Student Projects

Writing Pedagogy Description 

I believe that writing is the greatest tool for communication that any person can have. To help students communicate in writing, I build each unit of my classes around three basic axioms:

To achieve this, I guide students through different series of writing projects, where they learn to brainstorm, draft, edit, and revise in both collaborative and individual contexts. All of my classes revolve around cultivating students' ability to ask themselves and other questions, and to use those questions to guide their writing process. That process is slightly different for every genre, but the principles remain the same no matter what you want to write.

As a teacher, I aim to help students build their own capacity as writers, and to discover their own ways of communicating, always with an eye towards clarity. Below, you can see some samples of students' writing.

Student Writing Tests

These are timed writing tests some of my students took at the end of an intermediate-level writing course. I've cropped the images to remove their names and final grades. 

All student writing has been kept anonymous.


Student Essays

My intermediate-level students learn to write essays in a variety of formats. They practice using the three classical modes of persuasion (ethos, logos, and pathos) as rhetorical strategies. I work with them on an individual basis to teach the vocabulary and grammar structures that they need to clearly express the ideas they generate in brainstorming sessions. 

Students approach a variety of topics, from current events to cultural artifacts. Since I teach students who predominantly speak a language other than English at home, this approach allows them to integrate L1 knowledge with their English-language learning and writing process. This kind of integration allows students to more fully appreciate the usefulness of English-language acquisition and learning; it also helps students feel confident in their English-language abilities. 

All student writing has been kept anonymous.

Junior High Student Current Events Argumentative Essays

Student 1

All over the world people are worried about the coronavirus. There are many people dying from it, and now we do not understand the coronavirus. There are already many countries and cities closed. The schools should close.

If we close the schools, all the students will study at home, and that is a good choice to protect all of us. If someone in the school has coronavirus, it will be very dangerous for the people in school. There are about 30 students in one class, they all sit together, and some of the students don’t put on masks. Many students will touch the same thing, like door handles, so it is easy to spread coronavirus. If we study at home, we can protect ourselves and protect others.

Some people think we should not close the schools. People need to maintain their lifestyle and everyone needs to keep healthy. If we don’t close the schools, it will be very dangerous, because if someone in the school has coronavirus, it is easy to spread coronavirus. We should still close the schools, because if the schools close, people can still keep learning and working on the internet, and if we study at home we can protect ourselves and protect others.

It is hard to study at home, the internet might be laggy and there are many things at home that can bother you. Our lives are more important. We should close the schools and protect ourselves. What do you think?

Student 2

We need to take a mask to go to school. There are many people with coronavirus, so why should we go to school? It’s good to go to school because we need to keep learning, and if you stop the classes you need to spend vacation time to go to school. Some students will go to other places and get coronavirus, that will be more dangerous for us. Besides these reasons, our teachers will not have jobs, and they won’t get money to maintain their lifestyle. That makes me think we need to go to school in this dangerous time. But I think the sun will rise, and we will be better for the coronavirus.

Some people think we should close the schools. If someone in the school has the coronavirus, it will be very dangerous for the people in school. People might not have jobs. They won’t have any money to maintain their lifestyle, and we can’t keep learning. That is worse and dangerous for school. Teachers and office workers can go to work, some students won’t go to other places and get the coronavirus. We can see our classmates on workdays, and keep learning.

The coronavirus makes everyone afraid. Some movie theaters are closed, and many people are scared to get close to each other, just like strangers. The crowded town becomes an empty place. But I think if all people stay healthy, and take care of themselves, we will get better.

Student 3

Because of the coronavirus, teachers and students are scared. I think schools should close. It will show they care about our lives. Here are my reasons:

First, lives are more important than studying! Teachers and students are nervous every day. Also, teachers can use the internet to teach us. If one student gets the coronavirus, many students and teachers will get the coronavirus and that is very bad for everyone. Students at home still need to learn! And don’t play outside! Be safe.

