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When I look back to my first experience teaching five paragraph essays to fifth graders, I can remember how terribly unprepared I felt.
I knew that the five paragraph essay format was what my students needed to help them pass our state’s writing assessment but I had no idea where to start.
I researched the few grade-appropriate essays I could find online (these were the days before Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers) and determined that there was a structure to follow.
Every essay followed the same basic structure. I taught the structure to my students and they did well.
I have been teaching five paragraph essay structure and everything that goes with it for several years now. I hope that after you read this blog post, you will have a good understanding of how to teach and grade five paragraph essays.
Once you’ve learned all about teaching basic essay structure, you’ll be ready to grow your writers from “blah” to brilliant!
Teaching five paragraph essays is just one part of teaching 5th grade writing. Click here to find out exactly how I teach writing to my 5th graders!
Start with Simple Paragraphs
We always start with simple paragraphs.
Yes, this is basic, but if your students cannot write excellent paragraphs, their five paragraph essays will be train wrecks. Trust me!
We spend a while cementing paragraph structure:
I give students topics, they come up with their own topics, we write together, they write with a partner or independently, the more variety, the better.
We have fun with simple paragraphs. Then, it’s time to move on to body paragraphs.
Organize and Write Body Paragraphs
Please refer to my five paragraph essay organizer below.
The three body paragraphs are absolutely crucial to the success of the five paragraph essay.
Some teachers have trouble teaching the structure of five paragraph essays because they start with the introduction paragraph.
Always teach the body paragraphs first!
I had a teacher say to me once, “What’s the point of just writing parts of the essay? They need to write the entire five paragraphs to get all of the practice they need.”
I understand that point. However, think of it as building a house. Should you test out the foundation and make sure it’s sound and sturdy before building on top of it? Absolutely! That’s what we’re doing here.
The three body paragraphs are the foundation of the essay.
Ask students to write out their three body paragraphs just like they have practiced…Topic sentence…Detail 1…Detail 2…Detail 3…Closing Sentence.
I “ooooh and aaaah” over their three paragraphs. Students are on their way to five paragraph essays, so be sure to build their confidence.
Teach the Introduction Paragraph
I have to say, this is my favorite paragraph to teach. The introduction paragraph is what draws readers into the essay and makes them want to read more.
We start with what I call a “hook.” The hook captures the readers’ attention and can come in many forms: asking a question, making a bold statement, sharing a memory, etc.
After the hook, I ask students to add a sentence or two of applicable commentary about the hook or about the prompt in general.
Finally, we add the thesis sentence. The thesis sentence always follows the same formula: Restate the prompt, topic 1, topic 2, and topic 3.
That’s all you need to write an excellent introduction paragraph!
I do suggest having students write the introduction paragraph plus body paragraphs a couple of times before teaching the closing paragraph.
Teach the Closing Paragraph
In the conclusion paragraph, we mainly focus on restating the thesis and including an engaging closing thought.
With my students, I use the analogy of a gift.
The introduction paragraph and body paragraphs are the gift and the conclusion paragraph is the ribbon that ties everything together and finishes the package.
When you talk about restating the thesis sentence, tell students that they need to make it sound different enough from their original thesis sentence to save their readers from boredom.
Who wants to read the same thing twice? No one!
Students can change up the format and wording a bit to make it fresh.
I enjoy teaching the closing thought because it’s so open to however students want to create it.
Ways to write the closing thought: ask a question, personal statement, call to action, or even a quote.
I especially like reading the essays in which a quote is used as a closing thought or a powerful statement is used.
Example of a full five paragraph essay
Let’s Talk About Color-Coding!
Who doesn’t like to color? This is coloring with a purpose!
Training your students to color-code their paragraphs and essays will make grading so much easier and will provide reminders and reinforcements for students.
When students color-code their writing, they must think about the parts of their paragraphs, like topic sentences, details, and the closing sentence.
They will be able to see if they are missing something or if they’ve written something out of order.
