Tag Archives: elementary

The Write Stars

18 Jul

The second-, third-, and fourth-graders at the Magellan School this summer are dreamers and thinkers. They wish for dogs, cats, and even colorful frogs! They dream of cats in a Candy Cane Hotel. They pretend that they are dogs who go crazy when the doorbell rings. Have you ever imagined that you were sucked into a mirror? Have you ever dreamt that you were a fire alarm or a great white shark? Well, they have. Have you ever tried to console a pig with no tail or stop an angry cow from saying moo? Well, they’ve done that, too! We all know someone who refuses to clean their room, but have you ever seen the piles stretch across the United States? Although we had our share of laughter, these students also wrote serious pieces about war and losing beloved pets. In one short week, these thoughtful children explored their imaginations and shared heartfelt stories.

I am so proud of the time and attention they’ve given to their craft. I see a bright future when I observe these students playing piano in the mornings, revising pieces with their peers, or reading books until their hearts are content. It is a future filled with dreams, wishes, and the words it takes to explain them all.

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

The Cat Problem

cats

One day I told my mom I wanted a cat.
My mom said, “I will think about it and I will tell you
after we go to San Francisco.”
So, we went to San Francisco and saw my cousins,
Jonah and Kegen.
Then, we went on a road trip to Disneyland
and stayed at the Candy Cane Hotel.
Then we went back home.
Then I asked if I could get a cat and she said
she would think about it.

Eileen Do

 

I’m a Dog

dog

I am a dog.
I like to be petted, and I am white and brown.
I go to the park and play fetch.
I’m well-trained.
I see people, wet grass, and other dogs.
I chase the tennis ball.
I could dream about my owners petting me all day.
I am scared of coyotes.
I don’t like it when my owners leave me,
but I like it when they come home and pet me.
If someone rings the doorbell, I go crazy.

Sajan Gupta

 

Dream Puppy

puppypaws

My name is Anjali, and I want a puppy like this:
It will have fur, but I won’t be allergic to it.
The puppy will be small and adorable.
It will live forever, and I will name it Kenzie.
Kenzie will be my girl best friend.
She will be as soft as a blanket.
Kenzie will be playful and won’t like cats or kittens.
When dry, she will smell like lavender.
When wet, she will smell like chocolate.
Kenzie will eat and drink everything, even chocolate, and won’t die.
She will bark as cute as a puppy can.
When she comes running into my arms, it will sound like little raindrops.

Anjali Mahajan

 

Through My Mirror

mirror

Last night, I went through my mirror.
It was quite a sight to see my hand go through the mirror.
It was a delight when it was morning.
I screamed, wiggled, and shouted.
It seems I could not get out.

Sydney Nelson

 

Fire Alarm

firealarm

I am a small, red fire alarm.
I live in schools, classrooms, homes, and buildings.
I smell smoke.
When there is a fire, I make a really loud ring, ring sound that kids hate.
I say, “Fire! Fire!” on the outside.
I am as big as an ant, but as small as a book.
Through the day, I sense fire to keep people safe.
I smell smoke and I hear people.
I feel safe and I see rooms.
I feel the wall.
I taste fire and smoke.
I am afraid I might drop and shatter.
I dream of saving people’s lives.
I like seeing kids learning.
I hate smoke detectors.
I do not like it when kids cry or take me off the wall.
I have had a great life.

Sophia Nikazm

 

I Wish I Was Anything

glitter

I wish I was a bird that was blue
and I could fly so high.
I wish I was a dog that was a boxer
so my owner would follow
my command.
I wish I was a great white shark that
could eat lots
of prey.
I wish I was a queen,
so everyone could
follow my command.
I wish I was
everything.

Prajna Parajuli

 

An Army

sword

An army shields yellow like the sunrise
Armor shining like the stars
Feet stomp the ground like drums
Swords gleam like diamonds
An army in the Persian Gulf of Alexander
Against the army of Persians

Nathaniel Rostvold

 

Calysta Would Not Clean Her Room

garbage

-after Shel Silverstein’s “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out”

My sister Calysta would not clean her room. She played games, did puzzles, danced, sang, and did everything but clean her room. So trash, dirty clothes, and toys filled her room. You couldn’t even sleep or open the windows, and you couldn’t even walk in the door!

Nobody even talked to her or played with her, but they did say, “Clean your room!”