Some people think schools should close, but not close too early, and I think this idea is right. But if schools don’t close early, maybe students or teachers will get the coronavirus, and that’s very dangerous. If schools close, everyone will be safe and healthy. Everyone will not be scared every day.

Our lives and our health is very important, so I think schools should close. Teachers, students, and everyone else needs to care about it!

Junior High Student Book and Art Analysis Essays

Student 1

The first time I saw “Starry Night,” I was surprised, but I also felt cold and sad. In this painting, most of the parts are dark blue and black. Only stars and the moon are bright. It makes a strong contrast. Clouds are in special shapes, and it makes me feel unreal.

It’s very cool, and I wonder what he thought about at that time. After I read the story of “Starry Night,” I finally know why it is so special.

The artist who drew “Starry Night” is van Gogh. He had many masterpieces when he was in a psychiatric hospital. “Starry Night” is one of them. He was unhappy and insane when he drew “Starry Night,” so that’s the scene he saw in the sky.

“I don’t know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream,” van Gogh said. After I understood more about van Gogh’s story, I looked at “Starry Night” again. I know more about his feelings at that time. When he stared at the beautiful stars, the dark night was also shiny. 

Student 2 

This is an essay about The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. I wrote it in three parts: a summary, the parts I liked, and the part I didn’t like.

I wrote a summary of The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. The giant builds a wall after the children play in his garden because he thinks the children are annoying. After the children leave the giant, he looks at the snow and feels bored, because nobody wants to play with him. In the end, the giant breaks the wall and the snow disappears many children come inside his garden, but he is too old, so he dies. I think it is an interesting book, if you have a chance you can try to read The Selfish Giant. 

I liked the book very much, because it was interesting to read. I liked it when the giant died, because the giant was annoying. I also liked it when the giant broke down the wall, because it was very cool. I liked more parts than I didn’t like. 

There was one part I didn’t like. I didn’t like it when the giant built the wall, because the giant was selfish. This bad part didn’t make the book bad.

This was an essay about The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. I liked this book very much. It was a good book.

Student 3

John Singer Sargent was ruined by a portrait of a famous girl, but one day he and his friend were on a boat to see the scenery, and he saw some little girls in the garden, and he planned to paint what he saw. The painting turned him into a successful painter. 

In this painting, there are two little girls in white dresses, standing in a garden, and both of them are lighting up a Chinese paper lantern. 

I think this picture is very interesting, because the colors in this picture are very cute. It makes me feel comfortable, and the whole picture is very dreamy. 

Junior High Student Argumentative Essay Sample

Student 1

Does playing video games make kids smarter, and how can kids learn by playing video games? Some educational games let kids practice how to do things, and make them smarter. Letting kids play on-line video games can help them learn how to communicate with other players. Doing tasks with other players can help kids learn teamwork.

Some educational games can let kids practice how to do things, and make them smarter. If kids play CodeMonkey, they can learn how to program code to make a monkey get bananas. If kids play PoGamo, it can help kids do exercise to expand territory and build their empire. If kids play Chinese Chess, kids can learn how to plan and execute a plan. It’s sure kids can learn a lot of things by playing educational games.  

Letting kids play on-line videogames can help them learn to communicate with other players. Some kids communicate to build things in Minecraft. Some kids communicate to fight zombies in LifeAfter. Some kids communicate to trade things in LifeAfter and Minecraft. A lot of kids communicate in on-line videogames. 

Doing tasks with other players can help kids learn teamwork. When we do a bomb disposal task in some dungeon of LifeAfter, someone is in charge of finding the correct line to cut and pass to other team members. In the shire tournament of LifeAfter, different camps fight each other for the championship. During a global geological disaster in LifeAfter, every player tries to do everything to save the world. We airdrop coolant and build giant walls. There are many teamwork activities in videogames. Kids can learn so much by playing them.

