five paragraph essay.
Some teachers have trouble teaching the structure of five paragraph essays because they start with the introduction paragraph.
Always teach the body paragraphs first!
I had a teacher say to me once, “What’s the point of just writing parts of the essay? They need to write the entire five paragraphs to get all of the practice they need.”
I understand that point. However, think of it as building a house. Should you test out the foundation and make sure it’s sound and sturdy before building on top of it? Absolutely! That’s what we’re doing here.
The three body paragraphs are the foundation of the essay.
Ask students to write out their three body paragraphs just like they have practiced…Topic sentence…Detail 1…Detail 2…Detail 3…Closing Sentence.
I “ooooh and aaaah” over their three paragraphs. Students are on their way to five paragraph essays, so be sure to build their confidence.
Teach the Introduction Paragraph
I have to say, this is my favorite paragraph to teach. The introduction paragraph is what draws readers into the essay and makes them want to read more.
We start with what I call a “hook.” The hook captures the readers’ attention and can come in many forms: asking a question, making a bold statement, sharing a memory, etc.
After the hook, I ask students to add a sentence or two of applicable commentary about the hook or about the prompt in general.
Finally, we add the thesis sentence. The thesis sentence always follows the same formula: Restate the prompt, topic 1, topic 2, and topic 3.
That’s all you need to write an excellent introduction paragraph!
I do suggest having students write the introduction paragraph plus body paragraphs a couple of times before teaching the closing paragraph.
Teach the Closing Paragraph
In the conclusion paragraph, we mainly focus on restating the thesis and including an engaging closing thought.
With my students, I use the analogy of a gift.
The introduction paragraph and body paragraphs are the gift and the conclusion paragraph is the ribbon that ties everything together and finishes the package.
When you talk about restating the thesis sentence, tell students that they need to make it sound different enough from their original thesis sentence to save their readers from boredom.
Who wants to read the same thing twice? No one!
Students can change up the format and wording a bit to make it fresh.
I enjoy teaching the closing thought because it’s so open to however students want to create it.
Ways to write the closing thought: ask a question, personal statement, call to action, or even a quote.
I especially like reading the essays in which a quote is used as a closing thought or a powerful statement is used.
Example of a full five paragraph essay
Let’s Talk About Color-Coding!
Who doesn’t like to color? This is coloring with a purpose!
Training your students to color-code their paragraphs and essays will make grading so much easier and will provide reminders and reinforcements for students.
When students color-code their writing, they must think about the parts of their paragraphs, like topic sentences, details, and the closing sentence.
They will be able to see if they are missing something or if they’ve written something out of order.
Color-coding is a wonderful help for the teacher because you can skim to ensure that all parts of your students’ paragraphs and essays are present.
Also, when you are grading, you can quickly scan the paragraphs and essays. Trust me, you will develop a quick essay-grading ability.
I start color-coding with my students at the very beginning when they are working on simple paragraphs. I add the additional elements of the color-code as we progress through our five paragraph essays.
This is the code that I use:
Let’s Talk About Grading Five Paragraph Essays!
Imagine a lonely, stressed teacher grading five paragraph essays on the couch while her husband is working the night shift.
That was me!
Seriously, guys, I would spend about ten minutes per essay. I marked every little error, I made notes for improvement and notes of encouragement. I reworked their incorrect structure.
Those papers were full of marks.
On Monday, I proudly brought back the essays and asked students to look over them and learn what they needed to fix for next time.
You can guess what happened… there were lots of graded essays in the trashcan at the end of the day.
I decided that my grading practices had to change. I needed my weekends back and my students needed to find their own errors!
This is my best advice:
STOP correcting every error!
Your students are not benefiting from marks all over their writing. They need to find those errors themselves so that they will remember their mistakes and change their writing habits.
Do a quick scan of each student’s writing as soon as it’s turned in to you.
If there are major problems with a student’s writing, call him/her over individually and show him/her what needs to be fixed or put the student with a competent peer editor who will help them fix mistakes.
If you have several students who are struggling with a skill, like closing sentences, do a mini-lesson on this topic.
You can do a mini-lesson with a small group. However, I prefer doing mini-lessons with the entire class. The kids who need help will get it and the rest of your class will receive a refresher.
