Pigs and Zip-Lining

Pigs escaping onto Mopac Highway, zip-lining through Lake Travis, taking trips to Colorado, learning how to do a back hip circle, and secret lock boxes—these are some of the fascinating details that encompass the lives of Ms. McLelland’s class at Highland Park Elementary School. What they wrote during their Badgerdog workshop, “Writing Personal Narratives,” reminds us that every experience is a new adventure that will never be forgotten; and more importantly, that any adventure can be turned into a work of art.


We went camping this weekend. Yesterday, I saw a jackrabbit while hiking. We saw butterflies too. While we were going home, my mom and dad saw a grey squirrel. I did not. We passed it. Too bad. We got to swim in the lake, though. It was fun. We saw a waterfall. It went “rrrrrrsssssshhhhhh.” I loved it. We got to eat s’mores. S’mores are two graham crackers with marshmallows and chocolate in between. You roast the marshmallows over the campfire. I hope we go back one day. The s’mores tasted so yummy.


The Idea

In Language Arts class I could not think of an idea. I thought and thought, but I still had no idea. Then I got an idea to write about this problem. Am I still writing? Problem solved! I was worried that everyone else was doing fine, but after working my hand felt like it was glued to the paper because I couldn’t stop writing. The weird thing is that everyone else is writing about something outside of class and I am writing about right now. I really have another problem. My brain feels like a rock because I can’t think of any similes. Wait! I’m brainstorming. I need another simile. I thought of one then I forgot it. I’ll go back to the drawing board. I found another idea! This is so fun. Writing is like playing video games.



I wanted to go to a restaurant called Maggiano’s, so I asked my mom if we could, but she said it was too expensive. So I asked again another day, then another day and another day. I said please, and I begged but the answer was always no. Then, when my report card came, my brother and I both got all A’s, so my mom said we could pick a restaurant to go to and we picked Maggiano’s. It was one of my favorite meals. In fact, my brother, my mom, my dad and I all loved it. We got ravioli, chicken parmesan, salads, and I think we got spaghetti and meatballs. I don’t even remember what we were talking about during dinner because we couldn’t stop eating.


The Un-Beach Trip

One day my mom woke me up early in the morning and said it was time to go to the beach. I’d been counting down the days and I was so excited. I was going to meet my best friend Sarah there. We had already planned out everything we were going to do. First, we were going to go surfing. Next, we were going to go boogie boarding. After that, we’d go swimming in the hotel pool, and for dinner that night we’d go to our favorite seafood place called Snoopy’s. After dinner, for desert, we’d go to the ice cream place in Snoopy’s called Scoopy’s! But then that morning, my brother Jack got sick, and we had to cancel the beach vacation. I was so disappointed that we couldn’t go to the beach, but I learned that family is more important than fun. Also, at least we got to play our family’s favorite board game, Monopoly, and then we ordered pizza for dinner and we ended up having fun anyway.


My Lock Box

I was surprised when I tried to open my lock box. The box wouldn’t open. It was red with flowers all over it, and it had a cat on it. There was a glass ladybug inside. I figured out that I wasn’t using the right key. I searched all over the house. I asked my brother Diego (who is five and usually steals stuff) if he had it, but he said “No way!” and pinched me. It hurt, but not too much. I decided to go look outside and dig a hole. I saw something … but it was just a shiny twig. I decided I would retire looking for the key and just use bush clippers to open the lock box. But then my mom came outside and said, “What are you doing?” I said, dramatically. “I am looking for the key from my lock box.” Then my mom ran inside, then zoomed back out to me. She had something in her hand. She said, “You mean this key??” “Yes!” The thing in her hand was the key. So I zoomed around my backyard then went in my room and I opened my lock box and I got my glass ladybug.


Mang and Henry

One thing that really means a lot to me is Mang, my giant stuffed elephant. I love him. I’ve had him since I was born. When I came home, he was waiting for me. My old dog, Henry, was also there with my uncle and grandmother. Henry also means a lot to me. He was my dog before I got Rusty. When I was four, I had to put him down because he was old and if we’d kept him any longer he just would have been in pain. I was really sad. We went about a year without a dog and then I got Rusty. One night, my dad came home with him! We were all surprised! My dad had Rusty on a leash and he was already enjoying his new home!



When I was four years old, I started horseback riding. I loved it as much as I love my mom. I kept riding, and when I was seven I leased a horse named Dr. Pepper. He was white and grey. When it was summer, I left Dr. Pepper. When I came back, I found out that the owner needed money and had sold Dr. Pepper. My parents felt bad for me, so they bought me a horse. I was so happy. They bought a horse named Elle, and she was a Grand Prix horse so I could go to the Olympics when I grow older.


