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Writing Samples

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Naturally Beautiful

Writer Editor Proofreader Copyeditor Articles Writer Freelance Writer Writing Test Preparation ManualsThe land at Fort Sheridan was shaped by the forces of glaciation and other types of erosion. As ice-age glaciers slowly receded toward the poles, they carved out valleys, rivers small lakes, and the Great Lakes basin. Over time, as rivers filled with melted glacier ice and rain ran toward lakes, they eroded the land and formed ravines. There are six ravines at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve. Bluffs along the lake are vulnerable to erosion, but the District is helping to protect and restore them by gradually replacing invasive lyme grass with native grasses.

Janes Ravine is an outstanding model of mesic and dry-mesic (moist and semi-moist) upland forest, a type that was important to early settlers for fuel and building supplies. Witch hazel, pagoda dogwood, sugar maple, and Canada mayflower are all found in Fort Sheridan's ravines, along with many other species. The bluff areas along the lake comprise the largest and best remaining examples of open prairie-like vegetation which were once prevalent along much of the lakeshore. The open oak forest at Fort Sheridan is a rare find in the area. Located in an area between prairie and forest, it is characterized by small groves of oaks that tower above grassy areas and wildflowers.

Lake Michigan waters moderate weather extremes at Fort Sheridan, keeping the ravines slightly warmer during the winter and cooler in the summer. This makes it possible to find plants and trees here that are not found further inland. Lake County is home to more threatened and endangered species than any other county in Illinois. Preserve visitors who walk quietly and observe carefully are often rewarded with unusual discoveries.

Over 140 species of birds follow the shoreline of Lake Michigan as they migrate north in the spring and south in the fall. Almost 60 other bird species are year-round residents. Interested birdwatchers can pick up a copy of Birds of the Lake County Forest Preserves or download it from the District's web site (www.lcfpd.org).


How to Become an Exchange Student

Writer Editor Proofreader Copyeditor Articles Writer Freelance Writer Writing Test Preparation ManualsHave you dismissed your vision of studying abroad because you have no idea where to begin finding the information and assistance you need? You already know it is a dream worth pursuing-but just about everyone finds it perplexing to navigate the ins and outs of where to study, how to get there, how to find the money needed, who to stay with, and when and where to apply. Fortunately, you've taken the right first step to your future as a foreign exchange student. We have the experience and resources to assist you with the realization of your dream.

Imagine arriving in France, England, Germany, Spain, or another country, with all of your papers in order. You check through customs-and then you see your host family, holding up a sign with your name on it, along with a great big "Bienvenue," "Welcome," "Wilkommen," or "Bienvenidos." You've already corresponded with them and exchanged pictures, and now here they are for real! You don't need to worry about where you'll be staying or how you'll get there, because you're going home with your new host family.

Whether you are a high school or college student, studying abroad is much more than just an academic program that takes place in another country. It is a cultural exchange experience that can and will transform your life. As you learn about cultural differences, you'll also discover that many ideas, thoughts, and feelings are common to human beings all over the globe. As you acquire new communication skills and improve your ability to be flexible and deal constructively with differences, you will-without even realizing it-be gaining the ability to adapt to new circumstances, a skill that will serve you well throughout life.

When you complete your education and enter the working world, you will find that your experience as a foreign exchange student is a "gold star" on your record. We all know that the world is becoming smaller. Most large American businesses have a global presence and are seeking staff with trans-national capabilities and an understanding of international affairs, both economic and political. As a foreign exchange student, you will become knowledgeable about all of these simply by living and studying abroad.

There is only one thing that could derail your plans: waiting too long to apply. Your school and both governments will need to complete various types of paperwork in time for you to begin the fall semester. To further investigate becoming a foreign exchange student, the time to act is now.


Here is part of a story about the Lumbee Indians that I wrote for Time, Inc. They put together a special issue about North Carolina for upper-elementary age kids. The magazine is about the state's history, people, and culture. I wrote two other stories similar to this one as well as twelve Teaching Guides, one for each of the 12 stories in the magazine.

Writer Editor Proofreader Copyeditor Articles Writer Freelance Writer Writing Test Preparation ManualsThe Lumbee People

The Lumbee People
A river runs through Robeson County, North Carolina. On the map it's called by two names: the Lumber River and Drowning Creek. The river has another name, too. The people who have lived along the river for centuries call it the Lumbee.

These Native Americans have had a lot of names. They've been called the Croatan Indians, the Indians of Robeson County, and the Cherokee Indians of Robeson County. Through the years, the people in the tribe felt that none of these names fit. They had to wait until 1885 to be recognized as an Indian tribe and until 1953 to be called by the name the people preferred: Lumbee. Why did it take so long? The answer may go back to 1590.

