The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown is a great way to introduce the paragraph, main idea, and supporting details. Each page of the book starts, “The important thing about…” and describes what’s important about shoes, daisies, spoons, the sky, and the wind.
After I read the book, we discuss the pattern of the paragraphs. First, the class creates a paragraph together, with “The important thing about our class is…” The students discuss their ideas, and we decide on one main idea. The students give me ideas for supporting details, and I write everything on the board.
Before students write individually, I have them brainstorm aloud what they might use as their topic sentence. I’m amazed by what the second graders say: “The important thing about me is I enjoy my life” and “The important thing about me is I have compassion and mercy.”
The important thing about me is that I love to cook. I get dough and sauce and spin the dough in the sky. I get it warm in the oven. Then I get it flat to eat. I get cheese, pepperonis, and sauce and put the sauce first and then the other ingredients after the sauce. And wallah—you have a pizza. Then I can eat my pizza. The important thing about me is I love to cook.
posted by Amy Lin, Writers in the Schools