Writing Details in Paragraphs -Reg Ed & Special Ed & ESL

Grade Levels
1st - 8th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
23 pages
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This activity can be paperless because it is an oral activity, making it perfect for Distance Learning!!

It is so fun and feels like a game to students, even though this is a writing mini-lesson. It helps those who struggle with writing challenges, even if they are in a special education resource program or are an English Language Learner (ELL). Therefore, students are motivated and engaged with superior results!

Teacher Testimonials:

  • "I wish I could give you more than an "A!" My kids are writing champions because of this!"
  • "This resource greatly helped my students master the concept!"
  • "This is excellent for my reluctant writers. My students love the game:)"

Just 1 mini-lesson for Writer's Workshop and 6+1 Traits, will cure your class of general or vague sentences, just as it helped my own class of ELL students, moving students beyond writing a single sentence to writing an entire paragraph full of details to create a paragraph that answers questions such as: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and Which. The examples in this file are authentic, from my own students' personal narratives.

I love writing, but not all students do. With Madeline Hunter's Essential Elements of Instruction in mind, I designed this lesson to include modeling, guided practice, and then independent practice, all without a pencil, so students practice the skill orally, which takes the fear and dread out of writing.

During the lesson, the teacher reads a statement on a card that I provide. Then, students orally ask the teacher questions (who, what, when, where, why, how, which) about the statement read aloud. Just keep the cue cards on the board during the activity for a visual aide. My 5th grade ESL class mastered this one-day mini-lesson, and your class can, too! This oral exercise will quickly transform into a writing skill that will lengthen paragraphs and include details.

Does your class like Jeopardy?

For this mini-lesson, you can have students answer individually, or answer as a team to help challenged students, or play a game for points, just like the TV show, to engage the class; Jeopardy-style category cards and points labels are included in this file.

After the lesson:

Students pick up pencils and either start a new writing assignment, or revise a previous writing piece, adding the details.


I've included optional writing pages, too. There are two pages, for younger students, with dashed lines, and another writing page for older students without dashed lines, and explicit directions on how to construct a paragraph.

If you enjoyed this activity, come back and rate it. And, please share if you tried it "Jeopardy-Style"; that idea only came to me after I had completed the lesson and had success anyway.

Here are some other Writing Details products with seasonal themes: Writing Details / Writing Paragraphs in autumn and winter

(GAMES GET RESULTS! Why? Brain-based games and activities are proven to engage the student and his/her brain through fun lessons and Multiple Intelligences. Brain-based learning makes more neural pathways and leads to better memory retention, which means less teacher time reteaching the same concepts. - Denise Urich)

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Total Pages
23 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Develop the topic with facts, definitions, and details.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.


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