Artifact – Writing Topic Sentences

Topic: Writing Topic Sentences 
CLI Strategy: Artifact 
Subject: ELA – Expository Writing 
Grade: Upper Elementary/Middle

Students will be able to: Use a group of commonly themed images to identify and create topic sentences for an expository essay.


  • Find a series of commonly themed images to represent big ideas in an essay. (Example Images) Put images together in an envelope. One set of images for each group of students.
  • Modeling: Introduce envelope to students with a sense of curiosity. Pull out and look at first image with whole class on projector.
  • Ask questions to promote critical thinking:
    • What’s going on in this picture?
    • What do you see that makes you think that?
    • What makes a good topic sentence?
    • If this were a paragraph in an essay, what might be the topic sentence?
  • Hand out envelopes with images to each group. Ask groups to arrange photos as if they were an essay.
  • Groups write a topic sentence for each picture. The sentence for the first picture should be a thesis or hook and sentence for last picture should be a conclusion sentence.
  • Have groups share out how they arranged photos and topic sentences.


  • What did you notice as your were arranging photos?
  • What was your process for arranging and writing topic sentences?
  • What strategies can we use when writing topic sentences for STAAR?

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