Lesson: Narratives: Transitions and Sequence-It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

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Lesson Objective

Wonderful writers will be able to incorporate transition and sequencing words within their narrative essay in order to exhibit organization and connected ideas.

Lesson Plan

Transitions and Sequence:

It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!  


Objective: Wonderful writers will be able to write a recipe with steps in order to exhibit sequence and organization.


Learning Objective: Wonderful writers will be able to incorporate transition and sequencing words within their narrative essay in order to exhibit organization and connected ideas.

Duration: 60 minutes

Materials:  peanut butter, jelly, sliced bread, rolls, knife, spoon, plates, paper towels, paper, pencils



  • Do Now—Quiz: Identifying Author’s Purpose
  • Hook
  • Instruction: Transitions and Sequencing Words
  • Guided Practice
  • Independent Writing   
  • Closure


Main Idea: Writers need to learn how to combine sentences using two kinds of transition words: time transitions and thought (logical) transitions. Transition words link related ideas and hold them together. They can help the parts of an expository to be coherent or work together to explain or inform a reader. Coherence means all parts of an expository essay link together to move the writing along. Think of transition words as the glue that holds the essay together.


Do Now: Quiz: Identifying Author’s Purpose (Multiple Choice)


Hook: On Do Now: It asks “How do you make a Peanut Butter Jelly Sandwich?” Today, I’m going to make your sandwiches in order to exhibit sequence.

Mini-Lesson: Today, we are going use sequence and transition words to connect our ideas so the reader flows through our essay. This will come with practice because we have to learn how to place our transition words. This is why it is important to use sequence and transition words to organize our writing. There are different kinds of transition words. One kind of transition word is time transitions, which helps the reader know the order of events in an essay.

Without transitions, your writing does not flow smoothly. Transitions are words and phrases that serve as bridges from one idea to the next, one sentence to the next, or one paragraph to the next. They keep the reader from having to find his or her own way and possibly getting lost in the reading.

Transitions can also be looked at as the glue that holds your ideas together. They are very important. Too many transitions can cause as much confusion as too few.

Therefore, you don't necessarily need a transition between every idea or every sentence, but it is a good idea to use a transition between each paragraph. Transitions usually come near the beginning of a paragraph. However, you should use a transition wherever it works best.

You will usually here the word sequence when you are writing and reading narratives. Sequence tells you the order in which things happen or come. Words like before and after, or first and last, tell you the order, or sequence, in which things happen.


You’ve made a recipe. I’m going to follow it so we can make a putter butter jelly sandwich. Instructor selects two students examples to model. Instructor sets up the materials in front of the class, collect the directions from the students and then take out the ingredients for making a PBJ.  (These are hidden until they are done writing directions.)  Instructor randomly selects one student directions and asks a student to come up and read the directions aloud to you and the class.  They may only read exactly what is written on the page but they can also show you any pictures/diagrams.   Follow the directions exactly.  For example, if a student writes “Get a bread,” feel free to grab a roll instead of a slice of bread.  If they wrote “spread some jelly “ then instructor will determine how much jelly they wanted spread and by the way, did the mention where you should spread the jelly?  Once instructor reaches the end of their directions, show class the sandwich and do another example. It is likely that very few and perhaps no groups will include the necessary detail or order for the instructor to create a traditional PBJ.


Today you have a mission.  Your job is to work with your group to instruct me on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Do not assume that I know anything about a PBJ sandwich.  Think of me as an alien who has never seen, made or eaten this sandwich.  You may write and/or draw your instructions but make sure that you are very clear and do not overlook any details!  You have 20 minutes to complete this task.  Circulate the room while students write the directions but do not supply any hints or make corrections. 


Guided Practice:  Ask the students the following questions: What happened?  What went wrong?  If you could go back and try the task again, what would you do differently? Why was sequence and order of events important?  Why was detail important?  Circulate and ask these questions/provide hints on this second round.  With your partner, write new steps for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They can either revise their original directions or start anew.  Instructor selects a pair’s step and attempts to  makes a PBJ sandwich. Instructor engages in questions from above.  What was improved? What could we do to improve our order?

Independent Writing: (30 minutes of writing): Now we are going to use sequence to understand the real world. You are going to make your own recipes. Let’s brainstorm simple foods that we can create: turkey sandwich, hot dog, grilled cheese, etc. On this worksheet, you need to write your ingredients and order to steps. Remember that learning steps and order is important when you’re writing your own narratives. Instructor will pass out a list of transition/sequence words. Class will quickly review the words. Students will return to their writing folder for their expository essay. They will circle any transition words that they may have used within their writing. Students will review their paragraphs to revise by adding transition words. Instructor will come around to check their progress. In the meantime, students need to revise their writing to see how they can strengthen their writing. Look at the five traits that are listed to revise their writing as well. 

Closure: Ask questions: What does sequence mean? Is sequence important? What if we ignore the sequence or order of events when following directions? Where do we read things that have sequence? Today we are going to try an experiment that demonstrates just how important sequence is in the real world and not just in your writing? Students are assessed the next day with their homework.



Lesson Resources

Narrative Transitions and Sequence Peanut Butter and Jelly  


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