Color-coding is a wonderful help for the teacher because you can skim to ensure that all parts of your students’ paragraphs and essays are present.
Also, when you are grading, you can quickly scan the paragraphs and essays. Trust me, you will develop a quick essay-grading ability.
I start color-coding with my students at the very beginning when they are working on simple paragraphs. I add the additional elements of the color-code as we progress through our five paragraph essays.
This is the code that I use:
Let’s Talk About Grading Five Paragraph Essays!
Imagine a lonely, stressed teacher grading five paragraph essays on the couch while her husband is working the night shift.
That was me!
Seriously, guys, I would spend about ten minutes per essay. I marked every little error, I made notes for improvement and notes of encouragement. I reworked their incorrect structure.
Those papers were full of marks.
On Monday, I proudly brought back the essays and asked students to look over them and learn what they needed to fix for next time.
You can guess what happened… there were lots of graded essays in the trashcan at the end of the day.
I decided that my grading practices had to change. I needed my weekends back and my students needed to find their own errors!
This is my best advice:
STOP correcting every error!
Your students are not benefiting from marks all over their writing. They need to find those errors themselves so that they will remember their mistakes and change their writing habits.
Do a quick scan of each student’s writing as soon as it’s turned in to you.
If there are major problems with a student’s writing, call him/her over individually and show him/her what needs to be fixed or put the student with a competent peer editor who will help them fix mistakes.
If you have several students who are struggling with a skill, like closing sentences, do a mini-lesson on this topic.
You can do a mini-lesson with a small group. However, I prefer doing mini-lessons with the entire class. The kids who need help will get it and the rest of your class will receive a refresher.
It’s OK if there are some small spelling/grammar mistakes!
If the errors are few and they don’t take away from the meaning/flow of the essay, I don’t worry about them.
Our students are still learning.
Even your brightest star writer will have a few spelling/grammar mistakes from time to time.
Don’t discourage students from writing because of small errors.
Students who receive papers back with markings all over them don’t think, “Oh boy, my teacher has made it so easy for me to make all of these corrections.” They are thinking, “What’s the point in writing? I must be a terrible writer. Look at all of these mistakes.”
If your students are taking a standardized writing assessment, the structure and flow of their essays will be worth much more than perfect spelling.
Need more help?
I created this five paragraph essay instructional unit for teachers who are new to teaching five paragraph essays OR just need all of the materials in one place.
“Teacher Talk” pages will guide you through the unit and this unit contains all materials needed to help students plan, organize, and write amazing five paragraph essays! Click here to check it out:
I have a freebie for you! Enter your first name and email address below. You’ll receive three original prompts with five paragraph essay organizers AND two lined final draft pages!
Once your students are good essay writers…
These task cards will help your students stay sharp on their five paragraph essay knowledge. Students will review hooks (attention-getters), thesis sentences, body paragraphs, topic sentences, closings, and more. Each card contains a unique writing example!
I suggest using these task cards as a quiz/test, scoot game, individual review, or cooperative group activity.
Click on the image to view these task cards:
To save this post for later, simply pin this image to your teacher Pinterest board!
Wow! I really enjoyed reading this. I’ve always stressed over the thought of teaching writing, but your blog makes me think I can do it successfully. Putting your writing packet on my TPT wish list!
Thank you, Shannon! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. I am so glad that my blog post was helpful to you!
Thanks for the tips! When I taught 6th grade I taught this same subject matter, but struggled to get started. I wish I had this then!
I appreciate your comment! Teaching was much different before Pinterest, wasn’t it?!?
This helped me so much!🙂 thanks a lot, I imagined being one student of yours. I’d be so smart and good at essays! Would’ve been so much easier in person❤️❤️❤️
Thank you so much, Aizlyn!
Thank you so much for this! May I ask where I can see the rubric for scoring the compositions?
You are so welcome! Click on the resource link. Then, you will see the rubric in the preview!
