How to Write Introductory Paragraphs is an article by Mark Pennington that discusses writing introduction paragraphs. Pennington uses the acronym BAD RAPS to discuss strategies for writing well-thought introduction paragraphs.I found this article to be extremely helpful as a writer and as a future teacher.

Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper is a great article that gives information on all parts of a paper. I like that this article provides in depth detail that is easy for many age groups to understand. I also like that the article provides examples so that readers can see how the strategies look once they take place. Purdue points out that the introduction paragraph answers three important questions. 1. What is this? 2. Why am I reading it? 3. What do you want me to do? I think that by asking my students these questions they will better understand what material should be in the introduction paragraph.

The Introduction is also a helpful article. This article focuses more on getting to the point with your introduction paragraphs. Johnson provides a few strategies and some things to focus on while writing your introduction paragraph. Overall, I found this article to be helpful.

Works Cited for Scholarly Articles

Pennington, Mark. “How to Write Introductory Paragraphs.” Edarticle.com. Education Articles, 2 Jan. 2009. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.edarticle.com/article.php?id=655&gt;.

Brizee, Allen. “Introductions, Body Paragraphs, and Conclusions for an Argument Paper.” Owl.english.purdue.edu. Purdue OWL, 17 Apr. 2010. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/724/1/&gt;.

Johnson, T. “The Introduction.” Aucegypt.edu. American University in Cairo, May 2004. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www1.aucegypt.edu/academic/writers/introduction.htm&gt;.

A Proper Introduction is a website that gives a lot of helpful information on the Do’s and Don’ts of writing an introduction paragraph. This website can be shown to students in class as a resource for them to look at.

How to Write an Introduction Paragraph for Your Essay is a YouTube video that visually breaks down the elements that need to go into the introduction paragraph. I would use this in my classroom because it incorporates technology and I feel as if it would hold my students attention.

Works Cited for Extra Websites

Mcnamara, J. “The Proper Introduction.” Grammar.ccc.commnet.edu. Capital Community College Foundation, 2004. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/intros.htm&gt;.

Peak, David. “How to Write an Introduction Paragraph for Your Essay.” Youtube.com. YouTube, 21 Jan. 2009. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clPtbFT23Bs&gt;.

Writing Sample #2

As a teacher, I want to make sure that my students are comfortable with writing formal essays. For this sample, I will create a basic 5-Paragraph Essay to make sure my students are on track.

5-Paragraph Descriptive Essay

Assignment: Discuss the intent of the writers we have covered in this unit by constructing a 5-Paragraph Essay. Make sure that your essay is for a mature audience and is formal.

Time: 3 days (Day 1 – Rough Draft, Day 2 – Conference/Workshop, Day 3 – Final Draft)

Material: Stories by the authors – to be used for reference

Assessment: Workshop Participation and Final Draft


Prompt – Discuss the intent of the writers to create their works.

A writer’s intention to create their work can vary from family history to concern for one’s society. During the transition from the neo-classical to the romantic, many writers were making their intentions known to the reader by including a preface or having another writer create an introduction. This is very appealing to the reader because they can connect to the writer’s thoughts throughout the novel. Susanna Rowson, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne and many other writers that have been covered have made the intent for their works known to the reader. The intent of these writers can be characterized by society, life challenges, and family history.

Writing Sample #1

I like the idea of having my students journal, so for this first sample I will create a journal entry assignment.

Journal Entry Thesis Statements

Assignment: I am going to show the whole class some images by using a Power Point. The students will be told that this image is the topic for their essay. Each student must come up with at least one thesis statement for each image. At the end of the assignment we will go around the room and share what we have created.

Time: 30 minutes

Materials: PowerPoint Presentation, Journal, Pen/Pencil

Assessment: Students will be graded by participation and whether or not they have met the thesis requirements.


I will discuss the power that cats hold over their owners, their cunning movements, and sly looks and argue that cats are more dangerous than dogs.

