Writing Lesson of the Month Network

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

Each year, the WritingFix website sponsors a Digital Photo Contest for students and teachers nationwide.  The goal is for students to take pictures that would inspire their classmates to want to write the "story behind a picture."


Click here to access WritingFix's Digital Photo Resource Page! 


At right, you see the student-winning digital photograph from our 2010 contest.  It was taken by elementary student Jacob Sammons.  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.


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.


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.


Help us celebrate your writers.


--Corbett Harrison, WritingFix Webmaster

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Replies to This Discussion

Poem by Ruben, Grade 10
A 4th grader's story
Poem by Emily, grade 7


6th grade

A poem


A poem by Zachary, a 6th grade student


-by Zachary

The gate blocks my view.

The gate sticks in my pictures.

It sticks into the ground before me

like the battle I will never get to.

I will never know

what it feels like to be

on the other side.

The Key to Freedom

By Emily, grade 4

There is a fence that binds me,

Through all the world I see,

It's dark then it's light,

It's day then it's night,

And now I find the key.

The Fence

By Paula, grade 4

I longed to be free,

To dance, pray and have a decent sleep,

I longed for the Lord to set his people free,

But for now, I'm just sitting here waiting to be free.

Lulu's story about the gate, Grade 6


Lulu, 6th grade

A World of Dreams

            My name is Hope, and I was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1962. That was a time when horrible things were going on in the world. I’m the youngest of six children. You can imagine how that feels, right? Let me tell you a little about my childhood.

            My family lived downtown. That’s where most of the colored families lived in Richmond. For all of us, there was no crossing that gate. I’m talking about the rusty, iron gate that stood two blocks from my family’s apartment. It was the gate separating downtown from uptown, the white people from the colored.

            I was always different from my other siblings. The outside world never concerned them. Everything they cared about was right there, in downtown Richmond. When I was a child, my life’s biggest dream was to not only leave downtown Richmond, but actually make a difference in the world. The worst part was that I wasn’t even allowed to think about that dream. My parents wouldn’t allow it, my teachers wouldn’t allow it, and most importantly, the world wouldn’t allow it, because, “The world is no place for little girls to be dreaming things that are simply just never going to happen.” That’s what my mother used to say whenever I told her about my dreams. You would expect a mother to encourage her child to “dream big.” But not with the heavy weight my parents had on their backs.

            At the time, my father worked at the local post office, but somebody had been stealing packages. Who was there to blame but the colored people? All of them got laid off.

            He had been searching for a new job for several months. My mother had started doing laundry for a family uptown. Our family was barely making it, financially.

            That was just the least of our worries. Three middle-aged men had just been put in prison for refusing to sit in the back of the public bus. A police officer had recently beaten a teenager because he tried to climb the fence. It was an awful time, and people were doing the best they could to get through it.

            Wasn’t this when God was supposed to intervene and help out? Those days, nobody had hope. Except for me. It turned out my name fit me just right.

            There was only one place where I could express my feelings. That was my diary. I had just gotten it for my eighth birthday. I loved to write. My diary was my most prized possession. At least it had the most value from my point of view. My brother, Sean, thought it was dumb that I found so much value in a book. But that didn’t rattle me at all.

            At the time, I had been writing many poems about what was going on around us. This is one of them.

That Gate

Will we ever live in peace?

Will the fighting ever cease?

Will the world ever unite?

And come together to stop this big fight

Only one obstacle stands in the way

That gate

Awaiting the day

When there will be no hate

It separates you from me

Everyone seems to let it be

One day it will be gone

Hopefully not long

That Gate

            Whenever I used to write, I felt like I was letting everything go, shutting out the world.

            I had written that poem while I was sitting by the fence. I remember the thoughts that poured into my head. While I was staring at all of the holes in the fence, I thought of all of the holes in the world we live in. These holes were the hatred and injustice. That huge hole in the very middle was the future if we didn’t make a difference in the past. The hard, iron wire that was pulling all of the holes together to form one gigantic hole, the fence, was what was putting a force field where there should have been unity in the world.
            I remember when I sat at the dinner table that night and noticed that my parents had been acting strangely. They exchanged glances at each other.

I felt like they were keeping something from all of the children. Finally, my mother coughed and cleared her throat.

            “Children, your father and I have some things to tell you,” she announced with a smile on her face. “We have some very good news.”

            My father continued. “Today I got a job as a security guard at the Richmond airport. Margaret, do you want to tell them the other news?” asked my father.

            “Children, you are going to have another sibling soon,” my mother said cheerfully.

            Eventually my little sister was born. We decide to name her Jasmine. As she grew up, I realized she was more similar to me than any of my other siblings. She always wanted to do what I was doing. Nobody had ever taken an interest in me before. I took this as a compliment, and we are still extremely close today.

             When I was about 18 years old, I moved to New York City to become a writer. I have just finished writing a book called That Gate.

             I visited my family’s old apartment in Richmond, Virginia, and the fence was still there. But now it is just a school-yard fence. The situation in Richmond is now better. The world has progressed to become more united. I, too have moved on, but the childhood dream of changing the world still lies within me.

             I am sitting now, with my three children showing them my diary from when I was a child.  As long as I live, I will never forget that gate, and the knowledge it has given me about this world of dreams.

"Fenced Out" by:  Ethan, grade 5

Fenced Out


Why must I be treated this way?

I’m not an animal.

One minute I’m sleeping in my room

and the next

I’m fenced out of my neighborhood.



I hope this is temporary.

This can’t be forever.

What is my family going to say?

I might starve,

I might dehydrate,

I will die out here.


A rustling sound in the distinct behind me. What was that?

Who’s there?

What are you doing?


What if it’s the tiger lose from the zoo,

we were warned about on the news.

Maybe it will not see me.

Maybe I should stay still.

Maybe I was meant to die.


By Ethan


"Trapped" by:  Ashley



        As I run to this old rusty fence I stare upon a polluted city. I wonder why I’m trapped in this old desert. It feels like I’m trapped in a scary dream. But I’m the only one who can see what this world has become. Starring into the city it seems so sad how all they care about is themselves. 

Half the trees disappeared, the grass is dried and brown, and the river is like a wasteland. Don’t they understand that they are only killing themselves?

As I look around I can’t help but think that I’m a prisoner to this dessert. I wonder what the world would be like if we all lived like that?

And nobody could get out!


By: The Wonderer, Ashley

"Cage" by Willow



           I’ve been trapped in a cage for years on end.                                                                                                                                  


Scarred and starved my whole life..

I've been beaten since I was young                                                                                         


No idea why I starve

Fed slop and dirty water.


Never to be forgotten

From this world

Trapped in this cage forever.

Out during the pouring rain as if the sky was weeping for me.





                                       By: Willow




"Nothing Can Go Wrong"  by: Maeve

Nothing Can Go Wrong


What am I doing here?

Here in this life

Here in this world

I tried my best

But my life is a mess

What am I doing here?


Can I make a difference?

I tried

I am so depressed

I cried

I wonder if I should

Give up let go

What am I doing here?


My life has been battered

My heart has been ripped out

My dreams are shattered

Focusing on only what people think

And now my life is going down the sink

What am I doing here?


That fence with the cold sad metal bars

Restraining me from the joy of freeness

And simply me-ness

The free land awaits and you can see it

What am I doing here?


But something is strong

And well nothing can go wrong

That little voice inside of me says

“Keep trying”

I am who I am

And nothing will go wrong



By: Hopeful   (Maeve)





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