Carley Grab


Millersville, PA

Interests: 21st century learning,...

  • Posted 5 Years ago
  • 1.5k

Idea for Teaching Transition Sentences

Hello again! Sorry I haven’t written my first real post yet; I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I want to say in this thing! Although, I do firmly believe that one of the best ways to learn is through practice, so I suppose I need to do that and get my booty blogging!

So here goes,

One of my assignments for my class called “Seminar in Teaching Writing” is to prepare and teach a 15-minute mini lesson to a freshman composition class. I was originally really excited about the assignment, because I’m always excited when I get the opportunity to actually teach. However, once I started trying to come up with an actual plan the task of actually teaching something to kids who are pretty much my same age in only 15 minutes became a little more daunting. I thought about it, and transition sentences are something that I often struggle with when writing, and keeping that in mind I came up with the beginnings of an idea.

My professor has really been pushing the use of a “writers notebook” in the classroom, and has also been feeding us tons of articles and readings that basically, in a nutshell, all say that writer’s notebooks are awesome and I totally need to do them in my classroom. Okay, so I’m in. I want my kids to have some sort of notebook where they will be doing regular quick free writes that sometimes will be shared with their classmates and myself, but won’t be graded. I will give kids prompts for these quick writes, but ultimately, what they write is their choice. As long as they write something, its practice, and if you want to improve at something you have to practice! (Remember!?)

I give this little explanation of writer’s notebooks because they will be used in my transition sentences mini lesson, plus I'm just in love with the idea of them. More to come on that later.

Transition scentence writing practice activity:

  • First of all, if the students in the class I am going to don’t have writer’s notebook, I’ll make them some just by stapling a few pages of filler paper together or something. (In my real future classroom, the kids will be free to decorate their writer’s notebooks and really make them their own)
  • I will set up the classroom so that the desks are in a circle.
  • I’ll ask students to open up their writers notebooks and take 20 seconds to write a sentence about anything
  • Then I’ll yell stop (or maybe I’ll blow a whistle!) and everyone passes the books to the right, I’ll ask students to skip a few lines then write another 20 second sentence about anything below the one already written on the page.
  • I will have students (and myself, because I will participate too) repeat the process until there are 6 random sentences on the page.  (Total time ~3 minutes)
  • I will ask students to take the first two sentences and attempt to connect them using a transition sentence (this will most likely be pretty hard, but fun too) (allow ~1 minute)
  • I will then open the class up to any students who want to share their transition sentences (I’ll try to allow at least 6 or 7 students to share) (allow ~3 minutes)
  • After we listen I’ll ask every student to jot down in their writers notebooks some common words, phrases, or tricks that they heard being used or used to create a smooth transition between two unrelated topics. (~1 minute)
  • I will ask students to share some of the things they jotted down (~2 minutes)
  • While they are writing down their own words and phrases, I will pass out a list of transitions such as this one and allow students to read it over (~2 minutes)
  • I will then ask students to go back and write transition sentences to connect

the remaining “random sentences” that were written in their writer’s notebooks while keeping in mind their lists of transitions (~ 2 minutes)

  • I will ask some students to share their sentences. (~1 minute)
  • I will then ask the class how an activity such as this one (silly as it may be) can help them to get better at writing transition sentences?
    • One point that I hope to make is simply that if they practice doing these transitions between two nonsense subjects, transitioning in their own papers, which should be at least somewhat centered around a main idea or conflict, will be a piece of cake! 

So, that’s just an idea that I have. I welcome any comments or constructive criticism anyone may have about it! I have time to clean it up an polish it before I have to give the actual lesson, and when I do give it, I will be sure to let you all know how it went!

Ta Ta For Now,



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29 Sep 12, 05:45 AM

Great blog with lots of rich and practical ideas.  Keep up the good work.  Richard


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01 Oct 12, 04:26 AM

Hi Carly, I really like your ideas in your blog - I think having students rotate their writing notebooks and add a new sentence, to then join random sentences makes it fun but challenging. Thanks for sharing :) I will be sharing some ideas for assessment soon so look out for it.

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