ELA 5: Transitions Make Sense

Life without transitions would be pretty confusing. Night would suddenly be day. Winter one day, summer the next. Oh and sentences would be tougher to read. We guess that's the main point here.

5th GradeLanguage Arts
Elementary and Middle School5th Grade
LanguageEnglish Language

Transcript

00:25

Megan is in a transitional phase.

00:27

If she moved straight from her parents’ house to her big beautiful dream house, with

00:32

no money to her name… …well, you might wonder if she’s got ties

00:34

to the mafia. [Megan walks to a table with Mafia members]

00:35

But life tends not to work in such big jumps.

00:39

Instead, there are little steps from one thing to another along the way… and those are [Frog leaps from pad to pad on water]

00:42

transitions.

00:43

We need them in our writing, too.

00:46

Transitions are basically…bridges.

00:47

Or…duct tape. [A roll of duct tape and a large bridge]

00:49

Okay, they’re bridges made of duct tape, holding everything together in a piece of

00:53

writing.

00:54

Specifically, they are words and phrases that [Coop explaining transitions]

00:55

help readers get from sentence to sentence, allowing them to follow the logic of the writer.

01:00

They can connect ideas between, and sometimes within, sentences. [Hand underlines the word therefore and but]

01:04

You’ll usually be able to spot one when you see a word such as and, also, besides,

01:10

furthermore, or in addition.

01:13

Those words are like little bread crumbs that have been left behind to help us along. [Girl dropping bread crumbs in the forest and pigeon eats them]

01:16

Be sure to leave a few for the birds…

01:18

Transitions can also be used to illustrate or explain an idea.

01:22

For example… the words “for example.”

01:25

See what we did there?

01:27

Transitions can show time, place, and direction. [Person looks at their watch and a compass appears]

01:30

After, as, before, next, above, below, and beyond…and the list goes on.

01:37

If you’re ever shopping for transitions, Bed, Bath, Above, Below & Beyond is a great [People cuing outside bed bath above below & beyond]

01:42

place to look.

01:43

So…what else can these nifty little guys do?

01:45

Well, they can compare and contrast.

01:48

Also, in the same way, on the other hand, nevertheless.

01:52

All ways to contrast one thing with another. [Girl holding a can of pepsi]

01:55

Other transitions demonstrate logic, or signal a conclusion.

01:58

If, so, consequently, in short, to conclude, and to sum up.

02:03

They’re helpful little buggers…but you also don’t want to go overboard using them. [People dancing overboard and falling into the ocean]

02:08

Not every paragraph needs one.

02:09

If a line makes sense without it, or if adding a transition wouldn’t seem natural…leave

02:14

it alone.

02:15

Okay…example time. [Fried eggs in a pan]

02:18

Suppose you’re writing a persuasive essay trying to convince meat-eaters to go vegan.

02:22

First of all…good luck with that. [Man eating a burger]

02:24

But…regardless of your chances of success, you want your argument to have a clear, organized

02:29

structure.

02:30

So…you want to start by establishing that animals are living creatures, just like us. [Animals in a field under a rainbow]

02:34

From there, you can talk about our commonly accepted rules of morality, and how they should

02:39

really apply to animals just as much as they do to other human beings. [Police officer talking to a horse]

02:42

Once you’ve made that point, and feel like you’ve got your reader on board with…well,

02:47

feeling guilty about their eating habits… …you can shift to talking about how easy

02:51

it is to go from eating meat to eating vegan meat substitutes. [Man stands up and walks away from his burger]

02:54

Each time, you’re making a statement that supports your main topic…

02:57

…then bolstering those statements with supporting arguments…

03:00

…and tying all those mini-arguments together with transitions. [Man in a toilet cubicle]

03:04

Like… you might compare and contrast by saying:

03:07

“Human beings breathe air, eat, drink, sleep, and experience emotions.

03:12

In the same way, most of the animals whose meat we consume also breathe air, eat, drink,

03:18

sleep, and experience many similar emotions.”

03:21

Then, a bit later on, maybe you want to demonstrate logic, so you say:

03:25

“We deem it immoral to eat other human beings because they are thinking, feeling creatures.

03:30

Consequently, we should refrain from eating animals for the same reason.”

03:34

Finally, you might decide to illustrate how easy it is to switch to a vegan lifestyle

03:38

by saying: “There are many products on the market today [Paragraph of argument on paper]

03:41

that taste very much like the meat products you’re used to.

03:44

For example, there is a soy burger currently available that will fool your mouth into thinking

03:49

it’s ripping into some actual cow carcass.”

03:52

If you’re still having trouble getting the knack of transitions… [Megan reading a book of transitions for dummies]

03:54

…try spending a few months living alone in a studio apartment.

03:57

You’ll be able to learn all about them in your abundant free time. [Megan walks out of her studio apartment]

04:01

Right, Megan?

04:03

Megan isn’t speaking to us right now.