Welcome to our Authors and Artists blog! This is a web site for my "Budding Authors and Artists" (grades 1-3) and "Awesome Authors and Artists" (grades 3-6) to have a chance to showcase their work. Please feel free to leave any comments for these outstanding authors or their teacher!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The REAL Story: Fairy Tales!

Our last big project for my Writers' Workshop students was to write a fairy tale.  The challenge was to show a different point of view from the traditional story.  The students could keep the characters mostly the same or completely change them.  They could write from a major or minor character's point of view.  They story mapped their ideas first, and included a tone and how they wanted the 1st person narrator to be viewed from now on.

Nice wolves!  Lazy pigs!  Sassy Grandmothers!  Sweet step-mothers!  For three weeks the classrooms were buzzing with excitement over these new points of view.  It was hard to pick which ones to put on the blog, but I chose Kelly's (6th grade) because her story should be shared with everybody; it is that good!  She and I brainstormed a bit (both of us being sports fans), but I can't take credit for her tale.  It is fantastic, funny and creative.  Enjoy "The Real Story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" as told by Snow herself.

     I know that you’ve heard I’m a beautiful, prissy princess. While being a beautiful princess isn’t a problem, I find that being called prissy is insulting, and Walt Disney’s portrayal of me even more so. So here I am to tell the real story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
    I used to live with my evil step-mom in a big, big castle. When I say “evil”, I literally mean evil, not just mean. Man, she was so creepy. My step-mom spent all day in her room, talking and talking to that freaky mirror she found years ago, She made me wear stupid dresses and didn’t respect my nickname, Snow. AND, she hated sports. So I hated her.
    One day I just became too fed up with step-mom to live in the same castle with her, so I packed up my jerseys and cleats, and headed into the forest.  I had always dreamed of creating some sports team with animals in the forest—like bear football, or unicorn baseball. I was just wandering around the forest with all my bags, looking for some exceptionally aggressive unicorns, when I came across a small, but modern little building. The name of the building, in very small letters, was “Seven Dwarves Sports Lounge.”
    Perfect! If there were baseball-playing unicorns in the forest, they would be here! I walked inside, looking for silvery single-horned horses, but inside I found the place completely empty except for seven miniature people, watching seven big screens on the walls, featuring seven different games. At first I had thought that they were children, but then I realized that they were dwarves.  This came as a shock to me. If I had known there were dwarves in the forest, I would have already organized some dwarf sports team. Like I did with the ogres and griffins. But that’s another story.
    I walked up to a red-headed dwarf with glasses.
    “Um, hello?”
    “Hmmrrph?” said the dwarf, his eyes glued to the screen. When he turned and saw me, his eyes widened. “A customer! Finally! What is it you need, ma’am?”
    “Um, I was just, you know, wondering, if you or any of your, um, friends played sports?”
    The little dwarf stood up hastily. “Are you one of those traveling coaches, looking for new talent?”
    “Uh, sure,” I replied, wanting to know if he did play sports.
    “Well then, yes, we all play soccer. “
      “YES! Well, that’s just great. I happen to love coaching soccer,” I told him gleefully.
    “That’s great! I’m Doc, that’s Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Bashful, and Dopey.” Doc said, pointing to six other dwarves scattered all around the room. “When shall we get started?”
    The dwarves went upstairs to put on their soccer gear, and in no time at all we were out in the meadow, scrimmaging so I could see their skills. The dwarves were very fast and strong, and over the months I trained them, I soon had whipped them into even better shape. I signed us up for the Magical Creature Soccer League.
    Before I knew it, our first game had arrived.  We were playing the Mean Greens, the witches.
     “Okay everyone,” I said as I gave my pre-game pep talk to them, “We all know that the witches are mean, green, and they play dirty. We’re here to play a clean game, but if they shove you, just foul them back. Ok, on the count of three, one…two…three!”
    “MIGHTY MIDGETS!” The dwarves all shouted the team name we had voted on weeks ago. The dwarves ran onto the field.  
    The whole game I was yelling out instructions.
    “Bashful! If Happy passes you the ball, run as fast as you can down the field and shoot! And Dopey! Mark #37! No, the one to your left!”
    Wow, that game went fast! I was so busy yelling I didn’t even know what the final score was. But when the referee blew three long whistles, I could tell who won from the way the seven dwarves jumped up in glee.       
    I was so happy about us winning that I started everybody in a victory lap. Afterwards, we decided to have a pizza party at Bob’s Pizza.
    Here’s where the trouble started.
      I told the team I’d meet them there, because I wanted to grab my jacket from the sports lounge (I was living upstairs with the dwarves).  So I ran back there, and when I opened the door, I was extremely shocked to find an old hunch-backed woman sitting in a seat, watching the big screen.
    I mean, this place never gets any customers. Since this was our first one in months, (the last one had been me) I decided to be a little late for pizza and serve her.
    “Is there anything I can get you ma’am?”
    “Yes, please, dear. Could you be so kind to cut up this apple for me?” she said in a weak, tired voice, pulling an apple out of her pocket.
    I cut up the apple in the kitchen and returned the pieces on a plate to the old woman.
    “Thank you, dear. Here, have a slice,” she offered.
    “Oh, ok. Thank you. Sharing is caring,” I said, not knowing that that was the last word I would utter for a long time. I took a bite of the piece of apple, and the entire world went black.....           
    The dwarves filled me in on what happened while I was “sleeping”. Turns out that while I was unconscious, the dwarves were having a fun party at the pizza place with Bob. When they came home, they saw me lying on the floor and analyzed the apples by testing them out on a poor passing unicorn. They didn’t know who tried to kill me or why, but they built me this beautiful glass coffin that I was stuck in for months.
    Then one day, this guy came to the sports lounge. I never actually learned his name, but the dwarves showed him my coffin, and he (to the dwarves’ dismay) took the top of the coffin off, looked down into my lifeless body, and slapped me on the face.
    You may have heard that “true love’s kiss” or something woke me up, but it was that hard slap that got my heart and brain running. So I opened my eyes and was confused about why I was sitting in a glass coffin and why I felt like I had just been slapped in the face. And without another word, the strange guy left, and never returned.
    You probably believed that we got married and lived happily ever after, but whoever wrote about my life made some serious mistakes. I never saw that guy again, and though I searched the kingdom for him, I never found out who he was, how he knew to slap me, and why he did.
    I, meanwhile, continued to coach the Mighty Midgets, and, I must say, they are doing better than ever.
 And guess what?  We lived happily ever after.

