Hey, What's Up? Giraffes!

article by Karen Jameyson , Funny giraffe portrait by Tambako the Jaquar is licensed under CC BY ND 2.0

Learning intention:  

I am learning to create texts that adapt language features encountered in literary texts, so that I can develop my skills as a writer.  

Success criteria: 

  • I can identify examples of repetition in an article.  
  • I can discuss reasons why authors may use repetition.  
  • I can research interesting facts about an animal.  
  • I can compose a paragraph about the animal I research, using repetition for emphasis.  

Read the first page of the article, Hey, What’s Up? Giraffes! Discuss language devices used. Ensure students identify that repetition has been used, drawing students’ attention to extracts such as:  

Did you know that baby giraffes begin life by crashing to the ground? Crashing? Yes, crashing!  

There are always adults around the little ones as they grow up. And they certainly do grow up. They grow up and up and up ...  

Inform students that usually writers aim to avoid repeating key words and phrases. Discuss reasons why authors may choose then to use repetition. Sample responses include, to emphasise key points, as a personal style choice, to ensure readers remember the key message the writer is trying to convey, to show that information is surprising.  

Place students in pairs and instruct them to read the remainder of the article and work together to identify further examples of repetition. Discuss responses. Sample responses include:  

Wow, what a neck. Yes, the giraffe’s neck is extremely long. And it needs to be long. Why? A long neck… 

And what do giraffes eat? Leaves and twigs.  And more leaves and twigs. And still more leaves and twigs! As you might guess, those leaves and twigs take some time to chew up.  

View the webpage, Animal Types on National Geographic Kids. Collaboratively select one of the animal types before choosing an animal, for example the aardvark from the mammal section. Read the information provided for the chosen animal.  

Discuss information that students found surprising, for example:  

  • Aardvarks’ ancestors include elephants and moles 
  • In fifteen seconds they can dig 60cm  

Inform students that they will be composing their own paragraph of an article to communicate the surprising information they have discovered. Discuss ways of emphasizing key points, referring to the article to remind students how the writer used repetition for this purpose.  

Collaboratively select some of the facts identified. Compose a brief paragraph or two with students, outlining the facts and using repetition for emphasis. A sample response is:  

We’ve all thought it, aardvarks looks distinctly like pigs, dear cute little pigs. Although they might look like pigs, aardvarks ancestors are not pigs, that’s right they are not pigs. In fact, their ancestors include elephants, yep, those huge animals, elephants, and moles. Neither of which are remotely like a pig.  

Dig, dig, digging, that’s what aardvarks do. The use their long claws and they dig some more. They dig away at a rate of 60cm every fifteen seconds. That’s right, fifteen seconds! 

Instruct students to work with their partner to identify facts they find surprising about an animal of their choice. Tell students that once they have identified facts they should compose a brief paragraph or two that could be featured in an article. Remind students to use repetition to emphasise key points.  

Once students have had time to complete their paragraphs, students who focused on the same animal could collate their paragraphs to compile a fact file on the animal.