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
Interesting Personal Essay Ideas
A personal essay gives the reader a glimpse of your personal life experience. A lot of times you may need to compose a personal essay. It could be for a simple class assignment, or the requirement for a college application. In order to gain ideas of writing a personal essay, you can get inspired by the listed topics below. Just think of each of the ideas as a prompt for writing, and imagine any special moment the prompt may bring to your mind.
- How you and your best friend met
- The bravest moment of your life
- What makes your parents special
- The experience of overcoming a fear
- The moment your life changed forever
- Why you can succeed in life
- A difficult choice you have made
- A place that is special to you
- The experience of being let down by a friend
- A failure you experienced
- A disappointment you had
- A surprising turn of events you experienced
- Your favorite period of time
- A place you always try to avoid
- If you had power, what you would do with it
- What super power you choose to have
- If you could change someone’s life
- How money matters for your life
- Where would you go hide
- The biggest loss you have experienced
- If you could have a do-over
- Words that stung
- A book that has changed your life
- When you have the desire of running away
- When you have the urge of hiding in a hole
- The proudest moment of your life
- When you were taught a lesson by a child
- Words that prompted hope
- If your dog or cat could talk
- Your favorite time with family
- If you could invent something
- If you could live in a different country
- What the world would be like in 100 years
- If you lived 100 years ago
- The animal you would like to be
- The greatest movie moment
- One thing you would change about the world
- If you could change one thing about yourself
- The type of teacher you want to be
- If you could live anywhere
- A museum you’d like to visit
- If you could become a building
- Something a robot could never do
- An animal that could be in charge of the world
- The greatest discovery
- Your most fortunate day
- Your secret love
- Your secret talent
- The ugliest thing you have seen
- The most beautiful thing you have seen
- An accident which changed everything
- Something you have witnessed
- A right choice
- A wrong choice
- How you would spend a million dollars
- The meaning of color
- If you could start a charity
- Your favorite gift
- A close call
- A secret place
- A hard lesson
- An unexplained event
- Something you can’t resist
- A visitor that you can’t forget
- The longest moment you ever had
- An awkward social moment
- A near death experience
- The hardest news you had to deliver
- A special morning
- A kiss that meant a lot
- Why you will never tell a lie
- When you needed a hug