Works Cited for Image

Funny Cat. Photograph. Funnyjunkz.com. Funny Junk. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.funnyjunkz.com/funny/funny-pictures/&gt;.

[Scavenger Hunt]

This assignment has two parts. Part One: For the next week, you’re on a scavenger hunt. Usually, when you have a scavenger hunt, you physically gather objects on a list. Instead of gathering the objects on your list, write complete descriptions of the items as you find them. You’ll use these descriptions in an assignment next week.

an angry exchange something unpleasant
an out-of-place object something fresh, new, or unused
a well-loved object a lost or forgotten object
something well-used a home-made or hand-made object

Part Two: Write a short story incorporating at least half of the descriptions that you found in your scavenger hunt. Weave in details, words, and phrases from your descriptions, but be discriminating — use the details, words, and phrases that fit well and help your story. Rewrite and revise the original description as necessary. Feel free to break them up, rearrange them, or add more information.

This assignment would be great for students to practice writing strong introduction paragraphs. After doing the scavenger hunt, they will have to compile all of their information and figure out the order in which they want their story to flow. After deciding on which events to discuss in the stories they create, the students will have to come up with a descriptive introduction paragraph to get the readers interested in their stories. I also like the fact that the scavenger hunt gets students involved in the writing assignment.

[Writing Effective Thesis Statement and Introductory Paragraphs for Research Papers]

The thesis statement is the focus of a research paper. Students frequently have a difficult time structuring a thesis statement that they can prove in their papers. This lesson helps students learn to write more effective thesis statements and then incorporate them into a strong introductory paragraph. Students do much of the lesson in pairs. Any part of the activity can be modified to be completed within 30 minutes.

After students have completed some initial reading and browsing on the topic of their paper, they need to learn to write an effective thesis statement in order to define the paper’s focus and content. Give each student a note card. Ask students to write a thesis focus, not necessarily a complete sentence but an idea. Then ask them to decide whether their paper is an exploration, a comparison, an argument, or a problem with a solution. Remind students that even exploration and comparison thesis statements should attempt to prove something about a topic. Once students have determined this, ask them to write a possible thesis statement on a note card and then exchange cards with a peer. Students should then help each other revise and refine their thesis statements. These can then be handed in for you to check. The next step is to create a powerful introductory paragraph. Model the following diagram on the board or overhead or with handouts for your students.

The introduction contains three sentences:
1. A universal statement
2. A bridge statement
3. A thesis statement

Students already have their thesis statements, so they should write a complete paragraph that contains all three components. After they finish writing the paragraphs, ask them to exchange paragraphs with a peer. Give each student three different colored pencils and have them underline the thesis in red, the universal in blue, and the bridge in green (or whatever colors you choose). The pairs should help each other use powerful words that have a clear purpose. Collect the paragraphs from the students.

1. Students will be able to develop effective thesis statements.
2. Students will be able to write and rewrite their work through a writing process.
3. Students will be able to construct an introductory paragraph containing a thesis statement.

Prerequisite Skills:
1. Students need to read information on their topic before they can begin to generate thesis statements.

Time Required:
one class period

Technology and Materials Needed:
1. Colored pencils
2. Note cards

Assessment Criteria:
1. Note card with thesis statement
2. Finished introductory paragraph

This activity would be helpful because it shows students how to properly construct an introduction paragraph. It is important for students to have experience in writing research papers because they will be assigned many of them during their college years. I also think this activity is great because it allows the students to come up with the ideas on their own. I will definitely answer any questions that students would have, but for the most part it is an individual assignment.

[A Thesis Statement Makes Specific Argument That Must Be Backed-up by Evidence From Primary and Secondary Sources]

Students will:
– analyze primary sources
– choose primary sources to support a given thesis
– select relevant quotes that best support thesis
– learn to footnote quotes

Explanation of Assignment
I chose thesis statements that are very easily supported by the documents on the “Web of Memory” site. I encouraged students to write their own thesis statements if possible. I found that students who had written thesis statements before, ended up writing their own or adapting the given thesis statements. Students who had no idea what a thesis statement was were helped dramatically with given thesis statements. Teachers, however, may choose to adapt thesis statements according to students’ ability.