Student 2

There are approximately 8 billion people in this world, and out of those 8 billion, I am a lucky person who has developed the talent of being bilingual. To be bilingual means that I can speak two or more different languages. It's not just a fantastic talent to have; being bilingual also comes with plenty of benefits and advantages, such as having a better job, being able to translate the language for people who aren't bilingual, and being able to speak two different languages, which for me are Mexican Spanish and English. 

To begin with, being bilingual comes with several assets when trying to find a job. Finding a job is way easier for bilingual people because they can speak two different languages without having to struggle as much as a non-bilingual person will. Most people who aren't bilingual just get a job and get paid less than a bilingual person, while bilingual people get paid more since they can speak 2 languages and are able to communicate with any person who might speak a different language than English. So being bilingual gives you better opportunities for getting a job that you would like and you can get paid more for the amazing talent of being bilingual.

My dad is bilingual so when he goes out to find a job he has higher expectations to get a good paying job. He usually gets a job in Tennessee since there is a higher ROI there than Texas, and because he is able to translate, so he gets better contract offers there. My dad gets paid way more than my mom is,since she isn’t bilingual, so it's better when my dad goes to work so we won't get behind on our bills, payments, etc. So being bilingual can have some good benefits than not being bilingual. 

Secondly, being bilingual also comes with being able to translate to other people who don't speak Spanish or English. There are approximately 50 million people in the U.S. who don't know how to speak Spanish, so being able to translate is a really good thing. One time I was in a Mexican airport, coming back from Cancún, and there was a guy who didn't speak Spanish, so the airport workers asked if I could translate for him. Later he came back thanking me since I helped him reach his flight in time and he said “you have an amazing future ahead of you. Those words really inspired me to work hard to accomplish my goals. 

Last of all, the talent of being bilingual is such an important thing that a person can be given. The ability to speak both languages is such an amazing thing since you can speak to anyone who is bilingual without having trouble. Bilingual is an advantage to life since you can speak to anyone you want since the most common language is English, so even if you're in Mexico there can still be people who speak English. Having the talent of being bilingual is something that I try not to take for granted since not many people can have this amazing talent.

In conclusion, being bilingual is a good thing, since it comes with all these advantages. Bilingualism is also a fun ability to have since not many people have that ability. Bilingual isn't just a talent but a cool feature to have. I plan to use this ability for the rest of my life, and never take it for granted. As you can see, being bilingual is the best thing a person can learn and have for their future. 

Junior High Student Autobiographical Essay Samples 

Student 1

For me, growing up bilingual wasn’t always as easy as it is now. I had to learn English from a very young age, since I only spoke Spanish. I'll start by telling you my experiences with learning English, and how I came to understand the language, along with the hardships that came with it.

I would slur most of my words, and I'd get irritated when I couldn’t speak appropriately. For example, when I was at daycare I would talk to my teachers in Spanish, but when I'd have to talk to my peers I couldn’t pronounce my words, and none of them could understand my English. It was hard till I got home since I'd only get spoken to in Spanish. I’d tell my mom about my complications, and it led to me getting put into speech therapy. They would talk to me, but it was challenging to even hear what they’d say. Most of the words came out as incoherent sounds, and I couldn’t read their lips which made it even worse. It only got worse from there, since they wanted me to start reading more and learn the alphabet. I got very frustrated each time I went to therapy, but I started to improve with my understanding of the language. I could pronounce easy words like ‘be,’ ‘and,’ ‘a,’ and ‘yes’ after a good week of back to back sessions that were as long as 4 hours. They eventually noticed I had learned most of the alphabet, so they gave me a verbal quiz. It was much better than when I started, but I still had to continue my lessons.

Fast forward a year, and they released me from speech therapy, and I had become a lot better with the understanding of the language. It was much easier after a certain amount of time, and it was easier to talk with multiple people at the same time since I had become much better with the language and understanding of it. These experiences are what came along with learning English and how to speak in the language.

Student 2

As my family and I were pulling up to our driveway, my father was telling us, "We have a surprise for guys."

