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!

Monday, November 26, 2018

"I Am" Poems

The "Awesome" classes learned three important poetic concepts:
~The definition of a stanza
~The concept of theme
~Why repetition is a useful tool in poetry

We did this by writing "I am" poems.  It should be easy to find the template we followed as we explored the wonderful qualities that make each one of us unique!

"I am" by Tyler (4th grade)

I am a sporty boy who plays baseball.
I wonder if I will ever be a major league baseball player.
I hear a thousand cheers in the stands.
I see a splash hit swimming away.
I want to be really fast.
I am a sporty boy who plays baseball.

I pretend I am swinging a wooden bat.
I feel like I'm hitting a ball into the stands.
I touch the magical dirt on the field.
I worry that I might not make the majors.
I cry when our game gets protested and we can't go to TOC's.
I am a sporty boy who plays baseball.

I understand I can't play baseball every day.
I say, It's not over till it's over.
I dream of getting drafted by the Pirates.
I try to never strike out looking.  
I hope to play baseball all my life.
I am a sporty boy who plays baseball.

"I am" by Saviana (5th grade)

I am intelligent girl who enjoys math.
I wonder why my teacher doesn't give us more homework.
I hear the scratching of 100 pencils during the SAT's.
I see the numbers on the page joining into answers.
I want an automatic calculator that knows exactly what I'm thinking.
I am an intelligent girl who enjoys math.

I pretend I am creating a new math curriculum that everyone uses.
I feel the rough, lined parchment paper.
I touch the numbers as they speed through my brain.
I worry as I imagine a big fat Zero on my paper.
I cry when I figure out I don't get an A+ due to one problem.
I am an intelligent girl who enjoys math.

I understand that I can't always be perfect.
I say, Never give up!
I dream about my personal office I'll have one day.
I try to be perfect on every paper.
I hope I never get an "F" again.
I am an intelligent girl who enjoys math.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Thanksgiving Poems

     After wonderful discussions on all that we are thankful for, both the "Budding" and "Awesome" classes were guided through focusing on the five senses and writing a poem that showed all of the important things they are thankful for.  Enjoy these samples!

Thank you 
for all my hands can hold--
sweet candy,
teddy bear stuffy,
my kittens,
my little brother,
and sparkly pens.

Thank you
for all my eyes can see--
my hands,
my hair,
my school,
and my toys.

Thank you 
for all my ears can hear--
funny jokes,
wind moving,
kids playing,
and my iPad.

by Katherine (1st grade)

Thank you
for all my hands can hold--
pandas soft,
blankets warm,
delicate flowers,
soft covered books,
and my family's heart.

Thank you
for all my eyes can see--
unique family,
a clean environment,
glorious bible,
gigantic waves crashing to the shore,
and inspiring teachers.

Thank you
for all my ears can hear--
my family's great laughter,
an enthusiastic "I love you!"
unique birds singing in the dead of night,
the laughter of my friends,
and my sister singing nice and softly.

by Carissa (2nd grade)

Thank you 
for all my hands can hold--
in my bed
with stories told
parent hugs
all warm and tight
drawing and sketching
in the light.

Thank you 
for all my eyes can see--
leafy beds
dancing in the breeze
cotton candy
floating in the sky
pretty flower beds
birds that fly.

Thank you
for all my ears can hear--
rustling trees
sounds in my ear
water trickling
my mother calling me
sparrows singing
chatter of my family.

by Jennifer, 5th grade

Claire (4th grade) went the extra mile and focused on ALL FIVE SENSES in this beautiful poem!

Thank you 
For all my hands can hold-
Ice cubes cold,
My mother's hand
So warm and nice
The falling leaves
A blanket to mice.

Thank you
For all my eyes can see-
Exquisite bluebells
Wind and sea,
My father's face
So kind and old
The stories which
My grandma told.

Thank you 
For all my ears can hear-
Blowing breezes
At the end of the year
My grandpa's voice
So loud and sweet
Swirling footsteps
As my family meets.

Thank you 
For all my nose can smell-
Baking cookies
That taste so swell
The morning dew
So fresh and clear
My nanny's mushrooms
When they're near.

