Lesson plan 2
Writing a descriptive paragraph
Background: third grade, intermediate level
Objective: Students will learn the basic structure of a paragraph by first learning to create a semantic web and then building sentences from that. Students will write their own descriptive paragraphs after an activity.
Materials: two corn cobs, dried corn kernels, containers, needle, thread, paper, pre-assigned partners
Warm-up: Review past lesson on the five senses. Get Ss' input and write their ideas on the board. Also reinforce the senses by going through them while Ss point to the corresponding parts of the body to help Ss remember which sense is which.
Practice: T shows Ss a regular cob of corn and asks them to describe it using all five senses (pass the cob around the room). While Ss think of words, T writes "corn" on the board with a circle around it. T makes a semantic web of Ss' ideas.
Explain to Ss what a semantic web is (i.e. all the legs of the spider describe the word in the middle) and that it can be used for all sorts of topics/ideas.
Ask Ss if they know what a paragraph is and how to start one (topic sentence) to assess what they already know. Explain that the middle circle is the main idea and that all the rest of the information builds on that. With S help, write a topic sentence on the board (for example, "Today we learned about corn.").
Then write the rest of the paragraph on the board the same way.
T shows Ss a cob of Indian corn. Have Ss find similarities and differences from the regular cob. Pass around this cob also so Ss can have a physical experience with it. Clarify vocabulary Ss may not know (such as kernel, husk, cob, etc.) by showing them on the cobs themselves. As a class, write down another paragraph in the same way as the first paragraph. Have Ss copy down both paragraphs and corresponding semantic webs in their journals.
Activity: Soak dried corn kernels overnight and the next day study the new aspects of the kernels. Put Ss into their pre-assigned pairs and have them make semantic webs about the soaked corn (being sure to use all five senses) and together write a paragraph like the previous ones. Have Ss hand in both the paragraph and the semantic web as pairs.
With the soaked corn, have Ss thread them onto a string to make necklaces for themselves. Allow them to dry overnight so Ss can take them home.
Evaluation: Look over Ss' paragraphs and webs to see if they did them correctly and remembered to use all five senses.
A follow-up lesson on science explaining why the kerenls got soft and grew big in water would work nicely.