But she did not listen. The pile got even bigger. The pile filled the whole United States. Nobody could move or anything.

Then she realized that it was bad not to clean her room, so she cleaned her room. Now she always cleans her room every five days.

Miralei Storer

 

The Frogs in the Rainforest

frog

Once upon a time, there lived a rough frog. He was red and green. One day, he met a red and blue frog, and she was soft. They both liked each other.

One day, the red and green frog named Phillip took the red and blue frog named Sophie to the beach.

Sophie met her father there. She never knew she had a father.

Sophie asked, “Who are you?”

He said, “Sophie, I am your father.”

Then, Sophie and her father went to go to a party.

Phillip was all alone. He said, “Sophie, congratulations on finding your father.”

Sophie said, “Come with us to the party.”

Phillip said okay. And they all lived happily ever after.

Simone Strong

 

Begging My Dad for a Dog

dachshund

I am eight years old. I begged my dad to get me a dog, but he said no.

I’ve been begging for a dog since I was at least five years old. When I was seven, I got a trial. If I could take care of a puppy, then I could keep it. But I failed.

Then, my dad promised me I could get a dog when I turned eighteen. I complained to my dad that this was too long to wait, that I wanted a puppy now.

Right now, I still beg my parents to get me a puppy. I did research on a dog that I want. It is called a dachshund. It’s a long dog, and it can be flexible. I still think that I can get another type of dog besides a dachshund if I beg my dad hard enough, but I try not to push it. I still really want a puppy.

Amanda Tang

 

The Bad Day

cow

I was angry, as mad as a bull,
and also sad as the color blue
because they dared me
to stop a mad cow saying moo.

I was as blue as a water bottle,
I was red as an angry face
and then I just saw the mad cow gaze.

I was disappointed as a cat,
I felt heartless as a person would be.
I am angry now,
that you can see!

Elise Josephine Tjiptadjaja

 

Norman

guineapig

One Sunday after church, when we got home, I started to clean up the living room. My dad went outside to feed Norman, our guinea pig.

But when he went outside, guess what he saw? He saw that Norman was dead!

After that, he came in to tell us. My mom and I started crying. That night, my dad was so sad that he did not even eat dinner.

Also, when he found Norman, my sister, Iman, was asleep. The next day, Iman asked, “Where is Norman?”

I said to her sadly, “Norman, he… he died.”

Then she asked in a really surprised voice, “What?”

Norman was a nice guinea pig. He was white, brown, and dark brown. We loved him a lot.

Ian Xu

 

No Tail Pig

pigtail

I am a pig. I have a great life.

One day, a male pig in my pen said, “I have no tail!”

When everybody realized this, they all went away.

He said, “When people pick me up, I feel like they are going to eat me. I don’t feel good having no tail. It feels very weird. I look like a hot air balloon without a tail. I tried to make a tail out of hay, but I do not have hands. When I roll in the mud pit, I get a little happier. When I wash off, I see my back, and all my happiness goes away. I am a pink pig with a little bit of hair on my back. My nose gets bigger every day. I see green grass. I feel rough hay. I smell fresh air. I taste tasty garbage. My hope is not to get eaten. My dream is to have a tail. My fear is becoming bacon. I dislike having no tail.”

Iman Xu

The Champions

11 Jul

I am always surprised by student work, particularly when it comes from young children. But what struck me most about this group of lower-elementary writers at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church? From the first day, they demonstrated an inherent curiosity in one another and a sincere interest in each other’s opinions, writing, and ideas. The grace my students exhibited when listening to each other helped to propel each student’s confidence and voice so that the work they produced garnered a new importance and creative authority.

At sharing time, after each student read a poem—or perhaps a story she hadn’t finished (so that part of the story was spoken from memory, in front of all of us, eyes wide with anticipation and the wonder that comes from performance)—hands shot up from the inquisitive audience, and their responses to each other’s work (which ranged from quoting the funniest line of dialogue to appreciating the story’s tension and mystery) were thought-provoking and remarkable in themselves.

When I first started writing creatively, I wasn’t much older than the girls in my class, but I did not have a community like this one to encourage me to write and to think about what I was writing. I believe this community they so easily and automatically fostered will help not only their writing but other experiences as they grow and enter the world, making them better prepared to embark on their own potential realities and yet-unwritten futures.

