You know those rare moments in the classroom when learning an important writing skill actually becomes fun? Well, for this workshop at Boone Elementary, those moments were about as rare as grackles in an Austin springtime. The writers of Ms. Texeira’s class demonstrated that although writing is a useful skill, it is also an art, in the sense that regimented exercises and the memorization of rules never quite get at the source of good writing. These writers proved to me over and over that they know how to tap into that source, which is rooted in a passion for creating and the perpetual rediscovery of the imagination’s capabilities. The following pieces are examples of what happens when the writing skills students are expected to master for a test—such as being detailed, explaining ideas using examples, and describing events in chronological order—develop out of writing’s least emphasized requirement: fun.
Badgerdog Teaching Artist
I’m in a nice blue tent with my best friend Luke, and we’re camping in the dark, scary, droopy woods! Luke and I were scared to death, alone and freezing. We had very little fire left and only the seven marshmallows that kept me warm while Luke was lying down. With the thin branches falling, we didn’t know when we were going to get out of the dark, scary, droopy woods!
About twenty boring, scary minutes later, a gray car showed up, and Luke and I knew who it was… my mom.
Michael Breydan Alva-Green
Gaga ball is a sport. The rules are that if you get hit in the foot by the ball, you’re out. If it hits you above the knee, you’re still in. No wall jumps either. Wall jumps are where you jump away from the ball on the wall of the pit you are playing in. You can only touch the ball with your hands!
And why I like Gaga ball is because one time we were playing it, and Brandon was the best player. I had almost got hit by the ball, but I jumped up. Not a wall jump, though! And I took the ball and I got Malak out. Then, I got Breydan out, and Brandon got Sebastian out! And so on. I was in the final round, just me and Brandon. Then I dodged the ball and got Brandon out! I had won the game!
The Unicorn Planet
I was fast asleep in my warm, cozy bed. I heard a big bang. I woke up so fast. I slowly and quietly walked outside without waking anyone up. I looked around and saw a deep, big, black hole. I fell in, straight down. I fell down, down, down, as fast as a cheetah. It was pitch black in there. I finally landed and saw a whole bunch of unicorns. The unicorns were playing like kindly little children. I got to ride on one of them. They were as kind as a koala. They felt like soft and cozy clouds. I played with them for a little while. Then it was time to go. The black hole came again, and I said goodbye. I came back to my house and was in my cozy bed. Finally, I fell fast asleep. I had a dream about that wonderful unicorn planet.
The Invisible Girl
I would be invisible because I could sneak around the house and eat donuts. It would be really fun and tasty. I would be so happy, and the best part is: my parents would never find out.
The second reason is that I would be a pro at hide-and-go-seek. No one would ever find me. It would be so fun. I am sure you would like it too.
The third reason is that I would become a magician. I think I would be very good at it because I can turn invisible. I think all the kids would love it. I am sure you would too. I know I would. This is why I would be invisible.
Why Do You Love Fourth Grade?
The reason I love it is because PTA paid for fourth graders to have… Badgerdog. Badgerdog is a class of all writing. Each class has a teacher. My teacher’s name is Mr. Adam. Sometimes he lets us write funny stuff, how we feel, and serious stuff. He sometimes lets us play games with him. We each have a folder to hold all of our papers and writings. He only comes on Mondays. When we write, if we are stuck, he helps us. He lets us either call him Mr. Adam or Adam, he says it’s our choice. I love that he treats us all the same. He never makes us uncomfortable. We all feel safe with him.
How to Make the Absolute Best Sandwich Ever!
First, you get the ingredients: bread, hot fries, peanut butter, a plate, a drink, and a napkin.
Then you get the two pieces of bread. Put one on the plate and set the other one down. Put peanut butter on the piece of bread on the plate.
After that, you put the hot fries on the bread with peanut butter, and put the slice with nothing on. You get your napkin and choice of drink.
Finally, you take a bite of the scrumptious sandwich and enjoy!
Ingredients: Spicy cheese, Italian bread, cooked bacon, cooked hamburger meat.
First, get your bread and cut it in half. Take the spicy cheese. Now, get the cooked burger. Put the burger and bacon on. Then put the cheese on. Heat it up in the microwave, then cook it for thirty seconds. When it beeps, BOOM! You’re done.
I would rather fly than turn invisible because then I would be lonely. Also, if you fly, it would be nice, and you would make a new friend from a different country. It would be cool if you could fly and turn invisible. You would see lots of good views, and you could fly, for example, to Hawaii, or you could be in Texas and you could fly to a cozy place. So, that is why I think flying is a good way to travel in the air.
I Want to Write About a Forest
I want to write about a forest. The grass was poking through the beautiful snow. And it was awesome. Some leaves were still on the trees. The sun was rising, and it smelled fresh and it was quiet.
Do you love math? I do! I love math more than everyone. Math is my favorite part of fourth grade.
I love math a lot because this year I got 100% on the math benchmark, and I felt so happy! This year I learned geometry and it was so fun. I studied very hard, and then I got an A on most of my tests. Also, I learned a lot of multiplication and division. I got a good grade on my report card and my parents gave me some money for it. I am now really good at math.
Everyone should learn math. I love it very much, and it’s my favorite part of fourth grade. I can’t wait to learn more math in the future.
When I Had to Use Persuasion
One time I had to persuade was when I tried convincing my mom to let me go to my friend’s birthday party.
It was going to be at Blazer Tag. The first thing I said to convince my mom was: “I’ll clean the whole house!”
My mom said I could go without cleaning the whole house and only cleaning my room. But then my mom said, “I won’t be able to drive you there because I’m going somewhere, so how are you going to go?”
I wondered, “Maybe I can ask my older sister since she has a car.”
My big sister agreed to pick me up after the birthday party. I just couldn’t wait to go to Blazer Tag with my friends. Sadly, my brother couldn’t go, but at least he had a phone to entertain himself!
I really enjoyed spending time with my friends. After that, I learned that when you convince someone, try to convince small, then go big!
I See the Chocolate
I see the chocolate, dark as the night. I see lollipops acting like trees and Jolly Ranchers on the ground. I see candy canes bright and shiny, standing like flowers. Every house looks like a ginger bread house. The light blue sky is made of blue Airheads. But I always want to eat those rivers full of… Nutella!
The Trampoline Park
The trampoline park is cool. You can do flips. The most fun thing about it is dodge ball. I had my birthday there before. My family and my friends from school, we all started to play dodge ball. I smelled food. I saw people jumping. Sometimes I heard music. And the music was awesome. When it was time to leave, I felt MAD. The reason I was mad was because I wanted to stay!
When I had to Convince Someone of Something
So, one time I had to convince someone was when I wanted to get a video game, but my mom wouldn’t let me get it. She said it was too expensive. But then I said I would pay the money back if she got it, and guess what? It worked! I really didn’t expect it to work.
Another time I had to persuade someone was when I had to persuade my cat to play with a laser toy. But of course, she’s a cat, so she didn’t. So, I played with it to show her. And she played with it! It worked!
How to Make the Best Sandwich Ever!
To make the best sandwich ever, first put some Nutella on the top. Then, put some peanut butter inside. Next, put in some chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream, and strawberry ice cream. Last but not least, some caramel syrup. Then spread it on the bread on the top. Put it in the oven to make it heat up and—oh, some mustard! Now you’re good to go.