Unit One

Personal Narratives:  

Hook Examples: 

    The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of the Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.  The weeks that come before are only a climb from balmy spring, and those that follow a drop to the chill of autumn, but the first week of August is motionless, and hot. It is curiously silent, too, with blank white dawns and glaring noons, and sunsets smeared with too mush color. Often at night there is lightning, but it quivers all alone. There is no thunder no relieving rain.  These are strange and breathless days, the dog days, when people are led to do things they are sure to be sorry for after. 

    --Tuck Everlasting,"  Natalie Babbitt

    What they don't understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you're eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one.  And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don't.  You open your eyes and everything's just like yesterday, only it's today.  And you don't feel eleven at all. You feel like you're still ten. And you are---underneath the year that make you eleven. 

    --"Eleven," Sandra Cisneros

    My sophomore psych teacher, Mr. Polselli, says knowledge is crucial to understanding the workings of the human brain, but I swear to dog, I don't want any more knowledge about this.

    --"Crash," Lisa McMann

    The fog was thick, muffling sound and sight.  Where it parted, Will Herondale could see the street rising ahead of him, slick and wet and black with rain, and he could hear the voices of the dead. 

    --"Clockwork Prince," Cassandra Clare 

Student Examples: 

What’s in My Foot?

“5, 6, 7, 8…. Step prep, turn, turn, kick, pose, leap, and finish!  Great job girls!  See you tomorrow.”  When I was a two year old (I was the cutest and coolest two year old ever!) my mom started me in dance, it was the best thing that ever happened to me!  Why, because I am still dancing today, it is the pride and joy in my life!  I usually dance 17-22 hours a week, and we compete 5-7 times a year!  I do all kinds of dance, Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, Pointe, Technique, Character, Elite, and many more.  C.U.S. stands for Central Utah Stars.  C.U.S. is the studio that I dance for.  We are a competitive group, from the make-up, to the costumes, the smell of hairspray over, and over again, and don’t forget the rhinestones.  It’s bling, bling all around.  We have a regional competition and a national competition which is always in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This is one of my national competition experience.

Splash! The boat wobbled side to side. Then I jumped and I landed in the murky water so cold it took the air out of my lungs. I swam to the surface as fast as I could. My eyes were closed so I had no idea how far down I was. Then I surfaced and looked for was my friend, Tyler, he was already clinging on to the side of the boat. I swam the five or six feet to the canoe. Then my dad (the merit badge counselor) told us to empty our canoe of the sludge brown water and then get back in. Easier said than done in water above your head. The water had to be at least twenty to thirty feet deep in moon lake.

Dancing Queen

My heart is racing. My palms are sweaty, I can smell the stench of hairspray surrounding me. Glitter everywhere, my hair stiff with all the gel and hairspray. Will I be able to do this? I could just quit right now and be a coward, or I could go out there and rock it. I step onto the floor, my heart is about come out of my chest. I hit my beginning pose. The music starts and I lose myself and a whole different person comes over me. My heart and soul are completely into this dance. The song ends and I hit my ending pose. A rush of excitement comes over me, I had just performed my solo for the first time this season. And I had rocked it. But had my performence been enough? Only time would tell.

Country Gal

        The ball goes flying over my head and I quickly jump up and steal it away  from the other team.   I see a hand try to slap the ball away from me, but I dodge it quickly and keep running.   My feet hit the 3 point line and its finally the right moment. I stop, jump up, aim, and release the ball.  Somebody tries to block it, but they're too late. The ball goes sailing through the hoop.  Swish.  It’s in!


I slide the thick plastic bowl under the bed.  It’s overflowing with Lucky Charms.  One spills.  I put on a pouting face, pick it up, and slide it across the rim of the bowl back into its proper place.  A smile creeps onto my five-year-old face. “Sweetheart, come on!”  I run out of my room and up the stairs looking back at the bowl, grinning, and waiting.  When I return to my room, Scruffty, my dog, is laying on his side, the bowl empty.  “I’m glad you liked it,” I say proudly to my stuffed animal.

        I was born in Lansing, Michigan in the amazing year of 2000.

Still Waters

    We looked up from the driveway where we're standing, into the trees on the mountain. The flames crackled from the trees and the ash came down like a snowstorm was trying to start. The smoke blew down.  We knew it would be time to leave soon. As the sun set, the fire was a light against the dark night.  My Aunt had tears in her eyes as we left  for safety and she remained behind to try to save her home. This is a story from my life.

Good and the Bad

“Set hike!”  The football was snapped, and the quarterback handed me the ball. I looked up and saw a hole in the defense. I ran right through it, but somebody came up from behind and got a hold of me. The next thing I knew I was covered in the opposing team's defense. All of a sudden, pain shot through my hand and I went crashing down.

It seemed worse than it was . . .

