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At right, you see the student-winning digital photograph from our 2011 contest. It was taken by a middle school student, Kayley Shaby, and sent in by her teacher, Mrs. Butler. 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
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The Lonely Girl
There sits a girl, waiting for the bus to come and pick her up, but yet no signs of it. She plops down on the grass, waiting for someone to come and get her. Sophie starts to pull her boom box out. She hits the play button and a blast of music plays out.
Sophie starts to cry, all she wants is someone to come and pick her up, and make her apart of their family.
Sophie is sixteen. She dropped out of school and ran away from home because she didn't want her parents to be mad at her. She has nowhere to stay and no clothes. She stays in her friend's garage sometimes, but her friend' parents don't know.
In the daytime, she walks up and down the street. Just thinking how her life would be different if she didn't drop out of school, and didn't run away from home.
All Sophie wants is to have a warm place to come home to every day.
Sophie wants to attend school again, and see her friends, but since she dropped out, she can't go back and face all those people.
As she walks by her parent's house, she begins to wonder if maybe she could ask her parents if she could come home. Sophie walks up the steps.
Ding, dong, she rings the doorbell. Sophie hears footsteps coming.
There they are, Sophie and her mom, face-to-face.
"It's been a long time," Sophie says.
Her mom leans forward and gives her a big, warm hug.
"I've missed you," her mom cries.
"Can I come home?"
"Of course," replies her mom.
Now Sophie has her loving family to come home to and no longer feels lonely.
Little Lamp Post Girl
Oh little lamp post girl why do sit
there so sad? What has gone wrong
to make you want to sit there
in sadness, aloneness, and pain?
Have you disappointed yourself, and don’t want to face the consequences and trouble
it will cause? Has a fight happened between
your parents and you’re stuck between them, like thrashing waves trying to decide
who’s right? Or is it the little things about nothing imparticular, just small little things, like the mint green gum you stepped on, how you tripped over your Siamese cat, and how you spilled water all over your pristine white shirt. But I hope tomorrow is the day where clouds will sing your sweet name and your dreams will come true, and you are the queen, loud and regal on your thrown.
But I’m sorry for today.
Middle school. When you start, you’re all the way at the bottom. I’ve been trying to work my way up, but have been pushed back down by hurtful words that gnaw at your soul, until you’re nothing, and back at the bottom, again. It is spring, but the flowers don’t grow. My scarf has peace signs on it, but all I feel is loathing hatred, and failure. My parents are having a big argument, and I am in the middle of it. My blood turns to a cold, piercing blue. This pole is my crying shoulder. I sit here collecting my thoughts, but they slip through the dark hole in my imagination. I’ve packed my bags, and I’m saying my last good-byes to all the things that I might never see again. Is this the last farewell?
Why is my life like this? My life is horrible it will never be the same again. All the kids at school bully me. It is like a stab into my heart. I wish my life would end. Then I wouldn’t have to be depressed anymore. Everyday I get bullied. I ask people to stop they just laugh. I wish I could just open a portal and go into my own world. There everyone would be nice and kind. That will never happen. Every time I get over drama, more drama is created. I just want to go into a hole and cry.
A lonely girl lying all alone
Waiting at the old, cold bus stop.
She didn’t mean to leave
But maybe she did.
She thinks if she goes back,
She will not be forgiven.
Now she’s starved and poor and freezing.
Sleeping on the cold, stone curb.
Not a penny is spared for her well-being.
Her family weeps
At the loss of their daughter
They didn’t mean for her to leave, she didn’t understand,
But maybe it was they who didn’t comprehend.
They weep and weep and long for her to arrive.
But she doesn’t know that.
Though she wants to go back.
She’s wishing for just one more chance
To go back to family.
To go back to friends.
Those days we feel like our life is over,
When we just want to run away and cry,
I pack my bag and walk, and walk,
Waiting till the time comes when my life gets better.
I sit and wait till someone notices I’m gone,
My mind is racing in all different directions,
Like the cars on All-way Street,
I can’t get up if I do my life will just get worse,
Why can’t I just disappear or vanish,
The other middle school teenagers would like that,
In fact they won’t have someone to bully anymore,
I was the only one, who didn’t fit in,
I was like a red apple in a field of green apples,
Running and hiding from the world around me,
This world won’t accept me,
My life is terrible,
When will the world end?
