An I-Pod Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT Support Trait: VOICE

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Where is the Love?

exploring real voice and real ideas in a persuasive argument

Songs by The Black Eyes Peas and Ben Harper are inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of idea development 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 6, 9, 10, 11, 12

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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.

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Student Samples: Middle School

Food Injustice
by April, seventh grade writer

Ah, there's nothing like the smell of bad quality and life-shortening ingredients. You may see them as harmless hamburgers and fries, but I see them as deathly, cheaply made, money makers heated and served. I believe fast food companies need to improve their food's quality. Nobody likes sinewy food and upset stomachs.

Hungry? Chew on this. Your fast food meal looks, tastes and smells good, but it is packed with trans fat, saturated fat, sodium, calories, and is very low in nutrition. When you hear about these things, you don't realize how much they can affect you. Trans fat and saturated fat clog arteries and increase blood pressure, giving you a higher risk of heart disease. Too much sodium increases chances of heart disease, stomach cancer and stroke. If you take in a lot of calories and don't exercise enough, you gain weight and may become obese. 300,000 people die from obesity each year, almost more than the death rate for smoking. Ingredients like this hurt so many people, yet fast food restaurants still put it in their products. People are lined up in your drive thru for food, not poison. The definition of fast food is something you can eat on the go. Instead, fast food restaurants make it more like food that shortens your life span.

Attention, food eaters of the world: fast food restaurants know that their food is bad for you, yet they still keep on selling it. Millions and millions of animals are raised, fed hormones, and slaughtered inhumanely just to be processed and sold. The companies claim their products to be 100% natural, but almost all food is processed, mixed with strange chemicals, and splashed with some flavor. McDonald's earns more than a billion each quarter and Burger King profits approximately 58 million. The only reason why these top two restaurants (and all the others) sell inexpensive food is because the food is made cheaply.

Fast food needs better quality. Not just one fast food chain needs to change, but the whole system needs improvement. Each and every fast food restaurant hides what they really do under lies, all driven by profit. What we can do to conquer these money crazed people is to stop eating their food and to spread the word why? We can't sit around and wait for other people to decide not to eat junk, we have to decide for ourselves.

(Click here to open/print April and one of her classmate's essays.)

Limited School Passes: A Violation of Rights
by Taylor, seventh grade writer

It is an injustice, unfair and a violation of human rights that students should have limited school passes. The rule at our middle school is you get five passes per quarter to go to your locker and five passes per quarter to go to the bathroom, and if you run out of passes, you will have lunch detention. We are being treated like peasants on a manor, getting punished for using too many passes. I believe that students should not have limited school passes. Everyone forgets things in their lockers and you do not choose when you have to go to the bathroom. This rule is unfair.

First of all, let’s talk about bathroom passes. You get five per quarter. Only five! Surely, you would have to go to the bathroom more than five times a quarter. If you are doing something that requires great focus, and you have to go to the bathroom but are not allowed to go, you will have a harder time focusing. Most people have a difficult time focusing on things when they have to go to the bathroom. If you can’t focus, you can’t get a good score on whatever you are doing. Also, holding it in can be a danger to your health. The most common health problem is a urinary tract infection. If you hold it in consistently, it can lead to kidney failure. Going to the bathroom is a basic need just like eating and sleeping. Plus, you don’t choose when you have to go to the bathroom. Teachers can go to the bathroom anytime they want; there are labor laws that say you have to let a worker go to the bathroom or they can sue you, so students should be able to go to the bathroom whenever they want too. It is truly unfair.

Next up is locker and homework passes. Not having your homework or forgetting something isn’t a problem unless it is consistent. Everyone forgets at some point, no one is perfect. A person can only remember so much.

Lastly, the purpose of these passes is to increase responsibility. If you use too many passes, apparently you are not responsible enough. But there are students who are responsible enough to still have passes left; they get nothing out of it. Reward those that still have passes rather than punish the ones who don’t. This is called positive reinforcement. It has been proven that positive reinforcement is more effective than negative reinforcement such as punishment. With positive reinforcement the students focus on getting the reward instead of the consequence. Also, you will have a better relationship with your teachers because of positive reinforcement.

I believe that students should not have limited school passes. And you must believe too, because no person can fight a war by themselves; the people affected must support this cause. Friends, we need action, we need to protest against this outrage. We have got to march into the deans' and principal's offices and tell them that this is not o.k.; it is a violation of our human rights. No more limited school passes, no punishments, just rewards, positive, not negative reinforcement!

(Click here to open/print Taylor and one of his classmate's essays.)

Teen Privacy
by Naomi, eighth grade writer

Eighty-three percent of parents are satisfied with their children’s Internet use; however, they check their children's messages weekly. Everyday teens are being violated of their privacy. Parents are losing the relationship they had with their teens and teens become rebellious with anger. Teens should have privacy to express themselves, whether it’s writing in a diary or texting to their friends. Are you giving your teens privacy?

Eighty-six percent of parents see themselves as “guides to good Internet content” rather than using computer programs such as “Watchdogs”. Imagine someone watching over you as you answer messages, e-mail your friends, or watch a funny video on YouTube. Would you want someone hanging over your every word? It’s like someone reading your diary to the whole family. Your parents might do it because they “love” you and they want to “protect” you, but that does not make it right! How can teens have privacy if parents are watching them all day and night?

Janet Kornblum reports, “Reading online bogs and journals are no different from eavesdropping.” Janet agrees with teens and argues that everyone should have privacy. There are laws against reading adult’s mail, but why does it have to be different for teens? As teenagers, we need privacy to have something we can call our own. Teens also have accounts on websites such as Facebook and MySpace, but parents read e-mails and messages on there as well. Madison Jett once said, “My mom read my MySpace page, and read all of my messages! I was mad!” Teenagers all over the world are having their privacy violated by their parents.

Teens spend an average of 16.7 hours online weekly. The Internet is a teen’s life! It is a way teens can open themselves up to the world. Some teens are self-conscious and the only way they can really communicate with friends is through the Internet. About 68 million people use the Internet to share pictures and meet new people. More than 20 percent of those people are under 18 years old. What some parents may not know is that Facebook and MySpace allow you to get a private account. When you get a private account, the only people you allow to know your password can get into your account. The creators of the website made that an option to protect your “identity”. These websites are safer than parents think.

Write a letter to your parents explaining to them why you need your privacy. If you do not have privacy, you are sharing your things to the world even if you do not need to. Parents need to be understanding enough to know that. Teens should have privacy whether it’s an online journal or private diary.

(Click here to open/print Naomi's essay for your students to analyze.)

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