Rachel Gray
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Buttercup’s Family

I went downstairs and opened the door. No one was there.

Then I heard a meow.

I looked down and there was my kitty, Buttercup! She had something in her mouth. I took it. It was a… Before I could tell what it was, she took it right back. Then she meowed again. Then a whole alley of cats appeared.

I dropped my mouth open and looked down to see Buttercup, but she was with her family.

Story Rogers

 

The Writer

Every day, I see a lady sitting on a bench with a piece of paper and a pencil, writing day and night. I wonder:  what is she writing?

The next day, I notice one piece of paper lying on a bench. I read it. It doesn’t seem like it’s finished yet.

I look up. On all the other benches, a single piece of paper sits on each. I soon read all of them and it makes one big story.

Emily Piper

 

The Other Side of Oz

So, you’ve met Dorothy, but have you met her twin sister? I don’t think so. She’s from California, but she is the bad twin.

Oh, no! Another tornado is coming toward us!

Are we back over the rainbow?

Yes! But we need to go back.

No! I never want to go back. I want to see that wizard. So, which way to the Wizard?

Well, you have to follow the Yellow Brick Road.

Fine, I will do that.

So, they did. Until the road became two different roads. There was a red road and a yellow road.

Oh, yeah. I don’t care about the Wizard now. I want to see where that road goes.

So, they went.

Then they saw a sign. The sign said they had reached the Haunted Forest.

I don’t want to go in there, said Dorothy.

Well, I do, said the sister. This will be so cool. Come on.

So, they went.

Then they saw a wolf! It was growling and barking.

It’s trying to bite us.

It’s trying to bite you, not me. I’m going to pet it.

No. Don’t do that.

Why not? It’s not going to bite if you do it right.

Catalina Elizondo

 

I’m Sorry

I’m sorry I had lunch with
you and I didn’t offer you any.
I’m sorry that I tried to pop
you. You just make such a satisfying sound,
and I’m sorry that you are dragged
around every day just to be forgotten.
I’m sorry that I let you go. I
just love the way you gracefully float
up to the ceiling.
Please forgive me, balloon.

Vivian Moore

 

Horses

One day, Eva and Story were riding horses. Story’s horse was Cozy. Eva’s horse was Crystal. There were racing over jumps, like Cross Rails, Oxers, and Verticals. They were in a big field full of emerald green grass and trees with perfect green leaves and chocolate-colored trunks. They jumped for hours after dinner and lunch. They rode forever.

One day, a fox arrived. Eva’s horse Crystal got spooked and ran. Eva fell off, but luckily she landed on a soft patch of grass. Her horse Crystal slipped and fell. She twisted her ankle.

Story had a ranch. Story offered her one of her horses from her ranch. Eva was riding Good Night.

The next day Crystal, was all better. Eva rode Crystal. Story rode Cozy.

They were all BFFs. Best Friends Forever.

Eva Texcucano

 

Little Pink Riding Hood

Of course you’ve heard of Little Red Riding Hood, but have you heard of Little Pink Riding Hood? No, no you haven’t? Well, here’s the story.

Once upon—okay, let me back up. If I don’t tell you this, you’ll be totally confused. Okay, Little Pink is Little Red’s twin sister. Back to the story.

Once upon a time, Little Red and Little Pink were playing Rocket outside. Their mom came out and had a long present and a basket of candy. It was their grandpa’s birthday. “Little Pink, can you get these two presents to Grandpa, please?” said Mom.

“Okay,” Little Pink said with a cheesy smile.

“Why can’t I?” asked Little Red.

“Because,” said Mom. “Last time Grandma almost died when you delivered the gift! I’m still so mad at you. Plus, I want to give Little Pink a turn.”

Little Red wasn’t sure of this, so when Mom went back inside and Little Pink went in the woods, Little Red Riding Hood followed her with her Mom’s phone so she could videotape it.

Before long, Little Pink went off the path into the woods.

“Oh, oh!” said Little Red, and she followed her sister while videotaping.

Little Pink went into a cottage. Little Red followed and quickly hid where she could videotape when she got in the cottage. There were The Seven Dwarfs and Snow White.

Okay, of course you didn’t think Snow White would be in this story, but she is. So, yeah. Anyway.

“Dwarfs, why do you have this cane? It’s a piece of junk,” said Little Pink.