Thank you
For all my tongue can taste-
Delicious muffins
Baked in haste
Steaming white rice
My favorite kind
Rows of sushi
Neatly lined.

Noun Poems!

     This fun assignment taught the "Budding Authors and Artists" all about Nouns!  They learned common and proper, and that nouns name a person, a place, or a thing.  The students did not know what they were creating as I asked them to list various types of nouns.  Then they were asked to fill in the blanks, and they learned that had made a creative, humorous poem in the process!  I chose Kate's (1st grade) as our sample for this assignment, because I loved how "candy" and "school" were so important, plus, she colored her border so beautifully!

Costume Description Game

     The "Budding" class got to play "The Costume Draw Game!"  Here is how you play:

Step 1: Draw yourself in your Halloween costume.
Step 2: Write a detailed description using size, shape, and color adjectives.
Step 3: The teacher hangs all the pictures on the wall, and reads the descriptions out loud.  If the class guesses your picture on the first try, it means you wrote a PERFECTLY detailed description!

     Natalie (3rd grade) wrote a very detailed description of her beautiful picture.  Enjoy!

     My costume has a bright yellow triangular horn.  It also has two wings that are big and golden.  I'm also wearing one big rainbow dress, and a rainbow mane and flat shoes.  My favorite part of my costume is my beautiful rainbow tail!  My background has one bright moon, three houses, my basket, and one pumpkin that is round.  My costume is cute and beautiful!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Monster Draw Game

ADJECTIVES, ADJECTIVES, ADJECTIVES!  We need them to paint the clearest picture in our readers' minds-- we want our reader to see exactly what we see when we write.  This on-demand writing game is perfect to practice that.

Here's how you play:
1. Draw a monster (this game was fun to play the week before Halloween!)
2. Write a description of your monster (use paragraphs to guide your reader!) that is so clear and vivid, that your partner can draw your monster just by reading your description.
3. Trade descriptions, and try to draw each other's monsters.

Tell Size, Shape, Color, and Number in every sentence, and you just might be surprised at the twin your partner draws!

Congratulations to our class-voted winners!  Here they are:

Kathleen's Monster (6th grade)
     My monster's head is a big heart.  It is bubble gum pink color.  My monster has two oval eyes at the upper middle part of the head.  The eyes look to your downward right, and are an aqua green color.  The nose is a small spiral at the center of the head.  It is outlined by a yellow green color.  The mouth is a red rectangle at the bottom of the head.  There are five triangular teeth on the top, and none on the bottom.  The teeth are plain white.  My monster also has two big horns that point outwards.  There are six sections of the horn, evenly spread out, that alternate orange and black, starting with orange at the bottom, and ending with black at the tip of the horn.

     The body is just a big blue circle, starting at the lower half of the heart head.  The two arms point straight outward at the upper middle of the body, and are three medium sized balls.  They alternate green and aqua, starting with green at the ball closest to the body, and ending with green furthest from the body.  The two legs are the exact same number, size, shape, and color as the arms.  The legs point slightly outwards and are about three inches apart from each other.

      The background is simple.  There is wavy grass at the bottom of the page, and the tips of the grass waves point slightly to your right.  The sky is a pale blue color that covers the rest of the page.

 Kathleen wrote so clearly that Sophia (5th grade) was able to draw this twin!  The girls had fun going back and reading how the pupils were described, as that is pretty much the only thing off with these two.  These two monsters are really twins!

Sabrina's Monster (4th grade)
     My monster is medium large and has a light pink outline.  The top is curved and the sides are straight and the bottom is zig zags.  The eyes of my monster are two medium black circles.  Now color in the bottom parts of the eyes black.  Draw a violet purple mouth shaped like a circle.  On the bottom of the monster, use silver and put it in the zig zag shape of the monster.  For the ground, make a straight line in silver, but don't put it on the very bottom of the paper.  On the left side of the monster's head, draw a small aqua green bow.

     On the left side of the paper in the corner of the monster, draw a gray cloud, and then do the same on the other side.   Below the two clouds, draw one golden yellow lightning, one on each side.  On the right of the monster and the right of the lightning, draw three violet purple, two pink, and two aqua green balloons.  At the end of the strings of the balloons, draw a medium-sized black blow.  Finally, on top of the silver ground, draw two green bushes and little small red dots.