A Challenge

When I was eight, I went to gymnastics. I was trying and trying so hard to do a back hip circle. Then I saw my friend Anieca from second grade, and she did it perfectly, so I asked her if she could teach me how, and she said sure. She said, all you have to do is cast three times, then tuck your body under the bar and pull up, and always look at your stomach. So I tried what she told me, and I did it! I was so surprised. I thanked her and have been able to do a back hip circle ever since she taught me. I’m so happy that Anieca is on my gym team.


The Time I Went to Colorado

One time I was going to Colorado, and it took about sixteen hours. My family was going to a cabin, and it was super cold at night. We didn’t do much. We found a burned cabin next to our cabin. It was burned years ago. I thought the trip was going to be awesome, but it turned out to be pretty boring. I also found out why I didn’t go to sleep the whole drive. It was because I drank a sip of Red Bull, so I was really, really hyper. We watched movies at our cabin, and I accidentally stayed up way too late. It smelled like fresh air outside, and it smelled like a lot of trees. We took a long hike. Our cabin was pretty cold. We tried to make popcorn, but we couldn’t, because we didn’t have the supplies we needed, or a microwave, so we made it old-fashioned-style. We had tinfoil, and we put it on top of the kernels and turned on the stove and it popped! We finally had popcorn. It was so good. Then we watched a movie ,and it was really fun. I don’t know why I thought Colorado was so boring? But then when we had to leave the drive was boring again. It took sixteen hours! We got back home and I saw my cat and now I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go back because I don’t want to drive sixteen hours again! In the beginning, I didn’t know how fun the trip would be yet. In the middle, the trip was fun because in the beginning, as I said, I didn’t know yet how much fun it would be.


Weird Me

Hello, my name is Anna, but some people call me Banana, and I don’t like that because bananas are my friends, and if I eat one, I would be a cannibal. But I do like raisins. I like to eat raisins because one time I was at the zoo and I saw a monkey eating a raisin, and then I said “Mom! Get me a raisin now!” And she said, “Darling, please don’t demand things.” I said “Mom, I can do whatever I want to do because I can smell the raisin.”

I will tell you a little about myself. I have dirty blonde hair, I have 20/20 eyesight and hearing, and I love sushi, and I love hedgehogs. I even have one! I am not kidding. My hedgehog eats cat food and hedgehog food, and at night I just hate him because he has a wheel and he’s nocturnal. He feels like a hairbrush but a little bit softer.


The Time I Went to the River Walk

I was disappointed when I went to the river walk in San Antonio. When we got to the river walk, my sister and I thought it was going to be a blast. Bug guess what, we were wrong! It was boring like doing nothing. There was a boat ride, and the only purpose of it was to learn history about the river walk. We stayed there all day. I got really warm near the end, and it was super boring when we were about to leave. When we left, I was so glad. It took two hours to get home, and once we finally got back ,I wanted to stay up, but my mom made me go to bed.



I was excited that I was going to Colorado! But after my family got there we had to drive for three more hours. I asked my mom how much we were going to be driving, and she said “a lot.” I was even more disappointed. The next day I had to get in the car. When we had been driving for an hour, I was so board and grumpy. I asked my parents how much longer we would be driving, and my mom said “three more hours,” and I decided this wasn’t the dream vacation I had hoped for. After a few minutes, I got my Legos out and played with them, and then I tried to take a nap. I was really starting to miss my best friends Samantha and Sophia, but we finally got there. Apple Tree Inn was awesome! The owner had a dog that had lost his leg. The dog’s name was Cody. I liked it there. We had to go to dinner, but first we stopped at a gift shop. I picked out an adorable elephant named Peanut. But the next day meant more driving time! We drove to Santa Fe and stayed in a house, and then we drove to the airport. After we got home, I was so relieved.


My Problem

When I was at the end of the school year party, I was in the lake playing with my friends Grace and Isabella. We were on rafts playing for hours, until we went out on the zip line. We had to wait a while, because there was a big line, but then it was our turn. The line was totally gone, and we went about six or seven times until I fell off and broke my arm. I started to scream and Bella and Grace took me to my mom and she made me a hamburger and we went to Dell Children’s Hospital. There I was in a wheelchair (which was weird because I had a broken arm!) and I went to my room.

They did four x-rays then put in my IV (it really hurt!). They gave me root beer anesthesia, which was perfect timing because, right at that moment, my aunt came, and I can’t even remember seeing her. The thing I do remember is that she gave me a stuffed animal dog, and I got my St. Bernard right before I broke my arm. Then they put my cast on, while I was asleep from the anesthesia. My cast was blue, and they gave me a huge squishy thing on my arm. After two months, we had to change the cast. We changed the color to neon green with neon yellow stripes. The doctor gave me two popsicles and she told me to get chocolate cake. That night I was out of the hospital. My best friend Scarlett was a really big help, and my other best friend Sophia helped also. Then, two months later, I had my cast removed.



