Empowering Writers

Toolbox: Student Writing Samples

Student Writing Samples


Side by Side Book Covers

Narrative and Expository Writing Samples Each year, I always begin with section one in my EW Expository/Opinion Guide focusing on author’s purpose and genre. Here is one of my most favorite lessons that I introduce when school begins and use it as a staple lesson throughout the year. As I change topics I am teaching […]


A 4th Grade Expository Student Writing Sample

Grade 4 Expository – The Horseshoe Crab Embarking on a research project is often a daunting task for me and my students. First we need to choose a topic and hone that topic so that the research is focused. Then we engage in the research aspect of it and finally the written work. Throughout the […]


“Dogs” – Expository Annotated Sample

WOOF! WOOF!  Warren, a third grade student, loved to act like a dog. He’d get down on all fours and sniff around the room, bark on command, and even sit and stay (on a good day).  As you can imagine, writing was about the last thing Warren wanted to do. In fact, most days he […]


Get More Details! Activity – Narrative Student Sample

Halting the action is a great strategy to get kids to add elaborative detail to their writing. This activity highlights how to do so. Notice how this student answered the questions. The following activity is an example of a revision activity for independent practice and application of skills that have been previously taught. As you […]


How to Improve this Piece – Narrative Student Sample

This child was taught the Empowering Writers skills but has not used them all. Is this normal? Absolutely! It is very possible that your students will forget to apply all of the skills at once. Writing is a multifaceted task. It requires a lot of higher order thinking. Progress doesn’t happen overnight. We need to […]


Fully Elaborated Main Event – Narrative Student Sample

We’ve all had them. You know, the student that comes to you will a lot of writing talent? The author below is a prime example. But there is a misconception that advanced writers do not need a lot of instruction. This simply is not true. Whether struggling or not, every child needs to be taught […]


First Grade – Narrative Student Sample

One Day at the Beach The prompt: “The waves crashed against the sand. I plopped my pack down and spread out my towel. It was going to be a wonderful day. Just then…” “My little brother pulled the towel out from under me and I fell face first in the sand. The hot gritty sand […]


Revise This Beginning – Narrative Student Sample

Writing is a process, not a destination!  It’s very easy for us as teachers to get overwhelmed by the task of helping young writers improve. The challenge seems daunting at times. Take the pressure off of yourself to create perfect writers and replace your thinking to produce improving writers. Below is an example of a […]


“Dog” Writing Sample

PROMPT: If you got to pick any pet in the pet store what would you pick and why. Explain your reasons. Use this sample to identify the lack of broad yet distinct main ideas. Create the author’s pre-writing plan with students and you’ll find that they are overly general and cannot support a number of […]


“Kitten” Writing Sample

PROMPT: If you got to pick any pet in the pet store what would you pick and why. Explain your reasons. Use this student sample to discover how the lack of organization makes the piece difficult to read and understand. Annotate and analyze this piece with students and try to summarize it. Break it into […]


Grade 7 Argument Sample

My daughter Hayley can argue anything! When she was in middle school if I said the sky was blue she would argue that it was really shades of gray. I called her my little defense attorney, and who knows she just might be one day. It got to the point where I decided I would […]


The Developmental Stages of Writing: K-1

Where do I begin writing instruction in my k-1 classroom when my students are all over the map? Not literally, (although that is true of the K-1 classroom) but across the developmental scale. Some students are reading when they walk through the door. Others barely know a letter versus a number or a squiggle. Still […]