Narrative Writing Workshop: Influencing the Flow of Ideas with Transitions

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SWBAT use a variety of transition words and phrases to show shifts from one event to another in a narrative story.

Big Idea

First, Next, Then...How many words until I get to the end?

Lesson Introduction

Transitions are used to signal a change that is made in writing. They should be used every time something NEW is being introduced in your writing. Transitions can impact sentence structures in paragraphs. Do you hate seeing those choppy sentences? Well transitions will eliminate that in just a couple of words.

Bellringer: Circle Me Please!

7 minutes

To hook students into the importance of transitions, students circle the transition used in this sample paragraph

Wild chimpanzees are rapidly disappearing. Some people are trying to solve this problem. Otherwise, chimpanzees may one day exist only in zoos. People are trying to save the rain forests and woodlands where the chimps live from being cut down. It will take many people working together to solve this problem.

Students may not recognize at first what the transition is in this paragraph. However, if students know where transitions are located in a sentence, then they can circle the transition correctly in the paragraph.

Building Knowledge: Transitioning & Transitioning Again!

20 minutes

To understand the function of transitions in writing, students will complete the transition word practice in pairs. As students work, I will walk around the room offering help to those who have questions about each section of the handout. After the allotted time, we will go over the handout as a class.

Adding Transitions to Paper

10 minutes

Students will add transition words in their own papers. In the first half of this time, students will work independently to complete the body of their narrative. For students who are good at drafting ideas, they will use the list of transition words 2 to add them to their writing. Here my transition talk in a student narrative video on how transitions make this paper sound in its finally draft!

For my students that will struggle, I pull a small group together in the back of the classroom to talk them through their writing. Questions that will be asked to students will include

  • What sentence can serve as the main idea of this paragraph?
  • What are two details/examples that you can give to support the main topic of this paragraph?
  • Is there a place that you can add a transition in this paragraph?
  • How do you want to end or conclude this paragraph?

Time to Edit!

10 minutes

In the last part of class, students will get in pairs to read their narratives (Vivid Dream) aloud. I chose to have each person read their own paper aloud so it could be determined by the listener when a transition could be used in the narrative. This may be hard for students to complete since the learning of transitions was done earlier in class. However, to hear their own stories being read aloud, will allow both students a chance to input transitions is the most appropriate places of the narrative.