A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Student Samples Page:
Moving through
a Machine

using a variety of transitions to explain the workings of an imaginary machine

The writing of author Robert McCloskey is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of sentence fluency and organization. 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.

Thank you, those who share their students' writing with us.

Additional Student Samples Being Sought:
Grades 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12

Learn more about WritingFix's policies for publishing student work by visiting our Publishing Student Writers Information Page.

WritingFix is currently seeking additional student samples from this writing assignment that can be featured in this space. Submitted student work must show evidence of revision, editing, and the final draft must be typed and sent through e-mail. Teachers: if you can help us obtain up to three student samples, along with a digital photo of the student(s) and a signed permission slips, we will send you either a complimentary copy of one of the Northern Nevada Writing Project's print publications.

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Student Samples: Early Elementary

A Doughnut Machine:
The Multi-Donut Restaurant

by Quinn, third grade writer

In the first step, the machine will pound and punch the uncooked dough into shape. This is followed by the dough falling into the oven to bake. After baking, a conveyor belt will take the dough to cool under two fans hovering over as they slide under the fans. Next, the doughnut will go to the "choosing bar" for people to choose what they want to eat. They can choose glaze, sugar, or sprinkles and flavor with one of those. Then, they choose filling or no filling. If they choose filling, they will choose the flavor of the filling.


An Original Machine:
The “Robocrick” Maker
by Joseph, third grade writer

First of all, a small metal plate with two tabs is shaped into a tube by a metal claw; tab-side-in so the tabs touch at the end. Next, some small iron screws attach a shiny, metal dome to the tube. Now three fragile legs are attached to each side of the tube. Fourth, a rounded metal bar puts a tiny circuit board onto the tabs inside the tube. Then the circuit board is wired to two working eyes and an antenna on a metal head. Two working microphones go on the sides of the tube plus all the legs before the head is attached. To conclude, a jolt of electricity activates the completed "Robocrick."

(Click here to view/print Quinn and Joseph's machine descriptions.)

Student Samples: Upper Elementary

A Doughnut Machine:
The Revolutionary Doughnut

by Nicole, fourth grade writer

I will tell you how I make a revolutionary doughnut. First, a robotic arm drops the gooey dough into the molds. Then a conveyor belt brings the dough to a burning-red hot oven. A little robotic arm takes the doughnuts off the conveyor belt and fries them in oily grease. After that, a worker dabs each doughnut with sugar. Now the robots drop blueberries on one side and raspberries on the other. Finally another worker sprinkles star sprinkles on the doughnut. The conveyer belt then takes them over and a little machine glazes them with hot melted frosting. Last but not least, the doughnuts cool for at least a half an hour and then you have a revolutionary doughnut.


A Rube Goldberg-inspired Doughnut Machine:
Doughnut Machine

by Austin, fourth grade writer

Welcome, this is a tour of a brand new donut-making machine that is designed by my donut-making company. I’m going to be your host. Maybe you’ve heard of me. My name is Austin. First off, I throw this piece of wet dough on this handy-dandy conveyer belt. Second, the machine punches a hole into the now dry dough. After that, the donut is filled with jelly, tasty jelly. Now come through the door. You ask "Why?" Well, the machine is so big it takes up three rooms.

This handy contraption fills the doughnut with air so it’s nice and puffy. Following that, the conveyer belt drops the donut into a hot fryer. Up above the fryer is this bowling ball wall that keeps people from getting hurt. BEEP! Oh, this is great. You get to see this in action. Watch the wall. It will open up. After that, the donut will fall on this hot fryer. Soon the donuts will shoot through this glaze hoop. At the same time, the bowling ball may go into the gutter. If it hits one pin, it will be a strike and the machine will work twice as fast. BEEP! Ahh, a gutter ball.

Oh, this machine will only make 1000 donuts every 24 hours when set at maximum speed. Here, this next step is the last. Now step through this door, and you will see the donuts land in this box. It’s shipped to donut shops. Oh no! BUMP! The bowling balls are breaking the wall. We’ll need to make sure no one is hurt. Bye!


An Original Machine:
The Cookie Machine
by Bridget, fourth grade writer

Do you like cookies? Well, here is a great machine that makes them. In the beginning, the wet, greasy dough is plopped on a clean and green conveyor belt. Afterwards, the moist bittersweet chocolate chips are mixed in. At the same time, the cookies are molded into fun shapes, such as stars and hearts. Soon the cookies are cooked in a fiery hot giant oven. After that, the cookies are packaged and wrapped. Last but not least, they are shipped to large grocery stores, so you can enjoy these delicious cookies.


An Original Machine:
Dog Washer 3000
by Brooklyn, 4th grade writer

Washing dogs is dreadful, but now you don’t have to with the Dog Washer 3000. To begin with, a robotic arm grabs a dog that needs to be cleaned. After that, the dog is locked into a harness so that the dog won’t run away. Soon, two robotic claws mix soap and water that is poured onto the dog. Next some wipers wipe off all the mud or other things off the dog. Then some water is poured onto the clean dog. Lastly another robotic claw grabs the dog and a different claw grabs a hair drier and the dog is dried. Results: The cleanest dog in the universe!

