A Chapter Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix & HistoryFix
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Historical Journal Entries

big history from a smaller character's perspective

The writing of author Pam Conrad is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of organization 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.

Student Samples Being Sought:
Grades 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 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 Sample: Upper Elementary

1906 Earthquake Journal
by Alex, fifth grade writer

Although there are many amazing experiences in life, I have to say surviving the 1906 earthquake and fire in San Francisco is one I will never forget.

On April 18, 1906 I was sleeping comfortable. All of a sudden I felt a very hard and uncomfortable shaking. I heard all kinds of screams, so I looked out the window and saw children and adults crowding the streets in their pajamas.

"Bam!" I jumped at the noise and said, "It was just the door." All of a sudden I felt the ground shaking harder than the first shaking. It knocked me off my feet. My brother came down the stairs screaming. My Mom came inside and told us to get our most precious items. We ran upstairs and got our suitcases and I put two dresses and one pair of shoes and stockings. Then me, my brother, and our mom ran to get our dog, Ruby. We ran into a reporter and she told us to go to Golden Gate Park. We started running to Golden Gate Park.

Then we saw smoke coming our way, so we ran faster. Ruby started barking really loud and someone bumped into me and yelled, "Fire! Run for your lives. Fire!" I looked around for Josh and my mom, but I couldn't find them. Ruby and I started running again toward Golden Gate Park.

A United States Army soldier came up to us and said, "Clear the street because we are setting off dynamite". Ruby and I had a worried look on our faces while we were looking at each other. We ran so fast I almost tripped.

Finally, when we got to the refugee camp I saw my mom and brother, Josh, waving their arms for me to come to them. When I got there, they saved two tents, one for me and Ruby and one for Josh and my mom.

Ruby and I went inside the small tent and fell asleep. Ten minutes later my mom woke me up and said it was time to dine. When we waited in line, it felt like it took hours to get the food. Then, when we were done eating, we had to wait in line for water that took about ten minutes for that. While we were at the refugee camp, people were thinking of taking San Francisco off the map, but people started rebuilding their houses, so they stopped thinking about that.

My Grandpa, William Ward, and his brothers were ones that helped rebuild. It took many years to rebuild. Chinatown was one of the first to get rebuilt and City Hall was the last. After all of the hard work that people put in San Francisco became one of the loveliest cities in the United States of America.

Though, there were many hardships during the earthquake and fire, we all got through them and I'm glad we did. That is why surviving the earthquake is one experience I will never forget.

(Click here to print/view Alex's story for your students to discuss.)

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