Using Transitions

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Students will be able to correctly use transitions by revising paragraphs using their transitions categories.

Big Idea

To add? To emphasize? To conclude? Using transitions for a purpose.

Do Now: Transition Review

5 minutes

To get transitions back on students' minds, I ask them to list 5 transitions to add information as their Do Now today. After attendance, I jump right into cold calls, setting a fast pace to see just how quickly students can recall our previous work.



"In addition?" Yes (must reassure that questioning tone).



"Furthermore." I can tell they are listing to one another since they are building on previous words--that's good.


Satisfied that students have transitions at the ready, we move into our lesson for the day.

Transition Practice

40 minutes

Since some groups did not finish the last task in our previous lesson, we check our work with the answer key so that everyone has a complete, correct list. Then, we analyze and revise the practice paragraphs found after the chart.

I pull up the first paragraph for annotation on the board and ask students to first identify the transitions used. I give them a minute to read and identify on their own, and then I cold call students to give me a transition they found. When half the transitions are highlighted, I switch to volunteers because the remaining transitions are not as clear to identify, and I don't want to create frustration for my students. Volunteers are able to identify the remaining transitions (though slowly). Next, we discuss what purpose each transition word or phrase is supposed to serve--and if that is what is needed in the paragraph. We discover that most transitions are not used correctly, either creating incorrect relationships or causing a lack of cohesion. For example, "but" and "however," both of which create contrast, are used practically back to back, creating redundancy. We revise each transition so that each sentence makes sense:

In today’s society, we see people of all ages and genders parading with their cell phones. While we are driving, walking down the aisle in the grocery store, or sitting in class, cell phones have become a part of our everyday lives.  There is a controversy in the classroom between teachers and students about whether cell phone usage should be allowed in school or not. Students like me enjoy texting during their classes; however, teachers greatly oppose it.

With one sample paragraph under our collective belt, I ask students to revise the second paragraph with a partner. After 5 minutes, students share their varying transitions and explanations for why they added them. We're ready to try independent application in our next lesson.