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We celebrate teachers who have created their own websites about teaching writing:

Always Write
(Grades K-12)

Start to Learn

(Primary Grades)

Making Mathematicians

(Grades K-12)

Learning is Messy

(Grades 4-6)

Write in the Middle

(Grades 6-8)

WritingFix Project: A Poem for Each Student
making new connections with your students by writing of poems about them

Hello, my name is Terry Stelle, and I created this webpage for the WritingFix website between spring and summer of 2009. After I completed the NNWP's Summer Invitational in 2008, the Northern Nevada Writing Project leadership sent me a book that was published by the National Writing Project in 1998: A Poem for Every Student: Creating Community in a Public School Classroom by Sheryl Lane. Knowing my love of poetry, I suspect they thought I would be inspired by this book. I was.

I wrote a poem for each student as the culminating activity to our writer’s community at the end of the school year. In every poem, I tried to pay tribute to each student’s strengths and share my hopes for each of them.

I noticed a few students sort of snooping over to check out the poems as they were being made but still on my desk, curious as to what they were. When they found out they each got a personal poem from me they couldn't wait to get theirs. I noticed more than a few kids take theirs off by themself to read it privately. Then came the thank-you's and the big hugs. I could feel the gratitude. It gave me and them a personal good bye and sense of closure for the end of a great year together. I really enjoyed the process of writing them as it made me focus on each student as I decided what I wanted to share with them. Some were hard to write! But I had 19 school days left and 17 students so I took the challenge and was glad I did.

I formatted the poems into an autograph book so that they could each share their goodbye wishes with each other next to my poem for them. For a front cover I used the apple interest inventory (favorite TV show, person, subject, word, snack, etc.) they had each created at the beginning of the school year with their pictures, and for the back cover they were asked to answer the same interest inventory questions again, this time on an apple core.

I enjoyed the challenge this process posed on me, and I felt the students would appreciate the personal connection writers share. I hope my poems for them will inspire future sharing of their observations and feelings, too.

Below, I share pictures of the poems I gave my fourth graders. If you love poetry too, I hope this page inspires you to try something similar with your students.

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On Terry's bookshelf...

Terry's A Poem for Each Student Project
(A visual journey through this process)

A Poem Terry Wrote about the WritingFix:
(an original piece of writing inspired by NPR's this i believe... podcasts)

Terry and her fourth graders on the day she gave them each their personalized poems:

Below, you can find the 17 poems Terry wrote for her fourth graders. By clicking on each poem, you will be able to view it in a larger format. Terry published these poems using Printshop.

Click on the poems to view them in a larger format.

For a front cover I used the apple interest inventory they had each created at the beginning of the school year with their pictures, and for the back cover they were asked to answer the same interest inventory questions again, this time on an apple core. Click on the images to see a larger view of these pictures.

These pictures show what the inside of the poem packet looked like. The first shows Ivette's poem before she got autographs from her classmates. The second show's Ian's poem after he got his classmate's autographs. If you click on either image, you can view it in larger form.

This I Believe... is How to Teach Writing
by Mrs. Stelle

I started by writing with ’em,
Then went out and bought a book.
We learned how to write conclusions
and catch readers with a hook.

Then I let ’em use computers,
add word art and paste in pics,
now I noticed even naughty boys
could use writing to get their kicks.

They loved to see and share their essays now,
filled with all their clever tricks--
and I don’t think I’d smiled this much
since the debut of White Chicks.

We’d formed a writer’s community.
They cheered, “Mrs. Stelle, you are the bomb,”
but alas nothing “had them at hello”
’til we tried Writingfix.com.

Now we steal ideas by the thousands,
using mentor texts and frames.
We submit our best and favorites
then log on and see our names.

We read new stories with each lesson,
so in a way we get “two-fer-one”.
Now we all “TGI” Mondays.
writing has never been this fun.

“What’s next?” my kids, they want to know.
“Next year will writing still be a blast?”
“Just wait ’til you’re in middle school” I answer.
“They teach writing with Podcasts!”

So we salute you, webmaster Harrison,
(this is not meant to pander).
Just to say, “We love your website!”
Thanks for giving all you can there.

Classroom Songs by Terry:

Terry also writes original songs about classroom content that she teaches her students to sing.

Her songs about the six writing traits have been a popular tool that are shared (and sung) in our Northern Nevada Writing Project's 6-trait inservice classes.

Terry has also been publishing songs on other classroom content at a website she has set up. You can access Terry's other songs by clicking here. Terry invites teachers who use her songs to send her any original content-inspired songs that they have written.

WritingFix Lessons Used by Terry:

Lesson: Using 90th Street's Advice

Mentor Text: Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street by Roni Schotter

Focus Trait: Idea Development

Support Trait: Word Choice


Lesson: Things I Love Poems and Songs

Mentor Text: Tom T. Hall's song, "I Love," and Eloise Greenfield's poem, Honey, I Love.

Focus Trait: Idea Development

Support Trait: Word Choice



Mentor Text: If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky

Focus Trait: Word Choice

Support Trait: Idea Development


Mentor Text: Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

Focus Trait: Voice

Support Trait: Word Choice


Mentor Text: This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman

Focus Trait: Sentence Fluency

Support Trait: Idea Development




Mentor Text: Grandpa's Teeth by Rod Clement

Focus Trait: Idea Development

Support Trait: Organization




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Please, share the resources you find on these pages freely with fellow educators, but please leave any page citations on handouts intact, and please give authorship credit to the cited teachers who created these wonderful lessons and resources. Thanks in advance for honoring other educators' intellectual property.

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