...sharing thoughtful, mentor text-inspired lessons your students will love!
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At right, you see the student-winning digital photograph from our 2011 contest. It was taken by a high school student, Jennifer Acevedo, and sent in by her teacher, Mrs. Soto. You can enlarge the picture by clicking on it.
If you use this photo in class as a writing prompt, and then have a student like what they're writing so much that they take their writing through the writing process, we want to see their published stories posted here!
Post no rough drafts...please. We're looking for polished writing inspired by this photograph! Final drafts of stories can be pasted or attached in the "Reply to This" box below. If you do not see the "Reply to this" box below, it's a simple fix; look in the upper right-hand corner of this page for the "+Join Online Student Publishing" link and click on it. That will allow you to
post a story or poem inspired by this photo.
Very Important: Teachers, please only share your students' first name and grade level with us when you post the writing on their behalf. Do not post last names or school names, or the posts will be deleted.
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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
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--Corbett Harrison, WritingFix Webmaster
A Picture Worth a Thousand Words
By Elizabeth, Grade 6
A chain is a friendship.
Linked together by something stronger than steel and larger than life,
It’s held together by love.
Each little circle is a friend,
clinging, crying, laughing with one another.
Bearing together to become one big form,
Large enough to cover our earth with help instead of hurt.
The hook on the end of this chain is a kind, gentle hand
reaching out to grab lonely souls and inviting them to join.
The chain will one day be big enough to cover our planet like a warm blanket,
And fill earth’s hunger for kindness and love.
By Erin, grade 6
I don’t get why there are chains and a hook,
just hanging up there,
From the telephone wire.
I wonder if a homeless person once used it to get a fish from the river,
And didn’t know what to do with it after.
He got a divine fish for an amazing dinner but didn’t realize he could use it again.
They look boneless, those chains.
Best described as a boneless piece of metal with a pointy sharp tooth.
You don’t often see a metal chain and a hook dangling,
From a telephone wire every day.
Just like you don’t normally see a man,
Walking two little puppy dogs across the street.
But I, I have seen both those things,
And will never forget as I drove away,
From the chains,
And the hook,
And the man with the two little puppy dogs.
Emily whisked her cherry-red Schwinn bike along the seashore, frequently checking her wrist determined not to be late for school. As she peddled along the black pavement shifting her laden backpack to her left shoulder, she gazed at the solitary rusted swing set, in the field to her right. “That’s queer,” she thought. In the place of a swing was a tarnished metallic chain, hanging still, and isolated.
Everyday she saw a small girl, moving to and fro on that swing-at one point as high as the clouds, and in a second, inches away from the wormed dirt. The infant, who spookily resembled Shirley Temple, would always give Emily a toothy twinkle, a she politely waved.
However, today, the minor was gone, and the chain was suspended lone, and untouched. She peddled along still not able to erase the peculiar image from her head.
Chains of sorrow hang from the electrical wire. Bringing back hurtful memories to citizens that have tried to forget them. Misery comes upon them once more. Trying to stay strong, they ignore them. Ignoring is not an option. Remembering the time when they were freshly coated with a crimson color, not rusty with dried blood. Scars still engraved on the innocent people. Wishing a brave one will save them from the sadness. Wishing. Praying. Wishing.
Step by step,
With the wind whistling through the trees, loneliness
Surrounds my every step, as one glimpse at a chain wrapped
Around a pole with nothing, but a lifeless hook swaying with squeaks.
The sound of smacking, and clinging off the metal, stained in my head,
Leaving the thoughts of the memories from when I had been here before.
Destruction echoed in my head and wouldn’t stop. The time when happiness
As surrounding everyone’s lives until the day of destruction. Crashing, burning and
Screaming as it hit buildings and destroyed happiness through everyone’s hearts
As “it” came and went. The gray skies never changed after that day. The wealthy had
Become poor, and it never went back to how it was before. This broken chain had
Once been the chain of happiness, and is now, the chain of loneliness and harm.
Freedom; something that no chain can hold down too long. People shouldn’t be held down by chains and whips. As the constitution states, “all men are created equal…” It is sad how in the past people have been forced to work for other by slavery and how they tied them dog by a chain like a dog, and that is inhuman. We the people have the power to change anything we want; we need to stop discriminating against our fellow community members no matter their race. We are all created equal. If there were more people in the world like Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Abraham Lincoln; then we would have harmony. This cruel world would be warless. However, people like Hitler are the reason we have so much hate for each other; if it were not for people who believe in Darwinism and believe they are better, stronger, and the smarter race, and then of course we are going to hate each other. When I see this picture of the chain, I think of a slave who is now a free man. Freedom is free, and it is unalienable, nobody has the right to take yours.
Slavery is an inhumane, terrible thing in United States History. Innocent people were forcibly taken from their home country to work in a cruel, unknown home, with complete strangers. They were treated like animals, when their hard work showed that they should be treated much better than most people should. Every human should be allowed to live their lives freely, without being held back by a chain. The chain represents the many restrictions that did not allow African Americans to be free. The chain that kept them in a world of tough, unfair labor. And of course, only to make matters worse, that cold hard chain would have a hook. A hook, prohibiting these innocent people from even attempting to leave that awful life behind, or call out for help. They obviously had no choice but to stay. If they disobeyed or tried to do something other than what was instructed, they’d get an awful punishment. Perhaps a beating, torture, and possibly even death. Wouldn’t it be dreadful to have to live that way? Oh but how great they would feel, if they could just break away from that dreaded chain. When they finally got released from that rough grasp, and let go to roam wherever they pleased. They’d have no hook to keep them from even attempting an escape. That hook and chain is now way behind them. It’s no longer important to anyone. But they will never forget, what was never meant to happen.
