Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Please Explain

Laurie Ayers
Bay District Schools


This language arts lesson is for Day 3 of the unit [Wellness Wonders]. Students interact with various examples of expository writing identifying any irrelevant and/or repeated information.


The student attempts to focus on an expository topic with little or no irrelevant or repetitious information.


-Sample Writings, one transparency of each (see associated file)
-Sample Writings Key, one for teacher reference (see associated file)
-Overhead projector
-Vis a Vis pens of various colors
-Notebook paper, one piece per student
-Criteria for Expository Writing, one copy (see associated file)
-Pencils, one per student
-Various types of writing paper, i.e., notebook paper, stationary, typing paper, colored printer paper, etc., enough for each student to have at least one piece
-Various types of writing materials, i.e., pencils, pens, colored pencils, small felt-tipped markers
-Small colorful stickers (optional)
-Transparency of Graphic Organizer (see associated file)
-Copies of the Graphic Organizer, one per student (see associated file)
-Completed Paragraph, one copy for teacher reference (see associated file)
-One blank transparency


1. Gather materials.
2. Download a make and transparency of the Graphic Organizers (see associated file).
3. Download and make copies of the Graphic Organizer (see associated file), one per student.
4. Download and make a transparency of Sample Writings (see associated file).
5. Download and make a copy of Completed Sample Graphic Organizer, Completed Paragraph, and Sample Writings Key (see associated file).
6. Download and make a copy of Criteria for Expository Writing (see associated file).
7. Remember to check with student volunteers who will perform skits on Day 5 to make sure they are preparing for the skits and are not having any problems.


Day 3 Vocabulary – Expository writing
Note: Students should have some experience writing paragraphs prior to this lesson.
Also, review criteria for effective listening (previously posted on Day 2, i.e., face the speaker, make eye contact with the speaker, do not talk, do not distract others, etc.) prior to beginning this lesson.

1. Display various types of writing paper, i.e., notebook paper, stationary, colored computer paper, etc. Also, display various writing materials such as pens, pencils, small felt-tipped pens, etc. (You might want to include some colorful stickers for students to apply to their final papers.)

2. Tell students they will use the materials during the lesson today to practice a special kind of writing.

3. Ask students to think about times when they write and what their purpose in writing is each time (writing creative stories – to entertain, writing responses in workbooks – to inform, writing a note to a friend – possibly to describe a new gift, etc.).

4. Create a concept web on the board and record student responses. A Sample Concept Web is provided in the associated file.

5. Guide students in recognizing that we write for different purposes and often we write to explain or give information about a certain topic.

6. Specify writing to explain or provide information is called expository writing.

7. Tell students today they will learn to write an expository paragraph.

8. Review paragraphs, noting the following criteria:
· A paragraph is made of sentences.
· A sentence is a group of words that express a complete thought.
· There is a main idea sentence that tells the focus or topic of the paragraph.
· There are detail sentences that support, or give more information about the main idea.
· The first word is indented.
· The sentences are written one after the other.

9. Explain that when writing expository paragraphs it is important for the writer’s ideas to focus on the topic.

10. Display a transparency of the Graphic Organizer (see associated file). Tell students the organizer is a tool to help them make a plan for writing an expository paragraph. Discuss sections of the graphic organizer.

11. Use the graphic organizer to model how to identify a topic and write a topic sentence, add supporting detail sentences, and write a conclusion sentence to end the paragraph. A Completed Sample Graphic Organizer is provided (see associated file).

12. Finally, model how to combine all the sentences on the graphic organizer into written paragraph form on a blank transparency. See Completed Paragraph in the associated file.

13. Point out how all the ideas expressed in the model paragraph focus on the topic. Emphasize the importance of leaving out information that does not relate to the topic (irrelevant) and repeated information.

14. Post and review criteria for expository paragraphs:
· Focus on the topic
· Little or no unrelated or repeated information.

15. Tell students you will display some Sample Writings (see associated file) on the overhead. The class will read the samples orally and determine if they meet the criteria for good expository writing.

16. Share overhead transparencies of Sample Writings (example and non-examples of good expository writing).

17. Select students to come to the overhead and identify any and all irrelevant or repetitious information in the samples and the topic, topic sentence, supporting details, and conclusion sentence of each.

18. Ask students if they can think of times during the [Wellness Wonders] unit that they might use what they have learned about expository writing (such as writing to communicate health information).

19. Accept any reasonable responses, but guide students in realizing that this information could be beneficial to them when they write Health Hound Journal entries, when they write a health plan for the students at Wellington, and when they communicate health information by writing.

20. Tell students it is time to practice what they have learned.

21. Provide time for students to select writing paper, a writing instrument, and stickers (optional) from the collection displayed earlier in the lesson.

22. Distribute copies of the graphic organizer to students.

23. Students use the graphic organizer to plan an expository paragraph using the following prompt:

Before writing think about foods you enjoy eating. Write a paragraph to explain your favorite foods and why you enjoy eating them.

24. Students use the plan to write a sloppy copy of their expository paragraph on notebook paper.

25. Upon completion, students pick a partner and the partners peer edit each other’s writing based on the criteria previously posted (Step 15).

26. Finally, allow time for students to make revisions and write final copies of their expository paragraphs on the writing paper they selected in Step 21. Adding stickers or decorations to the writing paper is optional.

27. Formatively assess student expository paragraphs using the following criteria:
· Focus on the topic
· Little or no irrelevant or repetitious information

28. Provide feedback that is both guiding and positive. Guiding feedback might include, “Does writing about what your brother likes to eat focus on the topic?” Positive feedback might include, “Terrific! All of your sentences relate to the topic.”


Expository paragraphs written by students are formatively assessed. Paragraphs should focus on the topic and have little or no irrelevant or repeated information.


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page of by using the following URL: Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).
2. Prior knowledge and experience writing sentences and paragraphs is needed for this lesson.
3. Prior knowledge and experience in peer editing and the writing process is needed for this lesson.
4. It might be helpful to make all examples, concept webs, graphic organizers, etc. into transparencies.

Web Links

Refer advanced students to this site for information on how to write an expository essay.
Smart Writers

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