It’s OK if there are some small spelling/grammar mistakes!
If the errors are few and they don’t take away from the meaning/flow of the essay, I don’t worry about them.
Our students are still learning.
Even your brightest star writer will have a few spelling/grammar mistakes from time to time.
Don’t discourage students from writing because of small errors.
Students who receive papers back with markings all over them don’t think, “Oh boy, my teacher has made it so easy for me to make all of these corrections.” They are thinking, “What’s the point in writing? I must be a terrible writer. Look at all of these mistakes.”
If your students are taking a standardized writing assessment, the structure and flow of their essays will be worth much more than perfect spelling.
Need more help?
I created this five paragraph essay instructional unit for teachers who are new to teaching five paragraph essays OR just need all of the materials in one place.
“Teacher Talk” pages will guide you through the unit and this unit contains all materials needed to help students plan, organize, and write amazing five paragraph essays! Click here to check it out:
I have a freebie for you! Enter your first name and email address below. You’ll receive three original prompts with five paragraph essay organizers AND two lined final draft pages!
Once your students are good essay writers…
These task cards will help your students stay sharp on their five paragraph essay knowledge. Students will review hooks (attention-getters), thesis sentences, body paragraphs, topic sentences, closings, and more. Each card contains a unique writing example!
I suggest using these task cards as a quiz/test, scoot game, individual review, or cooperative group activity.
Click on the image to view these task cards:
To save this post for later, simply pin this image to your teacher Pinterest board!
Wow! I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve always stressed over the thought of teaching writing, but your blog makes me think I can do it successfully. Putting your writing packet on my TPT wish list!
Thank you, Shannon! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. I am so glad that my blog post was helpful to you!
Thanks for the tips! When I taught 6th grade I taught this same subject matter, but struggled to get started. I wish I had this then!
I appreciate your comment! Teaching was much different before Pinterest, wasn’t it?!?
This helped me so much!🙂 thanks a lot, I imagined being one student of yours. I’d be so smart and good at essays! Would’ve been so much easier in person❤️❤️❤️
Thank you so much, Aizlyn!
Thank you so much for this! May I ask where I can see the rubric for scoring the compositions?
You are so welcome! Click on the resource link. Then, you will see the rubric in the preview!
Thank you so much,I am a parent and this really helped me be clear how to guide my son. God bless you always.,
Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!
you are welcome!!!
This looks great! Looking forward to using your tips and freebies with my 6th graders. 🙂 THANK YOU.
You are so welcome! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!
Can’t wait to use this with my class tomorrow! Thanks a bunch for sharing!!
You are so welcome, Amy!
Thank you for making it easy to teach an essay with clarity.
You are very welcome, Yamuna! Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback 🙂
I am so happy I discovered your blog. I just started teaching grade 5 in September I have been searching for a simple method to hel me in guiding them in writing. I will be putting your method into practice in the coming week.
That’s wonderful, Cherry! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Welcome to fifth grade 🙂
Beautiful lesson well explained! Thank you so very much .
Thank you so much, Cheryl!
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .
You may also enjoy...
How to Use 18th Century Artifacts to Teach Colonial America
Digital Social Studies & Writing Resources
How to Teach Timelines in Social Studies Class
How to Make Your Social Studies Lessons Come to Life for Students
Establishing Positive Relationships with Parents
Engaging American Revolution Interdisciplinary Project: STEM, Reading, Writing, and Art
What can i help you teach, find it here, let's connect, i'd love to connect with you.
Enter your first name and email address to join my exclusive VIP email club.
Copyright © 2020 | Thrive in Grade Five | All Rights Reserved
- Virtual Learning
Help your 5th Grader Write a Great Essay
Writing essays can be a daunting task for students. 5th-grade students have a strong foundation of writing skills to help them construct body paragraphs and express their ideas using complex sentences. Still, they may need an extra push to write confidently and expressively.
The most challenging task when writing an essay is starting the writing process and learning to be confident.
Helping students tackle the task and build their confidence in writing multiple types of essays such as a persuasive essay, an informational essay, or even a narrative essay such as short stories takes a lot of practice, focus, and support from instructors and parents.