What can this picture represent? What can it mean? What came to the mind of the student that took this picture? Maybe slavery, or animal slaughter, maybe a chain of sins. There really is no right or wrong answer of what this picture represents; it all just depends on what a person feels when they see this photo. As for my case when I first saw this picture I was not impressed at all, I did not see what was so breathtaking about a chain with a hook, hanging from an electrical cord. How could this image have any meaning whatsoever to it? There was something about this picture that just kept catching my eye, though. It took me a while to finally realize what this picture reminded me of. It was not just an ordinary chain hanging from an electrical cord, no, it was more than that. This picture was a sign of freedom and how most of us take it for granted. To me freedom is one of the most beautiful things in this entire world, and it is usually not noticed. Sometimes it’s seen, but instantly forgotten. We do not stop and think of what many people had to go through in order to gain some kind of freedom. Just think about the slavery, the torture, and abuse they received, and the horrible conditions in which they lived. You know how that saying that goes, “You don’t know what you have until you lose it” Well, I feel that maybe in order for people to start being grateful for our freedom we have to lose it, and then work hard to gain it back. However, what are the chances of that happening? We as human beings take advantage of any type of liberty that we get, sometimes for the good, but while were being honest also for the bad. I am not saying that we have to all be perfect little angels, and not do anything bad in our life, but we should at least appreciate what we have, and not take it for granted. Over all freedom in general is an amazing thing, though the freedom that we receive here in the United States of America is an extraordinary blessing.
No Chains On Me.
Since the beginning of time, man has sinned. Everyone, children, parents, even those who claim to be at the highest of spiritual or religious standards, have sinned. There is not one person on this earth who has been able to escape the lustful and sinful desires that this earth has caused the flesh to crave. And through our sin, comes heavy burdens; burdens, regrets, shamefulness, anger, and frustration that all start to weigh heavy on our hearts; that act like chains to our lives. Chains that hold us down from ever finding a way out of our sinful nature; that make us feel completely undeserving, and unworthy of anything better than our sin. Chains that the devil has placed on our lives, mind, hearts that trap us in this sinful life, and keep us thinking there is no way out for us. No hope for a better life; that this sin has complete control of our destiny.
So the devil keeps us thinking that being chained is the way. He paints a picture of our lives stained with sin and calls that just; calls it “the way”; the way to live. This “way” of living includes all the sins of this earth. Envy, hatred, disobedience, sexual immorality, profanity, drunkenness, legalism, idolization, murder; the devil calls that “the way”, and in reality, most of us live our lives as such. It is impossible for man to refuse all the sinful desires that this earth, this life on earth, has to offer. So in actuality, we are all chained down from knowing anything better; chained down by the heavy weight of all our sin.
That is all we would have amounted to; Just a pile of heavy burdens that would weigh tremendously heavy on our hearts; on our lives. Just think about it. For every sin, a chain; every chain, another hold the devil has over our lives; and with every hold, a tighter grip. Soon we would have been so close to the gates of hell, God would have been too far out of reach for us to even wish to have some part of him in our lives. But by the will of God, this was never his plan for us; to be trapped with no way out. It is by the will of God that we are not, and will never be close to those circumstances. For he is alive in us, all thanks to his son, Jesus Christ.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 God loved us so much, that he sent is one and only son, born of a virgin, to this earth; filled with sin stained lives and fleshly desires. He was sent to this ugly and stained filled earth, for us, the least worthy and least deserving of any grace and mercy. Jesus took all our sin stained lives, every ounce of sin, and put it on his shoulders, and called it his. He took it with him to the cross where he told his father, God, to show us mercy and forgiveness; for we did not know any better. It is by this act of God that we are now saved. All our sin has been washed away; just like that. Because of this act, now, as long as we believe in our god in heaven, confess our wrong doings to our righteous king, and follow his word, we will forever have eternal life. We will never live with a heavy heart, weighed down by our sin again. God has whipped away all our sin, all our shame. It is by God’s grace and mercy that we are now able to say: My heart is free, No chains on me.
The Chains That Will Not Break
By Keegan, Grade 3
I am stuck in chains and I'm feeling blue.
But these chains will not break and what I need is you.
The key to these chains is hard to find
since I'm stuck in chains and stuck in my mind.
But what I've found out must be true.
The key I've been looking for is really you.
By Mary—7th grade
All I wanted was to be free.
Fly like a bird, soaring through the sky.
The thought of freedom was so sweet, sustaining me through those dark times
I taste it as I look at the empty chain
Holding no one prisoner now.
Grace 7th grade
Far off in the dawn the sun slowly wakes.
Gently, oh gently it shines on the life
that dwells in the valley that only makes
the fellow passerby rise up to strife
and weep in the darkness of the cold night.
How, one might ask, did the night make a friend?
But only the stars continue the fight
to heal the poor heart that will never mend
that’s bound with the chains forged with her love's will.
She cries for her heart, so cruelly broken.
She’d once said that betrayal cannot kill,
but now she wishes she’d never spoken.
She whispers to her heart, captive to chain;
that never once had she known so much pain.