So, I have this blog…and I enjoy writing. I like just about everything there is to love about writing. Taking raw, unformed ideas and skillfully using words to share them with others in an articulate, meaningful way. Or trying to, at least. I also enjoy teaching my students how to write. Kids love to write. Every time we conclude a session of Genius Ladder and it’s now their turn to write, the room gets incredibly quiet. You can hear the tapping of pencil lead as they furiously transfer their own ideas to paper. I love it. I love seeing their confidence in their own writing abilities, their enthusiasm for it and their delight in sharing what they’ve written with others.
Beyond Baby Transitions
In order to help my students develop their writing skills even further, we spent some time learning about transitions. These words and phrases help writers link their ideas together in a cohesive manner. They also give the writing a sense of “flow” that helps the reader make sense of the message. While my students were very familiar, thanks to their earlier teachers, with the basic transitions such as first, next and last, they needed more guidance with moving beyond such routine wording.
Transitions Transform Our Writing
I categorized transitions into four groups – sequential, location, compare/contrast and adding more information. We began by looking at examples for each category and adding a few of our own. Then we discussed what type of writing would suit each group of transitions. Compare and contrast words/phrases might best be used in an informative paragraph, for example. Or, location transitions would often be used in narratives and procedural essays. Students then created a 3D graphic organizer and glued it into their Writing Notebooks for future reference. Finally, we practiced adding transitions to different writing genres – opinion, informative and narrative.
Now, when I tell my students it is time to revise our writing, one task they do is check their transitions. Do they have any in their rough draft? If not, time to check your notebook and choose some that would be appropriate. Do they have enough? Just writing “in conclusion” at the end is no longer sufficient. It’s also been useful during our reading groups as we continue to study the sequence of events and how that helps us understand a story. Once again, whenever I take the time to help my students become better writers, it ends up helping them in other areas as well. Yet another reason to love writing!