The Web of Memory . . .

The Great Chicago Fire “Mini-Essay”
MINI-ESSAY IS DUE:______________

Overview: You will use primary documents to support a thesis about the Chicago Fire of
1871. Using direct quotes from those documents, you will write a “mini-essay”.

Step One: Find the website.
• Go to http://www.chicagohistory.org (This is the Chicago Historical Society site.)
• Click on “Online Projects”
• Click on “The Great Chicago Fire . . .;” Click “Continue”
• Click on “The Web of Memory.” (This part of the site shows how people have
remembered the Chicago Fire.)

Step Two: Browse the primary documents.
• There are three parts (“Essay,” “Galleries,” and “Library”) You may read the “Essay”
sections, but remember that because they were written by a historian and are
secondary sources, they are only one historian’s interpretation of the documents.
• Focus on the primary documents in the “Galleries” and “Library” sections.

Step Three: Choose a thesis statement that you think you can support with primary source

Thesis Statements:
1. The people of Chicago were united by the tragedy of the great Chicago fire of 1871.
2. Mrs. O’Leary is unfairly blamed for the Chicago fire of 1871.
3. Chicagoans responded favorably to efforts to commemorate the Chicago Fire with relics
and souvenirs.
4. Each media source told a very different story of the Chicago fire in 1871.
5. or . . . use another thesis statement of your own creation . . .

Step Four: Select quotes from at least two different primary documents to support your
chosen thesis statement.

Step Five: Write a 3 paragraph mini-essay that introduces the thesis, and uses quotes from
the documents to support it.
• Use at least two direct quotes (word for word) like so . . . “blah blah blah.”

[An Interesting Approach to Writing Introduction Paragraphs]

Rationale: Writing introductions can be one of the most difficult tasks for students because it is a starting point. The first step in a long journey is always the hardest. The teacher can make this easier by doing three things: dissect the introduction, give students a task that allows them to find the parts of an introduction, then give them a task that allows them to write their own. This lesson plan takes students step by step through writing an introduction.

Time: 90 minutes

Materials: A handout describing an introduction. Three examples of an introduction paragraph. Appropriate (clean) personal advertisements, one for each pair of students. You can find some at http://personals.yahoo.com/.

Step 1: Describing an Introduction Paragraph

Pair the students. Write the parts of an introduction on the blackboard. A good idea is to create a simple example or ask for help from the students:

The Parts of an Introduction

  • Hook
  • Comments, and background
  • Thesis Statement

An Example

  • Example topic: “The high cost of living in Tokyo”
  • Hook: Can you imagine how much a single day can cost if you live in Shibuya, Tokyo?
  • Comments and background: Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. The prices of things in Tokyo are much higher than in other parts of Japan. Many people living in Tokyo have a difficult time paying for their lifestyles.
  • Thesis Statement: Tokyo definitely is one of the most expensive cities for many reasons.

Step 2: Dissecting an Introduction

Describe the purpose of each section of an introduction.

  • A “hook” is usually a question or comment that inspires an emotional response from the reader. It should be used to get their interest.
  • Comments and background give a history or some information regarding the topic.
  • A thesis statement is the last sentence in the introduction paragraph and it describes what the essay is about.

Step 3: Identifying the Parts of an Introduction in Other Works

Give copies of three introduction paragraphs to student pairs. Ask the students to identify the parts of the introduction by underlining, circling, and bracketing. Ask confirmation questions to check answers.

Step 4:

Give the students copies of personal advertisements. Students must identify the hook in the personal ad. Ask confirmation questions to check answers.

