A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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organizing a unique story about finding a magical item

The writing of author Bruce Coville is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of organization and idea development. 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, 5, 6, 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.

To have us consider your students' writing for inclusion on this page, you must post the writing to our Ning page dedicated to this lesson. Click here to access that page. You must first be a member of the Writing Lesson of the Month Network in order to post.

Student Samples: Elementary

The Three Wishes
by Gabbi, third grade writer

As I slowly walked past the magic shop, I noticed there was a mysterious sign that said, “Enter at Your Own Risk.” I wandered in to the store and looked curiously through the aisles. I saw all sorts of cool things but couldn’t take my eyes off of a rainbow-colored egg. I carefully picked it up and the shopkeeper--whose nametag read Maggie--said, “That egg is special. It takes much responsibility, but it’s only a dime.”

I thought, Oh, I have a dime in my pocket, and I gave it to Maggie. She peered at the dime very closely and started to rub it slowly between her fingers like it was an ancient artifact.

She thanked me and told me to come back tomorrow morning, and she would give me the egg at that time. I thought to myself, Why would she want me to come back tomorrow? I didn’t ask because I was too excited.

The next morning I jogged back to the magic shop, eager to find out what Maggie was going to say about the egg. As I burst into the store, I didn’t see Maggie anywhere until she crept out of the back room. She looked surprised to see me. Maggie looked at me and said, “Do you still want the egg?”

I nervously said, “Yes, yes, I do.”

She grabbed the egg out of the cash register safe and started to rub it lovingly. I was starting to wonder whether she was a shopkeeper or a freak when all of a sudden a yellow ray popped out of the egg. Numbers appeared on the egg: one, two, and three…

(Click here to read Gabbi's entire story)

The Goblet
by Aurora, fourth grade writer

I shut the rotting door carefully, blocking the remaining light from the sunset.  A blood red candle was the only source of light in the room, but the flame was a plum purple.  I crept closer and an icy chill swept across my body.  The wax started dripping down the candle and when it dropped onto the floor, it became blood.  I stepped back and ran to the back of the shop. The cracked wooden floor creaked under my feet, but I kept walking until something glittered at the corner of my eye. I walked toward it and saw a diamond with a crack through the middle.  It was locked up in a glass case.  I stepped closer and saw the word "death" sketched upon it.  Then, I heard a moan whispering, "Help me! Help me!" coming right from the diamond. Quivering with fear, I cautiously stepped to the right.

There a gold goblet stood on a platter on the highest shelf in the room, and it was easy to see because it was glowing. I could see pictures of things on it like an ugly woman transforming into a beautiful lady, a man turning into a bat, and a bat into a vampire.  On the middle it read "SHAPE SHIFTER," and a green potion was bubbling up to its brim. A voice behind me said, "Take it."  I turned around and saw the shopkeeper.  He reached up to the shelf and gave it to me.

I held up the goblet and another voice said, "Beware user, once you've drunk the potion from the goblet of a shape shifter, your life will never be the same! Drink it the hour the dogs howl and then, while drinking it, think of what you want to change into.  You may drink as many times as you like, but remember you will never be happy with your life..."

Student Sample: Middle School

The Staff
by Tyson, eighth grade writer

One day I was jogging around a bend that led to my house because I have been trying to get in shape for the basketball tryouts. About twenty feet from my house, deep mists suddenly made it impossible to see anything. I started to freak, and I felt claustrophobia closing in. My lungs started to close up, and then I was in a strange shop. An old man at a counter said, "Now, you have several things that you came for, but pick the right one."

I thought it weird at the time, but I thought nothing more of it. I started to look around and saw that the shop held a lot of stuff that people might like if it was fake. The skulls really did look real; plus, there were heads that blinked and moved. Then it occurred to me: this stuff was real. I was amazed. Never in my life had I thought that magical stuff could be real. I started to walk around with more respect. There were eyeballs, magic books, rings that had a lot of rubies, and there were even dragon eggs!

I started to look around for something for me when I encountered the staff. It was a staff that stood about five feet tall, and it had a dragon claw that had four talons. The claw held a crystal that was about six inches in diameter. The ball was clear inside and there was green mist that just hung there, suspended.

I was fascinated. When I grabbed it, there was a bright flash, and I was back at home. Well, I thought it was home. Then a bright light flashed and I was sent back to the shop. "How mush is this staff?" I asked.

The old man smiled and turned around. "Well, normally it is about a quarter and a half, but I will make it only a penny in your case." When I started to walk to the counter to give him my penny, there was a commotion at the front door.

(Click here to read Tyson's entire story)

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