Never have I met so many young people so in love with writing. Each day, one of these third- and fourth-graders had a new idea about lost children running into a ton of money, Mexican pit bulls, curses, unlikely friends, vegetables, and more. These Magellan School campers’ enthusiasm for writing and sharing new chapters, plot points, or acrostic poems energized everyone in the room.
Over the week, we explored all kinds of genres and styles. The campers developed character sketches about sushi, a potato, and a man who lives on Mars — to name a few! They wrote stories about characters fighting to attain their desires, make friends, and find new families. We read poems by William Carlos Williams, Pablo Neruda, and contemporary poets. Students practiced making observations for their own poems, and they wrote love letters and apologies to people and things that could use them (chairs, Spanish posters, soccer teams with poor defenders, evil fish in a fish tank).
Parents, thank you for enrolling your children in Badgerdog’s Creative Writing Camp this summer. I think we can all learn a lot from encouraging our young people to explore their empathy and imaginations. These students left camp full of dreams of re-writing the world and getting published as soon as possible. Watch out for these kids. They’re game changers.
Badgerdog Teaching Artist
I’m sorry Spanish signs for only
Some people can understand you
I’m sorry Spanish signs
For people have to learn you
You deserve to be understood
But only some people can
I hate my voice. Ugh.
My voice is annoying. Ugh.
I hate my voice. Ugh.
Listen to my scream. Ugh.
The Snacks (Spicy Banana Chips)
My father gave me a snack.
It was yummy to my tum.
My nose can smell the smell.
It was spicy like hot peppers.
My stomach gets a burn from the
spices like a sunburn. Yum!
But I still love Spicy Banana Chips.
The Curse of the Ghost
– an excerpt
It was a stormy night. Everybody knew about the ghost in the bathroom, but nobody had seen the ghost. It was in one stall in the corner of the boys’ bathroom. Nobody was brave enough to open that stall because it had the curse. The curse of the ghost.
One day, a boy named Nick told his friends that he was going to go into that stall. He opened the stall. It was old and filled with spider webs and other haunted stuff. It looked like it was one thousand years old. Then he saw a chair and an A/C vent. He was scared, but he had to do it.
Then he heard a sound! It was the ghost.
The ghost said, “If you take one more step, you get the curse.”
The boy took one step, then stepped out of the stall.
From Tears to Smiles
– an excerpt
I have a disease called Epiderma. It affects my legs and makes me limp. Every time I go out on the streets, people look at me like I’m a crazy duck. I’m from Korea, and it adds more suspense to my problems because when I say that my limping doesn’t worry me, I guess my accent causes strangers to make a face. The only person I trust is my brother. He gives me comfort when he speaks and tells me to stand tall like a soldier.
One day at school, the principal got on the loudspeaker and congratulated the kids who participated in the scholastic chess tournament the week before. I felt a little jealous. I’ve always wanted to do something people would admire me for. After school, I asked the principal if I could join the girls’ team. He said yes, and I was so gleeful.
But then he added, “Although you have to ask the girls.”
My jaw dropped and pulled down my eye sockets. It was so dramatic. I thought the principal was joking.
I blurted, “What? Why ask the girls? Aren’t you the boss of the school? If you say yes, then it’s yes. It’s all from you!”
Then, the principal raised his voice. “Genja, you don’t understand—”
“Oh, yes, I do,” I quickly replied.
“No,” the principal said. “I didn’t start this chess club. The parents started it. The only thing I did was approve it.”
My face turned red, and I stormed out of the room. I didn’t dare go ask the girls. They, of course, would laugh at me and say I was a coward. The only thing left for me to do was to practice myself.
The Mexican Pit Bull
Once upon a time, a long time ago in Mexico, a ferocious pit bull that everyone feared was looking for a game at the village.
One of the hunters saw him and shouted, “It’s the Mexican pit bull!” And he came outside with his spear.
But then the pit bull bared his teeth, and the hunter, scared out of his wits, ran into his hut.
The pit bull just smiled darkly and continued walking. He was happy but felt a stab of sadness. Even though he was at the top of the food chain, all he wanted was a friend.
He started walking home. He stopped in his tracks and saw a big old tree. It was shimmering with its frog-green leaves. Scared but anxious, he went inside the tree through a big hollow hole.
Inside, he saw sticks, and to him it looked like parkour. Pit bulls can’t do parkour, but he tried and he did it!
Up in the tree was a clean, young squirrel being chased by a fat bulldog. The pit bull bared his teeth and the chubby bulldog ran away.
The squirrel thanked him, and they became friends.
