A Poetry-Inspired Writing Lesson from WritingFix

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defining and writing about "relationships" between personified elements

A book by J. Ruth Gendler is inspiring student writers to try new techniques with the traits of idea development and word choice. 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 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 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. Teachers: if you can help us obtain one, two or three student samples, along with a digital photo of the student(s) and a signed permission slips, we will send you either a complimentary copy of one of the Northern Nevada Writing Project's print publications.

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 Samples: High School

by Alexis, ninth grade writer

Gossip is a popular high school girl who sweeps through the hallways. Her outrageous lies make you want to run away and hide. Jealousy is her best friend, and Truth is her worst enemy. The little lies she says are dirty and sticky.

This tall, skinny blonde can make anyone believe her and anyone feel low. Her words flood the school like an oil spill. As she basks in the criticism, she smiles as kids get picked on.

Her enemy, Truth, really gets under Gossip’s skin. Truth is always honest, has a loud, clear voice and constantly makes eye contact. Gossip hates Truth for all these qualities.

Gossip is a sneaky snake. She always speaks in a low, whispery voice. She never makes eye contact with anyone. Her vicious bite injects a toxin of pure humiliation. She locks her jaws into anyone weak enough to believe her.

When the sun rises and the truth is revealed, she slips away into her cave of self-pity and loneliness, never to be seen or heard again.

by Tyler, tenth grade writer

Need lives in a box on the side of the street. Need looks for people who have nothing: people who dig in the trash for food, people without jobs, people who don’t even have homes.

When Need talks, he sounds hoarse because he could use some cough medicine. His skin is grey and pale. His only friends are the homeless and disadvantaged. If it wasn’t for them, Need would not be here. The only people that Need doesn’t need are people who don’t need him.

Need and his brother, Want, are totally opposite, and they don’t really get along. Want is the type of guy who has everything he requires but craves unnecessary objects. While Need suffers, Want complains about foolish items he desires.

Need discovers old newspapers and books while digging in garbage, but he can’t read them. Sadly, all he can do is look at the pictures. This is what he does on the weekends. The rest of the time, he is busy scrounging for food to eat. Sometimes on busy days, people get stuck in traffic jams, and Need gets to hear music from their idling cars while he sifts through dumpsters.

As you can see, half of your needs are really just wants. Be thankful.

by Bailey, tenth grade writer

Insanity is a wonderful person. He drags us from normalcy and makes us different, so we’re not all robotic. He’s tall and wears a straight jacket. With wild, spiked hair and bloodshot eyes, he captivates us with his vivid, evil grin. Listening to hardcore death metal pumps him up. He can’t stand calm music, because it’s soothing.

Don’t underestimate him. You may think you are sane, but the wrong chain of events can spiral you down into the gloomy hole he calls home. He is friends with Ferocity. When they get together, they create utter chaos. They prey on the weak, those without the strength to fight them off.

He is usually laid back, but he does have a pet peeve. If he doesn’t get his way, he will go crazy and destroy anyone and anything in his path.

He leads you down a ruthless path. Once you get a taste of him, it’s over. He will be with you forever. Consuming and controlling your way of life until he gets his way. He wants nothing less than to ruin and scar you forever. He lives within us all, feeding on our insecurities until we snap. He is unstoppable.

(Click here to print/view Alexis, Tyler, and Bailey's personification prose.)

by Tatjana, eleventh grade writer

Ambition is the offspring of Potential and Corruption, and she cannot be found without her deep China Red lipstick. Her beautiful appearance, which is bold yet deceiving, will lead you to go crazy. Ambition is the last thing on your mind by the end of the day and the only one swimming through your dreams at night. She is the one whispering behind your ear with each decision you make, leading you to the goal you keep secret from everyone but Ambition herself.

Ambition rooms with her look-alike sister, Desire, and long time childhood best friend forever, Selfishness. Together, Desire, Selfishness, and Ambition openly despise their neighbors, Modesty and Laziness.

Ambition is an intern who works under Greed. She respects her boss in a fair manner, but looks up with great admiration to Power instead. Ambition has had many jobs previously in her lifetime, all pertaining to her ability to bring out the absolute best and most horrible worst from anyone and everyone.

by Paul, eleventh grade writer

Guilt wears a large black coat and has a rather gloomy face. He is not very large, but he weighs heavily upon people’s souls and hearts. Guilt is so very sneaky. He has a soft voice and creeps up on you right when you’re not expecting it, usually after a particularly bad deed has been done. Guilt is friends with Fear, and when they get together, they can make some extremely poor decisions. They begin to scheme and plot ways to ruin a person’s life.

Guilt hates people who always do the right thing. There is no place for him in those people so he is out of a home. Guilt preys on people who have too much fun and who make hasty decisions. He is able to live upon their misery and despair after a mistake or something terrible that they have done. Luckily, there will always be a home for Guilt inside those people who refuse to tell the truth.

(Click here to print/view Tatjana, Paul, and two of their classmate's personification prose.)


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