Table of Contents
The Steps (Click to view sample)
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This 60+ page book contains all the lesson plans you need and includes more than a dozen worksheets to help your students master the five-paragraph essay.
Watch a video demonstration for How To Teach the Five Paragraph Essay
The ability to organize one's thoughts and communicate ideas clearly is the backbone of good writing. This is why many states are beginning to test students as early as fourth grade on each student's ability to write multiple paragraphs on a single topic. The five-paragraph essay is considered the foundation of good writing.
How to Teach the
The Research Report: Many teachers dread teaching it, and many students hate writing it. There IS a way to take the pain out of this very difficult project. This book offers a step-by-step process for teaching one of the most difficult concepts in writing.
Overview of the Program
It has happened to me several times in my school career. It has happened to my friends and even my own children. I'm guessing that it has happened to many of you reading this page.
A teacher assigns a research report. The student is given a vague checklist of steps to accomplish in order to complete the assignment. The lucky students may even be shown how to make note cards to collect their facts. However, for the most part, the students are left to flounder through the project wondering if they are doing it correctly. In many of these cases, the parents are left to do the bulk of the research, organization of details, and even some of the writing.
Here is our opinion on this process. If students cannot complete the research report on their own, without any help from the teacher or parents, they do NOT have mastery of the concept. The goal of this book is to teach the research report so methodically that the students will have the confidence to write research reports on their own with little guidance from anyone.
How Mastery is Achieved
Any experienced teacher will tell you that before any concept is taught, it must be broken down into small, manageable tasks, a concept known as "task analysis." Teaching the research report is a monumentally massive undertaking. Here are just a few of the concepts the student must already know before attempting the research report:
Mastery of the paragraph, including topic and conclusion sentences; mastery of essay writing, including how to write introduction and conclusion paragraphs; critical reading skills and the ability to discern which facts are important and which details should be ignored; organizational skills which includes the ability to identify key concepts on a topic, from multiple sources, and how to keep their notes on multiple concepts organized.
If a student is weak in any of these areas, his chances of success are greatly reduced. So, why do teachers throw a 3-5 page research report at students, most of whom are far from ready to handle this daunting task? The main reason is that it takes up to a month to complete a single research report. Everything a student learns about research reports is forgotten by the time the students are assigned their next report.
The solution: Teach the entire process for writing research reports in several one-paragraph assignments. Teach the students to find main ideas, collect supporting details from multiple sources, organize these details, and write the research report in just one paragraph. The teacher can do all the steps required to write a research report in just a few days. Next, the students can practice these steps on their own under the guidance of the teacher. Finally, the teacher can even test the students on their research skills by assigning a one-paragraph research report. This process can take as little as two weeks for the average fifth grader. The high school student can do it in a week.
Once the one-paragraph research report is mastered, the teacher can choose to practice the research report with the five-paragraph essay or assign the larger 3 to 5 page research report. The transition to these assignments is made so much easier having practiced the entire process on one-paragraph reports.
Perfect for Elementary School, Middle School, High School, or College Students: Three Lesson Plans in One Book
The One-Paragraph Research Report
While high school students would benefit greatly with a two week review of the one-paragraph research report, the fourth grade teacher might spend a few weeks teaching this skill. The high school teacher would quickly advance to longer research reports while the fourth grade teacher would return to the one-paragraph report multiple times throughout the year. Thus, the fourth grade teacher would make excellent use of the first lesson plan in this book while the high school teacher would teach the skill and move on to the next two lesson plans.
The Five-Paragraph Research Report
When I was a fifth grade teacher, I taught the paragraph and the five-paragraph essay during language arts. After the students mastered the paragraph, I spent two weeks in social studies teaching the one-paragraph research report. I selected eight topics relating to the causes of the American Revolution. I modeled the process for the first two topics, allowed the students to work with partners for the next four paragraphs, and finally had them write their own reports for the last two topics.
Because the students had mastered the five-paragraph essay during language arts and learned to write one-paragraph research reports in social studies, they easily transitioned into the five-paragraph research report. This time, I gave them three topics on the effects of the American Revolution. We completed one report together, they practiced one with their groups, and finally, they completed one on their own. Seventy-five percent of the students wrote excellent research reports with very little help from me.