“Why stare at me?” I think as I sit myself down by the side of the street watching the kids get out of school. Some don’t know what to do with themselves while others run to friends hoping they made it into that person’s afternoon plan. I wonder why so many people want to fit in? They probably don’t want to end up like me-lonely and friendless. It makes me wonder what friends are like? Do they want to be my friend or stab me in the back?
The Chase Vivianna
When we were kids everyone always told us to chase our dreams, but what they didn’t tell us was how hard the chase was going to be. Nobody told us that we might lose everything to get there or that we might not even get there. Everyone made it look so easy; to never give up or never stop the chase, but how can you keep going when you know the race you’re running has no finish line? Adults always told us “Everything is possible if you just believe and set your mind to it.” Easy as it sounds, it is not. Even though it is hard, it might be possible, but they need to tell us all the harsh experiences we might endure to get where we want to be. You are not just going to wake up one day and expect to be living your dream; you have to sacrifice a lot to get there. A question we need to ask ourselves is “Is it worth it?” Is giving up all your time, family, and money worth the chase? Sometimes you don’t even realize that the dream you’re chasing is right in front of you and you’re just blinded by ignorance. For instance, my father had to lose everything before he realized that what he wanted was right in front of him the whole time. When my father got out of high school he was overwhelmed with the decision he had to make; take care of his baby girl or chase his dream of being a professional basketball player. He left with a promise to come back home with money in his pocket for his baby girl. Two years later he came back home with no money, no job, and no hope. There is always going to be someone better than you, younger than you, or faster than you. Now fifteen years later my father worked his way up to the top and is now an owner of a successful business. Every night he tells me “This is the dream that I was longing for, I just couldn’t see it”. It took him fifteen long years to realize what he wanted to do, where he wanted to be, and what dream he wanted to make come true. In the end it’s really up to us to decide what our destiny is going to be. If you fall down while you’re on the chase don’t give up, get up and do a reality check on what you really want instead of walking away. Next time an adult tells you to chase your dreams and not give up, ask them if they chased theirs. If we didn’t have dreams to chase or goals to reach, what would we live for? We are always on the pursuit of happiness. When we get there doesn’t matter; it’s what we did while on the pursuit that will.
I am sitting here alone thinking of the things that I did wrong. Sometimes I want to go back and fix them but I know that I cannot. I lost the person I loved and my complete family .I got no one to make me smile. Every day I go though the same thing; my parents do not want me in the house. They think what I am doing is wrong but I am only having fun. That is why I run away, because they think my friends do drugs and drink but I know better than that. I try to tell my parents that I do not do anything wrong but they do not understand me so I decided to run away. So, I sit here every day with tears coming down in my face trying to look for help. I do not know where my friends are at this moment, but I am sure they are in trouble. My friend Sam always force me to do drugs, my friend Benny wanted me to drink beer and smoke but I never did ,I am pretty sure they are in jail at this moment but what makes me feel sad is that my parents never trust me. My friend’s parents never cared about them as much as my parents care about me. I am running out of money and I am starting to starve, I miss my family and I want to go home. I just do not know whether I should or not, I am scare of talking to my parents. I wonder if they are looking for me, I wonder how they feel, I wonder if they care about me. It is 6 pm and the sun is rising down and I do not know where I am going sleep, it looks like if it is going to rain and I am scared. To be honest I miss my family and I really want to go home, I regret leaving home. I should have stayed with my family. I went to look for help but I do not know where to start, nobody in this neighborhood knows me, I think I am a loser. If I only had the chance to talk to my parents to tell them how I feel and make them trust me but I know it will never happen. I think it is time to look for my parents, I am tired of been here alone so I am just going to go home and talk to my parents. As I was walking home, I was thinking of the stuff I was going to tell them, and then I saw my house and my parents outside with the police. At that moment I realized, “they do care about me!” I ran towards them and my mom looked at me. he also ran and hugged me really tight. She said, “I am sorry I should have had listened to you.” Then my dad said, “I am glad you came back and I also want to say I am sorry.” I smiled and looked at them and realized that they are the best thing I ever had.