     That is my monster!

 Sabrina did a great job with size, shape, color and number adjectives!  Here is what her partner Julie (4th grade) drew!

Michelle's Monster (5th grade)
     My monster's head and body are together.  Let me start with the upper part!  My monster's whole body is basically a ghost with jellyfish stinging strings.  The body of my monster is cotton candy pink.  For the bottom swirly part of the ghost, there are four upside down "hills" to be a ghost.  Make the hills different shapes and sizes.  The body is around 5 1/2 inches, and the stinging strings are 3 inches!  Its stinging strings are yellow, purple, blue, and lavender.  There is a yellow glow around the whole body (but not the stinging strings)  Let the yellow blend in!  The body will also be in the middle of the page.  There is a white dot to the right in the eye.  The mouth is basically just a purple, simple dot, not so far below the purple eyes.

     The background is very specific.  The ground is 1/3 of the paper.  The ground is just plain green.  The sky is light black, with nothing in it but a whole yellow moon with a purple crescent moon inside it.  The moon is on the right side of the night sky.

     I hope my paragraph is specific enough!

Michelle actually ended up getting her 4th grade sister, Natalie, as her partner!  Look how well these two work together!


An Interview with a Pumpkin

The "Awesome" classes had a lesson in personification (giving non-human things human traits) as they brainstormed ideas on what it would be like to interview a pumpkin.  We started off studying the life cycle of a pumpkin plant, from seed, to vine leaves and vines, to tendrils, to flowers, to pumpkins!  How would our pumpkins describe the end of their lives?  Each interviewer got to decide!    They also had to make sure to include some of the scientific information they learned about pumpkin growing, as they personified their pumpkins and gave them their own unique voice and mood.

Enjoy these interviews!

An Interview with Mrs. Jack-o-Lantern
By Theo (3rd grade)

Theo: Hello Mr. Jack-o-Lantern, I hope you've had a wonderful  life.  I would like to know all about it.  Will you please tell me?

Mr. Jack-o-Lantern: Well, first of all, when I was a baby, life started off fine.  But later on, when I grew up, stuff started to get bad.

T: Can you please tell me?  I really like your face.

MJ: Well, first it was dark and cozy, and I liked my life as a seed.  But then all of a sudden, I popped out of the ground, and light poured in.  It was bright for me.  Then I saw my other brothers and sisters popping out of the ground like corks!  We all had these seed leaves.

T: Did you ever experience any annoying problems with your brothers and sisters?

MJ: Yes.  When I was trying to sleep, sometimes they started to creep their long green things at me.  It was not fun at all!

T: How did you know you were destined to be a pumpkin? 

MJ: It was because at one point when I was..... I think a teenager, I had this green ball shaped like a pom pom.  It was beautiful!

T: Did any animals help you grow up to be a pumpkin?

MJ: Yes.  The bees.  The bees made my umbrella disappear and helped me grow bigger.  I also started to turn orange.

T: Now can you tell me about your life as an older version?

MJ: Well, first we had to get cut off from that green hair.  I was happy I had those off.  But then they suddenly picked me up and put me into this big moving thing.

T: It's actually called a truck.

MJ: Thanks.  Well, as I was saying, after that I just heart a lot of rumbling and ticking.

T: I think I know what happened after that.

MJ:  Yes.  They started to carve shapes into me.  It hurt!!  But after, when I looked in the mirror, I saw that I was handsome!

T: Yes, I can see that all right.

MJ: Thanks.  But I was happier when they put me on display.  I was excited!

T: Thanks for answering my questions.  I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving!

An Interview with Miss Pumpkin, by Penelope (4th grade)

Penelope: Thank you so much for coming, Miss Pumpkin!

Miss Pumpkin: Well, I had a very interesting life, so I'm glad to come and tell you about it.  Now, I'm a beautifully carved pumpkin, and I'm feeling nice!

P: So, what was your first experience in life?

MP: I remember I was in this case, and it was extremely dark.

P: Oh dear!  What happened next?

MP: I started growing more, and I got squished a lot!  All my brothers and sisters were getting squished too!  It was horrible.

P: Oh man!  I hope you didn't get hurt, Miss Pumpkin.  What happened after that?