The End

This next story is by Sophia (6th grade).  I love how she makes the wolf completely likable, and blaming the whole Eating-Grandma/Chasing Red problem on poor eye sight.  She is so creative!  
(A note on her footnote.... Arushi is the grandmother in HER version of Little Red Riding Hood!)

Little Red Riding Hood
by The Wolf

     Hello.   I am the wolf who met Little Red Riding Hood.  Wait!  Wait!  Don’t scream and run away!  I want to straighten out all the wrong things the stories have implied.  So please listen, because this is my side of "Little Red Riding Hood...."

      It was on a Saturday morning.  I was driving to the optometrist where I had an appointment.  My eyesight had been horrible lately.  I got there and to my surprise, disappointment, and anger it was closed.  What was up with that?!?!  I had already made an appointment so why-oh whatever. 
     I angrily was walking back to my house when I saw what looked like my MORTAL ENEMY!  He had beaten me in the Wolfen Games at school so many times I couldn’t count, and he bragged about it! 
     Anyway, being the idiot and grouch-pot that I was on that Saturday, I started up an argument.  I was really mad over the optometrist incident and it was not good judgment. 
     Anyhoo, Red Riding Hood (which was who it actually was—I just couldn't see well) got so scared at this wolf speaking English and yelling at her that she hurried on toward her grandmother’s house.  Without her knowing, I followed her.  I didn’t know why my mortal enemy (Little Red Riding Hood in reality) would be walking into a hill.  Remember, I had horrible eyesight, so cottages could look like hills. 
     So I walked into the house after Red and totally freaked her and her grandmother out.  I, however, didn’t notice.  I was too busy focusing on that freshly cooked turkey laying on that rock.  Of course, it was Red’s grandmother lying on her bed, but I didn’t know that, because I couldn't see well.  I popped the “turkey” into my mouth, to grandmother's and granddaughter’s complete terror.  I once again wasn’t paying attention however, because I had horrible acid reflex.  Ouch! 
    I didn’t know why there would be water in a hill, but I started looking for it. 
     What did you say?  Of course eating grandmothers causes you acid reflex!  What did you think? 
     As I was half looking, half feeling around for water, I came across a wiry, glassy thing.
     I put them on, saw Red Riding Hood, the bed (now vacated) and tasted (eeww) grandmother! 
     I was aghast until I smelled granny’s perfume on the glasses.  I HATE perfume.  I sneezed a massive sneeze and.....
     Ouch! I was very, very sorry and was about to apologize when Red Riding Hood’s mother burst through the door, took in the scene and began charging at me!
     “No, no I am very very very sorry!” I said.
     “What makes you think I’ll believe that?” said Red’s mother.
     I spent the rest of the hour explaining my situation, and in the end everyone was still mad!  Granny of course was, but so were Red and her mother!  I got kicked out of the house, very mad that my day was getting worse and worse!  That is where all of my typical stories end, but there is more! 
     Later that day, Red Riding Hood, her mother, and her granny came to my house saying that they understood my situation completely and that they were sorry.  I also apologized again and 
then asked them if they would like to go to lunch!  They accepted, and I paid (of course).
     The next day, Red’s mother drove me to the optometrist and I got a pair of glasses.   
     Well, that’s the real story of "Little Red Riding Hood".  Oh wait, one more thing.  The wolf, me, is not a boy wolf.  I am a girl! All stories portray the wolf as a boy, but I am a girl.
     Thanks for listening to my side of the story.  It just goes to show you, one should always listen to the wolf.

*With apologies to Arushi!


Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Autobiography of a Pumpkin

For two weeks in October, we turned ourselves into pumpkins.  We imagined what our lives would be like, from our seed-birth, to the dreaded (or much anticipated) Halloween carving, to our demise.  Some students personified themselves as happy, excited pumpkins, and others did not enjoy their life one bit!

I truly enjoyed Kevin's (3rd grade) story.  I love how he doesn't quite understand certain words!  I also LOVE his ending-- all about the cycle of life!

Pumpkin, The Autobiography  
By Kevin (3rd grade)

     This is a story about my life, even though I'm now plant compost.  My start is a little blurry in my mind.

     One day, I was in a bag with my family in something called a store.  Suddenly, someone bought us!  We went to a small farm.  When they took me out, I saw sunlight!  It sure was bright after being in that dark bag.

     Then, they planted me!  I didn't see the person though.  Then suddenly, the sunlight was gone.  I was in something called, "dirt."  It was dark, but warm and comfortable in there.  I couldn't talk to anyone in there, so I just went to sleep.

     When I woke up, I felt something tickling me.  It was water!  I sucked it all up thirstily.  They continued to water me throughout my life.

     One day I heard some voices saying to sell me.  I was very confused.  What did "sell" mean?  What would happen to me?  I didn't want to leave my family!

     At that point, since I hadn't been "selled" or whatever you say, I suddenly felt weird arms and legs growing out of my body.  I think they were called "roots."  The arms and legs grew bigger over time.

     Amazingly, my stem grew long enough, and I popped out of the dirt.  I saw sunlight again.

     But then as the voices said, I got sold.  The way I got sold was first I discovered I was in a big box!  They put me in something called a "truck."  Then they replanted me.

     The next day I got something called fertilizer.  It gave me a growth boost.

     Later, I turned into a yellow flower!  The next step of my life was completed!

     Over time, I grew bigger and bigger until I eventually grew into a pumpkin!  First I turned green, then yellow and then I turned orange.

     A few days later, the family chopped me off my vine.  Finally I would find out what would happen to me!

     I sat on their front porch for a couple of days at first.  After that, they cute the top of me off!  Then they started to scoop my innards out, but they saved the seeds.  Next they cut out a face!  Ouch!  That hurt!  Then they put a candle in me, and put me back.

     In the night, I started to see kids coming out all dressed up!  I was confused, but then I realized that today was a day called "Halloween," and kids dressed up and collected candy!

     Then a few days after Halloween, I was rotting in the trash can.  A kid bumped the can, and I fell out.  But then I saw my own seeds being planted!  Now at the end of my life, I am honored to start the next generation.

Crazy Halloween Tales

Fast finishers in October got to create a short story based on a traditional Halloween symbol.  The only rule was that something strange had to be happening with the symbol.  They could choose either a 1st person or 3rd person narrator, and had to story map their ideas first.  The students had fun brainstorming ideas: the witch who couldn't perform spells, the black cat that brought good luck, and Sulwen's (4th grade): The Jack-O-Lantern That Wouldn't be Lit!  She speaks from the view point of a mouse who lives inside the Jack-o-Lantern.  I love this story, and hope you enjoy it too!

