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

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Your Own Faraway Place

driving into an emotion-evoking, imaginary land

The writing of author Norton Juster is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of word choice and voice.

Your students can self-publish their writing done to this lesson by clicking here.


Student Sample: Upper Elementary

The Strange and Annoying Land
by Nicolas M., sixth grade writer

It was 4:30 p.m. and every noise I heard bugged me, because I had just finished the worst school day of my life. As I drove away from school, even the growling of my car’s engine tortured me. I could barely stand it anymore, since the aggravating jack-hammers doing construction kept drilling again, and again, and again.

As I thought back, I could still hear that torturous spine-chilling noise of the mean Social Studies teacher’s finger scraping against the pitch-black chalkboard. After that, her Joker from the jack-in-the-box cackled. The Joker’s horrible laugh was so startling that the whole class jumped in surprise. Immediately after the clown experience, I left school to drive myself home. Suddenly I found myself transported through an eerie shimmering green vortex.

The first thing I heard was a very weird and irritating noise. The sounds were blustering from a dog howling, a bear growling, a mosquito biting the bear, and a woman screaming in fright. After I heard them, I decided to give them names. I named the dog Pete. Pete was an obnoxious, frightening bull dog. Bill an irritating mosquito, Joe a hideous bear, and Mrs. Umbrage a crabby and creepy lady.

I jumped out of my orange Subaru and said hello. I told them my name was Bob and asked if they could be a little more quiet. They said they were ThePestering Four, and that it was their job to be noisy. I asked why. They said, “This town is called Annoyingville, and so it is everyone’s job to be as offensive and inconvenient as possible!”

Then I asked, “How do I get out of here?”

They said, “Once you are in here, it is impossible to get out. That is why everyone is always so bothersome.”

I ran to my Subaru and pushed on the gas. As I drove, I detected the same green vortex that I had been transported through earlier, and instantly arrived at home. After that, I decided I’d never be as thorny and unhelpful again for the rest of my life.


Student Sample Being Sought: Middle School

WritingFix is currently seeking a 7th or 8th grade student sample 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 students and a signed permission slips, we will send you either a complimentary copy of the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Secondary Writing Guide, or you may choose from any of our NNWP publications.

Write to us at publish@writingfix.com and use "Phantom Tollbooth " in your e-mail's subject line, if you have a student sample to share with us.


Student Sample Being Sought: High School

WritingFix is currently seeking a 9th-12th grade student sample 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 students and a signed permission slips, we will send you either a complimentary copy of the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Secondary Writing Guide, or you may choose from any of our NNWP publications.

Write to us at publish@writingfix.com and use "Phantom Tollbooth " in your e-mail's subject line, if you have a student sample to share with us.


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