MP: I grew this nice little hair do that I really liked!  But somebody almost stepped on my hair.  Also, there was barely any water!

P: Oh no!  Did anything good ever happen?

MP: Oh yes!  I sang pumpkin songs and got plenty of sunlight and rain.  After that, I felt so good, it warmed my heart!

P: That sounds nice!  What happened next?

MP: I grew a bigger hair do, and my hair stuck out at odd angles.  A lot of people were touching me. Luckily, I got payback, and they got spiked by my hair!  Then I grew a huge golden hair do, and a lot of bees came and landed on my hair!

P: Wow!  What were the last things that happened?

MP: I grew into a bulging pumpkin, and pretty soon, I was picked and carved.  It hurt soooo much to be carved, but in the end, I looked beautiful!

P: Wow!  Well, thank you for coming, Miss Pumpkin!  I am honored!  Please come again!

Interview with Mr. Pump, by Aiden (5th grade)

Aiden: This is Aiden with Mr. Nik Pump, and I have to say, you are not looking so well, Mr. Pump.

Nik Pump: Hello, and also thanks for noticing!  I got left on the porch too long, and this happened!

A: So Mr. Pump, how was life as a seed?

NP: Well, I have to say, it was not enjoyable at all.

A: Why not?

NP: Well, it was very dark, and I didn't know what was going on until I was put in cold mush.

A: Then what happened?

NP: After that, I started growing things called "seed leaves," but I'm pretty sure it was just hair.

A: How did it feel?

NP: It was kind a cold and itchy.

A: So what happened after that?

NP: After that I went through a weird phase.  Vine Leaves.

A: How did that go exactly?

NP: Terrible!  They cut me and were super uncomfortable!

A: That sounds super unpleasant!

NP: Tell me about it!

A: After that terrible experience, I can't imagine anything worse!

NP: Well, there I was, starting to get super fat!

A: Isn't that normal?

NP: No, I'm talking SUPER fat.

A: Wow!  Were you made fun of?

NP: Yeah!  Everyone laughed at me!

A: That is terrible.  Your life so far hasn't seemed too pleasant.

NP: And guess what!  I grew these things called tendrils and they grew everywhere!  They also latched on to everything.

A: Wow!  That sounds absolutely terrible, but I'm sure things began to look up, right?

NP: Nope!

A: What could possibly happen to make this life worse?!

NP: Well, one day after Halloween, I started to smell.  Then it got worse each day.

A: Then what?

NP: I rotted.

A: I can tell!  I'm right next to you!

NP: It was terrible!  I even have bugs crawling on me right now!

A: And because something just bit me, I'm gonna end this interview now.  Thank you for watching XOF news!

Interview with Ms. Luna, by Sophia (5th grade)
Sophia: Thank you Ms...Lumina, for joining us today. You look absolutely gorgeous! I…

Ms.Luna: Actually, call me Ms.Luna. I personally think that the name Ms.Lumina is WAY too common. And yes, I know that I look positively stunning.  Oh, and sorry, what were you saying?

Sophia: Err… I was going to say…

Ms. Luna: Oh I know, you were going to say I look totally gorgeous, and what else were you going to say?

Sophia: I was going to um… ask about your li...

Ms. Luna: Oh, of course, you were going to ask about my life story! Everyone ALWAYS asks how I became so perfectly charming. I was the smallest seed in the bag. It was a very crowded bag, mind you, so there were many other seeds, but no, I had to be the smallest. Really. It was SO ANNOYING. Anyway, a giant peach-colored hand came down from the sky, grabbed me, and unceremoniously shoved me into the brown stuff that I think is called dirt. Or soil. I can never remember what you humans call things. Like, why do you need so many words? Anyway, after like, a REALLY long time, I finally grew some hair. Like, talk about thankful that I didn't have to live the rest of my life HORRIFYINGLY bald. Of course, I parted my new bright green hair down the middle because that was all the rage back then. I dyed my hair brown and gelled it so it sticks straight up a few months ago, and that style seems to have kept its flair as I still have my hair like that today.

