How do I do it?
House building is a useful metaphor for talking about strong paragraph construction. Explain to students that each paragraph is a house that they build. The roof is the main idea that gets our attention and helps hold the whole house together. The supporting ideas hold up the main idea, without which, the roof would fall down. Finally, without the solid foundation or the reason for writing the paragraph, the house will fall down as well. Use the chart above. Draw it lightly in pencil first, then trace over it in colors as you explain, with gestures, what each part represents. Model writing a paragraph in a blank house structure format. Have students write paragraphs using the house structure and then have them write independently.
Variations & Extensions
Build a real model with large blocks that shows how the supports will hold up the roof and foundation will keep it on solid ground. Use an uneven or weak support and show what can happen to the house. Read sentences and have students rate how strong they are etc.