The bulldog whimpered and asked to be friends. The pit bull said yes, and soon they had lots of friends.
The Evil Year
She woke up in the middle of the night. Her dad told her to go back to sleep, but she went downstairs and it was Easter. Then she came back upstairs and it was Halloween. She noticed that she was lost in the year.
(She was cursed, but in a good way.)
She went to her friends’ house. Her friends were in their garage, and it was Christmas. Then there was a shoosh and she heard, “You have a curse.” Then she was gone.
The girl didn’t know that her friends were evil, and she did not know which curse she was in, but then she noticed that her friends were evil. She tried to use the curse and make them uneasy, and they were nice. They changed and killed the father.
Once Upon a Curse
– an excerpt
Once upon a time, in a tiny town in France, there lived a girl named Cat. She was very poor. She lived in the woods with her mother. Now, her mother did not know that her child was put under a curse. But one day, her mother was told that her child had a curse: if Cat went to go ask for money and tried to kill the king, she would die the most painful death of all. So her mother told Cat very nice things.
So, Cat went for money in the town. The king said, “No, no.” Cat tried to kill him, and the king said, “You foolish child. You had a curse on you when you were born.” So, he locked her up. She sat there for the rest of her life, and she died the most painful death.
But years later, there was a girl named Kitty, and that Kitty was haunted. Kitty had a best friend. Her name was C, just C, so she was teased. Even sometimes Kitty teased her. So C did not want to be friends with Kitty.
So Kitty had an enemy. C was just like her long-lost dead mother, Cat, who had a child, C. C did not know her mother, but C was evil.
That night Kitty was pulled to the underworld. There, Cat, the evil one, lay. Her bones were there, but her spirit wasn’t. Kitty was locked in a tower that was haunted. C was power hungry, so she brought Kitty back and got an axe and cut down Kitty’s back and a demon came out. That demon was Kitty.
C was very proud of herself, but the town was very scared. So they built a wall, and if you touch it, you will be sorry.
Rose was a poor child from a poor family. She was ten, and she didn’t have enough money to go to school. She wasn’t smart because she didn’t go to school. She was homeschooled. Her mom, Abu, was teaching her. Abu didn’t go to school either, so she was teaching Rose the wrong things.
One day, Rose had a delivery sent to her door. She saw that it was just in an envelope. Rose opened the envelope and saw fifty dollars. She called, “Mom, Mom, we have fifty more dollars!” Rose and Abu quickly walked to the store. They went to the lottery station, and Rose bought the fifty-dollar lottery ticket. When they got home, they turned on their cheap TV and watched the lottery channel. The reporter said, “Today’s code is 1562354789.”
Rose said, “We have 9,999,999,999 more dollars!”
Rose asked Abu if she could go to school, and Abu said yes.
Rose went to school and became the most knowledgeable student in her fifth-grade class. Everyone loved her. She became famous for her knowledge when she was twenty-two. Abu was so happy for her.
Once there were two wolves. Their dad told them to be ninjas. Five years later, their dad told them to wake up at five o’clock.
They asked why.
He said, “You will see when you wake up.”
The next day, they were training… to be ninjas! It was fun. The rest of their lives. Kapow! Dun dun dun!!
The Living Cupcake
Once, there was a girl. She ate a cupcake, and the rest of the cupcakes came alive because the girl kept eating the army. There was only the King of Cupcakes left, and then he would fight the girl. The cupcake won because it tasted bad.
John was fat. In the fat/skinny school, all the fat kids were treated unfairly. John was also treated unfairly, but the fat kids were smart. The skinny kids were dumb. So, John and his fat friends were hatching a plan.
John thought about eating all the food there. John was very mean, so he was always trying to kill the teachers. John also liked to eat. That’s why he was fat.
John’s friends said they wanted to execute the teachers. They needed to borrow things for that, so they needed to be nice. John and his friends didn’t like being nice. None of the fat kids liked being nice. So they practiced over and over again.
Finally, they borrowed a chainsaw from Potato.
The chainsaw wasn’t able to cut through the teachers because they were too fat.
This time, they tried to be nice to the teachers. They tried this and found that the teachers still didn’t like them.
The fat friends had to be smart. They made these costumes and tricked the skinny kids into wearing fat kid costumes. The teachers were confused and took the skinniest kids, which were John and his friends, and showed them the biggest chainsaw ever that could kill all the fat kids.
John and his fat friends took the chainsaw and killed the fat teachers. Then they realized they liked being nice. They still thought that the teachers deserved to be killed because they were so mean. There were no teachers left, so the skinny kids and the fat kids partied!