We all paused in silence as he continues, "We're going to Cancun." My brothers and I yelled quietly in excitement, this was the first trip that we'd gone to that we had to go on a plane.

A few months later, we were getting on a plane ready to take flight. I was so excited. It was the first time I'd ever gotten on an airplane. A few hours later we had landed and we were headed to the hotel. As soon as we got to the hotel I realized this was going to be the best time of my life. The hotel was massive at least thirty pools in the park itself and it was next to the ocean. The rooms were also fantastically amazing with beds softer than clouds and pillows that are even softer it was one of the best periods of sleep I've ever had in my life. Every day we went to a different pool that was around my hotel, we also had a buffet of drinks and food. We could drink our beverages which we could customize in the pool, which was amazing because you wouldn't have to miss out on any family fun. 

Finally, it was the last day we were excited because we got to see the rest of our family and sad because we had to leave our hotel. We rode a taxi to the airport where we got on the airplane and left Cancun, and got delivered to Mexico city where our truck had been staying for a few days. We reconnected with our family and we finally reunited.

Early-Elementary Student Stories

Student 1

I want to buy many flowers. When I grow up, I also want to buy cookies. I will also buy a dog. I will play with my dog. The dog will be cute. I will play with my mom. I like her. Sometimes I don’t like my dad. My dad is very noisy. Sometimes I am also noisy. My mom is not noisy. 

Student 2

Dear Mom,

I am in Japan now. I like when you cook. I will feel happy when you cook. My favorite food is curry. You make me feel happy. I love you. 



Student 3

My dad lives in Zhubei. He is a soldier. In one month, my dad will come back and he will take me to his home. I will play with my dad. I will play ball with my dad in his home. I will feel happy. 

Late-Elementary Student Stories

Student 1

In a haunted house, there was a spooky vampire. A girl called Anna went to the haunted house. She looked inside, and it was very dirty, with a lot of spider webs. She saw them and she ran away. She went to her house and found her dad.

She and her dad went back to the haunted house. They went inside, went up the stairs, and they saw a vampire, witch, skeleton, bat, and spider. Anna’s dad was not scared, but Anna was very scared. But she didn’t want to give up, she wanted to stay with her dad. They kept going to look for things. Then they found a box of candy and chocolate. They were happy. But there were spiders inside the box. 

Student 2

Today was our school’s Grade 5 field trip day. Today we went to Leofoo Village. Our class was in the first bus. The inside of our bus had our classmates and four Class 505 children. But today was rainy, so we wore ponchos and boot covers. We went to raft. We played on the raft 4 times. We went to eat spicy chicken and ice cream. It was very yummy. Today was a good day. 

Student 3

A child called Terry had a friend called Bear. One day Terry was playing with his ball in the morning. His ball got lost in the forest. So Terry went inside the forest, but when he found the ball it was already night, so he stayed in the forest. 

The next day, his friend Bear wanted to play with Terry, so Bear went to Terry’s home. But when Bear went to Terry’s home, he didn’t see Terry, so Bear went to look for Terry. 

When Bear went inside the forest to find Terry, Terry walked out of the forest. The Terry told Bear why he went in the forest and what he found in the forest. They played together again.

Student 4

Today, I met a mysterious man named Mr. Cookie. We went to a place. Then we got chased by a huge ant, and Mr. Cookie’s head got eaten. That was because Mr. Cookie’s head was tasty, but my head was not. The ant finished Mr. Cookie’s head and felt full, but Mr. Cookie felt happy, because he could buy a new head. 

Mr. Cookie and I went to a candy store to buy a new head. We felt good, because I could eat the candy and Mr. Cookie could buy a new head. The store was on Jupiter. We walked to the store. 

Mr. Cookie got the new head and I got a lot of candy. We all felt happy. Then we went to the Sun, because Mr. Cookie’s head needed to get baked and I wanted to be warm.