It was really hard for me when I was learning how to play piano. Reading music was confusing sometimes because there are many different types of notes and signs. One day we planned to go visit my cousin in Brownsville. Days past, and we drove the six hours to Brownsville. When we go there, it was very late so everyone went to sleep.

I played video games, went to the beach, and just played around. I was walking down the stairs, and I heard my cousin playing piano. She was very good at it, so I walked in and sat down on a couch, which smelled like the nice smell of paper. I just sat there watching my cousin play piano. I guess she got pretty bored just sitting there, knowing I was watching and listening to her play piano, so she asked me in a bored tone, “Do you want to learn how to play piano?” So I said yes.

She taught me a small song that I didn’t even get down until I got back to Austin. In Austin at my house, I didn’t even have the book to read the music. So I had to figure out the notes myself, which was as boring and hard as lifting boxes full of iron and lead. But eventually I found out the notes and I practiced and I showed the song to my piano teacher. After that, he showed me more advanced songs, and now, because of that song, it’s gotten a lot easier to play and read notes.


The Challenge

One day, my friend Crystal challenged me to a tennis game. At first, I didn’t know how to play tennis.
Crystal showed me how to play, but when I tried, it was hard. I kept losing. So, the next day, Crystal took me to tennis practice.

Crystal taught me how to hold a tennis racket, when to hit the ball, when the ball’s out of bounds, how to move my feet quickly, how to serve, and how to jump to catch the ball. Then, one day, I was very good at tennis, and I loved it!

The tennis court had a cool breeze that felt like smooth butter. It was an awesome experience to play tennis. Now I play like a professional—but not exactly.



Hi. My name is Isabella Katherine Russo (Bella for short).

I have a German shepherd. She is a lazy teen and calls herself Piper. She talks a lot and so do I. I have hair that’s the color of the skin on an almond. It also has little flecks of gold in it. At home (if I am home), you could find me reading, eating, sleeping, drawing, or watching TV. Now that it’s summer I love to shove my face into a fan’s wind, to eat lime popsicles, and to listen to music. I am very funny. My brother even says that I should be a comedian, and I think that would be fun. At school we have this fun lady come to teach us how to write personal narratives. I like it OK, but I think I am more of a fiction person. I love to write stories and plays, but I have never ever been in one. When my friends come over ,we like to do little skits. I think I was a merchant in one of them. As I said before, I have never been in a real play, but I have seen some.


The Games

One time, my sister kept stealing my DS games without telling me. I tried to take them back, but when I snuck into her room, her room smelled like roses and I coughed and she woke up and caught me. She told my mom and I got in trouble. My mom said I was grounded and I was forced to go to my big, smelly room. So then I tried asking my mom about my games, but she wouldn’t listen to me. I was mad that I didn’t have any games, so I went to my sister for them again, but she said she didn’t take them. I knew she was lying. The next day I asked my dad. He believed me, and he said that he would ask my sister, but I explained that she would say no.

My dad said that I just wanted to get her in trouble. I did not. Or did I? And then it hit me—I could get her in trouble! Or not. My dad, the only person who might believe me that I wasn’t lying, left. What was I going to do? I told my friend Devon the story, and he agreed to get my games back. So the next day, Devon and I snuck into my sister’s room. This time, I got all my games back, but I accidentally took one of my sister’s games too, and guess what happened?


The Adventure of Zoot

I was surprised when my pet pig was missing. I had no idea where he was. I checked his room, then the yard, and then I told my dad. We walked around and across the block. This had happened before, so we checked across the block, but saw nothing. Then, my dad heard some grunting across the fence (pigs actually grunt, they don’t oink). I saw that Zoot was on Mopac, and there were police!

We drove onto Mopac with a crate. I was worried that we might get a ticket! Then I realized that my shoes were mismatched. The police were nice. They gave us the pig. He was fine, probably just bored, so he broke through the fence. The police were just glad there was not a traffic accident. We put the pig inside the crate. The pig was so nervous that he went to the bathroom in the crate, and it smelled like rotten eggs.

Hopefully he does not do that again!



My name is Taft, and when I wake up, at 5:00, I meditate for one hour. The cave I meditate in is as quite as a library. Then I come home and eat breakfast. But one morning, when I came back into my room, my bed was gone! My dad said we needed room for his new guitar. I said that he could put the guitar in the basement, but he said that my brother plays down there. I was very angry because my brother just plays down there with socks. So I went to confront my dad. I said, “My brother only plays with his own socks.” So dad put his guitar in the basement. Dad moved my bed back into my room and told me he had made a wrong decision.

Five days later, it was Mother’s Day. My dad went to get a cowboy hat for my mom. We wrapped it up and then tied a ribbon around it, and we also gave her breakfast in bed. I wrapped up my clay gargoyle and put it in the present pile. Dad got her a blender too. Then finally she opened all her presents. That was a good month.


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