Do Nothing 'Till You Hear From Me


A Second Grade Lesson on Writing Describing Paragraphs




Use a magnet to place a colorful picture of a turkey on the board.




Cover the following diagram with it.





Write on the board


Describing Paragraph


Topic sentence - first

Lots of interesting details

Concluding sentence - last



As you address the children, point to each item listed on the board.

Say, "Today we are going to do a writing project as a team. Together we are going to write a describing paragraph and include the title, the topic sentence, lots of interesting details and the concluding sentence."

"Can any body guess what out topic will be? That's right turkeys. Let's spell turkeys together. Now can anyone tell me some facts about turkeys?" Choose three or four answers. Say, "Now keep this information in mind. It will make your writing more interesting."

Say, "I've brought along a book to share with you. 'All About Turkeys' by Jim Arnosky. If you listen carefully, you'll learn a lot of interesting details."

Select appopriate parts of the book to read aloud (it is rather lengthy).

During the reading ask whether the book is fiction or non fiction, how the turkey is different from other birds, how the students would describe turkeys, their nests, the eggs, the chicks, etc. After the read aloud has been completed ask volunteers to share what they have learned about turkeys.

Say, "Now it is time to get started on the business of writing. I'll begin by labeling my drawing."

Uncover the diagram.

Point to one of the bird parts. "Can anyone tell me what part of the turkey this is? Yes, that's the feathers. Let me write 'feathers' on the connecting line." Finsh labeling all the parts. Say, "My writing is going to be pretty dull because I don't have any describing words. So I am going to go back to my drawing and fill in some lively adjectives to make my writing more interesting. Can someone volunteer a word that describes the beak? What is the beak like?" Children say (for instance) "It's hard, it's yellow, it's sharp." The teacher says. "I like hard. I think that is a good adjective. Let's write it above the word 'beak'." The teacher continues asking for adjectives to describe the labels and adding these to the diagram.

"Now that we have finished labeling our drawing and adding interesting describing words, we have all the words we need to write everything we want to say about turkeys."

The teacher and class begin to create their interactive paragraph on the board.

Say, "What should our title be? Right. Let me write Turkeys. That's the title, the name of our paragraph. Now, before we get started with our topic sentence, how do we start every paragraph? Correct, we indent. Who can tell me what indent means?"

"Now let's begin with the topic sentence. What is a topic sentence? (The first sentence, the sentence that contains the main idea or what the rest of the paragraph is going to be about). After the children offer these ideas, ask them what they think about turkeys. Say, "Turkeys are___________." Choose one suggestion and write on the board "Turkeys are special." (For example). Ask a volunteer to next choose any part of the labeled diagram and include a lively describing word. After he/she has offered an answer, write, "First, they have hard beaks." (For instance). Ask other volunteers and write, in turn, "Next, they have fluffy feathers." Then write "Last they have bumpy wattles."

Say, "We have included the title, the topic sentence and lots of lively details. What is our next step? Yes, we must include the concluding sentence. Who can tell me what a concluding sentence does?" (It tells the reader the paragraph is about to end). Say, "One of the best ways to write a concluding sentence is to tell how you feel about the topic, turkeys. How do you feel about them? Select a volunteered answer. Write, "I think turkeys are really, really cool and tasty." (For instance).

Next, review the parts of the describing paragraph emphasizing that with the topic sentence we have a beginning, the details fill in the middle and the concluding sentence provides the end.

Say, "Now it is time for you to do some independent work. "

Hand out two sheets of paper to each child. One will have a diagram of a turkey similar to the one pictured above. Ask them to fill in the parts with labels and then come up with their own colorful adjectives to describe each turkey part. Again, refer to this drawing as their writing plan and emphasize that the students need to complete the plan before they begin to write their describing paragraph on the lined second sheet. At that point, they are to use the words listed on their diagram to help them write the describing paragraph. Next, as the children begin their task, circulate and offer assistance and feedback as needed.

After the class has finished the assignment ask some volunteers to read aloud their pieces.




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