Step 5:

Students now write their own personal ad. Tell them to write their hook in all capital letters. This will make them more aware of what they are doing. Students trade papers with other pairs to evaluate. Allow 5 to 10 minutes for discussions on ways to improve their hooks. Ask for volunteers to read some good ads with great hooks.

Step 6:

Students write their own introductions for their topics. Students need to write the hook in all capital letters, the comments and background in bold or darker letters, and finally the thesis statement should be underlined.


Works Cited for Writing Activities

Gardner, Traci. “Traci’s 17th List of Ten: Ten Creative Writing Activities.” Tengrrl.com. 12 June 2005. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.tengrrl.com/tens/017.shtml&gt;.

“Writing Effective Thesis Statements and Introductory Paragraphs Fors Research Papers.” Powertolearn.com. Power to Learn, 2011. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.powertolearn.com/teachers/lesson_activities/language_arts/index.shtml&gt;.

Wegner, Kathryn. “A Thesis Statement Makes Specific Argument That Must Be Backed-up by Evidence from Primary and Secondary Sources.” Chicagohistoryfair.org. Chicago Metropolitan History Fair. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.chicagohistoryfair.org/making-history/thesis-development/thesis-activities.html&gt;.

Bologna, Darren P. “An Interesting Approach to Writing Introduction Paragraphs.” Iteslj.org. The Internet TESL Journal, 2 Aug. 2002. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://iteslj.org/Lessons/Bologna-IntroParagraphs.html&gt;.

The Writing Teacher is maintained by a group of people. There are many great resources available on this blog. The authors also provide real life examples and activities from writing classrooms.

Two Writing Teachers is a blog that was created by two teachers who live almost 600 miles apart. This blog makes many great points about writing. These two teachers bring all of the latest research into one place for teachers to peruse. I found this blog to be extremely helpful, and I will definitely use it for ideas in my writing classroom.


Works Cited for Teacher Blogs

Web log post. Thewritingteacher.org. The Writing Teacher, 2009. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://www.thewritingteacher.org/storage/writing_teacher.jpg&gt;.

Ayres, Ruth, and Stacey Shubitz. Web log post. WordPress.com. WordPress, 2007. Web. 17 July 2011. <http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/about-us/&gt;.

The Writing Teacher’s Activity-A-Day Book can be purchased from many websites; including: Amazon, eBay, Half, and Google. This book is also reasonably priced!

This book seems like it could be very helpful to any teacher in a writing classroom. It is filled with different activities that are short and useful. Many different areas of writing and the writing process are covered in this teacher friendly book. I focused most of my attention on the How-To or Process Writing (Introduction) on page 93. The activity provided for this section seems like it will keep students focused and entertained while learning how to write strong introduction paragraphs.

LIVE Writing Breathing Life Into Your Words Book can also be purchased from many websites; including: Kobo, Abebooks, Amazon, and Half. This book is also reasonably priced and would make a great addition to any writing teacher’s bookshelf.

This book can be useful for a teacher because the author fills the book with real-life examples. One of the best resources in the book is a recommended reading list. The author provides the reader with two pages full of MLA citations for books that have been deemed useful. The author focuses on filling the writer’s “toolbox” with tips for better writing.

Many of these websites, especially Google and Amazon, will show you other books that are similar to the ones you have selected. This is an excellent resource to use when looking for teacher friendly books. Many of the books that are suggested to you actually seem to be worth a look. Many of them are filled with activities and daily lesson plans that can be used during a writing classroom. To find these teacher friendly novels I used a search engine to find ‘teacher friendly books on writing’.

Works Cited for Teacher Friendly Books

Ledbetter, Mary Ellen. The Writing Teacher’s Activity-a-day: 180+ Reproducible Prompts and Quick-writes for the Secondary Classroom. 1st ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. Print.

Fletcher, Ralph. “Live Writing: Breathing Life into Your Words.” Goodreads.com. Goodreads Inc. Web. 17 July 2011.    <http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/231550.Live_Writing&gt;.