The Roanoke Colony
Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer, was given land to colonize along the coast of what is now North Carolina. In 1587, Raleigh sent 117 men, women and children to settle on Roanoke Island. They were led by John White. The colonists arrived in mid-summer. They realized it was too late to plant crops. There would not be enough food for the winter. John White went back to England to get the needed supplies.

A war between England and Spain kept John White from returning to Roanoke for three years. When he finally arrived, the settlers were gone. The only clue left behind was a word carved on a gatepost: CROATAN. White hoped the word meant that his settlers had gone to live with Native Americans in the region of Croatan Sound.

White looked for the colonists. So did people on other ships that came to the area. Nobody ever found the settlers. The Roanoke Colony was called "The Lost Colony." It is still one of history's mysteries.

Clues to the Past
As with most mysteries, there are some clues to what might have happened. One clue came from a man named Reverend Morgan Jones. He went to North Carolina in 1660 and found Indians who spoke English. About 50 years later, a surveyor named John Lawson reported meeting Indians with gray eyes and light-colored skin and hair. In the late 1800s, a man named Hamilton MacMillan took a survey. He found that almost half of the Lumbee people had the same last names as the original Roanoke colonists. In the 1900s, another researcher found that the Lumbee were still speaking "old English"--the kind spoken in the 1500s.

Historians (experts on history) rely on written records and hard facts. They aren't ready to say for sure where the Roanoke colonists went. Even so, many Lumbee people believe they are descended from these colonists and the Cheraw and Siouan Indians.

Early Lumbee Life
The Lumbee lived in a swampy area of North Carolina. The swamps kept them isolated from other tribes and protected them from enemies. It also provided plenty of game to hunt and rich land to farm. When white settlers began to arrive, the Lumbee already spoke English. They lived in houses that looked like houses in England. They found it easy to get along with the white settlers.

Other Native Americans were being pushed off their land, but the Lumbee were "allowed" to buy the land they were living on. Lumbee soldiers even fought in the Revolutionary War on the side of the colonists. The white settlers called the Lumbee "non-whites" or "mixed," but they didn't consider them Indians or Native Americans because they spoke, acted, and often looked like Europeans.

Trouble Begins
The Lumbee lived peacefully in Robeson County and nearby counties until about 1835. Like the white settlers, they owned land, voted and attended school. Then prejudice began to develop against people who were not white. Seventeen thousand Cherokees were forced to leave their homes in the North Carolina mountains. New laws were passed to keep non-whites from owning guns, attending school, and voting. Then it became clear that the whites wanted the Lumbees' land.

One way of trying to get land from the Lumbee was called a "tied mule incident." A white farmer would tie his own mule to a tree or fence on a Lumbee farmer's land. He would add a few of his own cows and hogs to the pens and pastures. Then he'd summon the authorities and claim the Lumbee had stolen his livestock. Lumbees knew that non-whites could not get a fair trial. Families who were victims of the tied mule had two choices: work for free for the white farmer or give up part of their land.

During the Civil War, Lumbee boys and men were forced to work in a labor camp that was building a huge Confederate fort. The conditions in the camp were bad. Some Lumbees hid in the swamps so they wouldn't be taken to the camp. Others escaped from the camp and they too went to the swamps. The Confederate Home Guard tried to track down these men and arrest them. Sometimes they threatened the men's families to try to find out where they were hiding. Innocent Lumbee were killed. People were afraid to go outside to tend their crops for fear they would be taken away to the labor camp. The Army took what little food they had in order to feed its soldiers. Soon there was a serious shortage of food.


The following sample is part of the introduction to a course I created for Barnes and Noble University. BNU courses are free non-credit courses offered online. This one is entitled "Teach Your Child About Literature With Harry Potter."
Freelance Editor Ocala Gainesville Orlando Freelance Articles Creator Freelance Developer Writer Editor Proofreader Copyeditor Articles Writer Freelance Writer Writing Test Preparation ManualsWhy Teach Your Child About Literature?

If you love to read, you already know what an important part literature plays in your life. You're never bored because a whole world of people and events and information is waiting inside the cover of the book you're reading...if only you could find more time to read it! Developing a habit of reading on a daily basis is a positive one. Children who read at or above their grade level do better in all of their classes because they all involve reading and comprehension. And the more you read, the better you get at it, just like playing the piano or cooking or shooting baskets.

Good literature, of course, is much more than a riveting plot that keeps you turning pages. Popular romances and mysteries rely mostly on plot to hook readers. Beautiful but wary woman meets hunky tough guy, sparks fly, and-you read the story because you want to find out what happens next. Literary fiction emphasizes character development. There is an interesting plot all right, but it's not so much what the characters DO as what they LEARN, about themselves and others, even if the romance goes bad or the mystery remains unsolved.

