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The Paragraph

Basics of paragraph writing.
by

Sarah Hayes

on 27 June 2013

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Transcript of The Paragraph

Like a story, a paragraph has three parts:
The Paragraph
HOW LONG IS A PARAGRAPH?
one idea

Paragraph Structure
beginning
middle
end
Topic Sentence
expresses the main idea of the paragraph
lets the reader know what to expect in the rest of the paragraph
Supporting Sentences
ELABORATE on your topic sentence.
Provide SPECIFIC EVIDENCE to SUPPORT your main idea.
develop in detail
Clincher Sentence
Don't leave your reader hanging!
gives the reader closure
signals the reader that you're done elaborating on this topic and are going to move on to another topic
pulls together details and signals the end of the paragraph, often using a transition
therefore, as a result
There were Indian societies that dwelt in permanent settlements, and others that wandered. Some were wholly democratic, and others had very rigid class systems based on property. Some were ruled by gods and carried around on litters; some had judicial systems; to some the only known punishment was torture. Some lived in caves, others in tepees of bison skins, others in cabins. There were tribes ruled by warriors or by women, by sacred elders or by councils. There were tribes who worshiped the bison or a matriarch or the maize they lived by. There were tribes that had never heard of war, and there were tribes debauched by centuries of fighting.
Find the topic sentence:
In the past forty years, anthropologists have done some very thorough digging into the life of the North American Indians and have discovered a bewildering variety of cultures and societies beyond anything the schoolbooks have taught. There were Indian societies that dwelt in permanent settlements, and others that wandered. Some were wholly democratic, and others had very rigid class systems based on property. Some were ruled by gods and carried around on litters; some had judicial systems; to some the only known punishment was torture. Some lived in caves, others in tepees of bison skins, others in cabins. There were tribes ruled by warriors or by women, by sacred elders or by councils. There were tribes who worshiped the bison or a matriarch or the maize they lived by. There were tribes that had never heard of war, and there were tribes debauched by centuries of fighting. In short, there was a great diversity of Indian nations, speaking over five hundred languages.
Activity Instructions
You will receive a card with a sentence from a paragraph.
Find the other sentences that make up the paragraph.
Put the sentences in order—make sure you have a reason for the order you choose!
Give the “paragraph” (all of the cards in order) to one member of the group who will share the paragraph with the class.
Quietly return to your seat.
Frost returned home to unexpected fame. The two books he completed while in England were widely available and well-reviewed. Despite this success, he settled back into his familiar way of life, buying a farm in New Hampshire. As before, he supported his family through the combination of farming and teaching. At last, though, his talents were being recognized by editors and reviewers.
Robert Frost
Avalanche Report
The similarities in the two news stories were obvious. Both reported the story as a human beings-versus-nature story, focusing on the awesome power of the avalanche and on the heroic efforts of rescue workers. Both featured interviews of people on the scene and informed their audiences that this area of the French Alps is prone to avalanches. Finally, both stories showed the site of the avalanche on a map of Europe.
NASA
During the 1960s, America achieved great success with the space program. When the Soviet Union launched its first satellite, Sputnik, in 1957, the U.S. met the challenge by forming NASA. In May 1961, NASA put the first American in space—Alan Shepard. Shepard’s achievement was followed by a round-the-world space flight by John Glenn. NASA then embarked on a series of highly successful missions. Finally, in 1969 came the high point of America’s space program: the Apollo 11 mission landed the first Americans on the moon.
Cost of Recycling
Recycling more can reduce the mountains of garbage we produce—and reduce the costs associated with all the landfills where the garbage is dumped. Garbage does not just disappear after it is hauled away. It usually goes into landfills—many of which have created toxic pollution problems and enormous cleanup costs. People often object to recycling saying it costs too much. Brenda Platt of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance says, “Studies have concluded that recycling costs less than traditional trash collection and disposal when communities achieve high levels of recycling.” Therefore, people should understand that recycling actually saves money by reducing waste and by eliminating the costs that go along with solid-waste disposal and landfill cleanup.
"The Scarlet Ibis" Analysis
Throughout “The Scarlet Ibis,” the author creates the mood through diction. In the first paragraph, the narrator describes the flowers around his childhood home as “rotting brown magnolia petals” and “graveyard flowers.” Even the scent of the flowers is described as “speaking softly the names of our dead.” This description refers to the aspects of nature with words that remind the reader of death. Hurst is creating an atmosphere of approaching tragedy. Because the story revolves around the relationship between the narrator and his frail brother, Doodle, the mood makes the reader worry about Doodle’s future.
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