Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Fragments Wanted (Not)

Zerelda Hammer


Using a newspaper employment ad, students work together in pairs or groups of three to rewrite the ad using complete sentences. Then, each student will choose an ad to rewrite.


The student drafts and revises writing that -is focused, purposeful, reflects insight into the writing situation;-conveys a sense of completeness and wholeness with adherence to the main idea;-has an organizational pattern that provide for a logical progression of ideas;-has support that is substantial, specific, revelant, concrete, and/or illustrative;-demonstrates a commitment to and an involvement with the subject;-has clarity in presentation of ideas;uses creative writing strategies appropriate to the purpose of the paper;demonstrates a command of language (word choice) with freshness of expression;has varied sentence structure and sentences that are complete except when fragments are used and purposefully; andhas few, if any, convention errors in mechanics, usage, and punctuation.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for-correct spelling;-correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and semicolons;-correct common usage, including subject/verb agreement, common noun/pronoun agreement, common possessive forms, and with a variety of sentence structures,including parallel structure; and-correct formatting.


- Employment ads (ask students in advance to bring the employment ads from the newspaper for the specified day)
- Paper, pencil (student supplies)
- Stapler, staples
- Scissors
- Transparencies
- Copy paper
- Overhead projector


1. Look for several samples of employment ads in the newspaper and cut them out.

2. Gather transparencies and copy paper.

3. Rewrite (type using large font - I like 17 - 23 point so the students at the back of the room can see) the ad without abbreviations or fragments and without changing the intended meaning of the ad.

4. Cut and Paste together the enlargement of the ad and the revision of the ad (make several different samples for the students to see)

5. Make a transparency of each of the samples for overhead use

6. Have stapler(s) and scissors ready for student use

7. Make sure overhead is working properly


1. Students should already know the difference between a fragment and a complete sentence.

2. Gain students' attention by asking why newspapers use abbreviations and fragments in their ads (answer - space and cost).

3. Show several ads from the newspaper (the ones you put on a transparency) and have the students point out the fragments. Also discuss what the abbreviations mean.

4. Then show how each ad can be rewritten using complete sentences (from the transparencies you created).

5. Explain that students will work in pairs (or groups of three) to rewrite an ad of their choice. I suggest either pairs or groups of three based on my own experience with larger groups.

6. Give the following instructions before letting students break into groups:
A. The ad must be at least four lines in length
B. The ad must also be filled with fragments (we did find a few that were written entirely in complete sentences).
C. Students should only spend about five minutes locating an ad to use and most of their time writing.
D. The final product should be on one sheet of paper with all the students' names in the upper right corner.
E. Students should cut out the ad and staple it to the upper left corner of their paper.

7. Break students into groups.

8. Pass out scissors to cut out ads (I collect them as soon as I see students are finished with them).

9. Pass out staplers (or pass stapler from group to group) after ads are cut out (I also collect this as soon as I see students are finished).

10. Circulate to assist students.

11. Collect ads at the end of the period.

12. Have students return desks to normal position.

13. Assign as homework, due the next class day (or for a class assignment the next day):
Each individual student will choose an employment ad to revise using the same criteria given to the groups in class. They may not choose the same one their group revised that day in class.

- NOTE: I have tried this activity in my classroom. I initially planned thirty minutes for this activity thinking that it would not take long for the students to draft and revise the ad, but the activity was much harder for them than I imagined it would be. Fifty minutes, however, should provide ample time for the entire activity.


Student product (group and individual) should be free of errors in grammar, mechanics, and usage.
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