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Descriptive
Paragraphs
The Four Square Method
DESCRIPTIVE PARAGRAPHS
• What is a descriptive paragraph?
What does it mean to describe
something?
• Descriptions use the senses to
“describe” a topic.
• The purpose of a descriptive
paragraph is to make the reader
feel, see, taste, smell, or hear
what you are talking about.
• No matter what you are writing about, the
goal of a descriptive paragraph is to use
details that give a vivid picture of your
topic.
• Descriptive paragraphs use adjectives or
describing words to paint a picture of a
topic.
• A good paragraph will have 3-5 sentences.
• Your first sentence will be your topic
sentence.
• The sentences that follow will be your
descriptive sentences.
An Example
• The zoo is my favorite place
to take my children. The
tigers, with their orange and
black stripes and menacing
grin, are amazing. The
wrinkled, leather skin of the
elephants crinkles as they
raise their trunks. But, the
best part of the zoo is
watching the mother giraffe,
with her stretched neck,
wander the yard with her
little baby. The zoo is a
feast for the eyes!
Step One
• The first step in writing a descriptive
paragraph is to consider your topic.
• Write down as many sensory words as
possible to describe your topic.
• Remember to consider sights, smells,
tastes, sounds, etc.
• Then, write a topic sentence!
• The topic sentence is your main point.
Step 2: The Four Squares
• Fold a piece of paper in
half and then in half
again to make 4 squares.
• On the first square,
write your topic
sentence. This sentence
is your main point or how
you feel about the topic.
• On the other 3 squares,
write three descriptive
words.
The Four Squares
Giraffe
Lion
Zoo
Elephant
I like going to the zoo
to see the animals.
Step Three: Write Your Sentences
• Now, write a sentence for each of the three words in
your four squares.
Giraffes have beautiful,
spotted skin and long
necks.
Lions are proud,
huge, animals with
furry manes.
Zoo
Elephants are grey and
wrinkled with their
long trunks.
I like going to the zoo to see
the animals because of their
amazing features.
Step Four: Write Your Paragraph!
• Now, put your four sentences together into a
paragraph! Then repeat your topic sentence but
change it a little.
– I like going to the zoo to see the animals
because of their amazing features. Lions are
proud, huge, animals with furry manes.
Giraffes have beautiful, spotted skin and long
necks. And, elephants are grey and wrinkled
with their long trunks.
Example
• Winter is my favorite
season! I love the cold
weather that turns my
cheeks red. When I
breathe, I can see my
white, hot breath in the
air. Making a large, white
snowman with an orange
carrot nose is so much
fun! Winter is my favorite
time of year.
Let’s Review
o A good descriptive paragraph will be no less
than 4 complete sentences.
o Descriptive paragraphs use sensory language,
adjectives, and describing words to help paint a
picture in the mind of the reader.
o First brainstorm, then create your topic
sentence.
o Use the 4 square method to create your three
supporting sentences.
o Make sure that you write a concluding sentence
that is like your topic sentence, but different.
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