1. Before class begins, take the 5 student essays you have
copied. They should be typed, have no grading marks
on them, be written on different topics if possible,
and the name of the writer should be blotted out. Take
these essays and cut them up by paragraph- make sure
you choose student papers that have good use of topic
sentences and transitions. Place the cut up paragraphs
in a box. You may wish to cut the paragraphs in such
a way that the edges of the paper no longer match up
perfectly (thus making it harder for students to simply
match paragraphs like puzzle pieces).
As students enter the room, be waiting for them at the
the box of cut up paragraphs. When the students are
instruct them that they have been given pieces of various
essays that you want them to re-assemble. They must read
paragraph they have and then wander around the room, comparing
their paragraph to those of other students. The goal of the
activity is for the students to match up their paragraphs
based on subject matter and transitions, and form five
Tell the students that once they find the students who are
holding the other paragraphs that are in the same essay,
they must work together to order them properly (introduction
followed by the body paragraphs and conclusion). Give the
class about 10-15 minutes to find their missing counterparts.
When the class has re-assembled their paragraphs into
complete essays, check their work to see that they make
sense and that
the paragraphs are ordered correctly. You may want to have
them tape the essays back together and tape them to the
board, so that other groups may come up and evaluate
to determine whether or not they make sense. Have students
a checkmark next to the essays that make sense, and an “X” next
to those which they feel have been mismatched. You may
want to read a few essay sections aloud and let the class
how they sound- are the paragraphs correctly ordered?
After this activity is completed, ask the class to describe
the process by which they were able to match up the paragraphs.
What parts or sentences of the paragraph were especially
essential to making sure the paragraphs were in the right
first and last sentences). Explain to the class that
their task was made easier by topic sentences and transitional
sentences. Ask the class to explain what the purpose
of the first (topic)
sentence and the last (transition) sentence. If students
are unsure, explain that a good topic sentence should
come at the
beginning of the paragraph and state the overall subject
to be discussed in that section. A good transition sentence
at the end of the paragraph, and connects the ideas of
that section with the ideas to come in the next section.
creates a smooth flow of ideas from one section to the
next, and makes
it easier for the reader to follow the path of your argument.
Answer any questions the students may have,
and then allow them to review their final project essays, looking
specifically at their topic sentences and transitions. Encourage
the students to evaluate their paragraphs carefully, to see
if the ideas are clearly stated and connected from section
to section. Students should make corrections where needed.
work on their final project essays.
the activity, check to make sure students are re-assembling the
cut up essays correctly, relying on the topic sentences and transitions
of each paragraph as a guide. When the final project essays are
evaluated, the use of topic sentences and transitions should