Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Web Wilderness

Virginia White


Students compose 5 expository paragraphs by developing a theme including an introductory and concluding paragraph.


The student focuses on a central idea or topic (for example, excluding loosely related, extraneous, or repetitious information).


- Paper and pencil
- Writing Rubric - attached.
- Blast Off to Writing (Copyright 1998, Buckle Down Publishing Co, PO Box 2180, Iowa City, IA 52244-2180, ISBN 0-7836-1550-7 (Cat # BF FL4R1)
- Samples from Florida Writing Assessment.


1. Previous discussion of hands-on learning activity.
2. Students guided through the activity.
3. Teacher collects examples of expository writing.
4. Teacher locates or creates writing prompt for the day.


1. Students participate in a field trip, have a guest speaker, or hands-on activity. The purpose of this activity is to ensure students have raw material from which to draw for their writing. For example, Northside School held a fall Living History Festival with hands-on and demonstration activities such as Civil War re-enactment, Native American pottery, open fire cooking, basketweaving, candlery, beekeeping, folk musicians, and a Spanish conquistador.
2. After returning to class, students make notes of what they learned. These notes are either kept by students or collected by the teacher until the writing class period.
3. The teacher gives two examples of expository papers from -Florida Writing Assessment Program-, -Florida Writes-, -Blast Off-, or a similar writing text.
4. The teacher demonstrates and develops a web on the chalkboard, overhead, or dry erase board. A sample web can be downloaded from the attached file. The class lists ideas taken from the common hands-on experience and creates a group web.
a. Teacher models the use of a web by drawing a blank web on a chalkboard with spaces for a main topic and three subtopics.
b. On an adjoining board or chart paper, the teacher writes the main topic in the oval, such as -Early American Life.-
c. The teacher leads students as they brainstorm for sub-topics.
d. The teacher solicits help from students in grouping the results into three sub-topics.
e. Teacher models use of the web by writing the student-selected sub-topics in their ovals and supporting details on the spokes.
f. Teacher models developing web-phrases into paragraphs by following the groupings shown on the web.
g. Teacher models developing opening and closing paragraphs from the hub of the web.
4. Teacher reviews with class the organization of expository writing - see -Six Traits of Writing- available at or the -Creating Writers- manual section on Organization (pp. 60-76).
5. Students are provided with a prompt modeled after those used on Florida FCAT. Example: -It is interesting to learn about how early Americans lived hundreds of years ago. Think about some things you have learned about how early Americans lived. Now explain some things you have learned or experienced about how early Americans lived.-
6. Allow 45 minutes for students to respond to the prompt.
7. Assess according to the attached writing rubric.


1. Lesson success is assessed by evaluating student papers for these two characteristics:
a. Do student responses have 5 paragraphs, including an introductory and concluding paragraph?
b. Do all paragraphs focus on the main topic?
2. Student products are assessed overall using the attached Writing Rubric which evaluates six writing characteristics on a scale of 1 - 5 each.

Web Links

Web supplement for Web Wilderness
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, Six Traits of Writing

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