Learning to Express Ideas
Pre-writing is a crucial step in the writing process. Fifth graders should be in a place in their writing journey where they can perfect all the pre-writing strategies before they even write a word of an essay.
This will set them up to successfully construct excellent five-paragraph essays consistently.
When your child sits down to write a five body paragraph essay, the very first thing they should do is read the prompt. Understanding what the prompt is asking for is the first step in being proactive about writing an excellent essay.
You want them to ponder these questions: am I writing a persuasive essay? Am I writing an essay on a topic requiring me to do my research? Will I need to list evidence? Am I writing a narrative story that requires figurative language?
How to Successfully Brainstorm An Essay
One excellent way to get the brainstorm rolling is to have your fifth-grade student utilize a graphic organizer such as a cluster map as a way to write down all the related words or small phrases they can think of about the prompt.
The organizer will help get their creative minds rolling until they write something they are interested in or perhaps even excited about exploring further.
Brainstorming is a crucial component of teaching writing. This first step should be the most relaxed, no-pressure section for the student.
As a fifth-grader, your child will have a good idea of how to brainstorm different ideas on paper, but an essential part will be to organize these ideas into something of an outline.
Through brainstorming, students learn to think creatively to answer the prompt. Sometimes logical thinking is also required. For example, with a persuasive essay, students must brainstorm their arguments and develop reasons or evidence to back up their claims.
Supporting this step will allow students to perfect the details of the content they’re writing about and give them the main idea for their entire essay.
How to Turn a Brainstorm into an Outline
Encouraging your fifth grader to write a quick outline in a way that’s organized according to the five-paragraph essay format will give them a solid foundation to write their first rough draft.
These pre-writing skills are crucial in turning students from simple sentence writers into detailed five-paragraph essay writers.
Five-paragraph essays are the standard way to construct an essay, including writing an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
Using this format, your fifth grader should write a short and straightforward outline that showcases every paragraph’s main ideas and contents in logical order.
Instead of freewriting the essay off the top of their head, an outline in the five-paragraph essay format will help your fifth grader have a guide to help them construct the first draft of their essay and flesh out ideas when they write body paragraphs.
Constructing a 5 Paragraph Essay
Read below for a brief five-paragraph essay instructional unit to help you guide your child in writing an exceptional essay.
1) How To Write An Introduction
In the five-paragraph essay format, the introduction is vital in grabbing the reader’s attention and holding it throughout the essay.
When teaching writing, the introduction is explained as the initial place to set up the topic of the essay. It usually requires a direct address of the contents to follow in the form of a thesis.
A thesis statement is a sentence in the introduction that directly answers the prompt and has reasons and evidence for the writer’s claim. It’s like a short preview of what the students will write about in their body paragraphs.
Furthermore, students write the thesis at the end of the introduction paragraph and ensure it follows a specific sentence structure to make it stand out as the most critical part of the intro.
2) How To Write Body Paragraphs
An excellent way to help students be confident in their work is to help them build clear strategies or steps to tackle daunting parts of an essay, such as a body paragraph.
Acronyms are one good way to remember all the steps of constructing a remarkable body paragraph. For example, TEEA is a wonderful acronym to get your fifth grader started on the task.
TEEA stands for:
T: Topic Sentence
The topic sentence is the very first sentence of a body paragraph. It explains what your section is about and its main idea. Ideally, this should be one sentence long and directly explain the topic at hand.
For the second section, you will want your fifth grader to answer the following question: WHY are you talking about this topic or idea? Why is this important? This should be about 2 or 3 sentences long because you will want your child to use lots of details to support the idea in the topic sentence.
In the third section, the student should prove what they explained about their topic by giving a solid, real-life example. This can be 2-3 sentences. The key here is to make the example applicable to the topic and explanation.
Lastly, the analysis explains how the example supports your topic. This will probably be 1 or 2 sentences.
The analysis is the most tricky part of a body paragraph. The best way to get your child to think about this is to emphasize the how question. How does your example prove you are right? How does the example relate to the topic?
Using TEEA, your child will be able to construct a clear and strong body paragraph for almost any prompt or topic.
3) How to Write A Conclusion
Lastly, to conclude an essay, students must think about what idea they want the reader to leave with after reading their essay.