     Last Halloween, people kept trying to light my house on fire!  These giant things took a match and tried to light my chew toy on fire.  My chew toy is a piece of string with wax on it.  Anyway, every time they lit it on fire, I ran over and blew it out, then ran away.  The big things were worried that my home was haunted.

     Finally they dumped my home and me at an old haunted house.  It looked so scary!  They threw me into a window.  How would I manage by myself?  I didn't know.  I was panicking.  I went and explored,  and then I met an old black cat.  I thought I was going to die!  I was too young to die!  

     The cat came over and told me that I had three wishes.  I wished for a kingdom of cheese with a lifelong supply of every type of cheese you could think of.  My second wish was to be the ruler of the cheese kingdom.  My third wish was that there were no cats in the world.  

     I am now in the Cheese Castle surrounded by my favorite cheese.  I am currently eating cheddar.  The cats of the world are all gone, even the magical cat that granted me my wishes.  My life is now complete!

Arushi (5th grade) is so creative.  I love the voice and expression she puts into her stories.  Don't you feel sorry for this black cat??  Enjoy!

"The Black Cat Who Gave Good Luck"

     "Go back to bed, Midnight!"  I only half heard my mother scolding me.  I am a black cat.  As you heard my annoying mother, my name is Midnight.  Halloween is coming up soon, and I can't wait for my first job.

     I had been waiting for Halloween since I was a kitten.  Well, I guess I'm still a kitten, but I was younger then.  For Halloween, my family and I were going to give everyone bad luck!  This would be the best day of my life.  Unfortunately, things didn't turn out quite as planned.

     I couldn't wait until the whole family went out, so I went out by myself.  I waited until someone started coming my way, then I leaped on the sidewalk.  "I really want a puppy," my victim was saying.  Suddenly, before she could see me, a puppy slid onto the sidewalk. 

    My eyes grew round with disbelief.  Good Luck?!  What was going on?  What would I tell my littermate, Star?  We had been planning what kinds of bad luck we were going to use!  My Halloween was ruined!

     I decided to try again.  Maybe the puppy was just a coincidence.  I waited under the shelter of a bush until I saw a trick that couldn't go wrong.  There was a little boy standing on the sidewalk.  He was staring at the new ice cream shop window.  Next to him, there was a ladder.  A worker was hanging up a sign.  The sign started to slip, and the worker, oblivious to what was happening, started to climb down.  

     I jumped in front of the boy, and the sign kept slipping.  I was relieved.  But when the sign was in midair, it just stopped and hovered there.  A worker from the ice cream shop came out and offered the little boy an ice cream.  I was outraged.  And ashamed.

     My family finally got used to my odd power.  I tried not to go out with my family, in fear of messing up their bad luck powers.  I was lonely and sad.  Even Star was ignoring me.  I was an outcast in my own home.  All day I was cooped up inside.

     That was my sad and lonely life.  I have my own kittens now, and they all give good luck.  Except for one little kitten.  I named her "Midnight."  She will never be treated like I was.  She will be my precious kitten forever.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Monster Draw Game

Adjectives, adjectives, adjectives!! They paint such important pictures in our minds. Colors, numbers, shapes, and sizes.... we can't clearly envision an object without adjectives.

My Writers' Workshop students celebrated Halloween last week with the Monster Draw Game.  Here is how you play:

1. Draw a monster and have fun with the art work.
2. Write a description that is incredibly detailed. Describe every aspect of your picture with size, shape, color, and number adjectives.
3. Exchange your descriptions with a partner.
4. Attempt to draw their monster, while they draw yours.
5. The winners' pictures will look almost identical, because the description will be so vivid and easy to follow.

When the game was over, the classes (and a few parents, too!) voted on the best matches.   I promised the winners they would be published on the blog, so here they are!

I am proud of my 3rd graders, Kelsey and Serena!  Kelsey wrote the following description and was so careful with her colors and sizes that it is no wonder these monsters are so similar!

My monster is an "OK" size and is pine green.  It is oval shaped.  It has one medium bright yellow nose.  It has one blue eye, a big red mouth, and a green tongue.  It has three blue hairs on each side, and green curvy arms and three curvy legs.

Here is how Serena drew it!

4th grader Sulwen wrote in beautiful detail.  Everything from head to toe is vividly described.  4th grader Vionna used her excellent reading skills to create the twin monster!

The monster has a triangle shaped body.  The body is green, but remember to leave a medium sized circle in the center.  The circle is the face, and is sky blue.  On the face are three eyes.  The eyes are arranged one on the top and two on the bottom, triangle shaped.  They are at the top of the circle.  There is also a round orange circle in the middle of the circle as a nose.  The nose is about the size of the eraser on your mechanical pencil.  The mouth is a half circle shape that is just a red line.  On the right side of the mouth, there is a little red tongue with a black vertical line going through it.  On the bottom of the trianglular body, there are four legs.  They are skinny and have little round balls on the bottom as feet.  The legs and feet are also sky blue.  On the top of the head are antenna.  They are right on the point of the top of the triangle.  There are two antennae; they are also skinny and have little balls at the top of the skinny lined part.  The antennae are also sky blue.  The monster is now done.  Good luck on drawing it!

And here is Vionna's!

Abby (4th grade) is appearing on the blog with this game for the third time!  She is an amazingly thorough and descriptive writer.  She also does a great job organizing her work into paragraphs, even under the time pressure in our game.  Her super reader 5th grade partner, Savannah, had no trouble making her adorable monster's twin!

My monster is shaped like a starfish.  His body is dark purple.  His bright orange mouth has a little orange tongue sticking out on your right.  Directly above his mouth he has two big eyes, outlined with black.  The monster's left pupil is small and black.  It is close to the bottom of his left eye.  His right pupil is small and black, and is close to the top of his right eye.

My monster has a big teal bow tie right below his mouth.  On your right he has a light green surfboard with the words "SURFER" on it.  "SURFER" is outlined in black pen, with peach on the inside.

Behind my monster, there are five little blue waves, then a big blue wave, then four little ones, and then a medium-sized blue wave all near the top of the paper.  Right on top of the water, on your left, is a yellow sun on the corner.  The sun has wavy sun rays in yellow.  The water behind him is bright blue.  I hope you think my monster is very adorable!

Here is Savannah's:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Postcard Stories!

