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1st Grade Expository Writing Lesson Plan

Julia is a kindergarten teacher who loves bringing the world of learning to children.

Expository Writing Lesson Plan for 1st Grade

Expository Writing Lesson Plan for 1st Grade

Lesson Objectives and Goals

The objectives of this lesson will focus on writing short sentences to repeat or summarize important details from a text. Also, the students will be able to tell important information from a story. In order to support grammar skills, there will also be a word work activity in which students will be able to recognize and connect homophones.

This lesson plan introduces expository writing and idea development. Students will focus on writing the first draft of a text.

The text that will be used for this lesson is titled "Into the Sea" from Fountas & Pinnell leveled series. This is a level K book intended for the first and second grades.

Expository Writing Lesson Plan for 1st Grade

Expository Writing Lesson Plan for 1st Grade


  • Book Into the Sea from Fountas & Pinnell
  • A dry erase board for modeling your own summary to the students.
  • Paper to prepare important sentences/words for their word lists and summary if needed.

The homophone game in this lesson may have the following words (words that are bold indicate the word that matches the picture):

  1. Doe/dough
  2. Fairy/ferry
  3. Hair/hare
  4. Steak/stake
  5. Close/clothes
  6. Eye/I

You can come up with your own list of words and use clip-art for pictures if necessary.

Reading Activity

It's a good idea to script out a lesson regarding how you want to approach your students on a topic. If a substitute needs to use the lesson, a scripted lesson will provide them with appropriate guidance.

Begin by introducing the book and different ideas about the story to activate the students' prior knowledge of the subject matter. This will give students an idea of what they will be reading about, and it can make it easier for students to decode a text after having a discussion through an introduction.

For example, you may say:

“Let’s read this book, Into the Sea, and afterward we are going to talk and write about it.”

Allow for the students to read silently or aloud as needed, monitoring reading skills and helping as necessary.

“I read a book before I came to class and this book was about lemurs, I am going to show you what it means to summarize by telling you a short summary of the book I read.”

Supporting Effective Writing Strategies

It's important to support effective writing strategies for students. In this activity, the students must learn to summarize Into the Sea. In order to activate prior knowledge, you may ask questions and provide students with information on the activity. The following is an example of how I did this in the classroom:

Can anyone tell me what a summary is?"

Allow for students to answer.

"When a reader (that’s us) summarizes a story, we tell about what happened. We need to tell what is most important, tell it in a way that makes sense, and try not to tell too much, a summary shouldn’t be too long.

Now, when I decided to make a summary of my story, I thought about those three things (re-iterate if necessary, the three criteria listed above) and I decided to write down words and sentences that show what was most important to remember.”

I would then show students my list of ideas, including:

  • They have a long tail
  • Lemurs are the same size as a cat
  • Lemurs have stripes on their tails
  • They live in Madagascar

"These are some of the important things about lemurs, and now I am going to demonstrate my summary for you."

Give your students a brief verbal summary of the story of lemurs, including the three criteria and words/sentences from the list.

Drafting and Revising

After teaching the effective writing strategy, students are ready to try the strategy on their own. From my example, you can see that I provided a model for the students. However, I used a different text so that students would be able to come up with their own ideas. The following is an example of how I introduced the activity to the students:

“I would like you to take a moment and write some words and sentences that are important in making a summary of our story about the sea. Take a moment and write some of these ideas down."

Allow the students a few minutes to write.

"I want you to turn to a partner and tell them the items on your list that you thought were important."

After the students create their list of important ideas, they should put it into sentence format in order to create an appropriate summary. However, because of the ability level of a first-grade class, the students can give a verbal summary. Use your own discretion based on the ability level of your students.

The revision process can be introduced as follows:

  • "Are all of the ideas on your list important? Are some of the ideas unimportant? How do you know?" (Discuss with your students what might be important.)
  • "Now that we have our list of important ideas, we need to make our summary, but we are going to discuss our summary instead of writing one. What are the other two things we need to know in order to make a summary?" (Allow for answers and prompt if necessary).
  • "Let's put our summaries together, all three pieces. Look to your neighbor and tell them a summary of the story."

Extending the Text

Extending the text can reinforce ideas and subject matter for the students.
For this lesson, I asked my students to give a brief verbal summary of a story we read together in class.

“Think of a book that we have read together before, one that you really remember well, turn to your partner and try to give them a summary of that story."

Prompt students if they cannot think of stories.

Remind your students to use all three pieces of a summary. Participate in the students’ discussions and ask questions about important ideas from the story. Ask whether or not the summary makes sense, etc.

Word Work Activity: Homophones

This is an introduction to the word work activity, which focuses on homophones. The students in my class had prior knowledge of homophones, so this exercise can be adjusted accordingly to your students' ability level. It's a good idea to define what a homophone is regardless of the students' prior knowledge. Doing so will reinforce the concept for your students.

“A while ago we worked with words called ‘homophones’. Does anyone remember what that was?"

Allow time for your students to answer.

"Homophones are words that sound the same, but they are not spelled the same and they do not mean the same thing. If you can remember, we did a word match with pictures. One homophone that I remember was 'pear' (as in fruit) and 'pair' (as in a pair of shoes).

You are going to have a chance to play a game with homophones so you can have some good practice recognizing them. There will be a picture in front of you and two cards. Flip over the card that you think matches the picture. For instance if there is a picture of a pair of shoes, I would choose the word P-A-I-R. Then I would like you to flip over the card to see if you are right. The back of the card will say “Yes” or “No,” then move on to the next card. If we have time we can play twice so you might have the chance to get them all right. After you are done with the first one, pass it to the person on your left so you can try another one.”

© 2011 Julia Shebel


Nicole A. Winter from Chicago, IL on November 03, 2012:

jshe4941: This is a fantastically informative hub! I don't know if you've heard about this article in Businessweek about teachers selling their lesson plans online... (or how much of a hassle it is, for that matter,) it's definitely something I think you should check out, you've put a lot of great work into this.

Lisa Gilbertson on August 28, 2012:

Thanks for the great details. Great ideas.

jpelczar on March 26, 2012:

Fabulous post. I have an 8 year old and I will surely use the information in this article to assist him. Thank you. Voted up.

Kelly Umphenour from St. Louis, MO on March 05, 2012:

I do think this can be adapted for any year! I have a 5, 6, and 23 year old only the 12 year old knew what a homophone was:) lol. The 23 year old is in college so I'm cutting her a bit of slack...she gave me a smart answer when I called and asked her:) lol but - now they have been further educated! Thank you - really a terrific help to any parent. We have never read that book before either!

Joseph De Cross from New York on August 28, 2011:

Not too bad for being your first hub! Learning a lot with this hub. Psychology is the key in this lesson planning. Voted interesting!


Danette Watt from Illinois on July 27, 2011:

I don't teach elementary level students but parts of this hub could be adapted to any grade level, even college.

I voted this up and useful. I thought it was very well written with clear explanations of what your plan was and thought the picture was cute.

My sister is also on HP and got me into writing here.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 20, 2011:

This is a really fabulous lesson plan! I'd never have the opportunity to use it since I don't teach, but I bet this could be adapted for babysitting situations, too. Voted up and useful!