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Write Cook

           Writing tools, tips, and tricks!


The Persuasive Essay

Posted on January 17, 2013 at 10:34 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, writers and teachers,

Congratulations on your excellent final copy of the expository essay! Here's a checklist of essay components and an exemplar. Compare them with your essay and be proud of your accomplishment.

We need to work on two more essays before the state assessments. The first one will be a persuasive essay:

The purpose of a persuasive essay is to convince (persuade) your reader to think the same way you do about a topic. The structure of a persuasive essay is similar to the structure of an expository essay. Study the following document and note the similarities and differences between the two kinds of essays.

Also, study the following checklist of the components of a persuasive essay.

Now, let's begin.

The prompt for your persuasive essay is: 

Do you think cell phones should be allowed in school? Compose an essay to persuade the school community of your opinion.  

This week you will brainstorm/plan the basic points/ideas for your essay. You will need to -

1- Form an opinion about the topic and write an opinion statement. The easiest way to do this is by restating the prompt.

2- Think of three strong reasons why others should share your opinion.

3- Support each reason with three methods of elaboration.

Since this is the planning step of the writing process, you don't need to write complete sentences or add lots of details. In other words, be brief. Your goal is simply to think and organize your thoughts -- you'll get to develop your sentences when you write your first draft. 

The following documents will help you:

Methods of Elaboration (PDF — 98 KB)

Happy planning!

Write Cook

P.S. Valentine's Day is approaching. I found an easy recipe for strawberry heart cookies on Pinterest:

Easy Valentine Cookies
I box of strawberry cake mix
1 stick of melted butter
1 large egg 
several drops of red food coloring (optional)
strawberry frosting 

Combine first four ingredients and stir until dough is uniform in color. Roll out and cut cookies into heart shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Cover cookies with strawberry frosting. Yield: about one dozen. 

Happy New Year!

Posted on January 8, 2013 at 3:37 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, writers and teachers,

Happy 2013! It's time to get back to writing awesome paragraphs, stories, and essays.

Let's start the new year by writing a free-write on either the one thing you enjoy the most about school or the one thing you enjoy the least. Let your ideas flow and have fun. Add a little humor, if possible. You don't need to follow any rules 
-- just write. You don't need to show your free-write to anyone -- it's just for you. Write just for the pleasure of expressing your thoughts and feelings on paper.

Didn't that feel good?

Now let's get back to cooking with words. You have one task pending from before Christmas break. You need to write the lovely final draft of your expository essay:

1- Take a last look at your revisions. 

2- Read the essay aloud. 

3- Make final improvements.

4- Write or type a clean, final copy.

5- Share your essay with others - be proud of your accomplishment!

Talk to you next week,

Write Cook

Teachers, check out:

1- my reading blog (, 

2- my other writing blog (, and 

Plus I'm also on Pinterest.


Are you tired of the same old boring school sandwiches? Try one of the following combinations on your favorite sandwich bread:

1- pesto with turkey, lettuce, and tomato 

2- hummus with turkey and baby spinach

3- cranberry or raspberry preserves with turkey and baby spinach

Or be creative and design your own interesting combination! :)


Revision, revision!

Posted on December 17, 2012 at 7:23 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, writers and teachers,

Four more days till Christmas break, yay! 

Your only assignment for this week is to revise your essay. Study the following document and improve your essay by following the five-step process. You will write a lovely final draft when we return to school in two weeks. 

Stay warm and enjoy the holidays!

Much love,

Write Cook

The Expository Essay - First Draft

Posted on December 4, 2012 at 9:31 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, writers and teachers,
December is here! We have only three weeks left before Christmas break, so we better put them to good use.
Our focus for these three weeks will be the expository essay. Two-three weeks ago you wrote the first draft of a paragraph where you explained how your life has changed now that you are in middle school. Your new task will be to expand your paragraph into a five-paragraph essay.
Before you begin, study the following documents on the essay.


Now you're ready. You may use the following graphic organizers to "grow" your paragraph:

Paragraph vs. Essay (PDF — 85 KB)

First, develop your hook and topic sentence into an introductory paragraph. Your thesis statement should list three important ways in which your life has changed now that you're in middle school. (Think of personal changes and changes at home and at school.)
Second, develop each one of your supporting ideas (the three ways in which your life has changed) into a separate paragraph. You can do this by adding details, examples, and anecdotes. Keep in mind that your goal is to compose three well-developed paragraphs, each about a way your life has changed now that you're in middle school.
Third, turn your closing sentence into a conclusion paragraph. Add a reflection and/or share your feelings. If you started your introductory paragraph with an anecdote, you could complete the anecdote in the conclusion paragraph.
Remember: this is a first draft. Next week you will begin to revise your work. This week you'll get your ideas and details down; next week you'll add the yumminess.
Happy writing!
Write Cook

P.S. What's your favorite Christmas candy? I love cherry cordials, peppermint nougats, and candy canes. 

A Yummy "How to" Paragraph

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 2:11 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, writers and teachers,

This coming week's assignment is very similar to last week's. Take a break from last week's paragraph (we will continue to work on it after Thanksgiving), and work on the following prompt, instead:

What's your favorite Thanksgiving side dish (or dessert)? Write a well-developed "how to" paragraph (8-14 sentences long) where you explain how to make the dish. 

Make sure to plan first. A list of steps would be a good way to plan this paragraph (if necessary, ask a family member to help you with the recipe). 