After writing paragraphs about our newly created vacation destinations, it was time to travel there.  Assignment #3 had the students visit their Backwards Lands, and write a short story in the form of a postcard about their adventures there.  They first had to map out their story with a clear beginning, middle, and end.  They had to make sure that their adventures matched their original paragraphs.  Then they wrote the final copy on an extra large 8x10 postcard, complete with address and stamp! They all turned out fantastic!

Meghna (3rd grade) journeyed to Ogeid Nas (San Diego backwards).  In her paragraph, she described it as an exciting island with many fun activities year round.  So, appropriately, she wrote to her friend Laura and described all the fun she was having:

Dear Laura,

     Hi!  You should have come with me to Ogeid Nas!

     It has so many things to do, like boating, fishing, weaving, and making jewelry.  I love to swim on the shores of the beach and go boating to see the beautiful island views.  There is so much to do that I just don't know if I can do it in one week.  I will probably come again next year because this is so much fun.  It is so hot, perfect for the middle of July.  There is an ice cream shop on the beach, and every day I go and get some ice cream.  After that, I go for a swim.  Everyone on the island always gets ice cream before they go for a swim.  It just makes the water more pleasant.  My cabin has bunk beds and a computer.

     You should come with me next time I go.


     Your friend,

Haley (3rd grade) also had a fabulous vacation.  She traveled to Saxet (Texas backwards).  Since her place reminded us of a saxaphone, she made her place a very musical town where a famous teaching musician lives.  Here is her adventure!

Dear Mom and Dad,

     I'm here at musical Saxet!  Thanks for sending me here.  I just unpacked so I'm going out to lunch.  I tripped on my way here, but I'm okay.

     The first day, I learned how to play the saxaphone.  You'll never believe who taught me..... Finnigan! Finnigan is a really famous music player.  It was hard at first, but then I got the hang of it.  Then he asked me to join his concert!  I said YES!  It was an awesome concert.

     I decided to go here one to two times a year to see my BFF, Finnigan!

     Your Daughter,

Kristin (5th grade) sent herself to summer camp in Amohalko (Oklahoma backwards.)  She added the extra touch of giving herself quite a unique voice in her story.  You'll see what I mean!

Dear Mom and Dad,

     I just wanted to say thanks for sending me to this awesome camp in Amohalko for a whole week!

     The bus ride here was totally not awesome though!  The entire ride was filled with the sounds of homesick crybabies and cheesy camp songs.  UGH!  When we got to the hotel, I got a complimentary bar of soap.  Woo hoo!  We settled in nicely though, and got started on an awesome trek up the side of the valley.  We saw tons of awesome animals that we even got to pet!  Luckily, my cabin mates are pretty awesome.

     The next morning we woke up to the sound of awesome trumpets.  Then, we had an awesome breakfast and we set out!  However, our planned hike was totally ruined with rain!  Totally NOT AWESOME!  We headed back inside and had some awesome hot cocoa.  We watched the lake flood and the flying fish panic.  When the rain finally stopped, we hopped in our rain gear and splashed in puddles.  Awesome!  There were a couple complaints from the counselors saying that I say "awesome" too much, which I don't get at all.

     Overall, I'm having a totally awesome time at camp!  I'm totally coming back next year!

     Your awesome daughter,

I think these postcards turned out totally awesome-I mean, incredibly fantastic!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fantastic Paragraph Writing: Come read these travel brochures!

After mastering super sentence writing, it was time for a lesson on paragraphs.  To come up with a topic, the students were to spell a real vacation destination, city, state, country, or amusement park backwards.  After working very hard to get the correct pronunciation of our new vacation spots, we tried to figure out what clues the name gave us as to the type of place this would be.  "Saxet" became a musical town in the south (Read: Texas backward!), Napaj (with an emphasis on the first syllable) became a sleepy place, and Sasnak became not anything like Kansas, but an adventurous jungle.  Read these super paragraphs and see if you would like to come visit these unusual places!  (And while you're reading, please note how the students attempted to start every sentence differently-- some with clauses or phrases, some with "Because," some with a pronoun, and more.  Also, every paragraph has a vivid introduction and nice conclusion.)

"Saxet," by Abby (4th grade)
     Saxet is a very musical town, with great food and very hot weather!  Its beaches have foamy, white waves slapping the shores, and restaurants lining the sand.  Because of its strange shape, this tiny island off the coast of Texas is shaped like a cowboy hat.  Saxet has a country music festival once every week!  The most popular festival is Eessennet, where settlers from Tennessee come to visit and eat at the fabulous restaurants!  Anyone who likes country music and country style food should come and visit really hot Saxet!

"Napaj," by Savannah (5th grade)
     Napaj is a very unusual place because of its shape, which is why people love it.  It is shaped like a giant bed.  People there sleep for a minimum of eight hours.  During the winter, the Napajiens hibernate near a pile of food, which they are famous for.  Some of the food they eat are Napaj style noodles with bacon, eggs, and meatballs, Starbursts, and brussel sprouts.  If you like cool, fun, and sleepy adventures, get your ticket to Napaj now!

"Sasnak," by Cody (5th grade)
     Sasnak is a jungle where the Sasnakians roam.  The Sasnakians are friendly creatures, and they rule the jungle.  When a tourist comes to Sasnak, they get to have a free safari ride around the whole jungle.  Sasnak is a huge tourist attraction, and there is no person who doesn't like this place.  If you like cool weather, animals, and safaris, then this is the perfect vacation destination!

"Ocixem," by Ricardo (3rd grade)
     Ocixem is a delightful place.  It is very colorful too.  This place has flowers swaying calmly near the soft grass in the park.  It also has soft sand on the quiet beach.  People there are so happy that they never scream, and they only eat soft squishy mangos.  This place is so wonderful!

But not ALL of these places are delightful to visit!  Ryan (4th grade) took his in a different direction.... Beware!

"Ippississim," by Ryan (4th grade)
     Ippississim is a jungle of death, worse than all treacherous jungles combined!  Because the jungle is so dangerous, nobody ever goes there.  Every animal there is a human hunter.  There is also the homework giving teacher, such as the evil huffinater.  The hotel is very bad.  Meteorites shoot the hotel every night, but there's another hotel that's worse.  Whoever steps in meets their doom.  That's why Ippississim is the worst destination for you!

