When I started my first job as a professional newspaper reporter (This job also served as an internship during my junior year in college — I just didn’t leave for about 6 years.), I quickly realized that all my experience, and all my years of journalism education had not been enough to help me write stories about drug busts, fatal car accidents and tornadoes. All the theoretical work I’d done, and all of the nifty little scholastic and collegiate stories I had done, did not prepare me for real world writing.
At that point, I had to find a solution quickly. After all, I had a deadline to meet, and it was only a few hours away.
One of my colleagues, who also served as a mentor, had the solution. She introduced me to the newspaper’s “morgue.” This was a room filled with filing cabinets in which we kept old — dead — stories arranged by reporter. Whenever I wasn’t’ sure how to write a story, all I had to do was check the morgue for similar stories. If I needed to write a story about a local drug bust, for example, I’d find another story on a similar incident, study its structure, and mentally create a formula in which to plugin the information I’d gathered.
Once I’d gained more experience, and had internalized the formula for that particular type of story, I felt free to branch out as the situation — and my training — warranted.
I do the same thing when I want to write a type of letter, brochure, or report that I’ve never written before.
This is what writing looks like in the real world.
Research by “Write Like This” author Kelly Gallagher indicates that if we want students to grow as writers, we need to provide them with good writing to read, study, and emulate. My personal experience backs this up, as does the old adage “all writing is rewriting,” oft quoted by everyone from LA screenwriters to New York Times bestselling authors.
Of course, if you’re a new teacher like me, there is one problem with providing mentor texts to my students: I have a dearth of middle school level writing sitting around in my file cabinets.
Fortunately, the Internet is full of sources, so I scoured the bowels of Google to find examples. I know how busy you are, so I’m sharing.
Expository writing examples for middle school
Below are several sources of expository writing samples for middle school students.
Finally, here is an article in the New York Times that will help you teach your students real-world expository writing skills.
Descriptive writing examples for middle school
Narrative writing examples for middle school
Argumentative/persuasive writing examples for middle school
Reflective writing examples for middle school
If you know of any other online writing example sources, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma graduate student, and a NBPTS candidate. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify my students’ voices and choices.
Filed Under: PedagogyTagged With: writing examples, writing samples
Whew! I’ve been sitting for a couple of hours typing up some expository writing samples from my kids since so many people are still needing lots of examples. And…of course…I can use them in my class, too. It’s great to use REAL student writing in class to show what is working and what isn’t.
Some of you have asked when we started expository writing–well, we began way back in October. We flip back and forth throughout the year between the two types of writing. We spend an average of 4-5 weeks on narrative, and then move on to expository, and so on. Now that we are getting closer and closer to test time, we are only spending a couple of weeks on each. There are even days/weeks where we do both. I’ll be posting soon about an activity called “Genre Switch” where kids write for just a small amount of time in both genres.
For now, I’m posting several expository writing pieces that my students have written to various topics. Some of these were written as their choice of 3 writing prompts, and others were written on the students’ last writing benchmark. The benchmark prompt was the prompt that our students were given last year on their STAAR test (our official standardized test–for those of you who don’t live in Texas).
I had already given them that topic as a choice, so some of them already had prior experience writing to that topic. The funny thing about it is: most of them wrote something completely different, even though I’ve told them that they don’t have to…and frankly, if they have already had positive feedback, they should write the same thing, but even better the next time around!
So, without further ado…here they are:
Christmas Eve by Daniel
Dance Season by Aaliyah
Fantastic Friends by Blake
Folklorico by Daniella
Football by Chris R
Friends by Abram
Friends by Gasseli
Go Meet Your Teacher Night by Avery
HALLOWEEN by Gasseli
Summer by Annaleah
Summer by Kylie
Winter by Sherlyn
These samples are simply in alphabetical order. They are not grouped by topic or by awesomeness. You can pick and choose which ones you want to use, or you can print them all and use all of them with your kiddos and talk about what was great and what needs improvement. You could even use them with some revising and editing!
Some of you have waited patiently for me to finally get these posted…for that…THANK YOU! It takes some time to get these gathered up, pick out which ones should be posted, type them, and get them up on the blog. Please feel free to share these with other people that you know. They will always be right here on my blog, so you can always save paper and just project them from here.
As always, my students (and I) love your feedback! If there was something that you really liked, please leave a comment letting us know! I show my blog to my students so that they can see who is showcased and how many people around the world are looking at their AH-mazing work! 😉
Other posts you might like:
Expository Writing at its Finest; Expository Writing Samples; The First Installment of Writing Samples; Narrative vs. Expository Writing