A Literature-Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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A Monster of a Metaphor

creating an extended metaphor with sentences that flow

The writing of author John Steinbeck is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of idea development and sentence fluency. 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 7, 9, 10, 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.

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: Middle School

The Dancer
by Abby, eighth grade writer

Alison carefully slipped on her ballet shoes and rushed to class.  She arrived just as her dance teacher turned on the soft, flowy warm-up music.  Alison relaxed her body.  As the music flowed through her, she became a willow tree in the cool evening breeze.  Her arms swayed as graceful branches while the music blew over her.  As the whispering wind rolled off her fingertips, she extended her wrists into flowing leaves.  She was beautiful.  The music quickened, and the breeze surged through the willow grabbing hold of her legs in a tourjete.  Her way of dance was a natural as the wind finding its way through a willing tree.  The music, the wind, the tree and the girl, they were one.  Her spirt and passion shone through her movement as the warm-up ended and the wind stopped blowing.

Student Sample: High School

Like a River
by Brent, eleventh grade writer

Jimmy walked through life struggling. He didn’t have a mother; she'd passed away a year ago. His father was struggling to give Jimmy the best life he could, but Jimmy didn’t care about life anymore. He tried his best to make his Dad proud but never succeeded. Jimmy was failing out of school fast, and he was not worried about anyone or anything anymore.

While walking to the bus stop, Jimmy saw an older lady--like his Grandma—who was walking her dog. He stopped to pet the dog before he finished walking to the bus, and before Jimmy left the lady said, “Hello, what’s your name?”

Jimmy replied calmly, “Jimmy.”

The old lady replied, “Well, it’s nice to meet you. I’m your new neighbor, Mrs. Cooper.” Jimmy realized that he had seen her move in the other day, and they said their goodbyes, so Jimmy wasn’t late.

That afternoon Jimmy made his way back to his house and he spotted Mrs. Cooper walking her dog again. Walking with Mrs. Cooper and her dog, Jimmy was amazed how lively and sporadic she was. When Mrs. Cooper invited Jimmy to come into her house and have some cookies and milk, Jimmy couldn’t resist. As Mrs. Cooper made the cookies, Jimmy was amazed at how well Mrs. Cooper flowed through the kitchen; she seemed like a river that had been running its course for years.

Mrs. Cooper reminded Jimmy of his Grandma, but Jimmy was still amazed at what Mrs. Cooper had gone through. The stories that she told were like the scenery--the trees and landscape features--on a river ride. She talked about how life was during the war, and did so with such rush it felt as though he was sitting on a hospital bed tending her patient’s wounds himself. Then she jumped onto different subjects, as if he had just passed a rapid and was moving onto the next set. The stories she told had twists and turns that no one could have predicted.

Mrs. Cooper asked Jimmy if he had homework, and he said, “I don’t ever do it, so I guess not.”

Mrs. Cooper looked stunned and asked Jimmy to get out his assignments. She sat with Jimmy for thirty minutes and helped him with his homework. She made his voyage fun in the beginning—ramped and exhilarating. Jimmy left Mrs. Cooper that day with a thought that he was a better person and would from then on have a tutor who would help him through any type of voyage.

(Click here to view/print Brent and two of his classmates' metaphor stories.)


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