Call your travel agent now.... Tickets are hard to come by to these fantastic (or dangerous) places!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Super Sentence Writing

The sentence is the backbone to wonderful stories, essays, reports... you name it!   Lesson #1 started with  a boring base sentence, "The sun shines."   We started our lesson with placing adjectives and adverbs in our sentence, which added a lot of necessary description.  After a lesson on adjectival and adverbial clauses and phrases, as well as experimenting with starting sentences with "Because" (Yes, you can, if you follow the rules!), we created fabulous sentences that painted beautiful summer scenes.  For fun, we added an element of art, writing our sentence on a sun with a lovely blue sky background.  Here are just a few fabulous examples!

Annika (4th grade) wrote a beautiful sentence with many vivid descriptive words.  I love how her adverb ends the sentence.  Her classmates helped her fine tune it until she decided on her best option.  We did a lot of peer helping this day, giving advice on what we thought sounded best as each student read their ideas. 

In the prickly field, the laughing children plant vegetables while the wonderful, amazing sun shines brightly.

Here is Arushi's (5th grade).  I love the picture that this sentence creates in my mind.  (And Arushi's nice artwork definitely goes along with it very well!)
"On a breezy summer day, the hot vibrant sun shines brightly on all of the dogs splashing in the bright blue swimming pool."

As I mentioned, I taught the students how to start with "Because "and still avoid sentence fragments.  Many of them like doing it so much, that I am now seeing this very mature style of writing in their other assignments.  Here are two beautiful examples of what the students learned.  Here is George's (4th grade) fabulous sentence:

"Because it is hot and big, the bright yellow sun shines warmly in the middle of September in the nice blue sky."

Here is Jacqueline's (3rd grade).  Again, she starts with "Because" beautifully, and has some super art work to match!

"Because the angry animals are cold, the jolly red sun shines brightly so the animals can lie in the sun."

Next we move on to..... PARAGRAPHS!

Welcome Back!

The blog site has been quiet for a few months.... but the kids are back in school and it is time to show off more of their great work!  I have 45 students (3rd through 6th grade) at various locations this term, and they are all doing an outstanding job.  Please enjoy some samples of the work we are creating in Mrs. Huff's Stuff: Writers' Workshop!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Different Perspective: Fairy Tales!

Our last assignment was to write a fairy tale as a 1st person narrator, representing the "other side" not necessarily represented in the original version!  We had a great time brainstorming main characters, and then the students got quickly and quietly to work story mapping their tale.  When their map got approved, they were set to write the fairy tale, their way.  They had to make sure to maintain a voice that their character would use, including fragments, slang, and sentence length and style to create a believable voice. We also had to decide if the reader would like our character at the end of the tale!

Here is Deven's (entering 6th grade).  I've never quite thought of the Three Little Pigs this way!  Deven wanted the wolf to appear like the kind of character who has just been misunderstood all this time, and who regrets his innocent mistakes.  Did he convince you?  Enjoy this entertaining read!

    Snorty, Goggy, Brainy, and the BIG BAD WOLF

          “Open the door and let me in!” cried the wolf.
          “Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!” said the little pig.
“Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!” roared the wolf.  And he did.  He blew the little straw house into pieces!
UGHH! I can’t bear to recite the story. All these years you naughty children have been brainwashed with the phrase “The Big Bad Wolf” and have been believing every single word of the untruthful story. Well anyway, now that I am telling the story, I’m going to set things straight! Let’s get started.
One beautiful Thanksgiving morning, I leisurely sat up in my bed, stretched, and looked out the window. “What a wonderful day to take a stroll in the woods.” I thought. But first I needed to fill my tummy.
While drinking my coffee, I was thumbing through the newspaper when my eye caught attention to three ads on the bottom first page. Each asked for a house sitter. One house for the morning, one for the afternoon and one for the evening. “Who would want to housesit someone’s home?” I thought. On the bottom of each ad it said FOOD SERVED. After calling each home, I was out in a flash.
Approaching the first home, I saw it was a small one story place. A note tacked to the door said:
“Taking bath in hot tub. I will be leaving soon. Please keep the home clean. Help yourself to food.”                         - Snorty
          “Snorty?” I thought, “What kind of name is that?” I open the door and “Whoa!” I shouted. The house looked like a dump! Chairs were turned over, clothes were all over the floor, and there wasn’t even one square inch for standing! Cautiously, I walked around and reorganized the whole home. Phew! It looked much better afterwards. There was just one room that I didn’t check the state of: the bathroom.
            The first thing I saw was pork soup. Yup. And it looked so…. MOUTHWATERING! I mean, like, soup cooking in the bathroom! You could eat in the shower! Not wasting a second, I quickly drank the soup, which tasted very much like soap water, gobbled down the pork, and smacked my lips. “Delicious!” I thought to myself. I thought I heard a pig shriek, but maybe I got too overwhelmed with the pork.
            After washing up the bathroom, I went off to find “Snorty” He didn’t seem to be home, so I took his wallet and headed off to the second house. What? All he had was  ten dollars and a coupon for chin shaving.
            The second home was a little bigger, a two-story home, but no note was attached to the door. I guessed I had to do the same thing and walked in. One step in and I felt totally relieved. Okay, it wasn’t spik and span, but much neater. My guess was that the man was very obese. All the sofas and couches were rumpled and it looked like a cow had just jumped on it like it was a trampoline. Seriously. Anyway, I started to smoothen out the furniture and vacuum the floor (lots of cookie crumbs) when my eye caught something round and pink on the table. “Is that a pig?” I questioned myself as I continued to work. After a few seconds, I couldn’t resist not eating it. Dashing toward the table, I gobbled the pig whole and washed it down with apple juice. “This owner sure does set out good food for me!” I thought to myself. “What a delicious Thanksgiving lunch!” I said, my tummy satisfied. “Wonder what I’ll get for dinner?” I wondered as I headed toward the final house, not knowing what awaited me.
            When I saw this guy’s home, I’m sorry, MANSION, I was in total awe. Seriously! The home had a HUGE front yard with a fountain in the center, and three sports cars in the driveway. I had better be a careful house sitter or I’d be punished badly. As soon as I walked down the steps, the vast door automatically opened. “Impressive!” I said as I walked in. Suddenly, a robot walked up to me and handed me a list of chores. Not wasting any time, I got started. Vacuuming all three floors, cleaning the shutters, smoothening the furniture, and mopping the kitchen floor. “Done?” someone asked behind me.
            “Ahhh! Who’s there?” I shouted as I whipped around. A muscular man in overalls was facing me with a grin on his face.
            “I think you deserve some relaxation Mr. Wolf,” he stated, “Let’s go to the sauna,” I was in total LUCK! Sitting in a sauna in somebody’s MANSION!
            “Sure!” I said following him to his…….kitchen? I thought it was a kitchen.
     “Get in!” he said with a grin all over his face. I slowly stepped inside and the man closed and locked the door. At least I thought it was a door. “Now for my sweet revenge!” the man shouted, starting to turn a dial outside the sauna.
“Wha… Wha.. What sweet revenge?” I asked the man in a scared voice.
            “Why, for killing my brothers!” he shouted, red in the face.
          “You’re a pig?” I questioned him, confused.
          “Of course!” he said taking off his overalls. “I’m in disguise!” He started to turn the dial more and more until he couldn’t anymore. Realizing I was in an oven, I started to panic. I thought I would faint from heat….
My eyes fluttered open, and I found myself in a dark hollow…..tummy. Remembering the last seconds of my life, I started to feel regretful for my bad actions and deeds. I should have been more careful with my life and controlled my reaction to pork. “Oohhhh! Yummy pork!” I said taking a big chunk out of the tummy. “EWWWW. Raw pork!” I squirmed.                                                                        
OKAAAY. I’ve got A LOT to work on.
Here is Melissa's (entering 6th grade).  I love her humor and how she makes us see Grumpy in a whole new light.   I also love her use of strong verbs as well as her fabulous vocabulary.  Enjoy!