To start, students can use their introductory paragraph as a guide. They should restate their essay topic or thesis differently.
Next, students should summarize the main points made in the body paragraphs.
After this step, students can play the “so what?” game. Have your fifth grader think about what they’ve written in the conclusion, then answer the question, “so what?” Why is this important? Why should anybody care?
The very last sentence of the conclusion is a fantastic place to answer the “so what” question and leave the readers with a good impression or the desire for more information.
Using this instructional guide, with practice, your 5th grader will be able to construct logically sound and impeccably organized essays in no time.
The Reading Ranch Method
Struggling writers can experience various difficulties in any step of the writing process. The Reading Ranch Intervention Program is a research-based program to help students strengthen their writing skills in an interactive and dynamic environment. Our curriculum prides itself on being an interactive writing curriculum proven through various studies to immensely help struggling writers. Contact us today if you’re looking for help with your child who struggles in school and at home because they are stuck when they write and unable to keep up with their peers. We offer either online or in-person programs we feel confident we have something just right for every family.
Kiran Gokal is a freelance writer, teacher, and lover of the written word specializing in content articles, blog posts, and marketing copywriting. For the past three years, she’s been teaching bright young students all about reading and writing at The Reading Ranch®, while also lending her writing skills to different businesses and non-profits in the education sector.
- Why The Reading Ranch?
- About the Director
- General Information
- Summer 2022 Schedule
- Pre-6th Grade Schedules
- Pre-K Programs
Teaching Students How to Write an Introduction Paragraph
Perhaps you stumbled on this post after reading my prior post about choosing a research topic . Or, maybe you googled “ how to write an introduction paragraph ” because you are struggling to come up with a way to make introduction paragraphs less daunting for students.
Honestly, getting students started with their essay is the hardest part. Because I have a compulsion to reflect on and analyze my lessons and units, I am always trying to come up with no-fear, sensible ways to help students approach writing. In this post, I’m sharing the methods I use to make writing an introduction paragraph for an argumentative essay more transparent and concrete.
Begin with the thesis statement.
I always begin teaching students how to write an introduction paragraph by asking students to define their view. We begin by discussing how we would write thesis statements for debates that students would understand without much research. I explain to students that in an argumentative essay, the thesis statement is also called a claim because they are arguing a specific point. I want them to associate the term thesis statement with every essay we write, but it’s important that they know the word claim as well.
Identify the main points of argument.
Even though I don’t ask students to list their main points in the introduction paragraph, I consider it part of writing an intro. They need to understand whether or not their thesis statement can be developed with sound research. I give my students a graphic organizer that allows them to view the main points as pillars that support the thesis statement. If they can identify at least three solid pillars and provide evidence from research, they are approved to move on. (I do require students to begin collecting sources during the pre-writing stage, and I encourage them to tweak their original Works Cited page as they draft and revise.)
Explore attention getter options.
I like to give my students specific examples of strategies they can use as hooks. I also provide examples of each and then ask them to practice, which can look many different ways. Here are a few ideas:
- Display each hook strategy as a station around the room. Ask students to work in groups of 2 or 3 to write their own example for a topic they are assigned. They can then rotate around the room with the same topic, practicing different techniques, or they can present the strategy, example, and their own writing to the class.
- Ask students to experiment by choosing three different hooks. Have them write an attention getter for their essay for each type. Then, put students in groups and have them provide peer feedback on which approach is the strongest.
- Give students some task cards with attention getters already written. Ask them to identify the type of hook that is used on each task card. They can also evaluate that hook’s effectiveness.
Regardless of the type of hook students select, I always ask them to frame the essay in their conclusion. More on that in another post .
Teach specific ways to add background.
Even if students manage to come up with a hook they like and a sound thesis statement, they generally struggle with what to write in the middle. I explain that the middle of the introduction is a bridge in two different ways.
One, it bridges the hook to the thesis. Those two typically don’t flow naturally together. Two, it provides a bridge between the issue and the audience’s understanding of it. I allow my students to choose topics they are passionate about, but I explain that other people who will read their essay might not know anything about the topic. I ask them, “What information does your audience need to know in order to fully understand this debate?”