Throughout our childhood we are told that anything is possible. Later we are told to follow our dreams no matter what they are or were they will take us. Then as adults we find out that chasing our dreams isn’t as easy as it was cut out to be when we were young. Some find out that a dream can never be accomplished. Of course there are some cases were people meet their dreams and live happily, but now a days there are a lot of people who get so close to their dream but end up losing it. The sad part is that even people at such a young age find out that their life’s dream can never be met. Some think that the only way to have a dream and live a successful life is to have a high education, most can’t afford it. The girl in the picture waiting on the side of the road shows that she might have been chasing a dream and is probably just getting started or just ended. If she is just starting, then it looks like she has no idea were to start and she might be regretting ever leaving home. She is most likely trying to see how things can get any worse. But then again, she might have had planed out everything and things didn’t go according to her plan. She might have left her home town and went somewhere where she could’ve gone to see someone about what ever she wanted to do but they had already replaced her wit someone better. After finding out that her dream was not going to come true she probably decided to go back home hoping to see her parents waiting for her. This picture makes me feel that there are many of problems in life, and all the decisions we make will affect us in one way or another.
The girl in the picture looks like she has been kicked out of her house and has no place to go. I can tell by the way she has her little bag and her other suit case. What she is wearing looks like she grabbed whatever clothes and just put them on just so that she’ll have something to wear. In a way I feel terribly bad for the girl. She looks like she has been suffering pain in her life. Her only escape was to leave her house. The photo is presented at an angle in which the main focus would be on the girl and her surroundings would be a neighborhood. The expressions on the girls face looks like she’s getting ready to cry. It shows a lot of effect in the picture. It makes me think, what if she had just finished running away from home? Maybe this was her escape out and just doesn’t know where to go but to hang near a light pole. There’s not really a way to relate to this because I haven’t ran away from home before, but I can start by putting myself in her shoes. If I had a lot of problems at home and my parents had just finished kicking me out I wouldn’t know where to go. I would say, “Maybe I should start by trying to go to a families or a friend’s house?” It makes me feel fortunate on what kind of family I’m blessed to have because I personally have never been kicked out of my house. In other families, it is sad that the parents kick their children out of the house and they really have no place to go. They are left to fend for themselves. In other words it’s like they’re going to have to grow up fast quick because there’s no going back home. The girl in the picture looks like she doesn’t plan on going back home soon. She looks scared and has a look like she’s lost hope on everything. I can tell that this girl is going to stay strong and is going to keep on moving on with her life. It could be on following a dream or accomplishing her goals in life. Who knows what life has planned for her hopefully it’ll be something good. Just like they all say about stories having a happy ending maybe this story to the girl’s life will be a happy ending. With any luck I believe the girl will stand up from where she is sitting and will just keep on walking until she reaches out for help from someone who is willing to help her out in giving her a place to stay. My other opinion would be the girl’s family going out to look for her and just asking her for forgiveness.
Everyone has wanted to run away from home at some point, right? Children will not get what they want, whether it is a chocolate bar or the most recent “Transformers” toy everyone has been buying. Whenever a young child wouldn’t get what they want, they feel that running away from home will release them of their stress from not getting their many desires, and, with any luck, can make those who don’t give them what they wish suffer in sadness in their absence.
What I see in this picture is not a young teenager who was kicked out from her home, but instead I see a young child who has decided she would rather run away from home because she does not gain her most recent wish. She packed her bags, like a regular child, with a few shirts, pants, and socks, toothbrush, pillow, blanket, and favorite toy. Then she stormed out the door in a fury. What I see in this picture is that young girl, now taking the toll, the ultimate regret, realizing she will not be able to see those she cares about anymore. She feels doomed to solitude and sadness as her beloved family will not be seen again. Now, she wants to go home, back to her parents who were already waiting for her with open arms.
When I see this image, I think of a young girl who is in a great deal of sadness or distress, upset because she did not get what she wanted. In addition, she now that regrets that she has left her family and friends to begin with for something as small or unimportant. She just wants to go home, but she probably fears that she will be unwanted by her closest family members and friends because of this recent decision.