In-class exercise: Transition cards
Practice with transitions
This is based on a “Whose Line is it Anyway?” game. At least one class day before teaching transitions, I have the students create the cards. The students organize into pairs and I give each pair three quarter sheets of paper. They are to write one sentence on each piece of paper. The sentences can be about anything, but I ask them to keep them clean and to avoid questions. They are often skeptical, so I will usually tell them about the “Whose Line?” game. I then go through the cards after class and discard any that will not work.
On the day we discuss transitions, I mix the cards up and again have students get into pairs. Each pair gets two cards. Their challenge is to write a transition sentence that will go between both cards to connect the sentences in some way. Each pair shares their two sentences and then reads them again with their transition sentence added. I then talk about the type of transition (time, causation, etc.) and talk about how important they are to keep the audience on track (and point out that writing transitions for your speeches will be much easier than for random sentences!)
This exercise has been effective in encouraging students to develop clear, creative transitions.