In The Important Book, Margaret Wise Brown repeats a pattern which illustrates a helpful structure for paragraph writing, particularly for young or reluctant writers. 

1. Read The Important Book or click the above book cover to see sample pages. 
            “The important thing about a spoon is that you eat with it.  It’s like a little shovel, you hold it in your hand, you can put it in your mouth, it isn’t flat, it’s hollow, and it spoons things up.  But the important thing about a spoon is that you eat with it.

            The important thing about a daisy is that it is white.  It is yellow in the middle, it has long white petals, and bees sit on it, it has a ticklish smell, it grows in green fields, and there are always lots of daisies.  But the important thing about a daisy is that it is white.”
2. Observe the pattern Brown uses. (See #4.)

3. Choose a topic.
Brainstorm reasons you think your topic is important. Use this webbing tool to organize your initial thoughts.

4. Imitate Brown's pattern, but make one adjustment. In Brown's paragraphs, her middle sentence--the one that tells why the object is important--is one long string, separated by commas. I recommend writing separate sentences with periods.

A template would look like this:


The important thing about _____________________ is ________________________.

Detail #1

Detail #2

Detail #3

But the most important thing about _____________________ is ___________________.

Write a minimum of three of your very best details.

5. Revise and edit! Are the sentences in logical order? Does one flow well into the next? Are the words spelled correctly? Spruce up the paragraphs to make them your very best.

6. Include your important paragraphs in the comments, or submit them to the Student Showcase.

Student samples:

The important thing about God is that He has power over Satan. He is unchangeable and holy. He loves and protects us from Satan. He is majestic and perfect. He wants us to love him and he gave us the Bible so we can read it. He sent his only Son to die for us on a cross and save us from our sins. But the important thing about God is that He has power over Satan.

The important thing about Grandmom and Pop pop is that they are fun to be with. They like to cuddle with us when they're watching TV and Eagles' games. Pop pop sometimes sneaks us candy when Grandmom is not looking and he always has long prayers! Grandmom always has a good meal ready when we get there on Thursdays and after we have a fill of TV Grandmom takes us on in a game of Nines. Every time we go there they spoil us and give us more graham cracker pudding than we should have. But the important thing about Grandmom and Pop pop is that they are fun to be with.
 
 
"Happiness is a warm puppy."      
~ Charles M. Schulz
1. Watch Charlie Brown and his friends sweetly sing metaphors in their song "Happiness Is...." (The song begins at 1:30.) 

A metaphor, if you need a refresher, is a comparison between two nouns without using "like" or "as." In this assignment, students compare an abstract term with concrete images.

2. Brainstorm words to transform into metaphors. Here is a start: spring, summer, fall, winter, fear, happiness, disgusted, sad, scared, exciting, soft, rough, sweet, salty, fast, noisy, quiet,
any color....
                     
3. Allow students the pleasure of writing sensory-rich images for their word(s). Help them, if necessary, by encouraging them "to use color, sounds, actions, and sensations of touch and smell in their metaphors" (Any Child Can Write 76).

Some student examples:
  • Noisy is screaming kids in the street playing with their friends.
  • Noisy is lions roaring in the zoo because they are mad about being in a cage.
  • Red is a yummy Red Delicious apple being cut up and sliced into a pan, cooked for applesauce, and dumped on a cake.
  • Red is an enormous firetruck racing down the street to get to a fire.
  • Green is a tree that waves as the wind whistles through its leaves.
  • Orange is a juicy fruit that when you take a bite it splashes onto your face.
  • Autumn is colorful leaves falling to the ground.

If you like pre-writing sheets, here's one.

Idea prompted by Harvey S. Wiener in Any Child Can Write, 75-77.