Writing Details in Paragraphs (Special Education & ESL, too!) Winter - Distance

Teaching Rx
Grade Levels
1st - 8th
Formats Included
  • PDF
25 pages
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Teaching Rx


This is a winter extension of my very successful, original: Writing Details 1 Day Mini-lesson = Success!. This oral activity improves writing detailed paragraphs in both the general education classroom and special education classroom. I was teaching ESL inclusion when I made this lesson for my own students. Because it is an oral activity, it is PERFECT for Distance Learning!


One teacher said, "I wish I could give you more than an "A!" My kids are writing champions because of this!"

Just 1 mini-lesson

Use in your Writer's Workshop and 6+1 Traits instruction. It will cure your class of general sentences, teaching students how to expand on the sentence by adding details. In one day, students can move beyond writing a single sentence to writing an entire paragraph full of details that answers questions such as: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, and Which.

Winter topics included are: cold weather, hot chocolate, snowmen, skating, sledding, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, taking a vacation, New Year's celebration, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Groundhog Day, President Lincoln's birthday, Valentine's Day, President's Day, and President Washington's birthday.

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.

How it works:

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. My class mastered this one-day mini-lesson, and your class can, too!


After students have a turn at this oral activity, they pick up pencils and either start a new writing assignment, or revise a previous writing piece, adding the details. Students can learn to add details to creative story writing as well as informational texts and essays. That is why I varied the sentences to begin with: I...; We...; She...; He...; They..., There was....".


The next day, when my students took turns reading aloud their narratives and the student "audience" asked the 5W questions to the writer, my class could ask themselves these questions about THEIR OWN WORK and self-critique their own revisions.


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

Extra Writing Pages Included:

I've included optional writing pages, too, so students can expand on a selected sentence from their rough copy writing, finishing with a wonderfully, detailed paragraph. There are two pages with dashed lines for younger students and another writing page for older students without dashed lines.

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Total Pages
25 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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