The assignment described above is spelled out for you in this book. The image (above - right) is an illustration of a final draft my sixth graders completed which is also included in this book.
The Three to Five Page Research Report
By the time my fifth graders had mastered the five-paragraph research report, the transition to the larger research report was incredibly easy. The process of this book is so methodical, the students saw how to write the larger essay before I even started explaining it. Many of these fifth graders could have written ten pages or more had they been given the time.
Middle and high school teachers should have even better success than my fifth graders. Even if these teachers choose to skip the first two lesson plans, the step-by-step guide for the 3-5 page research report will help these students reach a successful completion of the research report.
How It Works: The image to the right shows the basic structure for helping students master the research report. Think of a research report like this: All reports have a beginning, middle, and end. For the one-paragraph report, the students find one main idea for the report and research the beginning, middle, and end for just that one main idea. Because the report is only a paragraph, the students only need to find two details from each resource for the beginning, middle, and end.
Next, for the five-paragraph research report the students will find three main ideas which will become their three paragraphs. By adding an introduction and conclusion paragraph, they have their five-paragraph report. The three main ideas will be the beginning, middle, and end for the report. Since the students already know how to write a one-paragraph research report, they just follow the steps learned in this lesson three times. The only new skill learned here is to find three main ideas for their topic rather than just one.
Finally, the students are ready for the 3-5 page research report. This time, their beginning, middle, and end main ideas will be five-paragraph essays. Because the students have already mastered the five-paragraph research report, all they will need to do is repeat this process three times.
Topic: The American Revolution
Beginning: The Causes of the Revolution
Middle: Fighting the War
End: The Effects of the War
Beginning: The Causes of the Revolution - 2 Sentences
Middle: Fighting the War - 2 Sentences
End: The Effects of the War - 2 Sentences
Beginning: The Causes of the Revolution - One Paragraph
Middle: Fighting the War - One Paragraph
End: The Effects of the War - One Paragraph
Three to Five Page Research Report
Beginning: The Causes of the Revolution - Five-Paragraph Essay
Middle: Fighting the War - Five-Paragraph Essay
End: The Effects of the War - Five-Paragraph Essay
The Complete Writing Program is a workshop in a book. At the very least, it will show you, step-by-step, how to build stronger, more confident writers one day at a time. At its best, it will help you build an army of great writers within your class who will help you with your goal: building great writers.
Have you ever taught your class how to write an essay/story; spent hours reading and editing every one; gave the students constructive feedback; then have your students revise, edit and publish it? If you have, you know that it can be incredibly time consuming. Serious, meaningful conferencing between student and teacher is a luxury most teachers can’t enjoy very often. Why not work smarter, not harder? The Complete Writing Program will show you how to set up your class so your students are modeling and reinforcing the skills you teach on a regular basis, not you!
All great writing, no matter the age of the writer, has five key elements
- You begin by teaching your students the 5 key elements of great writing.
- Next, show your students how to look for the 5 key elements of great writing.
- Teach your students how to assess each other’s writing. They will use The Complete Writing Program’s “Writing Assessment Checklist” to identify the 5 key elements of writing in their neighbor’s writing.
- Students will score each other’s writing. In this way, they are reviewing the five key elements of writing as well as seeing it modeled within each other’s writing.
- Each chapter of The Complete Writing Program shows you how to build your students’ skills in the five areas of great writing. Use the worksheets and lessons in The Complete Writing Program as well as writing lessons from your school or district’s language arts program. Home school parents will find this program especially helpful as they continue to build their child’s skills in the five areas of great writing year after year.
- Save yourself dozens of hours correcting papers. The teacher does not need to correct every piece of writing assigned in order for the students to receive meaningful feedback. The students will know what great writers do and share what they’ve learned with each other during writing conferences.
- Students learn how to communicate their knowledge of writing to others. Students will develop their writing skills within the five areas of great writing at a different pace. Therefore, during writing conference time, they share their particular expertise. Your lessons become much more powerful when the students hear it again from fellow students.
