When I started my first job as a professional newspaper reporter (This job also served as an internship during my junior year in college — I just didn’t leave for about 6 years.), I quickly realized that all my experience, and all my years of journalism education had not been enough to help me write stories about drug busts, fatal car accidents and tornadoes. All the theoretical work I’d done, and all of the nifty little scholastic and collegiate stories I had done, did not prepare me for real world writing.
At that point, I had to find a solution quickly. After all, I had a deadline to meet, and it was only a few hours away.
One of my colleagues, who also served as a mentor, had the solution. She introduced me to the newspaper’s “morgue.” This was a room filled with filing cabinets in which we kept old — dead — stories arranged by reporter. Whenever I wasn’t’ sure how to write a story, all I had to do was check the morgue for similar stories. If I needed to write a story about a local drug bust, for example, I’d find another story on a similar incident, study its structure, and mentally create a formula in which to plugin the information I’d gathered.
Once I’d gained more experience, and had internalized the formula for that particular type of story, I felt free to branch out as the situation — and my training — warranted.
I do the same thing when I want to write a type of letter, brochure, or report that I’ve never written before.
This is what writing looks like in the real world.
Research by “Write Like This” author Kelly Gallagher indicates that if we want students to grow as writers, we need to provide them with good writing to read, study, and emulate. My personal experience backs this up, as does the old adage “all writing is rewriting,” oft quoted by everyone from LA screenwriters to New York Times bestselling authors.
Of course, if you’re a new teacher like me, there is one problem with providing mentor texts to my students: I have a dearth of middle school level writing sitting around in my file cabinets.
Fortunately, the Internet is full of sources, so I scoured the bowels of Google to find examples. I know how busy you are, so I’m sharing.
Expository writing examples for middle school
Below are several sources of expository writing samples for middle school students.
Finally, here is an article in the New York Times that will help you teach your students real-world expository writing skills.
Descriptive writing examples for middle school
Narrative writing examples for middle school
Argumentative/persuasive writing examples for middle school
Reflective writing examples for middle school
If you know of any other online writing example sources, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma graduate student, and a NBPTS candidate. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify my students’ voices and choices.
Filed Under: PedagogyTagged With: writing examples, writing samples
Prompt: War can have an adverse affect on the lives of people - the young and the old. Write an essay that argues how war adversely impacts the lives of children.
Middle School Argumentative Essay Example
Living during a war is difficult for anyone, but especially for children. Growing up during times of war can greatly affect how kids live their lives. During the Holocaust, many children's lives were altered by the war around them. The book Number the Stars by Lois Lowry discusses how the Holocaust changed the life of the main character, Annemarie, and her friends and family. Other nonfiction books, like The Diary of Anne Frank, also say that war changes children's lives.
Number the Stars is about a girl who comes of age in Denmark during the second World War. Annemarie, has a best friend named Ellen, who is Jewish. Because the Nazis are making many Jewish people leave Denmark or taking them to prison or concentration camps, Annemarie's family disguises her friend by saying she is one of their daughters. Annemarie's family ends up having to leave as well to get away from the war. Another nonfiction book, called The Diary of Anne Frank tells the true story of a girl who had to hide with her family in an attic to escape the Nazis. This book is the real diary of Anne, who lived during World War II. It tells all about what happened to her while her family was hiding during the war. Both books have many examples of how war changed children's lives.
All of the children in Number the Stars face many life changes because of the war. For example, early in the story, Annemarie's sister, Kirsti, is upset because the war means that there are no more sweets or other delicious treats to eat because the soldiers won't let them purchase sugar or butter or other necessary food items. That shows that the children's lives are affected because they can't eat the kinds of food that they normally eat. The children are more angry about this than the adults because they want to eat sweet foods. Anne Frank's diary also talks about how they did not have enough to eat because the Nazis did not let people have enough food. This made Anne and her family have to share food and be very hungry because they almost did not have enough food to survive. Though some may make the argument that food does not greatly affect someone's life, every character in both books talks about the effect of food rations on their daily lives.
Another example of how life changed for the children during the war is that many children had to move or live with different people. In Number the Stars, Ellen's parents have to leave her with Annemarie's family. In the story, the Nazis were trying to round up all the Jewish people, so Ellen's parents have to hide out and leave the city. They leave very fast, so Ellen has to stay with Annemarie's parents and act like she is one of their daughters. Ellen's life was extremely different because her parents left her behind and she had to live with a different family for a while. Annemarie's family also ends up having to move. Some people may argue that only Jewish children were affected by World War II. However, because Annemarie's family also had to move, this shows that every child's life is affected by the war, not just the Jewish families. In her diary, Anne Frank's family had to abandon their house, as well. They went to hide in the attic to escape the Nazis. Anne also had to leave where she grew up, which changed her life. Similarly, the family that hid Anne almost experienced many changes, even though they were Christians. As you can see, war caused many children to have to change the ways that they lived.
A final example of how life changes for children during war is that all of the children in these books faced many dangers. In The Diary of Anne Frank, Anne and her family have to hide away in an attic to stop the Nazis from discovering them. They cannot talk loudly or go downstairs, in case someone hears them and betrays them to the Nazis. This is not a normal kind of danger and doesn't happen to kids unless something really bad, like a war, is happening. In Number the Stars all of the children talk to and see soldiers every day, and have to be careful what they say to the soldiers, or they could get in serious trouble. Having soldiers on the streets is another example of the dangers that children may face during wars. Both books also tell about bombs going off that could destroy houses and kill people. This shows that all people, even children, are affected by war because bombs and other weapons affect everyone.
Often times, people may say that war does not actually change children's lives, especially if they are not living near the war, or if their family is not directly affected by it. After all, many children growing up today live in times of war. However, war changes all children, whether or not they realize it at the time. Even children growing up today are aware of violence in ways that might not have been if they hadn't grown up seeing images of war on television. For the children growing up during the Holocaust, war was everywhere and it changed their lives.
Living during a war can really affect how kids live. Both books, Number the Stars and the Diary of Anne Frank, show that living during war changes children's lives. For example, sometimes, they do not have enough food to eat during war. Or, they may have to move to live in a new place or with different people. Children are also in more danger during war than they normally would be. All of these examples show that war affects children's lives in many ways.