Welcome to HIT—How I Teach….In this episode, the question and answer format is utilized for elementary and middle school writers to write Christmas decoration paragraphs. In the question and answer format, the student is given one paragraph passages to answer questions about—and then they turn those answers into a new, original paragraph. This is a great approach for students who are not quite yet adept at finding information themselves—and especially for those who are still not sure what to include in a paragraph about a topic when they do find a source.

(You will have the paragraphs, instructions, and outlining lines for this Christmas project—so you can use the Teacher’s Notebook over and over again to teach this project!)

So why use a Q and A approach:

  • The source is given for the student
  • The questions that the student has to answer from the paragraph source are specific enough to guide the student in what information they should include in their paragraph
  • Seeing a paragraph written about the topic can be encouraging to an insecure writer
  • The student doesn’t have to read through the paragraph and decide themselves what to put in the paragraph—the answers to their questions do that for them

Additionally, in this project, each Christmas decoration is one paragraph in length. Thus, this is extremely multi-level. Younger students can write about one decoration they choose; older students can write about more than one; advanced students can write about a few and create an entire report about various Christmas decorations.

I explain it all—how to set the stage for the project; how to explain your expectations in a non-threatening way; how to utilize the question and answer space; how to add opening and closing paragraphs for older students; how to use this Q and A approach with other topics (including how to choose the paragraphs to use to be sure they are truly one paragraph summaries); and much more!

I love teaching writing to these youngers and middlers! The pride they have in their work is so heart-warming. I think you will find the same with this project and the instructions in this episode!


Of course, just like every lesson in my one-month downloadable books and my one-semester Meaningful Composition books, this one also has the invaluable sample paragraph!


And for your convenience, How I Teach…. is available as a podcast (follow along in your TN sheets for that week) and a YouTube video (with Power Point containing the same as the TN)! 

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