Beacon Lesson Plan Library

All Aboard! All Aboard! The Essay Train

Brenda Lewis-Williams


All aboard! All aboard! Ride the English Trax! Come and enjoy a train ride with [The Little Engline That Could] and learn how to create a five-paragraph essay train.


The student uses an organizational pattern having a beginning, middle, and end (including but not limited to organizing ideas sequentially or around major points of information).


-A copy of [The Little Engline That Could]
-Construction paper
-Colored markers
-Print out of the history of [The Little Engine That Could] (see Weblinks)


1. Gather materials.
2. Make a copy of the rubric for the teacherís use. (see attached file).
3. Pre-read [The Little Engine That Could]
4. Print history of the book. ( from weblink).


Note: This lesson instructs and assesses based on prior knowledge of the five paragraph essay.

1. Ask the students if they have ever ridden on a train, (if students have, ask them to relate their experience.) Explain to students that we will use the components of a train to explain the components of a five paragraph essay.

2. Read [The Little Engine That Could] to the class.

3. Read the history of the book.

4. Encourage students to discuss the story and the purpose.

5. Ask the students to identify the different types of boxcars and contents.

6. Explain to students the different parts of the Essay Train and the relationship to five paragraph essay. The Engine=Introductory(Beginning) paragraph, explaining the parts of the introductory paragraph and their function (ie., introductory and supporting (detail) sentences. Body (Middle)
and the function of (ie., supporting details).
Caboose (conclusion) the wrap-up/tying it all together.

7. Ask the students what would be the purpose of an essay train.

8. Ask the students to identify the parts of a five paragraph essay.

9. Ask the students to draw a five car train.

10. Ask the student to label each boxcar as it relates to the five parts of an essay.

11. Ask the student to label the contents of each boxcar.

12. Ask the student to explain the purpose of the boxcar contents.

13. Give each student a copy of the rubric and explain the purpose and function of.

14. Have students assess their work based on the rubric.

15. Teacher will assess students work based on rubric.


-Note: This lesson instructs and assesses prior knowledge.
-Note: The criteria is noted on the categories of the rubric and the evidence is determined by having mastered the organizational pattern as listed in the last two categories of the rubric.
-Students will correctly label trains and identify contents of each train.
-Students will have mastered stage of an organization pattern having a beginning, middle, and end.


No adaptations or modifications are required to use effectively incorporate in lower or advanced students. The simplicity of the lesson permits students to have a readily available resource.

Web Links

Web supplement for All Aboard! All Aboard! The Essay Train
History of the Little Engine That Could

Attached Files

A chart to help with assessment of the lesson.     File Extension: pdf

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