Sophia: Should we get back to the um… sto…

 Ms.Luna: Oh! I'm so sorry! I didn't realize I got off track for a sec there. Okay, back to the story. Anyway, after I decided to change my hair color from light green to dark green and let it grow long and spikey(again, fashion trends change quickly), I soon decided to go along with the new trend and wear a short golden skirt like everyone else(that trend went out of style due to all the bees). After that episode, I grew more hair and decided to try and curl it. It turned out that curling my hair was a really bad idea. It kept getting caught on like, EVERYTHING. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I’m pretty sure that it was around that time that my body changed colors from a terrible green color(so not trendy) to the lovely white color I am now. Don't you just LOVE IT!!??

Sophia: Uh...yes I um...do like it…

Ms.Luna: LIKE IT!? It's perfectly stunning and you just say you LIKE IT!!??

Sophia: Um...can we get back to the story…?

Ms.Luna: Oh right, sorry! Anyway, a lot of other pumpkins and I, (though none of them were as pretty as me)got sent to this big place with a lot of other pumpkins and we had price tags carelessly slapped on us. Rude! a bunch of people walked in and one of them, a tall female, picked me up, inspected me(as if I wasn’t good enough already!), and went back to the rest of the group, they bought me and walked out of that messy, cold, and unpleasantly ghastly place. The next day, they did something to me that I think is called carving(again, why so many words?), and I came out like this! End of story.

Sophia: Well, that's a very er… intriguing tale, Ms.Luna. I thank you for coming to...

Ms.Luna: Now, if you would just skip the formalities and move on, I have an appointment with my therapist. So if you would just excuse me, (and I’m sure you will,) I am going to be late. Oh, don’t tell me that my limousine driver is not here yet, he is so unreliable these days. I would expect even a lowly taxi driver to be more respectful!

Sophia: Er...yes, of course…

Mrs.Luna: ANYWAY, I’ve really got to go now. Oh, by the way, faux fur coats and purses are really hot now… just a tip.

Sophia: Um… back to the interview, thank you for taking your precious time…

Mrs.Luna: My VERY precious time, as I am going to rot in just about a month...

Sophia: As I was saying, THANK YOU for taking your precious time to come to this interview. That concludes our meeting today.

Mrs.Luna: Yes, thank you for interviewing me. It has been a real honor or whatever, I HAVE to go now, my makeup is fading and look at the time!

Paragraphs and Postcards!

Assignments #2 and #3 were connected in a fun way.  In Assignment #2, we learned how to write powerful paragraphs that had unique sentence starters, so that all five sentences were different and interesting to read.  When you read the following samples, notice all the tricks and tools that we learned in Assignment #1!  The topic of our paragraphs was a made-up land, created by spelling a REAL place BACKWARDS!  We got to create this place in our imaginations and describe it in great detail.

Then, the next week, Assignment #3 was to write a postcard from the place we created in Assignment #2!  Would we have a pleasant or unpleasant journey?  It was fun to make connections from the facts we presented in our paragraph to the imaginative vacation we took to that place.

Here are some awesome samples!

Emor, by Sabrina (4th grade)

     Emor is the beautiful warm land of leaves!  When people drive, all they can see is different leaves on the windows of their car.  It always seems like it's fall.  The mountains appear to be made of leaves!  Because there are so many leaves, the children there love to hide in the piles on the sidewalks.  Whenever children play on the playgrounds, it looks like they are playing on equipment made of leaves!  If you love crunching on leaves and playing around, then Emor is the place for you.

Dear Mrs. Huff,

     I had a crazy arrival to Emor!  I landed at 3:00 AM, so I am super cranky!  I also couldn't see the view while I was on the airplane, because all of the windows were covered with leaves!  During the twenty-four hour plane ride, I was sitting next to a snoring person!

     After I got out of the airport, I was covered in leaves!  But it turned out that I got to make jewelry out of them.  Then I went to a haunted hotel that was made out of leaves, and I saw a leaf ghost at night!  Anyway, in the morning, I joined a Leafman making contest.  (I got 1st place!)  

     I wish you were here.  We could write stories about leaves, and poems too!

                              Your friend, Sabrina

Anihc, by Caren (5th grade)

     Anihc is a magical little island, 365 days a year!  It is splashed with many colors, which attracts lots of people.  All year long, people play games, sports, and crafts along the soft sandy beaches of Anihc.  The children don't have electronics because they are so far out to sea.   Anyone who loves warm sunny beaches and no access to electronics, Anihc is the vacation destination for you!