The Importance of Characters

Characters in good literary fiction are so believable that even as adults we can't quite believe they're not real. Picture Scarlett O'Hara, Romeo and Juliet, or even the little boy in "Where the Wild Things Are." Do you see living, breathing human beings, or just words on a page?

Because characters who are well-portrayed seem so real, we identify with them, feeling their sorrows and triumphs, wishing we could give them a little advice, sorry to read the last page of their story because we'll actually miss them for a few days. We're delighted when a favorite author publishes a new title, even more so if characters from a book we've previously read reappear in the new one.

Children identify with the characters in their favorite books, too. J. K. Rowling has created, in Harry Potter, a character that has readers enthralled. Perhaps it's that Harry is so normal, so much like them, and that he proves himself to be so special. As Harry's fans await the next title in the seven-book series, they speculate on what will happen next, meet in chat rooms, correspond with Potter pen pals in other countries, and search for clues about coming events in the already-published novels.

Children tend to read books for the story. When assigned the classic "book report," most young readers give an event-by-event synopsis. It is only when we ask them to look deeper and think harder that they can reap rewards that go beyond entertainment and literal-level comprehension. With you as a guide, your child can explore literature in a completely new way.


writer, freelance, editing, editor, research, researcher, permissions, educational, reasonable, experienced, advertising, copy, copywriter, resume, thesis, literature, novel, units, Learning Links, Amsco, Prentice, Hall, Time, Life, right, on, timeCHAPTER TWO: Preparing for a Career in Cosmetology

This is a sample from Success Without College: Careers in Cosmetology (Barron's, 2000). The book is marketed to public and school libraries and is also available in bookstores and at all major online booksellers' sites.

In every state, cosmetologists must pass a state board examination in order to become licensed. Until you have your license, you cannot legally practice cosmetology. Training courses at high schools, vocational schools, beauty schools and community colleges teach you what you need to know in order to pass the board exam for your particular state. Requirements vary from state to state, but most require between 1200 and 1600 classroom hours of study. There is a minimum age of 16 or 17, and entrants are usually required to have completed at least the 9th grade. Some programs require a high school diploma or GED. In a few states, you may work as an apprentice cosmetologist for a specific number of hours and then take your licensing exam. Many high schools offer programs where a student may spend part of the day studying cosmetology and another part completing requirements for a high school diploma. At both Daniel Boone and David Crockett High Schools in Greeneville, Tennessee, students can take a three-year or four-year program in Cosmetology, beginning in either ninth or tenth grade. Arrangements with area beauty colleges allow students to take additional hours, if needed, after they graduate from high school.

The Greenville program is associated with the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA). VICA encourages vocational students to participate in this club, which stresses the acquisition of skills needed by anyone entering the business world directly from high school. VICA members learn skills like how to write a good resume and cover letter and how to dress for a job interview. (You can find out if there is a school in your area offering a VICA program by calling (703) 777-8810.)

Two advantages of taking classes during high school are that you pay no tuition and you are getting a head start on a career. One disadvantage of some high school programs is that there is no training salon where students can get hands-on experience. This part of the training still has to be completed in a private beauty school, vocational school, or community college before the student can take the state licensing exam.

Vocational/technical schools offer comprehensive training programs which prepare students to pass the state licensing exams. Vo-tech schools offer classes to high school students in lieu of their regular high school programs, and also admit adults in the community who are training for a new career. At the Warren County Technical School in Warren County, New Jersey, prospective cosmetology students must pass an entrance examination before they can enroll in the 1,000-hour state certified cosmetology course. They must maintain a "B" average to remain in the program.

Students at WCTS learn about hair, scalp, and skin care, coloring, cutting, and waving hair, decontamination and infection control, barbering and salon management, nail technology and terminology, professional ethics, personal appearance and other basic cosmetology topics. After completing 600 hours, they are eligible to work in the school salon, which is open to the public two days a week for salon services. Upon completion of 1,000 hours of experience, students are ready to take the state licensing exam and go to work.

See more sample pages from this book at the amazon.com website. Use the "Look Inside" feature.?

Copyrighted material. Mary L. Dennis


Links to some samples online:

Resources for Teachers:
http://www.acuexams.com/articles.html (all article links on the page)
http://www.teachersbrunch.com/Community/Resources/Teachers/Sparking%20Student%20Interest.pdf

Newspapers in Education supplement for CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America):
http://www.cadca.org/coalitionsonline/documents/StaySmartDontStartsupplementFINAL.pdf

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