Grumpy and the Six Dwarves

I'm Grumpy, the most disagreeable dwarf around.  Many a dwarf have asked how I could live being so grouchy all the time, but I have learned over the years that grumpiness leads to being alone. And that is exactly what I want.

At first I considered living by myself, but believe me, solitary hermit dwarves do not survive very well on their own.

So, I was stuck with six other jolly, sneezing, sleepy dwarfs. Well, at least THAT's better that being stalked by dwarf-eating predators. In our safe, protected environment, life was pretty boring. The interesting things were yet to come...

Dopey seems to be the only dwarf who truly understands me. He's mute. As a result, we invented sign language- yes, it was us- and we signal each other.

"Strange smell in woods," he motioned while we were eating dinner.

"Strong perfume," I muttered under my breath.

"What about strong perfume?" asked Doc, the head of our gang, and truth to be told, a pretty bossy leader.  "Whatever. Go investigate yourself."  When we stayed frozen in our places, he demanded, "Go!!!"

See what I mean?  He really abuses his power.

So we trudged off into the forest, and after a couple of hours we heard something strange. Humming? Whistling, or chanting? No- Chanting.

The perfume scent then smelled more pungent than sweet, and was almost overwhelming as a strange, witch-like woman began her eerie chant:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all???" The mirror then replied that some girl named Snow White was the fairest. Then apparently mistaking ME for Snow White, the Queen then lunged forward and grabbed me by the neck!

"Ouch!" I cried. "That hurt!" Dopey watched reproachfully as I was dragged toward an open clearing.

“Aha! I caught you! You evil, evil, prettier-than-me person. I’ll have to kill you –.“  She glanced down at me – for the first time -, clearly taken aback. “Wait, you’re not Snow White at all!” she screamed furiously. “In fact, you’re very ugly. Super ugly! So super ugly that you’ll just have to get out of my sight!”

I gladly obeyed, and scampered off back to Dopey. But he wasn’t there – he must have ditched me. Perhaps he wasn’t so understanding after all. And then I was lost, because I depended on him for navigating. It didn’t help matters when the queen called out, “Your ugliness is making me more ugly! into the woods.

We dwarves have excellent senses, so I decided to use that to help me. Using my sharp eyesight, I determined that there was smoke about half a mile away. It was worth a shot.

After about five minutes of walking, I was there. I knocked on the door. It swung open, almost hitting me in the face.

“Hi, I’m Grumpy,” I said gruffly.

“I’m Snow White,” she said.

“Well, you should probably get out of here. The evil queen is trying to kill you so she can be the fairest in the land. You can come to our place. All you’ll have to do is the housework.” Our place was really messy.

Together, we somehow found our way back home. Everything looked normal, but I saw something strange behind the bushes. I didn’t have time to think about it though.

“All right, dwarves. Time to go wood chopping!” Normally this was the time when I would slink back into the house and skip the activity, but this time I thought, “What if Snow White asks me to help with the cleaning?” Even worse than shouting ‘Heave, ho, heave ho,’ with a bunch of dwarves.” So, I went.

When we came back – gasp – Snow White was on the floor, unconscious! And with angry shock, I realized that THE QUEEN was the one behind the bushes! She must have poisoned Snow White. And sure enough, there was a half-eaten apple on the ground.

After plenty of shaking and squeezing and even an attempt at CPR, Snow White finally blinked, twitched, and woke up.

“We’ve got to get back at that queen!” Doc said.

“Yeah,” said Sneezy, another dwarf. “ACHOO! If Snow White had died, who would do the housekeeping?”

Snow White didn’t look terribly pleased to be thought of in that way. Dwarves can be so shallow.

Doc came up with a plan: to dig a huge hole and force the evil queen to run into it. “That way it will be like an underground prison,” he said.

For a good five hours we dug, perspired, and persevered. We plopped a small folding bed, a table and chair, and an oil lamp into the gloomy pit for a final touch. Showtime.

We followed the queen’s high-heeled footsteps to her house, and crept quietly up to her doorway. We knocked.

“Hello?” the queen said in a high, shrill voice. “Oh it’s you, ugly dwarves??”  She screamed as we sprinted towards her in pursuit. The evil queen dashed off and we followed, forming a circle around her with a tiny opening, forcing her to run towards the pit.

Then she screamed again – not for the last time – when she fell down, down, down…

“I hope you remembered to bring your makeup!” I shouted. Happy endings are always the best.

Around the World Stories

"Around the World" stories have three purposes:
1. Learn to think and write quickly
2. Write a story with a complete beginning, middle, and end
3. Work as a team!

My students strategized on who should be in charge of the beginning, middle, and end as we passed our papers around the room with three to five minutes to write for each turn.

How did we get our story topics?  All students were asked to write three separate ideas on a piece of paper:
A main character
A setting (where and when)
A plot/story line/problem

Without knowing what they were going to do with these, the students wrote ideas that they thought would make a great story.  How surprised they were when I took their ideas, shuffled them in piles, and assigned them each their own crazy story to begin!

No one's story turned out the way they thought it would!

