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Special Education Teacher Challenges: Helping Students Write Five-Paragraph Essay Conclusions

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 9/11/2012

Writing a five-paragraph essay conclusion can often be the hardest part of the five-paragraph essay. Some special education teacher challenges you may have are students want to repeat their topic sentences or complain they don't know what to write. Using examples and going slow are ways to modify!

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    Examples of Five-Paragraph Essay Conclusions

    When teaching students how to write five-paragraph essay conclusions in your classroom, you will start by showing them examples of how to do this along with sample paragraphs. Struggling writers may need more examples or step-by-step writing instruction. Some special education teacher challenges are noticing that these struggling writers will nod their heads like they understand and then have no idea how to write the conclusion paragraph.

    Here's how to modify the lesson for five-paragraph essay conclusions by slowing down and taking it step-by-step.

    1. Explain to students that a conclusion paragraph's job is to restate the main ideas of the essay and draw a conclusion. Show them an example or two that you have written or that you saved from other classmates.

    2. Read each sentence of the example (or ask students to read it) and explain why it is included in the conclusion paragraph. Some special education teacher challenges you may run into with this step are the reading levels of your students are lower than your sample paragraphs. Be careful of this.

    3. Write a conclusion paragraph with your students. Start with the first sentence of your five-paragraph essay conclusion by writing a general statement on chart paper for your students to see. For example, if your paragraph is about three tricks you taught to your dog, your first sentence of your conclusion paragraph could be: "My dog knows all three tricks now." Keep it simple for your students.

    4. Walk around and observe each student write their first sentence of their five-paragraph essay conclusions. Allow students who have succeeded in writing a sentence brainstorm with students who are stuck. Do not go on to the next step of this modified lesson plan until all struggling writers have this first sentence completed.

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    Take Your Time

    teacher and classroom by chicago2016photos flickr One of the special education teacher challenges is having enough time to complete your entire curriculum during the school year because you often have to slow down to teach harder concepts.

    Here are the next steps of writing the five-paragraph essay conclusion:

    5. Once students have written their first sentence, they need a sentence for each one of their body paragraphs. They may want to write down their topic sentence, but they need to come up with an original sentence. Again, do these one at a time, walk around and make sure everyone is on track, and then go on to the next sentence. Allow students to help one another. Here is an example of the way a paragraph about the dog and his tricks might look so far:

    "My dog knows all three tricks now. She learned to sit the first day because it was the easiest trick. When I taught her to lay down, she always wanted to get up before I said it was time. Finally, whenever I tell her to come, she runs to me and gives me kisses."

    6. Another special education teacher challenge is the very last sentence of the five-paragraph essay conclusion. Just make it general and on topic such as, "Once she masters these, I'll teach her to heel." Observe students as they write their last sentences.

    7. Ask students who are comfortable to read their conclusion paragraphs to a peer buddy.

Modified Lesson Plans for Five Paragraph Essays

This series will provide several articles on ways to teach struggling writers how to write five-paragraph essays. There are modified lesson plans for intro and conclusion paragraphs, three-paragraph essays, and resources for sample essays.
  1. Teacher Strategies in Special Education: Five-Paragraph Essay Introduction Paragraph
  2. Resources for Special Education Teachers: Where to Find Sample Five-Paragraph Essays
  3. Special Education Teacher Challenges: Helping Students Write Five-Paragraph Essay Conclusions