Does the topic have an important history? Are there relevant court cases? How long has this issue existed? Is it currently in the news? Does it impact people locally, nationally, or globally? Can it be related to or a cause of any other issues in our world? Are there any terms the audience might need defined? Who disagrees about this topic, and why? These are some of the probing questions I ask students to ponder.
I’m a writer who appreciates structure. Not all students need it, but giving them an acronym to help them remember the basics of a paragraph can’t hurt. I developed the ABC acronym for writing argumentative introductions because it’s so easy to remember.
A: ATTENTION GETTER / HOOK
B: bridge / background, c: claim / thesis.
Even students who don’t need much scaffolding must understand that those elements are necessary in order to grab the audience’s attention, fill in gaps of knowledge, and establish a sound position.
Make feedback social.
I find it important to give students feedback on their introduction paragraphs before moving on to the body of the essay. Feedback is an opportunity to boost students’ confidence. They will enter the next stage of their paper knowing their foundation is solid. But, feedback doesn’t have to always come from the teacher.
My favorite activity I’ve ever done to make feedback social is this. Ask students to bring in three versions of their introduction paragraphs. Have them use a different hook in each but keep the rest the same. Make sure they are paper clipped or stapled together.
Then, sit in a circle. Ask students to pass the essays either to the right or the left one person. For five or ten minutes, just sit and allow students to respond to the introduction paragraphs. Students can write praises and suggestions either on the actual paper copies or on post-its. Give them some prompts to consider to guide their feedback.
After time has lapsed, have students pass again in the same direction. Do this as many times as you can before they lose focus or before the period is over. This activity can also be conducted digitally. I just prefer the paper version because it feels more authentic and is easier to manage.
And that’s what I do to teach students how to write an introduction paragraph. I know some people encourage students to begin with the body paragraphs, and that’s fine. We all have to find what works for our teaching style and for our students. Even if students begin in the middle, they’ll have to come back to the beginning at some point.
Interested in reading more? You might enjoy one of these related articles…
- How to use examples to support students’ writing process for body paragraphs
- How to teach students to write a strong conclusion (with scaffolding!)
This is the mini unit I use to teach how to write an introduction paragraph. It contains the ABC acronym, the pillars and introduction paragraph graphic organizer, examples of hooks, ideas for what to include in the bridge, and an example introduction paragraph. Click on the image to take a closer look at the details.
Subscribe to our mailing list to receive updates about new blog posts and teaching resources!
Reading and Writing Haven will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. Please let us know all the ways you would like to hear from us:
You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at [email protected] . We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please visit our website. By clicking below, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.
We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.
An avid reader and writer, I've had the privilege of teaching English for over a decade and am now an instructional coach. I have degrees in English, Curriculum & Instruction, and Reading as well as a reading specialist certification. In my free time, I enjoy loving on my kids, deconstructing sentences, analyzing literature, making learning fun, working out, and drinking a good cup of coffee.
7 Powerful Ways to Build Relationships with Students
5 ways to use body paragraph examples, you may also like, using student-created graphic organizers to elevate learning, 5 helpful ways to use ted talks in..., 4 essential purposes that drive strong vocabulary instruction, how to tackle test prep writing prompts in..., 8 ways to make student-led discussions more productive, how to use text sets to build background..., 15 fun ways to freshen up your independent..., why we need to say good riddance to..., 9 questions that help students analyze diversity in..., creative reflection technique: everyone wins when students map..., how to cite quotations in mla format: teaching..., how to engage students with musical debates, teaching with photographs: 3 powerful ways to boost..., effective read alouds for teaching literary elements, how to get started with sketchnotes in the....
introductory paragraph for 5th grade
Resource types, all resource types, introductory paragraph for 5th grade.
- Rating Count
- Price (Ascending)
- Price (Descending)
- Most Recent
5th Grade Writing Games and Centers! Perfect for Writing Camps!