Dear Mom,

      I had a lovely flight to Anihc this morning, even though it was 5:30 AM!

     Right when we landed and I stepped out of the door, I was greeted with a nice warm breeze in my face that made me smile.  Then, everyone was served with a wonderful breakfast with a fancy rose in a first-class restaurant.

     After breakfast, I called a taxi to pick me up and drive me to the hotel.  After I checked in, I was overly pleased because it looked gorgeous; it had a large living/family too with a full kitchen, three large bedrooms and bathrooms, and a large window showing the bright blue ocean.

     As I went to the beach, a Smoothie Making Class caught my eye, so I attended it.  At the class, I chose to make a coconut smoothie to remind me of Cassia.  I soon thought it was too sweet, and decided to put it aside so I could enjoy it later.  Afterwards, I chose a spot to watched the calming sea and the little kids playing.  I noticed that the kids weren't playing any video games.  I asked a waiter about this, and he even asked me what a plane was!  I guess they don't know anything about electronics here.

     Well, I enjoyed my stay here!  I hope we can come here as a family for our next vacation!

                          Love, Caren

Austin (5th grade) went above and beyond with Assignment #2!  He made a Tourist Brochure!  My scanner can not do his work justice, but I hope you enjoy what you see here.  He put in amazing effort and wrote a beautiful paragraph!

     The "Budding Authors and Artists" class also got to make up creative lands by spelling real places backwards.  Their assignment was to simply write one paragraph about their place.  Their focus was that paragraphs are all about ONE topic, and it is important to stay on topic.    With helpful sentence starters, these young students are learning how to vary their sentence patterns and write interesting sentences that form paragraphs!  And don't forget introduction and conclusion sentences, too!

     I love Charlize's (2nd grade) paragraph, and her art, too!  Would you like to take a vacation here?

Super Sentence Writing!

It has been another great session of "Authors and Artists" classes!  The "Budding Authors and Artists" are in 1st-3rd grade, and the "Awesome" class includes 3rd-6th grade.  I love starting every session with a strong sentence writing activity.  This year, as summer was coming to an end, the students took the base sentence:
"The sun shines."
and turned it into a sentence that had adjectives, adverbs, where's, and when's!  The "Awesome" class even learned how to correctly start a sentence with "Because," as they learned the difference between phrases and clauses.  It was also fun to do art to match!  Enjoy these samples.
The shiny burning sun shines warmly at lunch in the middle of the day.
by Matthew, 1st grade

 by Audrey, 2nd grade

by Kayla, 3rd grade

 by Kalea, 4th grade

by Drew, 4th grade

The bright, beautiful sun shines joyfully over the muddy-grassed park during a dramatic soccer tournament.  By Lia, 5th grade

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Squiggle Line Art and Stories

Start with a random squiggle line... what do you see?  The students came up with so many creative ideas!  They then completed a Who-What-Where-When-Why-How story map to get their thoughts down before writing.  Enjoy these short stories, and creative pictures to match!

I love how Hayden, Natalie, and Sabrina all chose the same squiggle line, but turned them into completely different pictures!

The Creepy Forest, by Hayden (1st grade)

     Once upon a time, there was a little girl in a magical creepy forest.  She found a 3 leaf clover.  She got lost.  She went the wrong way.  Then she got eaten.

The Elephant Parade, by Natalie (2nd grade)

     Once upon a time, on a beautiful afternoon at the carnival, during the elephant parade, a little boy was riding an elephant.  It was the opening act.  Then, he fell off the elephant!  The boy broke his arm, but he was okay.

Christmas Night, by Sabrina (3rd grade)

     On Christmas Night, Santa Claus and Rudolph are about to leave the North Pole so Santa can deliver his presents.  But when he delivers his presents, he goes the wrong way and gets lost in a humungous forest!

     Luckily, Rudolph saves the day and finds the next house that needs presents!

     After the last house, Santa Claus is so tired.  I bet that Rudolph is tired also.  When Santa and Rudolph come back home, they both eat two cookies with milk and take a long nap (which really turned into sleep) and they are so happy to be back home in the North Pole.

