Writing Lab Success Story: From Messy to Montage

Jacob (grade 3) attended Writing Lab for a total of 31 sessions. Writing Lab has a two-day cycle, one day for prompt and brainstorming, the other day for review and revision. Jacob scored a 1 out of 5 on his first essay at the end of his first two-day cycle. Jacob’s first prompt was “The best cartoon character is…” Jacob wrote a series of sentences without structure or correct punctuation. After initial analysis, I determined Jacob would benefit by switching to the alternative Writing Lab B program.

Upon entering Writing Lab B, we began with the prompt…”something brushed up against my foot.” Write a story about what happens next.

Since Jacob had no formal structure in his writing, my original goal was simply to help him write in complete sentences and to develop self-confidence. Once he accomplished sentence structure, we moved on to the following concepts:

  • Write in complete sentences.
  • Use punctuation.
  • Develop an organized series of related ideas.
  • Use clear conventions in writing.


Each essay was evaluated according to content/organization, usage, style, sentence construction, and mechanics. An important tool for young writers like Jacob is MEK’s “Writer’s Checklist” which helps students form clear and intentional thoughts. A few checklist items include:

  • Keep your topic in mind.
  • Clearly state your opinion.
  • Support your opinion with details and evidence.
  • Put your ideas in the order that best communicates what you are trying to say.
  • Use clear and varied sentences.


Over the course of the 31 sessions, Jacob worked to follow this format as a guide to writing persuasive essays.

Start of Writing Lab

Midway through Writing Lab

End of Writing Lab

writer who takes chances and is not afraid of giving his opinions and using his imagination. Jacob’s initial writing was messy; his most recent writing was selected for inclusion in MEK’s Literary Magazine, Montage.

Since it’s infancy in 2007, MEK’s Writing Lab has been and continues to be the foundation on which students develop and refine the craft of writing. Through practice and application, students like Jacob learn the art of responding to academic and creative writing prompts.

Ms. Michelle Sinno, Chief Mentor of Teachers


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