A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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The writing of author Patricia MacLachlan is currently inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of sentence fluency and idea development. 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.

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Student Samples: Elementary

by Ashley, first grade writer

My favorite place is Hawaii. In Hawaii, the bumpy blue ocean has waves. Black and white whales swim in the ocean. I like to swim like a fish. We look for little shells under the sand. Shiny, sparkly shells lay hidden. The bright, pretty sunset rises behind the mountains. I just love Hawaii because it makes me happy.


The Meadow
by Alita, second grade writer

My favorite place is the meadow. There are many colorful flowers standing in the grass. Leafy green trees sway in the breeze and purple snowy mountains stand still near the meadow. I go to listen. I hear the birds. They sound like sweet bedtime hugs. The beautiful blue sky dances against the treetops and white, fluffy clouds move in slow motion. Against the wind, the green, soft grass shimmers. I like to hop in the grass like a bunny. Pretty, cold snow sparkles on the mountains. Soft, smooth leaves fall on the ground. I love the meadow.

The River
by Jaeden, second grade writer

My favorite place is along the Truckee River. The blue, soft river floats like angels. Green pine trees sway near the yellow grass. Under the soft, brown soil, tough trunks stand. By the river, a fast blue lizard scampers by. I love Truckee because my best friend used to live there.



The Horse Trail
by Rachel, third grade writer

In front of me, the weedy brown mountains sit still. My white and brown spotted horse bumps on the trail. I smile like a happy face. Sabrena sweats under her saddle. Ugly, disgusting garbage messes up the beautiful trail. I feel really bad about it. The pink orange and yellow sunset glistens in the gorgeous sky. I love to ride horses.


by Zack, third grade writer

My favorite place is Idaho. In Idaho the cool blue sky sways. The awesome black train chugs past my house. It chugs loudly. On my lawn, crazy long grass swishes. Fluffy white clouds move in the air. Really white. Weird brown dirt sits on the railroad track. Muddy dirt. I’d rather be in Idaho than here.


(Click here to open/print the four early elementary samples posted above.)

My Bed
by Brinna, fourth grade writer

Up the stairs and in between the closet and playroom is my room, where my bed is. I love to be in my warm bed because it lets me do whatever. It lets me have dreams and downright fun! With my brother, we play fishing or dragon slayer. My bed is the place to be.




Sand Lake
by Payton, fourth grade writer

At Sand Lake, I like to ride dirt bikes and four wheelers. When I go to Sand Lake, I see lots of people on a lot of bikes. If you go over the mountain, there will be a cool pretty ocean. There is a trail in the woods. I love to go through the shaded woods. After a while, we go home.


(Click here to open/print Brinna, Payton, and two of their classmates' place descriptions)

The Forest
by Eamonn, 5th grade writer

Through the field, past the bushes, and into the woods is my favorite place to be, the forest. At my dad's, I like to go for walks in the forest, among the trails, squirrels, birds and other woodland critters. Every time the wind blows, the trees sway back and forth. I imagine them dancing and singing their hearts out. If there was no forest, my life would be nothing.




My Favorite Place
by Paige, fifth grade writer

Beyond a little black cottage, a little ways in the woods is a trail. A tiny bit of a walk with the sparrows, ducks and beavers and you’re there. Tall pine trees covering your view of the sky.

There I sit accompanied by my dog. My view is spectacular! We sit as we gaze out to the open water. A small waterfall caused by the busy beavers piling their wood can be the loveliest thing you've ever seen. Soon the ducks will have their children. It will be such a sight to see their mama guide them through the water, seeing their first flight! 

My dog is fond of the frogs the most. She loves to go wondering wherever the shoreline takes her. If she does get a glimpse of one she will chase them until they escape.

It is such a pleasure to be there! It seems I have been going on too long, so it is time for my story to come to an end. Everyone has a favorite place and it doesn't matter if it’s full of nature or if it’s full of glamour. It’s what it means to you that matters!

(Click here to open/print Eamonn, Paige, and two of their classmates' place descriptions.)


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