“We have a sticker to put on his car!” said one of the Dwarfs.

“Silly! He ain’t have a car!” said Little Pink.

“Good. We made it into a saddle. It extends,” said Stinky. “That will hurt his butt!”

“You guys are useless,” said Little Pink and left.

No one saw Little Red go. Wow, she’s awesome at this, Little Red thought.

Anyway, Little Pink went to Grandpa’s house, and do you know what she said? She said this: “OMG, Mom and Little Red are terrible. Grandpa will only like my present.” Little Red did not know Little Pink was sassy, but apparently she was. Back to the story.

Little Red took a shortcut so she could get to Grandpa’s first. Little Red said this to Grandpa: “Happy Birthday. Me and Little Pink’s present will come in a minute, but Little Pink is a bit slow.” Grandpa laughed.

When Little Pink got there, Little Pink was confused. She said Happy Birthday strangely.

P.S. Little Red stopped the video after Little Pink said happy birthday.

Grandpa opened his presents. He liked both of them.

When they headed back, Little Red took a shortcut, so she got there more quickly. She immediately showed her mom the video. Mom was mad. Little Pink got home. Mom showed her the video, and Little Pink got in trouble.

“Little Pink,” said Mom. “As long as you live with me, Red does the delivering.”

To Pink, that wasn’t much of a punishment, but it still was.

Okay, so I’m only telling you this now so you don’t think I’m lying. Little Pink’s the mischievous and bad twin.

Well, to be continued… because it’s not the end of their lives. Or is it?!

No, to be continued.

Leela Menon

The Dank Hollows

7 Jul

Three friends rob a bank and battle the military. A museum night guard evades ghostly possession and death. A cat trips off Coca-Cola and cruises its neighborhood via out-of-body experience. These are just a few plots of the story excerpts and poems you are about to read, tidbits and musings from the minds of thirteen dynamic and imaginative upper-elementary kids who attended our one-week Badgerdog Creative Writing Camp at Our Lady’s Maronite Catholic Church. The breadth of their writing reveals diverse perspectives on various topics, such as home and family, duty and heroism, solitude and self-reflection, and reality and dreams. Over the course of our week together, they thought about the world differently and discovered news sources of inspiration, each student utilizing his or her own writing style to create works that resonated with the entire class. These young writers were greatly in tune with each other’s creative work; they listened intently, provided constructive feedback, and asked loads of questions. By the end, they were developing characters and entire stories as a group. This proves that writing doesn’t have to be an individualized, private process restricted to the confines of one’s study or bedroom. Writing can bring people together and establish commonality and solidarity. I think, because of this, there is an odd cohesiveness to the pieces below. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but maybe you can. Hope you enjoy!

Patricia Marquez
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Escaping the Lighthouse

“You better come back here this instant, young lady!” cried Lilyth’s stepmother, Ruby. You see, Lilyth was escaping from the lighthouse she lived in with her unloving father and evil stepmother. Lilith had been miserable since her mother died. When her mother was still alive, Lilyth was perfectly happy. True, she had known her father didn’t care for her or her mother, but she didn’t care as long as her mother was there.

But then Lilyth’s greatest fear came true. Her mother died. She drowned swimming in the ocean. The waves looked like a smooth surface of a lake that day, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that her mother was too beautiful. So beautiful that a shark spotted her and swallowed her whole. But, to make it worse, her father didn’t care one bit. He actually seemed rather happy. One month later, he had a new wife. So, Lilyth was escaping this once beautiful, sparkly, lighthouse home, not a dreary, dim, miserable house.

She set sail almost immediately. One week later, she saw a storm in the distance. It was blowing towards her quickly. She tried to turn the boat around, but before she knew it, the storm was upon her. The waves turned from five feet tall, to ten feet, to fifteen, until eventually they were forty feet tall. Then she saw it. A hurricane. A few miles from her. She could already feel the boat being pulled towards it. Even though she knew she was nowhere near land, she shouted into the distance, “HELP!” No response, except the thunder. “HELP!” She looked at the hurricane. It was a few feet from her. Now she was in the hurricane, heading towards the eye.

Rosemary Grace Poe

 

Museum

My name is John Baker. I’m a museum night guard. Well, not anymore. In fact, I’m never going to be a museum night guard again. Do you want to know why? I’ll take that as a yes.

