A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: CONVENTIONS Support Trait: WORD CHOICE

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Inventing a New Word

and having two characters talk about the invention

The writing of author Andrew Clements is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of conventions and word choice.Join us in teaching (and adapting) this on-line lesson and sharing your students' work.

You can publish up to three of your students' edited and finished stories at this page.

Use these samples to inspire your student writers! Discussing the strengths of published student samples before, while, and after using this on-line assignment is important. If your students are engaged in trait- or skill-inspired discussions about any of the samples we've posted here, they will produce better writing, especially if you help them take their writing all the way through the writing process.

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Student Sample: Middle School

Moopers All Around
by Amy, eighth grade writer

It was a pleasant day in the green pastures. No clouds could be seen, and the grass was crisp and fresh with morning dew. Black, white, and brown figures were dotted all over the land, munching silently to themselves. The cows were carefree and happy, but over by the small mound of dirt, eight cows seemed to be acting differently than the others.

While the other cows were passing their time lazily, two girls around the age of 13 were walking around the perimeter of the pasture. Having a conversation related to the events of their strings class that day, they suddenly stopped near the entrance gate. One girl named Brianna looked over the low fence, squinted with her eyes, and shook her head sadly. The other girl named Andria eyed her curiously, and faced the direction where her friend was looking. Both were silent, still staring at what seemed to be empty spaces of air.

“Hey, look at those poor cows, so sad and lonely. Their heads are low to the ground, and they seem to be depressed,” Andria said, her voice full of pity for the poor animals.

“Yeah, I know what you mean. I wonder what might have happened to make them this way. Hm, they must be…” Brianna paused, scratching her chin in thought.

“Must be what?” Andria prodded, her eyes growing wide. “You don’t think they’re going to die do you?”

“No, no, no. That’s not what I’m getting at. They must be moopers, you know? I mean, come on, look at their faces. What normal happy cow looks like that brown one over there?”

“Moopers? Wait, first of all, I have a question. What is a mooper exactly?” Andria asked, cocking her head slightly to the right.

Brianna laughed, “A mooper is of course a sad, ill, or depressed cow. Don’t you get it?”

Scrunching her eyebrows close together, Andria thought and thought about the new and mysterious word mooper. “You know? Mooper is a pretty darn good word. I like it! From now on, we’ll call sick cows moopers!”

“Good idea, wait. Hey, it was my idea in the first place. Ha ha, oh well. Come on! Let’s go and see some more of these moopers before dark.”

(Click here to view/print Amy's entire Inventing a New Word story)

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