Essay Structure Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to teach your students the basic structure of a five-paragraph essay. Students will watch a video lesson that explains each component, apply knowledge in active writing, then take a quiz to check understanding.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • explain the basic structure of a five-paragraph essay
  • plan and outline a five-paragraph essay


1 - 1.5 hours


  • Chart paper and marker
  • Writing paper and pencils

Key Vocabulary

  • Introduction paragraph
  • Body paragraph
  • Conclusion paragraph
  • Thesis statement
  • Topic sentence

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1

Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1.a

Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1.b

Support claim(s) with clear reasons and relevant evidence, using credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6.1.e

Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from the argument presented.

Warm Up and Preparation

  • Pose the question to students:
    • Who is the most influential pop star of the last decade?
  • Allow students to brainstorm answers, then discuss their ideas with a partner.
  • Now ask students to narrow their ideas down to one as you also choose one to use as a model writing during instruction. Write your answer on top of a piece of chart paper, such as 'Beyoncé is the most influential pop star of the last decade.'


  • Tell students you will now be working together to learn how to write a five-paragraph essay.
  • Start the lesson video Basic Essay Structure: The Five-Paragraph Essay and pause at 2:12.
  • Make a diagram on your chart paper of five boxes - one for the opening paragraph, three each for the body paragraphs, and one closing paragraph box.
  • Ask:
    • What is the purpose of the introductory paragraph?
    • What is the purpose of the body paragraphs?
    • What is the purpose of the closing paragraph?
  • Write answers to these questions in each box, making sure to leave room for you to write notes in your guided writing in a bit.
  • Resume the lesson and pause at 3:34.
  • Demonstrate how to think of a thesis statement and record it in your first box.
  • Next write each argument into the three body boxes.
  • Resume the lesson and pause at 6:13.
  • Model how to think of and write a topic sentence and supportive details for each of your body paragraphs.
  • Also, write a transitional sentence that connects each paragraph.
  • Play the remainder of the video lesson and then model how to outline the concluding paragraph.
  • Take the quiz to check understanding.

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