Lesson plan

The Missing Link

Help your students fill in the missing links! With a focus on transitional words and conjunctions, your students will discover the links that will help them combine ideas in their writing.
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Students will be able to use transitional words and conjunctions to join ideas in writing.

(5 minutes)
  • Invite students to close their eyes and imagine that they are in a car or bus, when suddenly the driver slams on the breaks. What happens? How do they feel?
  • Tell the students that just like that scenario, sometimes readers feel an abrupt change when writers don’t use transitional phrases.
  • Explain to the students that they will be learning how to link ideas using conjunctions and transition words in their writing.
(10 minutes)
  • Demonstrate the concept of using conjunctions or other transitional words in a variety of contexts such as the following: for the purpose of contrast (but), for a collection of objects (and), as a cause (because), to show a result (so), as a condition (if), or to provide additional examples or support (in other words).
  • Write these examples on the board or a piece of chart paper for students to reference later in the lesson.
(15 minutes)
  • Divide students into groups or pairs.
  • Distribute six to eight colored pieces of paper (two different colors) to each group.
  • Tell the students to use one colored strip for the transition word or conjunction and the other color for the content that is connected.
  • If needed, model the process of writing sentences using the different colors of paper.
  • Give the class several transition words or conjunctions to use as connections in parts of their sentences. For example, the following words can be used: and, but, for, nor, yet, after, although, because, since, though, unless, in other words, for example.
  • Give the students time to create sentences that include the use of transition words or conjunctions.
  • Provide additional prompting or partial sentences if students need extra help.
  • After all students have finished, invite them to share their work and place sentences in the pockets of the pocket chart.
(10 minutes)
  • Ask the students to complete the worksheet Linking Up Ideas.
  • Circulate around the room and provide additional prompts as needed.


  • Provide sentence frames or additional details for students who struggle to formulate sentences.


  • Pre-teach correlative conjunctions and have students formulate sentences with multiple conjunctions rather than single conjunctions.
  • Invite students to explore multiple ways conjunctions and transitions can be used in different contexts.
  • In place of using the board or a pocket chart, display conjunctions or transition words using electronic flashcard tools.
  • Use an interactive whiteboard to write part of a sentence and invite students to complete the remainder of the sentence on the interactive whiteboard.
(5 minutes)
  • Give students a pair of ideas and ask them to write a sentence that includes transition words or conjunctions. Allow them to choose which conjunction to use.
  • Check to see that students are formulating complete sentences that include appropriate conjunctions and transition words.
(5 minutes)
  • Pair up students to be connection partners.
  • Call out a transition word or conjunction and ask each pair of students to contribute part of a sentence and to use a conjunction or transition word to construct the whole sentence.

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