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
Basic Advice On How To Write A Good Essay For Primary School
For most students, primary school might be the first time they are expected to write a certain standard of academic writing. Here is some advice on how to best go about writing these kinds of papers:
- Length: Make sure that the piece isn’t too long or short. It might be a good idea to speak to the teacher on what should be the ideal length of this. In primary school usually, the length is measured by a number of pages instead of words. You can safely assume that going a half page over the recommended length will be permissible for submission.
- Paragraphs: It is important to teach the primary school child the importance of correctly formatting their work. A good essay will have at least three paragraphs if not more - Introduction, Body and Discussion, Conclusion. It might be a good idea to break even up the body of the piece into more parts if required, especially if it is longer than one page.
- Logical flow: At the primary school level, less importance is given to the content of the paper and more to the logical flow and structure of the work - to better prepare the students for more serious writing in the following years of their education. Therefore, it is important to structure the paper in a way where it makes logical sense. Whatever the subject is, make sure that there is a good introduction and conclusion, the body should discuss the subject and make some references and examples if required.
- Using facts and opinions: The student should also include some facts and write their own opinions on those facts in the body of the essay. This will definitely help their work stand out. It is important to encourage the student to start practicing some level of research for their paper so that they can begin to get used to this idea. By researching in libraries or online, they will be able to include facts on the topic and formulate their own opinions.
- Writing Style: The style has to sound slightly more academic at this stage, rather than like a story. While this takes practice, it might be a good idea to read a few professionally written ones to get a better idea.
Essays written in primary school are just used as tools to prepare students for more elaborate ones in the future. A good piece at this stage should show evidence of good structure and a logical flow of information.