My favorite is the one posted here:

Main character: Joe
Setting: Halloween Party at a Middle School
Plot/story line/problem: Broke his wing

The children erupted in laughter as I read that last part.  Deven (entering 6th grade) started it:

     "Mom!  Do I have to wear a Chicken Little costume for the Halloween party?!  It's going to be so embarrassing!"  Joe could not stand his weird costume that he was going to wear to school.  His mom made it herself, so it would hurt her to take it off or complain about it too much.

Ryan (entering 5th grade): While he was at the party, he was running around and he saw his friend wearing a Batman costume.  Then he started feeling a little weird.  Five minutes later, he had glasses and wings!  He looked almost like Chicken Little in a Chicken Little costume.

Dara (entering 5th grade): When Joe was at the party, he saw soooo many more Chicken Little costumes.  Even the popular boys wore them!  Except they were advertising for the chicken meat at the party.

Charley (entering 5th grade): Joe needed to use the restroom, so he got up and walked toward the men's room.  Then, as he walked through the door, "RIIPPP!" The wing broke!

Kaitlin (entering 6th grade): "Oh no!  What do I do, what do I do?  Now I'm a chicken with one wing!"  Everyone laughed at him now.

Amy (entering 6th grade): Then he thought, "I have a fairy costume at home!  I can wear that!"  Joe rushed home, put on the fairy princess costume, and rushed back to the Halloween party.

Nicole (entering 5th grade): When he got there, everyone was laughing at him and they said, "You're a fairy?  HA HA HA HA!"  

So Joe said, "I don't care, what if you were a Fairy Princess, what would you do?"

Melissa (entering 6th grade): "I would laugh at myself!" one boy said.

So Joe laughed.  Giggled, smiled, and shouted.  "I mean, who cares?" he scoffed.  "It's just a weird Halloween costume."

Definitely, he thought, if you don't let small things bother you, no one really cares at all.

I love how Amy completely changed the costume, leaving it up to the ones in charge of the "end" to really think and get creative!   I also really like Melissa's character building lesson at the end.

What a fun teamwork assignment!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Riddle Poems!

Our lesson on poetry included time spent on Rhyme Scheme.  Riddle poems are a fun way for students to warm up to poetry with a simple AABB rhyme scheme, four line poem.  They are creative and entertaining!  Here are some great ones:

Her fur is silky and long
Her purr is like a perfect song
She meows and she is young
She cleans herself with her tongue.

Who is she?
(Answer: My kitten)
By Roya (entering 4th grade)

Everyone hates little green me
I look like a mini tree.
I am a cooked vegetable
Everyone looks past me on the kitchen table.

Who am I?
(Answer: Broccoli)
By Amy (entering 6th grade)

I am a monster big and blue
Cookies run when I stroll through
I devour them one by one
When I eat, I have a lot of fun.

Who am I?
(Answer: Cookie Monster)
By Amy (entering 6th grade)

Poetry Time!

I love teaching poetry.  My goal is always to make my students like poetry more after the lesson than they did before they came in the door.  I teach five poetic tools that make poetry sound great:

1. end line rhyme: rhyme at the end of a line
2. internal line rhyme: rhyme in the middle of a line
3. repetition: the same word or phrases repeated
4. alliteration: words that start with the same sound that appear close together in a line of poetry
5. onomatopoeia: words that sound like their meaning

The students were to write a poem that included at least two of these tools.  I read some beautiful poems, but Kaitlin's (entering 5th grade) absolutely amazed me with its length, use of tools, and depth of thought.  Enjoy!

Quiet Leaves

The leaves are rustling
In the breeze
The sound so quiet
Among the trees.
But wait!
A sound that's barely audible
A sound so tiny, so very small
Like an echo in a waterfall.
A shake, a snap, a whisk of wind
Wakes me from my daydream
It's so peaceful and so still
I fall asleep against my will.

Once again I'm awakened
From my quiety dream
But this time instead of wind, surprise surprise!
A pattering of furry feet makes everything seem
That it wasn't all just a dream.

But now as I sit atop a hill
I start to wonder why
Why this, why that, why everything
Why's it easy as slicing pie
To rhyme what I have been through
Just sitting in the forest on a quiet summer day.
What I've seen, and heard, and even felt
The chirping of a bird, the woodsy green,
The feelings I have felt.

And I begin to ask myself, I say
Did being in that patch of grass, with trees surrounding me,
Did being out there help me learn in any kind of way?
Yes, it did, it helped me yearn for serenity and days of quiet peace.

Now I wonder,
Which is better, calm or loud?
Calm is always right to me,
Especially for poetry-
And listening to leaves.

Here is Dara's (entering 5th grade).  I love her onomatopoeia and rhyme!

Crunch crunch go the leaves
Under my little feet.
Piles and piles and piles of leaves
What a fun little treat.

Red, orange, yellow leaves
Glistening in the morning sun,
Mmmmmm... what is that I smell?
It's mom's fresh baked buns!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Persuasive Writing: Selling Our Own Inventions!

One of my favorite lessons so far was the one on Persuasive Writing.  The students were to create their own invention and really try to sell it to us!  Here is the outline we followed:

Paragraph 1: Talk about a problem that everyone experiences.
Paragraph 2: Introduce your product.
Paragraph 3: Describe your product in detail, including how it works and how it would solve the problem.
(Older students were asked to expand this part-- discussing purchasing options, appearance, price, and any other tricks the invention can do.  I was proud that my younger students pushed themselves to include some  of this information, too!)
Last Paragraph: A great conclusion.  Sum it up!

What was fun about this was that I taught the students how to write in a casual tone that broke some grammar rules.  I even encouraged fragments (gasp!) to make a point and to sound like the writer really understood the reader's needs.  It was all about conveying the right tone.  It was fun seeing what the students came up with!

Here is Melissa's (entering 6th grade).  I love the creativity she displays.  She and I brainstormed the idea together, but the direction she took it was quite different than how I perceived it at first.  I love this!

(Melissa made Paragraph 1 into three paragraphs-- it works well this way and spreads out the problems.)

The Grow Or Shrinker

     Everybody tells you that your height is completely out of your control.  Say you're 4'3" tall, and you're in fifth grade.  And of course you want to play basketball.  Hopeless.  You'll be stuck on the bench, for something that's not even your fault...

     Being tall isn't so perfect either.  Ducking your head through every doorway can't be fun.  At worst, getting a big bruise on your forehead as a result of not ducking.

     As you can see, height is a huge issue for many people like yourself, struggling to overcome height limitation.  But need it be that way anymore??