Thank you so much,I am a parent and this really helped me be clear how to guide my son. God bless you always.,
Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!
you are welcome!!!
This looks great! Looking forward to using your tips and freebies with my 6th graders. 🙂 THANK YOU.
You are so welcome! Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!
Can’t wait to use this with my class tomorrow! Thanks a bunch for sharing!!
You are so welcome, Amy!
Thank you for making it easy to teach an essay with clarity.
You are very welcome, Yamuna! Thanks for taking the time to leave feedback 🙂
I am so happy I discovered your blog. I just started teaching grade 5 in September I have been searching for a simple method to hel me in guiding them in writing. I will be putting your method into practice in the coming week.
That’s wonderful, Cherry! Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Welcome to fifth grade 🙂
Beautiful lesson well explained! Thank you so very much .
Thank you so much, Cheryl!
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100 Best Fun Writing Prompts for 5th Grade: Journal Prompts
- Prompts for Narrative Essays
- Prompts for Informative Essay Writing
- Prompts for Research Writing
- Funny Fifth Grade Writing Prompts
- 5th Grade Poetry Writing Prompts
- Prompts for 5th Grade Fiction Writing
- 5th Grade Animal Writing Prompts
- 5th Grade Emotion Writing Prompts
- Journal Writing Prompts for Fifth Graders
- 5th Grade Descriptive Writing Prompts
As parents and teachers, we recognize the significance of writing as a fundamental skill that enables children to express their thoughts, emotions, and ideas. However, generating ideas and inspiration for writing can be challenging for many 5th-grade students. To aid students in this process, 5th grade writing prompts prove to be a valuable resource. Furthermore, Science Daily published an article that highlights the crucial connection between handwriting and brain activity. Writing can increase brain activity, leading to better memory retention and cognitive development. This is particularly important for students as it can positively impact their academic performance.
“Writing is the painting of the voice.” – Voltaire
By using writing prompts, children can explore various topics, develop their imagination, and hone their writing skills. In this collection, we have compiled various writing prompts that are engaging, entertaining, and sure to inspire creativity in 5th grade students. This collection has something for everyone: Persuasive writing, descriptive essays, narrative stories, and imaginative writing. Fifth grade journal prompts can help inspire creativity and reflection in their writing. So, let’s get started and explore these exciting 5th Grade writing prompts.
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Explore 5th Grade educational resources !
10 Prompts for Narrative Essays
Writing Narrative Essays? Here Are Ten 5th grade narrative writing prompts:
“A great story can lead us to new worlds, new ideas, and new ways of thinking.” – Neil Gaiman
- Write about a time when you faced a difficult decision.
- Imagine you are stranded on a deserted island. Describe what you would do?
- Create a narrative about a magical adventure.
- Write about a time when you learned something important.
- Think about the prospect of time travel. How would you react, and where would you go?
- Develop a narrative about a superhero you create.
- Describe a time when you overcame a fear.
- Imagine you can do whatever you want. Tell me what it would be and how you’d use it.
- Create a narrative about a day in the life of your pet.
- Write about a time when you had to stand up for what you believe in.
10 Prompts for Informative Essay Writing
A list of ten 5th grade writing prompts to get you started on an informative essay:
- Write an essay about a famous person who inspires you.
- Research and write an essay about a historical event that interests you.
- Write about the benefits of physical activity and exercise.
- Write an essay about the effects of technology on society.
- Research and write an essay about a country you would like to visit.
- Write about the importance of reading books .
- Write an essay about the positive and negative effects of social media.
- Research and write an essay about an animal species that is endangered.
- Write about the importance of recycling and conserving natural resources.
- Please write an essay about the role of education in shaping our future.
10 Prompts for Research Writing
Here are ten Research writing prompts for 5th grade:
“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.” -Zora Neale Hurston, author and anthropologist.
- Research and write about your favorite historical figure.
- Choose a famous landmark and research its history and significance.
- Investigate and write about an important event in history.
- Research and write about a unique and interesting animal species.
