Writing Lesson of the Month Network

...sharing thoughtful, mentor text-inspired lessons your students will love!

If you've used our "Counting Up or Down Stories" lesson at the WritingFix Website--


Click here to access this freely shared writing lesson! 


--and you have up to three edited student samples to share with us, you can post them by copying and pasting them from your computer into our "Reply to This" box below; you may also add samples by adding them as uploaded attachments (like Word documents) to the box below.


Very Important:  Please only share your students' first name and grade level with us when you post.  Do not post last names or school names, or the posts will be deleted.


Twenty-five Teachers every semester will win a free classroom resource!  Each semester, we choose 25 new students to publish at our online lessons directly at the world-famous WritingFix website. To have your students' writing considered, it can be posted below in the box underneath  this posting.  In November and May, we will select the 25 students whose writing impressed us the most, and if your student(s) is selected, you will be asked to choose from any of the NNWP Print Publications (http://www.unr.edu/educ/nnwp/publications.html) for us to send to your classroom.


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--Corbett Harrison, WritingFix Webmaster

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This one is by Michael, an 8th grader.

Colton unleashed another flurry of shots at the rapidly approaching soldiers, stopping at least five in their tracks. These five, however, were inconsequential when compared to the massive swarm of men charging him. He needed to hit that communications tower! He squinted into his advanced scope, focused in on the tower’s base, armed an explosive round, and stopped short as his HUD beeped. Colton looked up from his scope, and upon doing so saw a group of soldiers in alarming proximity, lifting their rifles to face him. He sprayed them down with a volley of bullets and went back to his scope. Before he could fire, however, Colton was again disturbed by his HUD. He turned his head and saw a new swarm of soldiers, only slightly smaller than the first, charging at him from his right. His bullets did nothing to hinder their advance, and Colton consulted the map on his HUD, hoping to find a fallback.

According to his map, there was a hill a few hundred yards to his left. He slung his gun onto his back and sprinted for the haven. His assailants from the front turned to head him off, but he deterred them with several flurries of bullets in their direction. Again and again he fired, until he finally reached the hill and vaulted over it, arming an explosive round to his weapon as he did so. The attackers were still a few seconds away from entering his range, so he took aim at the communications tower. If he could take it down, it would free his comrades from the enemy communications jamming, and he could call for evacuation. His scope zoomed in, locked on, and just as Colton fired, a helicopter swooped into his sights. Colton slammed his fist against the dirt in frustration as the helicopter exploded in a ball of fire.

He had no time to try again. The enemy soldiers were in range and taking aim. Colton fired round upon round of bullets into the enemy, sending bodies and weapons flying in all directions. With the enemy pushed back for a few seconds, he started to arm another explosive round—and stopped as he saw his ammunition count.

He had ten shots left, only one of them explosive.

The enemy was nearly in range again. Colton would now have to use his shots wisely; very wisely, indeed.

Ten shots. Rather than mowing down an entire squad of men, he would now have to eliminate key parts of each charge. There—seven troopers emerged from the massive body of men and stepped into Colton’s range. He allowed himself one shot to take down this group. He took aim at the man in the lead and the six who followed the leader watched as he jerked violently and crumpled before their very eyes. Colton now realized that he had an advantage—his assailants did not know that he had but nine shots left. Also, the enemy had no cover. The remaining soldiers, faced with the possibility of sharing their leader’s fate, retreated beyond Colton’s range.

Nine. Colton put the communications tower in his sights, but was once again interrupted as a flurry of bullets spattered the sand around him. Colton ducked down. No, he couldn’t stay like this; he couldn’t let them pin him down. Colton raised his head above his sandy haven, gun already firing. The bullet struck one man in the leg, and he crumbled to the ground, out of action. The rest of the men retreated.

Eight. Just eight! Sooner or later, they would realize that he was holding back on the ammo, and then he would be dead for sure. He HAD to eliminate that comm tower! Twenty men now charged into his sights, rifles already firing. Fire struck the sandy hill, narrowly missing Colton. They had guessed what was going on, and were now testing their theory. Colton allowed himself three shots to take down this group. First, hit a trooper’s gun arm. The unfortunate man dropped his weapon and fell to the ground, clutching his now-useless arm. The troop still advanced. One bullet pinged off of Colton’s helmet, and another off of his weapon.

Seven. Colton aimed at a man right in the middle of the formation and hit him square in the chest. Now, the enemy was growing uneasy. Perhaps Colton was not running out of ammunition. What if he was leading them into a trap of some kind?!

Six. Colton chose for his next victim the soldier in front. He turned on his helmet-mounted targeting computer and chose just the right spot that he needed. When he fired, the bullet made contact with the man’s midsection. Colton had engineered the shot so that it struck no bone or any other highly resistant substance, and the bullet passed through the first man and into a second trooper’s leg. Both crumpled to the ground. The rest of the troop, convinced that Colton would have no problem doing the same to them, retreated in haste.

Five. The enemy commanders had apparently decided that even this invincible sniper could not possibly repel a full-force surge. They corralled their troops and sent them in again. Colton could have easily deterred the whole force had he a spare explosive round, but he had but one. He would have to hit the tower after this attack, and he would have to do it because he would be clean out of ammunition. Colton switched to full-automatic fire and sent three shots into the crowd. Two struck home, and one struck sand. The force faltered, again unsure as to whether or not Colton was running out of ammunition.

Two. Colton could use only one on the troopers; the other would have to be spent on the tower. Colton fired once more, hoping to halt the oncoming tide, but to no avail. The shot struck a soldier’s helmet, and the formation advanced further.

One. Now they were firing. Colton couldn’t get a clear shot at the tower if he took cover, and he would most likely be hit if he stayed up and took his shot. He ducked down to load his explosive round, and froze as a bullet kicked sand into his face.

That bullet had come from behind.

Turning around, Colton saw yet another force, easily as big as the first and second, charging towards him, guns ablaze. The bullets’ accuracy and quantity increased at an alarming pace, and Colton winced as one grazed his shoulder.

Just one shot. It was now or never; do or die. Ignoring the oncoming fire, Colton poked his head up above his now useless cover and squinted into his targeting scope. Now he noticed something that he had not seen before: swarming around the tower were at least ten helicopters. Colton got only second-long glimpses at the tower now, as the helicopters were obscuring his line of sight. Pain shot through Colton’s leg as a bullet struck home. Sand was kicked up into his eye, and another shot hit his helmet, sending a painful tremor through his head. Colton set his teeth and aimed at a temporarily visible spot near the base of the tower.

He took the shot. 




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