- You have an army of mini-teachers in your class reinforcing the skills you’ve taught. Imaging your entire class reteaching your writing lessons to each other. Click Here to see an illustration of this concept, and you will understand the powerful this program. Illustration
- Your own one-on-one conference time with the students will be more powerful. You can pinpoint problem areas within your students' writing. Furthermore, they will understand why they are weak in a certain area and begin improving.
- More lesson plans than you can use in a year. Select the lessons that are right for you and your students.
- Use these powerful lessons for your observations with the principal. Teachers who have used lessons from The Complete Writing Program for their evaluations have reported remarkable results. Administrators have been so impressed that they’ve requested workshops in order to train their entire staff.
In theory, the five key elements of great writing can apply to emerging writers in kindergarten through grade 2. However, this program begins when the student is capable of writing a paragraph. (The Complete Writing Program will even show you how to do that.)
The five areas of great writing are the same regardless of age. The teacher will simply be building the students’ skills in the five areas at his/her grade level. Third graders will build their skills in the five areas at the third grade level while twelfth graders will build their skills at the twelfth grade level. The Complete Writing Program will help you decide what is right for your grade level.
This program has worked successfully in community college summer writing programs with students from grades four through eight in the same class.
Maybe your school or district has an adopted language arts program such as Houghton Mifflin, SRA/Open Court, Scholastic, etc… Their writing ideas might be terrific. However, many of these programs teach each piece of writing and HOPE that the students can put the writing pieces together.
The Complete Writing Program supercharges these programs. When you teach writing lessons out of these programs, your students will know exactly where each piece fits into the five elements of great writing. Furthermore, when you teach lessons out of your language arts program, your students will automatically look to see how it fits into the five elements of great writing. Again, you will have a class full of mini-teachers helping you reach your objectives.
When I first started teaching, I spent $100’s of dollars on books and workshops to help me become a better writing teacher. Yet, at the end of each school year, I never really felt confident that I had prepared my students adequately in writing.
I began taking ideas from books, workshops, and district approved material and altering these ideas to make them more productive. I knew that I was on to something when teachers began using my ideas in their own classroom. When you see the improvements in your students’ writing abilities, you will see the incredible value of this program. It’s a program you buy once and learn once. However, you will be using these powerful step-by-step procedures throughout your teaching career.
What is the value of this program? Honestly, I can’t say. All I know is the extreme joy I feel when my students skillfully use the new writing concepts that I have taught them. I feel good when I’m able to help other teachers improve the quality of their students’ writing. Finally, I’ve known great satisfaction when, at the end of the school year, I compare my students' writing to samples from the beginning of the year. It is clear that they have improved immensely. To me, this program is priceless. I want every teacher to feel the same confidence and satisfaction.
YES! Not only will your students become great writers, they will be VERY well prepared for state/federal standardized tests. Check your writing and grammar standards for your grade and state. The odds are great that your students will be tested on such things as:
- Main ideas within the paragraph
- Topic, supporting, and closing sentences
- Variety of sentence structure
- Vocabulary development
You will be confident your students did well on these tests. In many cases, teachers will hear their students talking about the test after it is finished. “I saw an ‘Appositive’”, “I saw an ‘Interrupter’”, “I saw an ‘Adjective Writing Trick’”. Not only are the students getting the correct answers on the test, they are naming the rule that applied. The Complete Writing Program is powerful on so many levels.
“I was amazed at how quickly these writing techniques caught on. Within weeks, my students’ writing showed vast improvement.”
- Kathy Middough, 6th Grade
“As a first year teacher, this writing program was perfect. Everything I needed was laid out for me.”
- Traci Kinon, 5th Grade
“Teacher tested and kid-friendly, this writing program helps teachers at all levels become confident writers. Teachers found immediate results in their students’ writing when they implemented the program. The Complete Writing Program integrates reading, writing, and language and provides the structure and guidance that works with both veteran and beginning teachers”
- MaryLynn Bachmann; Principal, Williams Elementary School
Table of Contents - Click
Descriptive Writing Sample - Click
Improving Sentence Structure Sample #1 - Click
Improving Sentence Structure Sample #2 - Click
Report Writing Unit: Sample Page - Click
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