It was in 2000, seventeen years ago. My partner, Rick, was working in the World War II exhibit. I was in the dinosaur exhibit. It was 11:16 p.m. The only lights on were the ones in our office. Lately, stuff had been strange around there, like reported whispering, and stuff falling off walls. I was walking by the pterodactyl statue when I heard Rick scream. I ran to his exhibit. It was quiet. I thought I heard voices. I whispered, “Rick… ?” No answer. I began to freak out. However, I stayed calm and looked for Rick.

I was about to turn a corner when a picture of a group of miserable soldiers fell off the wall. This picture was quite creepy. Well, more creepy than the others. Hands shaking, I hung it back up. It suddenly fell out of my hands. A sharp stabbing pain in the back of my neck had me falling to the cold floor. I couldn’t move. Familiar-faced, ghost-like soldiers stepped over me. I blacked out.

To this day, they don’t know what happened to Rick. That museum closed two years ago because of a ghost named Rick.

Link Pruner

 

The Bank Heist

“Hurry! Get the money now! We have two hundred grand on our hands, so get it done!” said Trevor, holding a huge case. We had fourteen minutes left. I went to the safe and put a sticky bomb on it. The sticky bomb exploded in front of the safe, and I took the money.

“Hey, Trevor, I got the money. Let’s go!”

He responded, “Okay, we have twelve minutes.”

I ran to the exit of the bank with my friend, Brandon. When we got there, the door was locked. “We’re trapped!” I said.

“There’s no sticky bombs?” Brandon asked.

“No. Hey, Trevor, you have sticky bombs?”

“Why do you always ask for my stuff?!” yelled Trevor, shooting the cops that were charging into the bank.

“Hold on. I might have some picklocks,” said Brandon. He took out the picklocks and tried to open the door. Trevor killed all the police and rushed to us. “Can ya hurry up?! We got three minutes left until the alarm starts and even more police start coming!”

Brandon opened the door with the picklock and gasped. “Oh no, oh no!” said Brandon. We were too late. The whole Merriwether Military was there. Tanks, helicopters, and thousands of police cars.

“It’s all right. Don’t say a word,” whispered Trevor. “You wanna know why I’ve been holding this case the whole time? It’s because of this.”

John- Paul Fernandez

 

Trump and the Chimpanzee

Donald J. Trump and Bill-Bob the chimpanzee were talking. Donald Trump said, “We need to build a huge wall from Mexico to China.” The chimpanzee could not reply because he could not talk over Donald Trump saying, “I like young women, especially when I can bribe them with huge amounts of money.” Right then, Donald Trump left to go to the White House and make ties.

Lincoln Evans

 

The End of the World

Where am I? Why is it so dark? What is this? The paper reads: The world will end on June 24, 2017. Oh no! That’s tomorrow! Wait, there’s another paper. It reads there are seven things that will happen until the end of the world. First, the floor will start shaking… Do you feel that? That’s the first stage. The second stage is no lights. The lights started flickering. That’s the second stage. The third stage is no water. Speaking of water, let me go to get some… Oh, no! No water — that’s the third stage. The fourth stage is the food going bad. Let me get some. I’m hungry. Wait, that’s the fourth stage. It has already gone bad. Wait, what time is it? It’s going very fast. It’s 12:00 p.m., and it says the world will end at 2:00 p.m. We only have two more hours. The fifth stage, lots of tornadoes. Wait, do you hear the sirens? That’s the fifth stage. The sixth stage, lots of people dying. Whoa, there goes the ambulance. That’s the sixth stage. What time is it? Oh, no. We only have fifteen minutes. We need to get these people on a rocket. It won’t take that long — it’s a small town. Okay, everyone’s on. Let’s go to Venus. Oh, no. Hurry! Let’s go now! The world is breaking in half! Okay, everyone is safe. Wow, what a dream. Wait, where am I? Why is it so dark? What is this?

Sarah Elizondo

 

Coke

I came bounding home over the tree log and right onto the front porch. I scratched and mewed at the door as my boy, Eric, answered. As soon as the door opened, I scrambled in to find my water bowl. It was right next to the food bowl, but something was different. The liquid was fizzy. I didn’t care. I was way too thirsty. As I drank the liquid, it stung my tongue and throat.

