Updated: Mar 5
When teaching text-based writing it is important to teach each section of an essay before expecting our students to dive in. I always start by teaching them how to read a prompt and plan their essays (see the video here). Then we explore writing introductions like pros!
I do a few things to make these lessons effective. First, I borrowed an idea from a fellow teacher a few years ago to use movements and a chant to teaching introductions (see video below). We sing these chants every time we write an introduction until I know the kids know the items they need in an introduction paragraph. They learn it pretty quickly too. I know it helps because as they start writing on their own I see them mouthing the words and making the movements at their desk. (credit: The Playbook and I highly suggest checking out some writing resources he has available). Click below to download the chant for FREE!
Next, I always have a poster hanging up that shows students how to write a good "hook". The hook is key to grabbing the reader's attention. If we start off boring the reader then they may not be excited to read the paper and subconsciously score it lower because they weren't entertained from the start. We definitely don't want this to happen.
Finally, I share some sample introductions I have created and I fully over-exaggerate it as I read it. So I may start with, "Wait, wait! STOP right now. Don't throw that trash away we need to recycle it. Some people don't think we need to worry about throwing away trash, but I know it is a huge problem. Did you know that if we recycle and reuse trash we will help the growing trash problem in the world? When I read this out loud I will scream the first part. One year I over exaggerated it so much the teacher next door ran in to see if I needed help OOOOOppppppssss! It gets the students attention and they are always eager to write an introduction and share it with their classmates (and I let them over exaggerate theirs too).
I also have some resources so the students can practice highlighting the parts of an introduction and writing some of their own before we move on to the next section. Feel free to check these resources out to ensure you provide enough practice with writing introductions. These are even great to use as a refresher if they start to forget what to do, get lazy, or before a test!
* Both of these also come in a bundle with each guided writing step which is great practice for your students and will save you money. I will be blogging about them before too long!
Guided Writing Bundles:
Check out the reviews for the Bundles! They are a MUST have. I know they help from my personal experience using them but see what other teachers are saying too.
"THIS IS A WONDERFUL RESOURCE! I have been teaching writing for years and just wanted something easy to follow, instead of making up my own stuff. I will be using these writing resources for years to come!" -Kathryn K
"This resource upped my writing game big time! And it definitely showed in my students writing. Great resource!" -Michelle G
Teachers Pay Teachers has added a way to make these resources digital, writeable pdfs and can be assigned through Google Classroom if that helps you! The pdfs can be made into writeable pdfs using other apps too. I use them as virtual lessons and let kids take turns annotating the pdf too!
Writing Resources from The Playbook:
Stay tuned for the blog about writing body paragraphs in text-based writing!