Truthfully, I am not a huge fan of direct instruction for paragraph writing as a rule, and that is because -- like teaching algorithms in math instead of guiding students in constructing their own understanding of effective and efficient problem solving strategies -- many writers will become slaves to a procedural approach and lose the art of writing affectively. (How many times have I had to explain to older students that yes, you CAN begin a sentence with “and”... under certain conditions?)
Alas, some direct modeling is necessary, it seems, lest I pull my hair out at having pages and pages of un-paragraphed, meaningless drivel handed in each month during writing conferences, or better yet, three “sentences” (if one could even call them that) which have nothing to do with one another!
And so, with the inspiration of one of my former student teachers, who sent me the image on slide 1 of the Smart Notebook file below, and of Terpe, a student in my class who won't get to go to a birthday party this weekend because his mom is making him go to skating lessons instead, I offer the following series of writing mini-lessons:
With any luck, we’ll have some outstanding samples for our monthly writing board at the end of February, which will set us in good stead when we explore expository text in more detail later this spring!