Common Core Writing 5th Grade "How-to" Explanatory Paper RUBRIC
Triangle Method Thesis / Introductory Paragraph Organizer
Determining Meaning of Unknown Words - Vocabulary Strategies for 4th & 5th Grade
What Makes A Good Introduction? A Grading Activity For Students
- Word Document File
Bump it Up! Writing and Improving Introductory Paragraphs
Introductory Paragraph Writing Form
Non-Fiction Comparison Writing for the Intermediate Grades
Christmas Opinion Essay CCSS Grades 3-6 Print and Digital Learning
"Welcome to 6th Grade Science" beginning of Year Letter
Writing Rubric with weighted grades focus on organization of essay
Happy New Year and Welcome Back! ELA Morning Work Packet: Grades 3, 4, 5
Persuasive Essay: Holiday Wishes for Our School CCSS Grades 3-6
Paragraph Structure Introductory Powerpoint.
Essay Writing for the Younger Grades (4-8)
Purposeful Paragraphs : Hawksbill Turtles (3-5 Grade )
My Big Dream - Essay Writing Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Grade 7
Character Analysis- Introductory Paragraph Rubric (Google Sheets)
- Google Sheets™
Introductory Paragraph Rubric
Types of Paragraphs Introductory Powerpoint
5 Sentence Paragraph Graphic Organizer (how to write a paragraph )
Hamburger Model for Paragraphs Rubric
Power Writing and Photo Essays - Digital Paragraph Writing Resource
- Google Docs™
Introductory Essay and Flipgrid Video Project
- Google Apps™
- We're hiring
- Help & FAQ
- Student privacy
- Terms of service
- Tell us what you think
Writing a Strong Introduction | Writing Mini-Lessons
I used to find it the most difficult to teach kids how to expand on their writing. I could help them organize and structure the order that things should go in, but it was difficult for me to pull additional details out of them…without just telling them what would sound better.
So, as I do so often, I created steps to follow to simplify the process for me as a teacher, and for my students as writers! Today, I wanted to share the steps I follow to teach a strong, thorough introductory paragraph!
Forming a topic sentence:
First, ask students to think about what they’re going to want this piece of writing to be about, in general. Link this back to author’s purpose: why are they writing this?
Have the students jot down a phrase that summarizes why they are writing this piece. As they get older, they will be asked to write their “thesis statement”…this is the first baby step in that direction.
Model taking that one phrase and building a sentence out of it. If the phrase was “8th birthday”, because the essay is going to be a personal narrative about the best birthday party you’ve ever had, turn the phrase into the sentence “My 8th birthday party was the best party I’ve ever had.”
Technically, in some 2nd-3rd grade writing standards, you could have the kids stop here. One, strong, defined topic sentence can be enough. But, if you want to push kids to layer interest and hook their readers, these are the steps I follow next. (NOTE: an easy way to differentiate this is to teach the topic sentence part whole group, and pull the kids who can expand into introductory paragraphs in small groups to not overwhelm other developing writers.)
Building on the topic sentence to create a paragraph:
Once students have a strong topic sentence, they can brainstorm a hook sentence to open their paragraphs with. I like to narrow the options for students who are early in learning how to develop opening paragraphs. For personal narratives, I might narrow it down to: a question that’s related to their topic, or a funny/interesting quote or sound effect from their story that they can open up with.
I like to have a graphic organizer that has students fill in the hook sentence at the beginning of their introductory paragraphs, their thesis (topic) sentences at the end, and space for bridge sentences in the middle. You can easily DIY one, but a free one is linked in this blog post!
The bridge sentences can include additional background information, or other details that will help connect the hook to the thesis. Here’s an example:
Smash! The piñata cracked open and candy streamed down onto my head. I ripped off the blindfold to see my cousins running up to grab handfuls of chocolate and small toys. I smiled at my mom as I ran to join them. This was when I knew that my 8th birthday party was the best party I had ever had.
From there, students can segue into the story from the beginning, taking their readers back to the beginning of their day, and tell the story all the way up to the piñata scene again. But, this introduction includes an interesting opening that hooks the readers’ attention, and clearly states what this narrative will be about. The sentences in the middle complete the scene and bridge the hook sentence to the thesis, so it all makes sense.
Create a bulletin board with these steps…
…or an anchor chart!
And there you have it! A simple, easy routine for teaching students to strengthen their introductions! Join my email list below to get the FREE graphic organizer for introductory paragraphs, and other freebies in my freebie library. And, scan through some of my favorite writing activities and projects in my store right now to get your kids started on their next project, and use this lesson! These projects come in both digital and printable format, so you can use them for distance learning, or file away for an in-person writing unit!
