A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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Details and Vocabulary

using content-based vocabulary in a paragraph about animal habitats or history-filled settings

The writing of author Cynthia Rylant is currently inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of word choice 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.

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Additional Student Samples Being Sought:
Grades 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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Early Elementary Samples:

The Zebras in Africa
by Skylar, second grade writer

In a herd, the mares are in front and the stallions are in the back. You may see a zebra trot across the savannahs to feed on grass, shrubs, herbs, or twigs because they are herbivores. Zebras have stripes to help camouflage them from predators which are lions and hyenas.

There are no zebras like Africa’s.



The Leopards in Africa
by Carson, second grade writer

African leopards are solitary and only stay with their mates and cubs. Some of the leopards prey are fish, mammals, birds, and reptiles. The leopard, leopardess, and cub are nocturnal and live and hunt in dense bush in rocky surroundings.

There are no leopards like Africa’s.



The Bottlenose Dolphin of America
by Shannon, fourth grade writer

The Bottlenose Dolphin lives in the ocean. They have flippers, eyes and flukes. Their predators are man and killer whales. They eat fish, squid, shrimp and crabs. They move by using their dorsal fins and their median notches which are their tails. They are carnivores. A baby is called a calf, a male is called a bull, and a female is called a cow. They can be found worldwide in tropical and warm waters. Some live offshore and others live near the coast. They are cool to see when they are in the Pacific ocean swimming.

There are no Bottlenose Dolphins like the ones in America.


American Buffalo
by Gianna, fourth grade writer

The American Buffalo has short curved horns and long shaggy brown fur around his head, neck and shoulders. The rest of his body has very short brown fur. A male is called a bull. A female is called a cow. A baby is called a cud. A group of buffalo is called a herd or gang. The American Buffalo lives in North America where wolves hunt them and eat them. Buffalo eat grass, twigs and shrubs. They are herbivores. The buffalo can run up to 30 miles per hour. It`s the heaviest land animal. A buffalo is actually a bison. Buffalo live 12 to 15 years.

There are no American Buffalo like the ones in North America.


The Red Wolf
by Michael, fifth grade writer

The red wolf runs to catch its prey. The red wolf eats lizards, raccoons, white tailed deer, and fish because they are carnivores. The male is called a dog and the female is called a she wolf. Adults weigh 45 to 80 pounds and they arrive in packs. A baby is called a pup. They live in eastern USA where their predator is humans. They have very good eye sight and long bushy tails.

There are no Red Wolves like the ones in North America.


The Giant Panda
by Matalyn, fifth grade writer

The giant panda bear lives in China. Giant panda bears eat mostly bamboo, grass, and small animals. They are omnivores. The male panda bears are called boars, and the female panda bears are called sows. The baby panda bears are called cubs. A group of panda bears are called a sloth, and they can run. The predators of the diant pandas are the wild dog packs, leopards, and eagles. The giant panda bears have thick wooly coats on their arms, legs, eyes, and ears. The giant panda is an endangered species, they are a national treasure in China, and are protected by law. The panda’s sound is like a bleating lamb. In China, another word for giant panda bear is large bear-cat.

There are no Giant Pandas like the ones in China.


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