Get your kleenex ready... this is a tear-jerker!  By Amelia (4th grade)

     Once in a land far far away, where the summers are tropical and the winters are arctical, there was a parrot named Felicia.  She was a carrier parrot (yes, I am sure I meant parrot) during the summer and there was nothing she liked doing more than gliding over the beach with an important message from the mayor in her claws.  True, her trainer was quite hard on her, making her carry message from the moment the sun came up to well into the night, but she could forgive him for that.  Felicia always told herself that he was just stressed, but she had never seen how cruel he could be in the winter.  Right after the first snowfall, her trainer took her outside and set her on a small branch nailed to a pole.

     "We'll be needing the birdhouse for warmth," he grunted, and without warning whipped out a length of gold chain and bound Felicia to the pole.  The poor parrot squawked in protest, but the burly figure of her trainer was already disappearing into the thick morning fog.  

     A few minutes later, Felicia saw the trainer through the window holding her birdhouse.  He struck a match and lit the house on fire, before throwing it into the fireplace.  Felicia tried to scream, but she realized that her beak was already frozen closed.

     Days passed.  Icicles formed on Felicia's once silky smooth feathers.  Every breath came slower than the last.  Just as she was about to lose all hope, Felicia saw a hazy silhouette staggering toward her.  Suddenly, her breathing became easier.  Silently, she thanked the heavens for bestowing this miracle upon her.  Finally, the girl arrived at the pole.  With great difficulty, she pulled out a knife, and cut Felicia free.  It seemed like hours before they arrived at a small cottage.

     "Alicia!" cried a voice.  A tall lady stepped out.  "Where were you?  We were so worried."

     "But, but.... Mother," the girl named Alicia said, "I couldn't let the pp-pparrot freeze to dd-death."

     Upon seeing Felicia, Alicia's mother's expression softened.  "All right," she said.  "Bring her in."

     Soon Felicia was thawing out next to the hearth.  Alicia was beside her, still shivering from the cold.  That night, Alicia's family ate a feast, and for the first time in her life, Felicia felt genuinely contented.  She wondered if this was what it was like to have a caring owner.

     As she settled down to sleep, Felicia thought that her life from now on was going to be flawless.  But as Felicia had to learn, not every story was a fairy tale with a happily-ever-after.

     The next morning, Alicia woke up with a raging fever.  The doctor said that it was just an aftershock of Alicia's long journey through the blizzard, but the whole family was still worried.  Felicia felt burdened with a newly awakened guilt.  She didn't want someone to risk their health (or life) to save her.  

     Winter gave way to spring, and soon the temperature would warm up.  Alicia still didn't get better. She rarely got out of bed.  

     One day, she didn't wake.  Her family stood by her bedside.  Felicia flew down from her new birdhouse and perched mournfully on her night stand.  Alicia woke briefly to smile at the beautiful parrot, then closed her clear blue eyes forever.


     Felicia stretched her wings out as she soared through the cloud.  This time, though, she wasn't delivering a message.  In her claws was a bouquet of pink carnations.  She landed in the graveyard, and looked for the grave with the parrot carved on to it.  Felicia snatched the old withering flowers, and pecked at them.  Then, she carefully laid the new carnations at the foot of the grave, dusted the slate of stone, and flew off.

Roxy and Sammy, By Talya (5th grade)

     "Arf!  Are!"  Sammy the dog barked as the girl filled her and Roxy's bowls.

     After about ten seconds, their bowls were full and then she headed out the door.  Roxy and Sammy both stared at their bowls.  Like the predators from those cartoons, they stared at their food eagerly, their mouths watering.

     Only then, when they decided to eat their food, did they notice their bowls moving slightly toward the crack in the wall.

     Sammy tilted her head as Roxy pawed it a little.

     "Why is my bowl walking?" they both thought anxiously.

     As they stepped off the carpet, Roxy looked under her bright pink bowl to see three tiny little black specks.

     Sammy trotted in front of the bowls and sniffed the underside of them.  Then, she picked up her paw and kicked it.  She expected the tiny black dots to get squished under the impact, but the ants only stumbled backwards.