Join the email list to get teaching tips in your inbox, a monthly freebie, and the FREE graphic organizer and anchor chart pieces pictured below!
FREE RESOURCE LIBRARY
New freebies added monthly!
I respect your privacy. You can unsubscribe anytime.
How to Help Fifth Graders Write an Introduction to a Research Paper
Kristine tucker, 26 sep 2017.
Fifth-graders must learn the importance of the "wow factor" when writing introductions for their research papers. Some have worked on creative writing assignments, cause-and-effect papers and book reports, but research papers are a whole new ballgame. When helping children write introductions for research papers, encourage them to present their topic and goals in a concise manner but allow room for creativity. Remind them that the goal is to spur readers' interest in the topic, so they must grab their attention right off the bat.
Explore this article
- Add A Creative Slice
- Treasured Transitions
- Practice Makes Perfect
Encourage your students to brainstorm ideas for their introductions before they actually start writing. On a separate piece of paper, ask them to write down a dozen descriptive words or phrases that are very specific to their topics. For example, if a paper is about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, they might write "early hours in the morning," "misinformed military officers," "no warning," "panic in the ocean," "Japanese attacks," or "sinking of the Arizona." They can use these key words to formulate sentences to introduce their research.
2 Add A Creative Slice
Research papers generally are designed to be informative, serious and well-organized, but there's nothing wrong with encouraging children to spruce up their introductions with a little creativity. They might start with a famous quote, create a vivid visual image or use an attention-grabbing fact to start their paper. For example, if a student is writing about the history of baseball, he might start with "Fenway Park in Boston is the oldest American League park still hosting games today." Follow-up sentences should briefly link the introductory sentence with the purpose of the paper.
3 Treasured Transitions
Some fifth-grade introductions are disjointed and lack coherent thought progressions. Help your students create a list of common transition words that help introductions flow more smoothly. Transition words are also useful on other types of writing assignments but are especially important on research papers to help students connect ideas, thoughts, statistical information, quotes, citations and facts. Words and phrases such as "in addition to," "also," "similarly," "on a similar note," "unsurprisingly," "as a result" and "consequently" help students tie their ideas, facts and sentences together.
4 Practice Makes Perfect
Fifth-graders must learn the value of first drafts, second drafts and final copies, so they can edit, rewrite, modify, change and adapt their research paper introductions as they go. Continued research might give students a new slant to their topics or provide additional introductory material that is fresh and exciting. Students aren't stuck with their original introductions, so encourage them to make amendments as they see fit. They might even re-draft their introductions after their papers are completely written so they can highlight special points. Allow students to read each other's introductions and make suggestions -- peer input is valuable.
- 1 GreatSchools.org: Your Fifth Grader and Writing
- 2 Education.com: Go Direct for Better Paragraphs
- 3 Baseball Almanac: American League Ballparks
About the Author
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.
Requirements for 3rd Grade Essay Writing
Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts & Write a Research...
Teaching 4th Graders to Write a Biography
The Writing Progression in the First Grade
How to Make a Research Paper Outline Using MLA Style
How to Use Contractions in a College Essay
How to Write Stories & Paragraphs on a 3rd Grade Level
Teaching Second Grade Essay Writing
Top Things Kids Should Know When Writing a Paragraph
How to Start a Good Conversation With Someone You Don't...
What Positive Words Can You Say to a Friend Who Has...
Teaching Creative Writing to 2nd Graders
Topics for Fourth-Grade Research Papers
How to Teach Kids to Write Introductions & Conclusions...
How to Write an Effective Conclusion Paragraph for...
How to Introduce a Famous Person
How to Write a Chronological Essay
Types of Debates
How Did France Help Aid the American Colonies?
How to Write a Research Paper Proposal
Regardless of how old we are, we never stop learning. Classroom is the educational resource for people of all ages. Whether you’re studying times tables or applying to college, Classroom has the answers.
- Copyright Policy
- Manage Preferences
© 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Based on the Word Net lexical database for the English Language. See disclaimer .