Sunday, January 20, 2013

Transition Words in Intermediate Writing

Are you getting a grip on the CCSS in writing yet? I'm working on it. It's good timing for me, actually, because nearly all of my writing instruction is new. It's a whole lot different than writing in first grade, for sure.

Our district has been looking closely at our writing map in comparison to the  CCSS. One area we discovered that wasn't being covered enough was using transtion / transitional words and phrases in writing. Because there isn't really anything in place for shared lessons yet, I worked closely with our instructional coach to teach this needed writing skill to the Fab Fours. After piecing together a series of lessons I went back and wrote up a UBD (Understanding By Design, also known as Backwards Design) unit based on what worked with our lessons and what needed deeper instruction or practice. I'm happy with how it turned out; I think it really covers what the Fab Fours need to know to implement transition words into their own writing.  Here's the unit plan description:

All teachers are in the process of shifting instruction to meet the Common Core State Standards. One of the greatest areas in need of aligning is writing - in particular writing for grades 3-6.

Fortunately for teachers, the CCSS gives us a clear and precise path of what our learners need before they move on from our grade level. When I examined our writing map during our fourth grade team development, one strand we all realized needed defining and more implicit instruction is the use of transitional words and phrases. I developed this lesson kit to meet the needs of my fourth graders this year. This five lesson writing was created using UBD (understanding by design) after teaching it to my students and tweaking it better meet the needs of all intermediate writers.

The Transition Words - Intermediate Writing Lessons unit contains five lessons that will take you from the introduction of transition words and phrases through to independent work.

In this kit you will be equipped with:
PDF document containing the five lesson unit
     *  Understand By Design enduring understandings, essential questions, student outcomes, and evidence of learning

     *  Five complete lesson plans that used gradual release (taking the students from full dependence through independence)

     *  Powerpoint presentation lessons that can be used to introduce each lesson (Powerpoint is not needed to run these, there are instructions included on how to use them by downloading a free Microsoft Powerpoint player)

     *  A full material list for each lesson

     *  Learning Target (learning objective) posters for each lesson

     *  Sample anchor charts to help you create them for your classroom

     *  Rubric for tracking progress during each phase of the unit

     *  Custom written short stories to use with "thinking together" and "independent work" phases of the lessons

     *  Assessment instructions and materials

     * Common Core State Standards (writing) for fourth, fifth and sixth grade that this writing unit meets.

For a full preview of Lesson One and the UBD criteria, download the free preview file. It includes Powerpoint lesson one.

Here are some images and a sample of a Powerpoint lesson:


The timing in the PowerPoint lesson sample is a little off, because it is meant to be advanced by the user as the speed they need to cover the material. This is just running on an auto-advance for the video sample:

If you'd like to check it out further, head on over to  my TPT store. 


  1. This looks awesome. Would it work for 2nd grade?

  2. You might have to make a few small adjustments, maybe release independence a little slower, but I think it would work. I should create one with temporal words, which is what I think the CCSS are for primary writing.

  3. Which book did you use for this? Any other books with good examples of transition words? I'm looking for a book to read with my 4th graders. Thank you!