1- Start your paragraph with a descriptive hook and a strong topic sentence, 
2- follow it with elaborated details (as many as necessary), and 
3- end it with a closing statement that restates why you like the dish.

Revise your first draft for accuracy and clarity, and write or type a lovely final draft (start your paper with a descriptive title and a list of ingredients). 

Here's a cool idea: Make copies of your "how to" paragraph, paste your copies on large, unlined, colored index cards, decorate the cards with fall motifs, and hand them out as Thanksgiving gifts to your family and friends. 

Happy writing!

Write Cook

P.S. Continue to get ready for Thanksgiving by checking out the recipes, crafts, and more at

The Expository Paragraph

Posted on November 12, 2012 at 12:31 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, writers and teachers,

You've done a fantastic job with the personal narrative, congratulations!

Our next big task is the expository essay, but we'll work on the hamburger paragraph first, so you can get a solid grasp of the basic topic - support - conclusion structure.

First, review the document on different types of paragraphs:

Your assignment for this week is to plan and write the first draft of an expository paragraph. Here's your prompt:

Middle school is quite different from elementary school. Write a well-developed paragraph (8-14 sentences long) where you explain how your life has changed now that you are in middle school. 

1- Start your paragraph with a strong topic sentence, 
2- follow it with three supporting elaborated details, and 
3- end it with a reflective closing statement.

Use the following graphic organizers to help you plan your paragraph and write your first draft:

Planning a Paragraph (PDF — 168 KB)

Happy writing!

Write Cook

P.S. Get ready for Thanksgiving by checking out the recipes, crafts, and more at

Deleting, Replacing, and Adding, oh my!

Posted on November 3, 2012 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, writers and teachers,

The first draft of your narrative is completed, so the next step is to revise. This is the part of the writing process where you get to be artistic. You will be deleting stuff you don't need. You will be replacing dull words, adding new words, and incorporating cool rhetorical devices (the seasonings and spices of the writing craft). You will be examining sentence structure and fixing grammar and spelling mistakes. 

The point of revising is to improve and improve your work until it's totally awesome!

"But it's fine the way it is!" is what most students exclaim at this point. And it's true. Your work is good and lovely. But now you're going to make it even better. You're going to take it from good to awesome, from lovely to gorgeous, and from tasty to scrumptious! 

To do this you will need the help of Mr. Hot and Spicy:


And you will need to follow a revision process (this will be your assignment for this week). 

Revising the Narrative (PDF — 1 MB)

Take your time with Step 4: Revising for Style, and get feedback from a friend or family member before writing your final copy.

Happy revising!

Talk to you next week,

Write Cook

Chilly autumn days call for a cup of hot cocoa. Try adding marshmallows or a piece of cheddar cheese to a cup of hot chocolate Ovaltine. Yum!

The PN Rough Draft

Posted on October 21, 2012 at 6:59 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, Writers and teachers,
We're finally ready to write the first draft of the personal narrative. 
Take one more look at the following document:
The Narrative (PDF — 188 KB)
and then get into the writing zone and start cookin' your story:
Narrative Rough Draft (PDF — 122 KB)
You need to eliminate distractions to get into the writing zone. Music is okay, but it's best if the volume is down and there are no lyrics. You must enter that special place in your mind where you go back in time and access your memorable incident -- where you envision all that happened and the sensory details that surrounded the event. What did you see? What did you hear? What did you smell, touch, taste? Follow your plot mountain plan (the sequence of events), and narrate your story as if you're seeing it made into a movie.
That's all for the coming week. Happy writing!
I'll post again by the end of next week.
Write Cook
P.S. Last year I shared the following gross-looking and yummy Halloween treat:
Use mozzarella sticks to create creepy "severed fingers." Cut out nail-shapes out of red or green gummy candy and stick them to the tops of the "fingers." Then add red food-coloring to the other end of the sticks to simulate blood. Serve them with strips of red peppers and crackers. Try fruit and gummy worms for dessert. To drink: red fruit punch in wine glasses. A gross-looking and totally cool lunch or afternoon snack.

Planning the P.N.

Posted on October 9, 2012 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, writers and teachers,

This week we will continue the writing process for the personal narrative. You should already have a good idea of the incident you want to write about. The next step is to plan the story. 

Review the following narrative checklist:

Narrative Checklists (PDF — 56 KB)

and create a plot mountain for your story: 

PN Plot Diagram (PDF — 37 KB)

Start to fill out the plot mountain by identifying the climax or turning point of your story. The events leading to the climax constitute the rising action, and the events following the climax constitute the falling action. 

Give this step careful thought, but be brief. You will develop your ideas when you write the rough draft. The plot mountain is simply a way to organize the main events of your story.

You will find examples of personal narratives on this website:

Also, spend some time reviewing adjectives by completing a few activities on the following list:

Talk to you next week!

Write Cook


For teachers: Are you interested in buying cute handmade Halloween cards for your students? Check out the cards I have for sale on my TPT store:

For students: Find recipes for fun fall snacks here:


Posted on October 4, 2012 at 7:21 PM Comments comments (0)
Hello, writers and teachers,

This week's post will be brief. 

Continue working on your memory map (fill it with details and color), and read/study the following document:

The Narrative (PDF — 188 KB)

You will begin the writing process for the personal narrative by making a list of memorable incidents. Print and use the following document to make your list:

Incident Brainstorming (PDF — 52 KB)

That's all for this week. Next week we will begin planning the personal narrative.

Enjoy the cool days of fall!

Write Cook

P.S. Caramel Apples -- another yummy fall treat!