     The Grow Or Shrinker is literally as simple as a gum ball machine.  In fact, it IS a gum ball machine-- with a few essential changes.  Use this great device to change your height!

     Simply type your height into the Grow Or Shrinker's user-friendly keypad.  Out pops a gum ball.  After you chew it, then.... POOF!  You are a completely different size!

     Using special technology, the Grow Or Shrinker reads your typed information and calculates the perfect recipe of exotic ingredients, specifically designed to alter your size quickly.  Chew, chew, chew..... Voila!  The new you!  It never wears off, unless you want it to.

     When you're done enjoying your spectacular new height and want to return to your original size, just type in your information like usual.  And sooner than soon, the Grow Or Shrinker will change your life again.  You're back to normal.  Munching on the last morsels of your tasty gum ball, you'll be wondering how you ever survived without this brilliant invention.

     And the best part?  The price!  Only ten dollars for the awesome, life-changing Grow Or Shrinker.  It even comes in different patterns, including but not limited to zebra, bright stripe, and leopard.  Refill gum ball ingredient bags can be purchased for only five dollars each.

     Simple.  Stunning.  And a great deal.  The Grow Or Shrinker is something no one with height issues can live without.  And the Grow Or Shrinker motto?  Any size, any time!

Here is Matthew's (entering 3rd grade).  His description of his product is fantastic!  I think he was hungry when he invented it!!  See if you laugh as hard as I did when you read his conclusion.....

The Food Stealer

     You look across the table and you see your friend eating some delicious cookies.  Your mom packed you a disgusting sandwich.  You really want those cookies, but you can't take them.  What to do?

     Simply get the Food Stealer!  This will be your favorite device that steals all the food you want!

     The Food Stealer is a small metal device that is nearly invisible.  It has a small metal piece inside its metal body.  It has a small button that you press to activate and after that, you speak into it.  It steals food you want it to!

     The Food Stealer comes only in silver.  It costs only ten dollars, and is as big as a baseball.

     Small, nearly invisible, and cheap.  It's the perfect device for any poor, hungry person!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Perfect Paragraph Writing!

Once we mastered writing super sentences, we moved on to perfect paragraphs.  We talked about ways to vary our sentence patterns to make our writing sound more exciting.  We also discussed tactics to stay on topic.  But now... how to pick a topic?

The assignment was to spell a city, state, country, or any vacation destination backwards.  When the students got a good feel for what their imaginary place was like, they were to write a paragraph about this place and what made it unique.  The older students were asked to write more than one paragraph describing different aspects of their place, or, to create a travel brochure on their unique vacation destinations.  Here are some of the most creative ones!

"Otnemarcas," by Joshua (entering 3rd grade)  Joshua got very creative!

     Otnemarcas is a very cold place.  The citizens have a problem with the snow monsters.  They steal all the snow gold!  Otnemarcians chase them to stop them, and they don't always succeed.  So if you like chilly weather and snow monsters, you've got to visit this place!

"Acitcratna," by Ryan (entering 5th grade)  I really like how Ryan varies his sentence patterns.  We had just discussed how to start a sentence with "Because," and Ryan did so beautifully.  His winter wonderland sounds like a beautifully fun place to visit!

     Acitcratna is an awesome place or people who love the snow.  It snows once a week over the mountainous land.  Because it snows so often, it is a great place to participate in winter sports.  Tourists can visit a theme park called "Snow Land," which includes many snowy attractions.  There is a snowball tournament there that normally lasts for three weeks!  Anyone who loves snow, wintery games, and a very cold climate should try to visit Acitcratna.

"Ippississim," by Charley (entering 6th grade)  First of all, this takes first prize for the most fun name to say and spell!  Secondly, Charley did an amazing job with varying her sentence patterns and using a lot of creativity to tell about her place.  Notice how everything is backwards, with some truth to it!

     From the falling, white snow to its great capital, Noskcaj, Ippississim is one of the most fun places to live.  Ippississim is a cold state in Northen ASU.  Because of all the snow, Ippississimians spend most of their time skiing and snowboarding down the snowcapped mountains.  Besides the large, steep mountains, the unique state is also the home of the great Ippississim River.  The river stretches right down the length of the state.  When all the ice melts, tourists often kayak and canoe down the long river. The sports, cold weather, and attractions lure many tourists from all over the world to visit the wonderful state of Ippississim!

"Ekal Eohat, the Entertainment Land," by Kevin (entering 3rd grade).  We branched off from a snow theme with this one.  Now this is my kind of place!!

     Ekal Eohat is a very warm fun place.  They have amusement parks everywhere because it is always summer.  All of them are open twenty-gour hours a day, seven days a week, and year-round.  The most popular attractions in the parks are the video game centrals.  The only food they sell in the amusement parks are pizza and soda.  Also, all of the amusement parks' admission, food, rides, games, and toys are free!  All travelers should try to visit this amazing land of entertainment!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Super Sentence Writing

The sentence is the backbone to wonderful stories, essays, reports... you name it!   Lesson #1 started with  a boring base sentence, "The sun shines."   We started our lesson with placing adjectives and adverbs in our sentence, which added a lot of necessary description.  After a lesson on adjectival and adverbial clauses and phrases, as well as experimenting with starting sentences with "Because" (Yes, you can, if you follow the rules!), we created fabulous sentences that painted beautiful summer scenes.  For fun, we added an element of art, writing our sentence on a sun with a lovely blue sky background.  Here are just a few fabulous examples!

Crystal (4th grade next year), experimented with a "because" phrase at the beginning but decided she liked it better after the "when" phrase instead.  We did a lot of peer helping this day, giving advice on what we thought sounded best as each student read their ideas.

At noon, because it's really hot, the fiery, beautiful sun shines very nicely on a cute family of mallard ducks in a pond.

Here is Laura's (entering 3rd grade).  I love her beautiful descriptive words, as well as her detailed artwork!  (I especially loved how the entire group helped her glue on her numerous sun rays!!)

On July 11th, the yellow round sun shines on the kittens playing with a red ball in the yard.

Here is Nicole's (entering 5th grade).  During our lesson, we talked about how adverbs can modify other adverbs, and Nicole did so beautifully here.

On July 11th, during the volleyball game, the sun shines very boldly on the glittering sand.

Here is Deven's (entering 6th grade).  He used every tool he possibly could, with a beautiful "Because" beginning and great adverbial and adjectival phrases.

Because the beautiful summer season has arrived, the bright sparkling sun shines brilliantly through my sunroof, brightening my family room.