Words Lead to Sentences: The Abridged Life of a Writer

    Life is like a compass.  It leads us to find new things about ourselves, and to ask new questions.  Throughout history we have seen many age groups portrayed.  Babies cry a lot, and live to make their parents lose sleep.  Toddlers are the golden children that secretly hid the older siblings favorite things.  The Grade Schoolers are at that age where they start to gain responsibility.  Teenagers text all day, and blare music as loud as they can with their windows down.  These are stereotypes, but some can be accurate depending on the person.

            I was always the good child . . .

Obsessed Gamer

            Ever since Mom and Dad bought a computer, it’s been my life, my world. I live inside it. Magical places, deadly creatures, epic battles, a world I can create or DESTROY if I want to. Here I’m in charge. Here I’m in control. Kind of like being a God of sorts.  My father introduced me to many virtual worlds. He would sit there for hours and hours playing Starcraft. Starcraft is a game that is a futuristic space, and time, the year is 3995.  The battle is between Humans, the Protoss, and Zerg. Each with a different reason to fight. You have to be smart to play this game, and be resourceful or you die.

    I don’t know why I like my gaming world better than the real world . . .

An Adventure in the Making

    The rain was barely coming down, I could feel it sprinkling my face like mist.  I stood there on the wet wooden platform waiting. Leaning against the rough tree branch next to me. The sound of cars driving on the freeway in the background.   I looked out over the barren landscape across the road  on my left.  There was nothing but weeds and a couple small buildings that looked like old houses or barns.  But to the right there was a tiny little log cabin, and there were trees everywhere.  I guess there should be a lot of trees, this is a ropes course.  I can hear my friends down below calling to me saying  “You can do it Maddy!” “Don’t be nervous.”

            I waved to them and thought “Nervous?”

My Story

    My story is about all the things that make up me.  One of my very first memories as a little kid was when I would make crafty little tissue paper roses with pipe cleaners as the stem for my mom on mothers day.  Making them in big bouquets in sunset and salmon various pinks, night time sky purples, and sparkling ocean blue.  I would give them to my mom smiling from ear to ear my bright blue eyes shining and rosy cheeks.  I was always that kind of a kid who was smiling a lot, giggling and doing crafty and silly things.

         For instance, I always loved to draw . . .

Don’t Stalk Me!

When I was only a few months old the song The Real Slim Shady came out and my aunt decided to change the lyrics for her whitest niece. (I was the only blonde hair and blue eyes baby in my family). She sung this to me in the hopes that I would finally stand up. I was a princess to say the least and didn’t really feel like standing up. My parents and family were all sure that I could, I just knew they would carry me anyways. Eventually I did walk. I took my first steps to my dad! (I’m kind of a Daddys girl)

I grew up with LOTS of family . . .

We Are Who We Are

    As a kid, I was very girly. I always loved dressing up, making my hair look pretty, and always wanting to be fabulous. Just like the girls I saw on magazines and T.V.  I would stand in front of the long, full length mirror that hung off the top of my bedroom door. Even as a young child, I knew it wasn’t normal to stare in a mirror for that amount of time. I would look at the tall, odd shape that reflected back at me. I would look at those gorgeous, perfect models that I remember seeing and I would tell myself, “I want to be JUST like her when I grow up.” Later did I realize, not everybody is made to look like a model.

            5th grade. That was the year it all started . . .

A True Individual

At first sight you may be tempted to think that I’m simple, or not very interesting, or maybe even “too much.” Some may say that I’m a “busy body,” or a “hand-full.” Others might think that my standards are “too high,” or that my taste is “too bland.”  But, that’s not what I say. I’m a short, blonde haired girl, with blue eyes, a big smile, and a bright spirit.   

            Life’s too short to be a boring person . . .

Actor Who Can’t Stop Thinking About Music

    I love thinking back to when I was little. Life was so free and there were no responsibilities. Never had anything to worry about. No school assignments. I look back and wish I still had to think about what I was going to do that day. Now being older I wish I had a lot more of those days. It feels like my life has be a non stop highway going a million miles an hour. Not knowing where I was going to go next.

               I was born up in Sandy Utah . . .

Way Too Funny for Words

     I have always been hyper and a social butterfly. The one who can make a game out of anything. One who is amazed by everything. But it is sort of easy when you have 5 brothers, sisters a dog and tons of extended family to practice with. I have tried many things.I have failed at many things also. I have also have had horrible things happen to me. A friend that has died. Brother with severe allergies, deep fears but, I don’t worry. Why worry when those things might happen to you any time of your life, and you may never know they did.

    When I was little I could make a game out of anything . . .

