Common Core Connection
This is the fifth lesson in the unit on standard W1.8 (Research Writing), writing about research, and this lesson focuses on the creation of a topic sentence. The students have selected important information in their paragraph, but now they need to design their own topic sentence. This is the next step in the process of creating a research based paragraph. But, creating a topic sentence is highly complex, because students have to look at their content and decide how to make a collective statement about it (without being too broad or too specific).
I model creating a topic sentence based on my model from the previous day. Then we create a topic sentence about model set of information. Last, the students work with their partner to design their own topic sentence. I have a video on two important strategies I use, Peanut Butter Jelly Partner and Transitions, in the resources.
So, now I ask the class to talk about what their research paragraph is going to be about. Then I say that this is your topic sentence. I tell my class that their topic sentence tells the reader what their paragraph is about. It comes first, and it is usually the main idea too. When the students are actually creating all this they really improve their comprehension skills as well.
The big issue we were having in this lesson is that the students wanted to include opinions in their topic sentence. I have two examples of proficient work, but the scaffolding in the partner work really shows how I had to lead the students to developing a factual topic sentence.