Friday, August 2, 2013

The Perfect Paragraph Hamburger Method

During my student teaching experience, the teacher I was interning with had a wonderful strategy to help her 9th grade Pre-AP students remember what went into a well-developed paragraph. She called it the perfect paragraph and used a hamburger as the visual.

When I finally had my own classroom, even though I was teaching 6th grade, I knew I wanted to implement this strategy. I developed a visual that embodied her idea, and my students reference this each time we approach a writing project. We use it for informational and argumentative writing and it fits the common core standards beautifully. The hardest part for students is the explanation, but I always give them the PB&J analogy (one my science teacher from elementary school taught us). She used it in connection with procedure. She said that you need to pretend like you are telling an alien how to make a PB&J sandwich. You couldn't just say, "Put the jam on the bread" because they might just take the jar of jam and place it on top of the loaf of bread. You have to walk them through the steps. "First, untwist the tie on the bread, then..." I explain to my students that explanation is similar to that. You think we understand the evidence without you needing to explain it, but pretend your reader is an alien in that moment. You have to explain why that evidence helps to prove your statement or your main point. 

I hope you fellow teachers out there will find use out of this. Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers site to download a free .doc file.

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