The "paragraph hamburger" is a writing organizer that visually outlines the key components of a paragraph. Topic sentence, detail sentences, and a closing sentence are the main elements of a good paragraph, and each one forms a different "piece" of the hamburger.
Why use a paragraph hamburger organizer?
- It helps students organize their ideas into a cohesive paragraph.
- It helps show the organization or structure of concepts/idea.
- It demonstrates in a concrete way how information is related.
|When to use:||Before reading||During reading||After reading|
|How to use:||Individually||With small groups||Whole class setting|
How to use paragraph hamburger
- Discuss the three main components of a paragraph, or story.
- The introduction (top bun)
- The internal or supporting information (the filling)
- The conclusion (bottom bun)
- Ask students to write a topic sentence that clearly indicates what the whole paragraph is going to be about.
- Have students compose several supporting sentences that give more information about the topic.
- Instruct students on ways to write a concluding sentence that restates the topic sentence.
Download blank templates
This PowerPoint presentation shows each of the pieces of the hamburger. The example provided is about why a teacher loves teaching!
This site walks readers through each step of using the paragraph hamburger writing strategy. Examples and instructions are given for writing topic sentences, supporting ideas, and conclusions of paragraphs.
Children's books to use with this strategy
Are We There Yet?
An 8-year old girl and her family tour their county, Australia, as tourists. Not only amusing, but this appealing book introduces the culture and diversity of this huge continent.
A small rabbit is found by the Monroe family at the movies on the night they saw a vampire movie makes Harold, the family dog, wonder if it's really a vampire bunny. The story is told from Harold's point of view, whose observations of the animals and the humans are laugh-out-loud funny.
Diary of a Worm
The life of a worm — from the worm's point of view as revealed in his diary makes a very funny picture book.
Stanley functions quite normally in spite of the fact that he becomes only a quarter inch thick after a bulletin board flattens him - literally. This is the first of a series of books about Stanley and his travels.
I Face the Wind
The nature (the properties and characteristics) of the wind is introduced in this easy informational book.
Nic Bishop's Frogs
Stunning color photographs of frogs are used to show how these beautiful creatures survive in the wild. The Red-Eyed Tree Frog by Joy Cowley (Scholastic) uses Bishop's amazing photographs to relate the saga of one creature and is appreciated by even younger children.
For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, students with learning disabilities, and younger learners
- Show them numerous examples of well-written paragraphs and have them identify the parts. Or let them study it on their own by providing a number of paragraphs with the parts labeled.
- Provide students with some of the parts already filled in. For example, you provide all the "filling" sentences, and ask students to write a good introductory or wrap up sentence.
- Provide students with one example filled in entirely. Ask them to cut out each portion and then rearrange the pieces.
- Ask students to find a paragraph within their textbook. See if they can identify the different pieces of that paragraph. If necessary, have them revise the textbook paragraph!
- Have them speak the paragraph before writing the paragraph. Use scaffolding. For example, "What is one thing you would like to tell me about Fido (name of child's dog)." "How is Fido a lot fun to play with?" (elicit details). "So what did you tell me about Fido?" (conclusion).
See the research that supports this strategy
Richards, R. (2008). A Student's Perspective on Writing.
Richards, R. (2008). The Writing Road: Reinvigorate Your Students' Enthusiasm for Writing.