- Study and write about famous inventors and their inventions.
- Research and write about the culture and traditions of a country you are interested in.
- Explore and write about a current scientific discovery or innovation.
- Investigate and write about the effects of climate change on a particular region or ecosystem.
- Research and write about a famous artist and their artwork.
- Study and write about a significant moment in space exploration history.
10 Funny Fifth Grade Writing Prompts
Here are ten prompts for Fun Writing Prompts for 5th Grade:
- Write a funny story about a talking animal.
- Imagine speaking to your pet and writing about what you would say.
- Write a comic dialog between two unlikely characters.
- Write a humorous story about a mischievous character getting into trouble.
- Create a funny story using three random objects.
- Write a funny kids’ poem . This can be about your favorite food.
- Imagine a world where everything is opposite, and develop a narrative about it.
- Develop a narrative about a silly superhero with extraordinary power.
- Create a funny dialog between a parent and a child.
- Develop a narrative about a funny and unexpected event that happened to you.
10 5th Grade Poetry Writing Prompts
The following are ten writing topics for 5th graders seeking poetry writing prompts:
- Write a poem about your favorite season.
- Imagine you are a raindrop falling from the sky. Write a poem describing your journey.
- Write a poem about a place that makes you happy.
- Choose an object in the room and write a poem about it.
- Write a poem about a dream you had.
- Create a poem that includes the words “whisper,” “twist,” and “moon.”
- Write a poem about a memorable moment with a friend.
- Describe a beautiful sunset in a poem.
- Write a poem about the ocean and all its wonders.
- Create a poem about your favorite animal.
10 Prompts for 5th Grade Fiction Writing
Opinion writing prompts 5th grade to help encourage critical thinking and self-expression in young students. Here are ten 5th grade writing prompt ideas to get them started:
- Create a story about a mysterious package that arrives in the mail.
- Develop a narrative about a person who can time travel.
- Create a story about a magic tree that grants wishes.
- Imagine being lost in the forest and creating a story about your adventure.
- Develop a narrative about a group of friends who discover a hidden treasure.
- Create a story about a person who can talk to animals.
- Create a narrative about a family vacation gone wrong.
- Imagine you could shrink to the size of an ant. Develop a narrative about your adventures.
- Create a story about a person who wakes up one day with superpowers.
- Develop a narrative about a group of people stranded on a deserted island.
10 5th Grade Animal Writing Prompts
Here are ten writing ideas for 5th grade for animal-themed assignments:
- If you could be any animal for a day, which animal would you choose and why?
- Create a narrative told from the point of view of a bear family as they emerge from their hibernation period.
- Describe the life of a whale in the deep sea.
- Write a persuasive essay on why zoos are important for conserving endangered animals.
- Describe the life of a squirrel gathering nuts for winter.
- Write a fictional story about a fox trying to outsmart a group of chickens.
- Describe the life of a butterfly from caterpillar to butterfly.
- Write a research paper on the migration patterns of birds.
- Describe the life of a lion in the savannah.
- Write a poem about the beauty of nature and the animals that live in it.
10 5th Grade Emotion Writing Prompts
Here are ten prompts for 5th grade writing prompts About Emotion:
- Describe a moment when you experienced a strong sense of self-satisfaction and accomplishment.
- Describe a moment when you felt scared and how you overcame your fear.
- Create a narrative about a character who overcomes a difficult challenge.
- Describe a time when you felt happy for someone else.
- Write a letter to your future self about your dreams and aspirations.
- Describe a time when you felt angry and how you managed your anger.
- Develop a narrative about a character who learns the importance of forgiveness.
- Describe a moment when you felt grateful for something or someone.
- Write a poem about the different emotions that people feel.
- Describe when you felt sad and how you coped with your sadness.
10 Journal Writing Prompts for Fifth Graders
The following are ten suggestions for 5th grade journal prompts to use:
- Describe an instance where you successfully conquered a challenging obstacle.