Eric said, “How’s that Coke?” That must be what it is. In my thoughts I noticed that I was not on the ground anymore. I was floating up and up and up. I tried to scramble down, but I kept on going and — oh, no! The skylights were open, and I went up out into the open air. I saw a tree. It was a pine. I frantically tried to get to the tree, but I couldn’t do it. Then, all of a sudden, an unpleasant warm breeze that ruffled my fur brought me over to the tree. I clung on for all my life, and way down below I heard Eric calling my name. “Coke, Coke.” So that’s why he fed me Coke. When I made this realization, I let go of the tree. Luckily, there was another pine, so I reached and grabbed one and I stayed on, so close that I thought the sharp scent of pine would kill me. I started climbing down the tree and touched the ground. Whoops! As soon as I let go of the tree, I flew up. I thought with melancholy that I wouldn’t even touch the ground, at least for awhile. But at least I was safe for now.

I finally got there. And I started to run faster than the wind, straight home to Eric.

Anna Schneeman

 

The Timeturner

The last thing I knew I was home, tired and hungry. I ate a small sandwich and went straight to getting ready for bed. Then it was pitch black, and I was lying in my bed peacefully…

Wham!

I got up with a jolt of anxiety in my bones. One minute I was sleeping peacefully within the darkness of my room, and what felt like a second later, the rays of the sun hit me. Normally, I would go back to sleep, the light never waking me in the first place. But this place made me feel like I never needed to sleep again. That’s when my senses hit me. I had no idea where I was.

“Where am I?” I said in awe. This had to be a dream, in a plain room with light streaming in. That’s when I saw it — the rays pointing at the golden object. A necklace… a Timeturner!

I hit myself in the face, and it didn’t hurt. I was dreaming. I went up to the table and took the Timeturner. It was cold, despite the fact that it had been in the sun.

As soon as I put it on, I woke up. My room was not dark, for it was morning. I got up and went to brush my teeth. Then I saw the gold glistening on my neck. How is that possible? Somehow I seemed to get ready in two seconds because, before I knew it, I was inside a museum. It looked empty. In fact, the world was silencing the humans. I could only hear a small breeze.

Uma Menon

 

Battling the Oslarbs

I shot my arrow at the Oslarb, piercing his eye, causing him to scream, and blinding him. He stumbled around, then I heard something behind me. I whipped around, and then silently cursed under my breath. They had tricked me!

I unsheathed my sword, slashing the blade at the creatures. They were fast, but not fast enough to block my blows. Three lay motionless on the ground, but the other two were Elite Oslarbs. They were bigger, faster, and very agile. I cringed in fear just looking at them. I knew I couldn’t take on both at once. I saw a tree with a slanted trunk, so I dashed towards it, running up to shoot them from afar. The Oslarbs couldn’t climb, so they took their axes and started chopping the tree. I aimed at the Oslarb’s lungs so the poison would stop him from breathing.

The tree started to drop, so I jumped towards a second tree hanging on by a finger. He pulled himself up, using all his strength. The Oslarb grabbed his throat. At the last second, he threw a knife at me and hit my right side, and I yelled in severe pain before he fell to the ground.

Asena Gursel

 

Voyage of the Freseke 1

“We are just importing some cargo to Barbados.”

“It’s still a long ways away,” Johanna said. “My first mate.”

“Thanks, honey. I love you,” I answered.

As I walked onto the giant tanker, I peered back to see Johanna. She was waving at me. It was a soft, gentle wave, a wave a man can never forget.

I entered the ship to see the Captain. He had a proud look on his face. He had on an all white uniform with a little gold sprinkled in places. On the captain’s head was a fancy Captain’s hat. “Welcome aboard, first mate!” yelled the Captain with excitement.

I walked through the halls of the ship, which were covered in rivets and screws. The halls all looked the same.

Alex Edmondson

 

The World’s Secret

Drip! Drip! Where am I? Why am I not in bed? Why is it dark? Questions fill my head. “Wake up.” I hear a man’s voice. His voice is gritty, yet pleasant.

“Who’s there?” I say shakily.

“Look in front of you,” says the man. The light turns on. When I look in front of me, I see a black stone table. On it there’s a folded piece of paper with the words TOP SECRET on it.

“What does it say inside?” I ask.

“The date that our beautiful home, Earth, will end,” the man says.

“Can I open it?” I ask.

