Many students start their compositions repeatedly in the same way. The weather. A flashback. I usually encourage my students to start descriptively. Get into the setting immediately for example. Where is your character? What are they doing?
Below is a composition about An act of honesty. The introduction illustrates what I mean about starting immediately in the setting and introduction of the two characters. Though briefly done, my student has also given some depth to the siblings.
An Act of Honesty model composition
The shiny, square object was lying on the ground a few meters ahead of us. What’s that? I wondered to myself. My younger sister, Hazel, had seen it too. Gripping my arm she said, “Is that a wallet?” We strode faster to the object and sure enough, it was a wallet.
I looked around, hoping to find its owner, rushing towards us, but the street was deserted as it usually was every afternoon around 2pm. Hazel and I walked along the same street every day after school on our way home. It was always a quiet walk, both of us lost in our own thoughts of school, except for today.
“Should we pick it up?” Hazel asked.
I nodded my head and took hold of the shiny, black wallet. It seemed to be bursting at the seams. Opening it carefully, I intended to search for the name of the owner. However, what I saw made my eyes widen in disbelief. The wallet was full of money. There must have been thousands of dollars inside, packed tightly together. I could hear Hazel take in a sharp breath when she saw all that money.
Looking around me once again and seeing no one in sight, I contemplated what I should do next. Visions of me spending all that money at the bookstore and toyshop flashed before my eyes. I would be the most popular boy in school if I came to class with the newest smart phone. I could even buy the Playstation I had been dreaming about for years! I doubted that the owner of the wallet would miss the money. After all, the wallet must belong to a very rich person. I, on the hand, came from a poor family and my parents struggled to make ends meet, even working two jobs.
I deserve the money, I told myself, the police station was too far away in any case and no one was around to claim the wallet. With that thought, I put the wallet in my pocket.
“What are you doing?” my sister said sharply, “Are you stealing that wallet?”
I defended myself and tried to convince her that the money would be useful to our family but she was having none of that.
Firmly she said, “Mother will be very disappointed in you. She has always said that no matter what, we must be honest and never take what does not belong to us.”
Hanging my head in shame, I knew that Hazel was right. Mother would be very disappointed if she ever found out. I knew that I had to do the right thing. Taking my sister’s hand, we walked together to the nearest police station to give the wallet. Just as we entered the police station, I noticed an elderly lady wringing her hands and crying woefully. A policewoman was trying to comfort her.
“We need that money, ” she sobbed, “My husband must have the operation and that is the only money we have to pay for it. How could I have been so careless and lost my wallet?”
Stepping up to her, I took out the wallet and showed it to her, “Is this yours?”
Her face lit up in an instant. She hugged me in gratitude and then explained to me that her husband was ill and she had to withdraw all their savings to pay for his operation. In her haste to get to the hospital, she must have dropped the wallet. The police woman praised Hazel and me loudly, saying that our parents must be so proud of us. Smiling sheepishly I looked at Hazel who gave me a smirk.
The next day at Assembly, my Principal made a special announcement. Calling both Hazel and me on stage, she presented us with The Most Honest Student award. The elderly lady had called the school and told our Principal about what we had done. I used to think that the saying ‘honesty is the best policy’ was a cliche but after that incident, I understood the true meaning of those words.
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