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

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Prose Poetry Paragraphs

imitating Sandra Cisneros' style by subtly using poetic elements in descriptions

The writing of author Sandra Cisneros is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of word choice and voice. 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 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, and 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 one, two or 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: Middle School

The One Who Waits
by Nathan, seventh grade writer

The old Chicago elementary school. Once priceless to all who passed through its doors, though now treated as worthless. Desperately longing for someone to open its doors once again. To stay for just a while, and take their time to wander its empty halls. Now retired to the dusty abandoned streets of downtown Chicago, it hears the cars pass by every so often. It longs like a homeless man's pocket, waiting for it to be filled once again, butthe hope is always in vain.

Something so big, yet is treated as so small that nobody seems to notice it. The walls of the abandoned school ache like the stomachs of starving children in Africa. The school's long hallways are like a mother's outstretched arms, waiting for her missing child to fillthem again. Just one more time.

The old school's windows are an old man's lungs yearning for his oxygen. The hallway floors still marked with handprints, hope for the hurried footsteps of the happy children to massage it once again. Quietly it wishes for the children's laughter to tickle its crevices with wads of chewed gum and silly notes written on little pieces of paper. The old school sighs and creaks, cries with the rain, and sleeps in the sun, and waits, just in case.

The Passing
by Erin, seventh grade writer

As each kid gets older, it's passed down. Passed down like a family heirloom, but not like an antique, not safe and not kept. The size 4 soccer ball has been on many feet, been on many fields, been to many places. It rolls on the grass. It sits in the garage. It has its owner. And as soon as it gets used to its owner, it is passed down yet again.

How many times has it seen the back of the net? Felt the nylon rope on its back? Hear the crowd go wild in joy? Back and forth across the field. Up and down. Side to side. Net to net. Passed down from brother to sister, and now from sister to sister. The soccer ball is trustworthy. It's a life-long companion, so why must it be passed down?

As children get older, its mind gets colder. It begins to feel good on the children's feet, like an old pair of tennis shoes. And like the tennis shoes, it's passed down. To another pair of feet. And another team to beat. They claim that they must use a size 5 at the age of thirteen. A ball that's bigger, stronger, more powerful Then, slowly, shyly, shamelessly, the size 4 moves on. Moves on to another set of feet. Moves on to different fields. Moves on to different owners. And when the cycle is complete, when it has gotten used to the new owner, and the new fields, the soccer ball is passed down once more.

(Click here to view/print Nathan and Erin and two of their classmates' vignettes.)

Student Samples: High School

by Sara, tenth grade writer

The photos, the snapshots, the happy faces saying they are so “delighted” to be here. Family pictures are always “so fun.” Sisters like mine poke and prod at everything that anyone is wearing. The photographer who puts you over here, over there. She makes you lean forward in awkward positions in an attempt to make this picture “flawless.” The camera, with that big lens, that snickers at you with every flash. These are the happy memories of your “family at its best.” The outcome is beauteous “picture perfect” prints to give away and send in Christmas cards. These are the images to remind everyone how content your family really is.


by Katie, tenth grade writer

Emotions hitting my head hard as a boulder. My life falling apart right in front of me. Being taken over by your hurt. You, physically and emotionally in pain. Secretly killing me inside. Staring at the bottle resting on those clean, freshly washed counters. A wolf in search for a fawn—me. Up to my room, to my undisturbed hiding place. The happiest place I can go, where many things have been hidden before. My mind tells me fifteen, but my heart tells me one. Stay here in hope for a better future. I don't want to wait. I want it now.

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