     And just as quickly as Sammy kicked them, the ants darted off in the other direction with their food!  Sammy and Roxy sprinted right after them without hesitation.  However, the dogs didn't notice the ants stop and go towards them.

     The bowls of food started moving under the dogs and back to the cracks in the wall.

     The dogs were going so fast that when they tried to stop, they slipped on the sleek wooden floor.

     The ants had a big head start, and were running straight towards the crack.  If they made it, the dogs would have no breakfast!

     The good thing was, dogs are much faster, so they had the advantage.

     Sammy dived right at the ants, just as they reached the crack, but it was too late..... for the ants.  When Sammy had dived for the ants, her mouth was wide open.  She may have swallowed a few.  The rest, she accidentally breathed into her nose, which led to a lot of sneezing.

     But it was all worth it because they still got their food in the end!

River & Tree, by Flo (6th grade)

A long time ago, in a place far, far away from humans stood a beautiful tree named Aurora. Next to the tree flowed a stunning river named August. This is their story.
August and Aurora lived in between thirteen hills and a forest. August was born from mountain-top snow melting and trickling into a dry ravine. Aurora was born from seeds of another tree in the forest, Elora. As children of the Hills and Forest, they should have been mortal enemies. But August and Aurora, by fate’s twisted hand, fell in love.
It began one day when the sky was stormy and the wind fierce. A sharp gust of wind blew Aurora away from the Forest and toward August, who was racing faster than ever before. August, always the friendly one, greeted her.
“Hello! I’m August, who might you be?”
While August knew not to talk to the evil trees of the Forest, as the elder mountains had said, something had changed on that particular day.
“Oh! Uh, I’m Aurora. Aren’t you a … mountain river?”
Aurora didn’t mean to be rude, but she was brought up to know that all mountains were strict and detested fun. They were definitely not supposed to be polite.
“Yes, technically, although I couldn’t be more different than the Elders, or my cousins,” replied August.
Aurora responded without a thought, for if she had pondered her statemeant she would never have uttered it.
           “Good. Me too.”
The rest of the day was spent talking of their parents’ rules, how little freedom they were given, and how much they wished they were free to do whatever they wanted, live with whomever they loved.
But alas, all good things must come to an end, followed perhaps by something less pleasant.
At the storm’s end, another gust of wind blew Aurora back to her original position leaning towards the forest, and their first encounter ended.
That night, both August and Aurora faced the wrath of the Elders.
“August!” bellowed the Mountain from which August was born, “How dare you fraternize with a child of the Forest!”
“Aurora, you will never speak to or think about that Mountain river ever again!” commanded the nearest Elder.
However, that night, regardless of their superiors’ instructions, August and Aurora pondered their encounter. Neither could remember a time when they met a kindred spirit, another who felt oppressed by their clan, and when they had fallen in love so quickly. But alas, they would never see each other again...or so they thought.
When the sun again rose over the mountains, Elora, Aurora’s mother, beckoned to her daughter, and Aurora braced herself for more reprimands. Yet, that was not what she received.
“Aurora, please listen to me, I have-”
“Mother, please don’t tell me never to see August again, I know,”
“No, you don’t. Listen to me: I was just like you once, I once loved a smaller Mountain, and I gave him up, but you mustn’t give your love up. She really belongs with you. Now, I know you must be shocked, but I needed to tell you about my past.”
For a moment, all Aurora could do was stare at her mother; but, after the moment had passed, all the young child of the forest could say was, “Thank you.”
This was the last time Aurora talked to her mother.
That night, a storm struck. In fact, it was the worst storm Nature had ever seen. The Wind ripped through the Forest with more violence than ever before. Even the mightiest Mountain felt the great force of the rain on its slopes. Forest and Mountain alike were praying only to see a clear blue sky once more.
Aurora, however, was calm, even content. The Wind was pushing her more and more toward her love with every howl. And then, suddenly, it happened. Aurora’s roots were ripped from the ground, and she fell. Fell all the way into August’s arms, where she belonged. And so, as the storm began to fade, Aurora’s fruit fell into August’s soil, and overtime, new life arose, which we would now call seaweed.
This is the story of how two young wonders of nature in love brought new life to this world, new peace to their families, and a new understanding of just how big a difference love can make.