(Click here to view/print these four fourth graders' machine descriptions.)

A Doughnut Machine:
The Donut O’ Pounder
by Sydney, fifth grade writer

In the beginning, some moist sticky dough gets tossed into a giant white machine, also known as the “Donut O’ Pounder." When the dough enters the machine, monstrous knuckles come down from the top of the machine and start pounding the dough at a fast pace. Afterwards, tiny, tiny blue jelly people arrive in their jelly mobiles and squirt yummy grape jelly into the fluffy circles of dough. Eventually, they wiggle into a dark chamber and white flakes of sugar fall from above and place a thin white layer of sugar on top of the dough. Finally, the moist, sticky dough is now cooked and soon takes a quick trip to "Stomach Road."


An Original Machine:
Pizza Machine
by Noah, fifth grade writer

Everybody thinks that pizza is awesome, right? Well, I’ve created the Pizza Baking Machine 500. This is how it works. The first step in my machine’s directions is to choose your crust thickness, the cheese choice and the toppings. Second, once you put the money in the slot, some dough squirts onto a conveyor belt and it gets squashed by a plate. The dough, then, is carried onto the thrower, which tosses the dough. Afterwards, the dough is put on an elevator and goes on a conveyor belt. Then it falls down a shaft to air the dough out. Finally, the dough slides on a conveyor belt to get “topped” with sauce, cheese and toppings. Meanwhile, another pizza is getting cooked on an auto elevator oven where it is raised on a belt. Last but not least, the pizza is put on a plate and lowered on a table. It is ready to eat!

(Click here to view/print Sydney and Noah's machine descriptions.)

A Doughnut Machine:
Moving Through the Machine
by Orlando, sixth grade writer

First, the machine flips on and starts to grow hotter and hotter, getting ready to cook the doughnut. Next, a metal arm comes shooting in with a measuring cup at the end, and it scoops the dough into a round mold. It seems to stay in the machine for an eternity. Eventually, a little white needle impales the doughnut and fills it with cream. In the meantime, the machine smothers the doughnut with chocolate. To finish, you put it on a cooling rack to cool off and then eat it.



An Original Machine:
by Dylan, sixth grade writer

This is how the Robo-Breakfast-Maker makes breakfast. Initially, the pancake mix is poured into a bowl where it is mixed with water. Secondly, the mixture is poured into a pancake mold, where it cooks. Next the pancake falls onto a conveyor belt and onto the plate below. Meanwhile, the thawed bacon falls into a pan where it is cooked by robots. Eventually the bacon falls onto a conveyor belt and onto the plate below. While that is being cooked, an egg falls into a tube, is injected with a needle, and the yolk and whites are sucked out. They are cooked and fall to a conveyor belt and onto the plate. Finally, you grab the plate. Breakfast is ready to eat!

(Click here to view/print Orlando and Dylan's machine descriptions.)

Student Samples: Middle School

An Original Machine:
The Outstanding Homework Machine
by Miracle, eighth grade writer

Have you ever wanted a robot to do your homework, and get full credit on it? Well, now you can with the “Homework Machine.” First, you put in the subject category of your homework, Next, you put in what grade you want to get on the assignment: A, B, C, D, or F. Then you put in the sheet of paper and watch the machine do its work! Meanwhile, you enter your name into the machine, so it can put it on the paper. After that, you wait until the paper comes out, which will take a couple of minutes. Eventually you take out the paper and put it away, to turn in tomorrow. Therefore, you get what score you wanted on the assignment.


An Original Machine:
The Hydro Reformer
by Austin, eighth grade writer

To begin with, the Hydro Reformer is a mechanical and complex machine made to create H2O. Initially, using the nanofiber web, the Hydro Reformer catches the oxygen and hydrogen atoms like a spider web would do with flies, simultaneously separating them into groups of two in different chambers awaiting the fusion process. Later on, when enough hydrogen and oxygen atoms are processed, they are sent to a fusion vault to be compressed together to make H2O, or water. Eventually, after an abundant amount of condensation is collected, it is sent spiraling down the airtight lock tube into a drip system. Pursuing this farther, the drip system combines the molecules of water into to drops and drips down to the bottom of the container, hence the name, drip system. Accordingly, the water is sent through carbon filters, materials, and scanners like the SEM (scanning electron microscope) and TEM (transmitting electron microscope) to cleanse it. In essence, the Hydro Reformer can be used to fix the scarcity of water in many regions.


An Original Machine:
The Extravagant Whip Cream-Chinking Machine
by Kristine, eighth grade writer

She created her own time-wasting whip cream chinking machine that most defiantly kills people’s boredom. To start off, she dumps all the egg whites, sugar, and all those other ingredients into the machine’s built-in mixer. At the same time, the machine’s whip crème throwing arms are greased to ensure perfect function. Soon enough, the ammo cabin fills to the brim with sweet, white, fluffy whip crème that slowly settles, patiently, waiting for the fate that awaits it. Given a few minutes to warm up, the machine stands up at the ready, prepare for launch. With a light giggle and smile, her machine’s controller lands in the hands of her classmate as she quietly whispers, “Have fun.”

(Click here to open/print these three eighth grade samples.)


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