Janice Willson Janice Willson

Topic Sentences
Advanced level


In this lesson, students will learn about the academic writing conventions for topic sentences.


Main Aims

  • Present material from two textbooks so students understand the use of topic sentences in academic essays.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To think about topic sentences in the terms of their role in the whole essay.


Warmer/Lead-in (1-2 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Students think of one word that defines them (or their character today).

Exposure (8-10 minutes) • To provide context for the target language through a text or situation

Students look at model essay and analyze the topic sentences.

Highlighting (2-4 minutes) • To draw students' attention to the target language

In pairs, have students talk about how the topic sentences hold the essay together.

Clarification (8-10 minutes) • To clarify the meaning, form and pronunciation of the target language

Students list the characteristics of a topic sentence. They should refer to Rules for Writers, pp. 50 - 51 and Longman Academic Writing Series 4, Chapter 1 1. Elicit structure of paragraphs. (topic sentence, supporting sentences, concluding sentences) 2. Elicit characteristics of topic sentences. (Put Ss in pairs, give them the text and have them list as many characteristics as they can.) From LAWS 4: Topic sentences have a topic and controlling idea. From Rules, 8e: (a) Topic sentences don’t have to be the first sentence of a paragraph. (b) Topic sentences can express a question, which the rest of the paragraph answers. (c) Topic sentences can express an opinion, a fact, or an attitude, which other sentences support or discuss. (d) Topic sentences can present a problem, which the paragraph addresses. (e) Topic sentences can summarize what other sentences explore in detail.

Controlled Practice (8-10 minutes) • To concept check and prepare students for more meaningful practice

True/False Journey Activity: 1. Distribute (or display) T/F Questions and distribute map. 2. Put Ss in pairs. 3. Have pairs answer the questions T = left, F = right. 4. Ask pairs which city they ended up in. 5. Repeat with new set of T/F Questions.

Practice (8-10 minutes) • To provide students with practice of the target information

Practices 2, 3, and 4 in Chapter 1

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