The Five Paragraph Essay

Brenna Kane, Clinton Adult Learning Center, Clinton, MA

Pre-lesson interview
4 minutes
Brenna talks about her students and the purpose of the lesson.



April 2011, 15 minutes

Students learn how to write an essay for the GED 2002 series writing test, how to: brainstorm ideas for the topic they are presented with, organize the ideas, write a topic sentence, and write an introductory and concluding paragraph. They also learn what to expect in the testing situation, for example, that the topic is given, that they have to brainstorm ideas without getting blocked, and that they will not have time to draft and re-copy a final essay. Although the GED 2014 series exam does not include a writing test as such, some of the strategies may be useful for the writing sections of the exam. Also, this approach may be useful for other high school equivalency exams such as the TASC and the HiSET.

In this lesson students are given this topic: “What qualities do you think make up a good employer? Write an essay that identifies the qualities you think a good employer has, giving specific examples to back up your ideas.”

Select and print:
GED 2002 series Essay Scoring Rubrics
How to write a GED 2002 series essay
Prewriting Lesson Plan
Color-coded Five-paragraph Essay Model

Post-lesson interview
2 minutes
Brenna talks about how the lesson went.

5 thoughts on “The Five Paragraph Essay

  1. thanks for this. After having taught very basic level ESOL for over thirty years, I’m working on teaching intermediate level writing for international students at a university, and am grateful to be able to learn form authentic examples of other teachers’ practice. I’m considering having my writing students watch the actual lesson as it clarifies many of the points we’ve discussed and brings pieces of the writing process together.

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