- Describe a moment when you felt proud of yourself and why.
- Write about a place that is special to you and why it is important.
- Describe a time when you helped someone else and how it made you feel.
- Write about your favorite book and what you learned from it.
- Describe an instance where you made a mistake and what you learned from it.
- Write about a person who inspires you and why.
- Describe a time when you felt grateful for something or someone.
- Write about your favorite hobby and why you enjoy it.
- Describe when you tried something new and what you learned from the experience.
When choosing 5th grade journal topics, consider selecting prompts that encourage students to explore their interests, emotions, and experiences in a safe and supportive environment.
10 5th Grade Descriptive Writing Prompts
Here are ten topics to consider when looking for descriptive writing prompts for 5th grade:
- Describe your favorite outdoor place and explain why it is special to you.
- Write a descriptive paragraph about a delicious meal you recently enjoyed.
- Imagine you’re walking through a spooky forest. Describe what you see, hear, and feel.
- Describe the view from your bedroom window. What can you see in the distance?
- Write a paragraph describing a character from your favorite book. What do they look like, and what makes them interesting?
- Describe your dream bedroom. What colors would you use, and what kind of furniture would you have?
- Imagine you’re on a deserted island. Describe the island and the environment around you.
- Write a paragraph describing a memorable moment from a family vacation.
- Describe a special item you keep in your room. Why is it important to you?
- Imagine you’re in a bustling city. Describe the sights, sounds, and smells you experience.
Encourage Fifth Graders in Becoming Writers
Writing is a significant skill that is essential for communication, expression, and personal growth. As highlighted in an article published by UCONN , writing prompts play a crucial role in engaging students’ interest in a particular topic and encouraging them to write thoughtfully and creatively. While effective prompts should introduce and limit the writing topic, they should also provide clear instructions about the writing task. It is imperative to equip 5th graders with resources and guidance to help them develop their writing skills.
Educators and parents can provide 5th grade journal prompts and creative exercises to assist students in exploring various forms of writing and finding their unique voice. Additionally, feedback and constructive criticism can help students improve their strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, teaching 5th graders to write improves their academic and personal lives by promoting self-expression, creativity, and critical thinking.
Fifth Grade Writing Prompts for Developing Young Writers
5th-grade writing prompts can be a powerful tool for parents and teachers to help students develop their writing skills and creativity. By providing a starting point for writing, prompts can help students overcome writer’s block and find inspiration for their ideas. The prompts in this collection cover a wide range of topics and genres, encouraging students to explore their interests and experiences through writing.
“A well-crafted writing prompt can spark creativity and lead to a deeper understanding of oneself and the world around us.” – Laura Robb
Parents and teachers can inspire students to develop regular writing habits and enhance their skills by utilizing 5th grade journal prompts. According to an article published by the Journal of Instructional Research , both approaches of writing i.e. direct and indirect, have positive effects on students’ writing abilities. This article dived into exploring these approaches for promoting writing. The direct approach focuses on teaching writing skills explicitly and providing feedback on children writing. The indirect approach, on the other hand, emphasizes creating a supportive environment that encourages writing.
We can motivate students to write on a variety of topics, experiment with different writing styles, and share their work with others. By nurturing a passion for writing, we can help our students become confident, creative, and effective communicators. Why not give these prompts a try and see where they take you? Let’s encourage our young writers to unleash their creativity and express themselves through the power of writing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are these prompts suitable for all 5th class students.
These 5th grade writing prompts are designed to be accessible to most students, but they may need to be modified or adapted for students with special needs or English language learners.
How can I implement these ideas into my lesson plans?
Creative writing prompts 5th grade to use it for anything from journal entries to class discussions. Teachers can also have their students use these as a springboard for creative thinking and topic development.
Can these prompts be used for other grade levels?
Yes, many of these prompts can be adapted for other grade levels depending on the level of complexity and difficulty. Teachers can also modify the prompts better to fit the interests and abilities of their students.
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