I told students that linking words help add flow to our writing. They also show the relationship between ideas and sentences, i.e. I wanted to see the bears, but my sister wanted to see the lions. I directed their attention to a list of linking words I’d written on a chart, which I kept up for future reference. Displaying the words is a visual reminder for students to use the in their writing. It also contained examples of how linking words are used.
I displayed writing from previous students on the document camera. I read some of the sentences aloud and stated they sounded choppy. I added linking words where appropriate, then read them aloud noting how it sounded smoother when read aloud. Hector is nice. Hector is funny. Hector is good was re-written as Hector is nice, funny, and good.
I modeled reading over the draft I had written about a famous landform and adding a linking word. The paragraph is relatively short, so there were not many opportunities to include them. Still, the addition was effective in illustrating how linking words add to the flow of sentences.
Students were directed to take out their drafts and add linking words. They had to read the sentences aloud to themselves to determine whether or not they improved the flow of the sentences. As students worked, I walked around to make sure they were adding linking words in appropriate places. The list of natural resources near their chosen landform provided an applicable use.
One of my goals as a teacher is to have student apply what they have learned to other tasks independently. This was the case with the use of linking words. Students were writing thank you letters to the rain forest in science. One student included linking words twice in her writing (circled). I attribute this not only to the lesson, but the constant presence of the linking chart I’d posted. It served as a reminder to students what we had learned, why we learned it, and how it was to be applied.
For today’s assessment, I simply noted whether or not students used linking words appropriately in their writing. The final assessment of their informational paragraphs included the use of linking words via a rubric. The final assessment came after they had completed the revising, editing, and publishing stages of the writing process.
To close the lesson, students checked each others' writing for linking words. They circled them with a colored pencil. I did this to give them practice in recognizing the use of linking words and exposing them to a variety of sentences where they are used. This gave them various examples and ideas they could apply in their own writing.