The Beginning

All eyes were on me. My heart was pumping so hard I thought it was going to burst. My palms were sweaty, my face was red and all I wanted to do was hide in a corner. It was like I was living in a nightmare. It was my turn to read out loud to the class. I gulped and stuttered the first sentence out, making many mistakes as I go. I was in third grade. I HATED reading. Fourth grade  I hated reading. fifth and sixth grade I thought that reading was boring. Seventh grade was when all of that changed. I am in 8th grade and I love reading.

        Only a few people know who I am.


The ball goes flying over my head and I quickly jump up and steal it away  from the other team.   I see a hand try to slap the ball away from me, but I dodge it quickly and keep running.   My feet hit the 3 point line and its finally the right moment. I stop, jump up, aim, and release the ball.  Somebody tries to block it, but they're too late. The ball goes sailing through the hoop.  Swish.  It’s in!

            You could say I’m like a basketball freak . . .

Happy With a Family

My life started out with a challenge. It started out a life with sickness, purple faces, and worry. As well as love, cherishment, and everything I would ever need in life.  I was born posterior, making it very hard to breath. The doctor handed me to my dad to start rubbing my tummy to help me breath. The pure shock of me all ready in his arms startled him for a moment, and then he was fine he started rubbing my soft delicate stomach. Nothing happened, I started turning colors, pink, red, violet. The doctor took me from my father and vigorously started rubbing circles on my stomach. My mom lay there in pain freaking out not knowing what happened, my aunt just outside screaming at everyone to get me to breath, and my dad standing there in surprise wondering what had just happened. The doctor got me breathing, everyone calmed down, and I got showered in hugs and kisses.

Soar Like the Eagle

        The sun was as bright as diamonds glistening in the sun as we went up the trail with my dad, cousins, uncle, and I. As I took a drink I was wondering how much longer it would take me on the journey that I started three years ago . . .

My Inspiration

        I started putting the letters together. The letters turned into words, and sooner or later the words formed sentences.  Then all the sentences turned into books. I fell in love with the books.  I think that the reason I love to read so much is the escape. The ability to escape all your problems for a while. The idea that only words on paper can take you to another world seems so insane, but its true. I always had my nose in a book. At every single meal I had a book. At times when I was supposed to being doing homework I had a book. Like I said, I read all the time. It actually came to the point when I kept getting my book taken away from my mother until I finished my chores. The book reading did get a little extreme. But I kept reading, and always will.

        My life was simple when I was young . . .

The Real Me

Some people think I am a girly girl, who loves pink, bling, glitter and sparkles, a girl who dresses to the heel everyday, and would much rather go shopping then getting a little dirty. But no, the real me is a get down dirty clogger, I tap my toe I put on a show and I wiggle it just a little bit.  I've been clogging for as long as I can remember.   My aunt owns and manages the studio so it makes it real fun.  But just recently I've lost a great friend on my team.  Her name was Courtney Osborn she was the funniest happiest girl on our team. Man classes aren't the same without her fun loving spirit.  I also dance at another studio called Life House.  I dance 3-4 days a week and I do Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, and Hip-Hop, so basicly all types of dance.  

Conclusion Examples: 

A surprise 

    Once again, the tarot cards lay before him. Once again, he waited until he heard the cathedral bells ring twelve times. At the stroke of midnight, he flipped over the first card.  It was 


    Smiling broadly, Fabrizio turned the next card......

    --"Midnight Magic," Avi

A profound thought

...Miss Honey was still hugging the tiny girl in her arms and neither of them said a word as they stood there watching the big black car tearing round the corner at the end of the road and disappearing for ever into the distance. 

    --"Matilda," Roald Dahl 

A laugh

    "Oh, I will," said Harry, and they were surprised at the grin that was spreading over his face, "They don't know we're not allowed to use magic at home.  I'm going to have a lot of fun with Dudley this summer...."

    --"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," J.K. Rowling

A challenge

    Be smarter than I was: Go talk to Grandma and Grandpa, Mom and Dad and other relatives and friends.  Discover and remember what they have to say about what they learned growing up.  By keeping their stories alive you make them, and yourself, immortal. 

    --"Bud, Not Buddy," Christopher Paul Curtis

A summary 

...And because so many of them were always beggin him to tell and tell again the story of his adventures on the peach, he thought it would be nice if one day he sat down and wrote a book.  

    So he did. 

    And that is what you have just finished reading. 

    --"James and the Giant Peach," Roald Dahl 

A Question -Open ended 

    And soon they were rolling on again, leaving Tree-gap behind, and as they went, the tinkling little melody of a music box drifted out behind them and was lost at the last far down the road. 

    --"Tuck Everlasting," Natalie Babbitt

A Quote

    If only, if only, the moon speaks no reply,

Reflection the sun and all that's gone by. 

Be strong my weary wolf, turn around boldly,

My angel, my only.

