The purpose of this lesson is to expand student's use of literary techniques and devices so that their writing effectively engages and communicates to the reader about their chosen topic. Since these elements are abstract, I introduce concrete models of exemplary texts known as mentor texts. Second grade students need modeling in order to grasp these type of concepts. Mentor texts provide tangible pieces for students to imitate in their own writing.
I hook students into the lesson by showing a video of a read aloud of the book: ▶ Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats. We discuss the author's style and craft, which includes repetition, figurative language (similes), hyphen, past tense, and sequencing. I focus on page 8 and 9 of the storybook which focus on ellipses. I cite the examples "Down ... and up ... and up ... and down ... and around ... and around." We discuss that this story uses ellipses to show movement.
Then, I present my Ellipsis Flip Chart that defines ellipses and show examples applicable to literature. We also discuss the function of ellipses as a literary device.
I model writing that incorporates ellipses so students can see another concrete example. We decided to draw a picture with a speech bubbles to demonstrate some deletion in dialogue using ellipses. Students assisted in this process so they can receive guided practice prior to attempting it on their own. For example, we wrote: "All the ice cream flavors in this shop look good, I still can’t decide ..., let me think," Students then discuss how the character continues the thought but the words are omitted using the ellipses. After the discussion, I inform students that they will create their own writing, similar to the one I modeled, but on a topic of their choosing.
Students work in pairs to create their own picture book using ellipses. Since students are just beginning this process, I prefer to pair them so they can bounce ideas off one another. Also, I chose a simple project such as mimicking a picture book similar to Whistle for Willie so that students can focus only on this literary technique. Students are practicing writing a sentence or two using ellipsis. They brainstorm ideas about a topic and write them down on a white board. Once the partners agree on a topic, they discuss details that they will write about. We are keeping the writing short and simple while we begin to incorporate ellipsis into our stories. Once they are experienced writers, we will integrate these techniques into essay format.
Students work together to create their story integrating ellipses throughout.
Students share and give each other feedback on their writing. As they read their short story, students pause where they had written ellipsis. It is important that students understand the purpose of using ellipsis. So, I ask students to explain why they decided to use ellipsis in the specific parts of their writing as they read their stories via an oral presentation. I encourage students to share ideas that can improve each other's writing. Then, I ask them to conduct a self assessment and share how they will work to scaffold their writing to more complex text.