Elaboration and Transition
do I elaborate on my reasons?
My 7th grade students have great
difficulty coming up with details to support their reasons. There are several
strategies that can be used to conquer the detail road block:
Ask yourself, "why?"
Let's say I am writing a paper on my
favorite holiday. I choose Christmas as my holiday and write down
my reasons. Reason #1 is it is a time of fun tradition for my family.
If I start writing my paper and see I am having problems elaborating on this
reason, I ask myself, "Why is it a time of tradition for my
It is a time of tradition
because we always go over to my grandma's house on Christmas Eve.
My whole family goes.
We have done this on
Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember.
On Christmas morning, my
mother always cooks us our traditional Christmas breakfast - blueberry
pancakes and sausage.
On Christmas Eve, my father
always takes my sister and I shopping for my mom's gift.
I have come up with all these
details asking myself on simple little question - why?
a Who? What? Where? When? How? chart
This is another useful way to
generate detail to elaborate on your reasons. On the back of my planning
sheet, I would write my reason with who, what, where, when, and how
Reason #2 Christmas
is my favorite holiday because I have no school, which means I have free time
Who? - Who do I spend my
free time with? I spend my free time during Christmas break with my
What? - What do I do with
my friends over Christmas break? Over Christmas break my friends and I go
to the mall shopping for our families. Sometimes we go to movies. After
Christmas, I usually go over to my friends house to see her presents, or she
will come over to my house.
Where? - Where do I go
over Christmas break? I go lots of places. I go to my friends house, to my
relatives houses that live in other towns, and I go shopping at the mall.
From here I am ready to move on to
the next tool for generating details - elaboration starters.
Elaboration starters are
special transition words you can use to introduce details within your
paragraph. They are very useful because they can get your mind working in a
very specific manner because they call upon you to remember specific examples,
events, and emotions. Elaboration starters will most likely be used
in the body of your paper (your reasons paragraphs - 2-3 or 4).
I remember the time...
My favorite time...
The best time....
In other words...
I remember the time
my father and I went out to find a special watch for my mother's Christmas
The best time I ever had eating
Christmas Eve dinner at Grandma's house was the year we made a gingerbread
For example, my
dad would take us shopping at the mall and then we would stop for lunch at
One time, my
cousin and I ate so many Christmas cookies at Grandma's, I thought we were
going to explode!
enjoyed the times when just my father and I would have a chance to go
I loved eating Christmas Eve
dinner at Grandma's, especially when we would open our
Eating Christmas Eve dinner at
Grandma's has always been a tradition in our family I have loved, in
particular, helping Grandma decorate Christmas cookies.
Christmas Eve dinner at Grandma's was like one big family reunion because
In other words,
shopping with my dad was more than a Christmas tradition to me
Transition words are key in both the
clarification and point of view modes of writing. Transition words aid in
giving your essay a sense of movement and progression. Transition words
are primarily used to introduce your first reason, your second reason, your
third reason, and your conclusion. These very important layout out the
strategy of your essay and make your thoughts logical and coherent to
To begin with,
Christmas has always been a time of tradition for my family.
Furthermore, I enjoy
Christmas because I get to have free time away from school.
Last but not least,
Christmas is my favorite holiday because I get lots of presents!
Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday!
For a complete list of transition
words, click the here.