    --"Holes," Louis Sachar

Student Examples: 
        Sometimes it is hard in our busy lives to find the beauty, but if we take the time to think, there are beautiful things everywhere you look. Families, our favorite vacation place, books, a butterflies wings, the buzz of a bumble bee, the song of a bird, the blue blue sky, the smell of flowers, and a child's first laugh. Beautiful things are all around us. Just take a minute to think of all the wonderful things on this earth that make it so beautiful. The earth is covered with beauty if we take time to just simply look.

        When the bus pulls up to my bus stop, I walk down the skinny, narrow aisle, and tell the bus driver thank you for taking me home. I walk down the steps of the old bus, and start towards my house. I make my way up the gorgeous, fluffy, green grass, guiding me to the front of my house. I walk swiftly to my front porch, and the gorgeous pink and purple flowers catch my eye. I notice the yellow bumble bee collection its nectar. I open my giant wooden front door, and rush inside to tell my mom about my day, and how beautiful it was.

        These things only scratch the surface of the word beautiful. The word beautiful has too much depth to be contained in a simple definition. It leaks out of every pore on this Earth, every person, every planet, everything. Because there are so many things that are beautiful. Everything has beauty, even if it’s hidden and no one ever finds it. It’s here, and it’s Beautiful.

There are countless ways that basketball is beautiful to me, as there is to anyone who thinks anything is beautiful. As I keep playing it throughout my life, I will find more and more things about it. For now, I think the beautiful things are the ball, the shoes, learning to win and to lose, being a team player and just playing the game.

        I have  discovered some things that are beautiful--but I can’t decide what is the most beautiful. The world in general has beauty all around, though not everything is beautiful. I can try to see the good in everything. Many people focus on the bad, the ugly. But if we try to pay attention to the good; the beautiful, then maybe everyone will marvel and reflect upon everything we have instead of what we wish we had. Trying to see beauty might make you be happier than if you just see the ugly. There is beauty all around. It is there, but not always plainly seen. Just look. Open your eyes and see it.

        There is no beauty bar. People who try to capture it are really trying to catch air and pin it down. Beauty is something that is found inside and outside--it just takes the right point of view to see it. Inner and outer beauty are two very different things, but they entwine together and are like the Yin-Yang. They’re together, in the same category, but they are total opposites. Without one, there isn’t the other.


Flashback Essays:

        The whole next year, I could tell he struggled, and when I got older, I began to understand things better. I let go of the whole heaven and angel thing and started thinking more like my dad. Now I am sitting here sucking on my paper cut with watery eyes and still missing her. That night when I went home, I made dinner for my dad, did the dishes, did the laundry, and did whatever else I could to show my dad how thankful I am for him. I know he still misses her. I could see it in his eyes. But the past doesn’t matter anymore. It’s all the present and whats ahead of us that counts. I was determined to make my mother proud.

Persuasion Essays:

The Benefits of Biking

The evidence is overwhelming: the cost of driving a vehicle, both monetarily and environmentally, is outweighing the benefits. We can no longer in good faith support something that is so destructive of the environment. At five dollars per gallon in some areas, we need to ask ourselves if our dependence on cars is merely a result of our own laziness. The bicycle is truly the most efficient means of commuting if we would just take the energy to do so. Saving money while saving the planet is surely enough reason to sway a person without even mentioning the health benefits. Some will never be convinced, but every little bit helps. -- WikiHow

Expository Essays:

Columbus Day

Though Columbus Day’s original intent was to celebrate Christopher Columbus’s historic landing in the New World, many groups feel that it should instead be a day of remembrance for the millions of natives who died as a result of colonization. Despite the contentious nature of the holiday, Columbus played an integral role in the creation of what we know now as the United States of America, and his voyages facilitated a massive exchange of goods between the New World and the Old that continues to this day. Regardless of how one feels about the holiday, Columbus had a huge impact on history, and the world wouldn’t look the same today without him.--WikiHow

Famous Conclusion Example:

End on an Image

When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page. It is not necessarily the actual face of the writer. I feel this very strongly with Swift, with Defoe, with Fielding, Stendhal, Thackeray, Flaubert, though in several case I do not know what these people looked like and do not want to know. What one sees is the face that the writer ought to have. Well, in the case of Dickens I see a face that is not quite the face of Dickens's photographs, though it resembles it. It is the face of a man of about forty, with a small beard and a high colour. He is laughing, with a touch of anger in his laughter, but no triumph, no malignity. It is the face of a man who is always fighting against something, but who fights in the open and is not frightened, the face of a man who is generously angry-in other words, of a nineteenth-century liberal, a free intelligence, a type hated with equal hatred by all the smelly little orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls.

--"Charles Dickens," George Orwell

Susan Frandsen,
Oct 4, 2013, 9:11 AM
Susan Frandsen,
Oct 4, 2013, 9:14 AM