“If you please. But just remember, if you do, you will have the most important piece of information the world will ever have. Are you ready for that responsibility?”

“Yes,” I say without hesitation. I rip the piece of paper in half.

I’m falling.

I black out.

I knew this day would come.

Lucas Jesser

 

My Name

My name is Sydney Piper
I really don’t like vipers
My favorite color is green
I think it’s really keen
I really like to cook
Even if it involves a book
I like much more than this
But I’ll stop, though
I have a longer list.

Sydney Piper

 

Summer

Sweet ripe melons sitting on the hay.
Big cruise ships sailing on the bay.
Sun shining down on the ocean blue,
Cows in green pastures saying mooo.
Flowers blooming up high on cliffs,
Smelling fresh baked pies in sweet strong sniffs.
Wheat stalks swaying in the gentle wind.
This is summer, my sweet friend.

Grace Rogers

 

Poem About Me

I am me
And me am I
When I was young
My eyes looked like the sky

Me am I
And I am me
I’m happy with my family
As happy as can be

Elliot Brown

Badgerdog Book Crush: Me and Marvin Gardens

16 Jun

Inspired by the novel Me and Marvin Gardens, this year’s Book Crushers wrote letters to Governor Greg Abbott urging greater environmental protections from lawmakers.

In this year’s wonderful Book Crush novel, Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King, eleven-year-old protagonist Obe Devlin tells a surprising and multi-layered story about the Pennsylvania acres that were once his great-grandfather’s farmland, one hundred years ago.

During one jam-packed and exciting week of reading, writing, discussing, and art-making, we explored the book’s characters and themes through many different lenses. We read:

  • as detectives, searching for the secrets everyone keeps in the story and the unsolved mysteries beneath the surface
  • as actors, acting out dramatic scenes from the book, improvising new ones, and writing our own
  • as architects, examining how the design and form of the novel connect with its themes
  • as historians, imagining the history of the land our houses were built on and asking parents and grandparents what our own great-grandparents were up to one hundred years ago
  • as scientists, making our own observations of the natural world and imagining what innovations the future could bring
  • and as citizens, putting the book’s messages into action by writing letters to Texas Governor Greg Abbott about the environmental topics that mattered most to each of us.

The nine amazing Book Crushers also tried out one of Obe’s favorite pastimes—picking up trash. Over the course of three days, they collected a large trash-bag’s worth of litter from the grounds of the Carver Museum, and then turned it into their very own Garbage Gallery: a series of sculptures and collages made from found objects. They attached “found poetry” collected and clipped from Me and Marvin Gardens to their art pieces as well, and the result was a powerful exhibit of artwork about pollution. As you’ll see, it really captures the spirit of both the book and the Book Crushers—passionate, a little wild, and full of hope.

Noah Weisz
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

One Hundred Years Ago

One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather started to protest.  Migrant workers were upset because they didn’t have enough money for food.  Migrant workers were poor, so their children had to do hard work in the fields.  They mostly came from Mexico and were treated very poorly.  When one worker demanded more pay, the boss ignored him.  But all the migrant workers formed a union.

That’s where my great-grandfather came in.  He gave money to the union and helped protest.  Sadly the boss called the police and the police sided with the rich boss.  The police stopped the union by beating people up.  That didn’t stop the migrant workers, though.  It took them years and years and great-grandfather Ellis continued to always be a strong supporter of the union.  I learned from great-grandfather Ellis to never give up and to fight for what’s right.

Lena Colton Boas

 

Devlin Creek

Lena Colton Boas and Mayla Montgomery

 

Infinite Smiles

Zachary May

 

Bottle Full of Trash

A reminder that if we continue down this same path, if we do nothing, if we fail to act, then our world will look much like this bottle full of trash (but probably less bright and colorful!).

Zachary May and Jordan Saleh

 

My Great-Grandfather’s Voyage

Every day I thought of it, my eyes welled up with tears. Should I have left my family or not?

I tried to distract myself with other thoughts. A few hours later, we arrived at the next port. I pushed myself through the crowd and walked to the next boat. When I got there, the person standing in front of the boat shook his head no. He started to say something I didn’t understand. I was pulled back onto the boat I was on first. I was angry. The sea sparkled in a way that made me feel that it was laughing at me.

After many nights staying on that boat, we finally were allowed to board the next boat. During these next few nights, I had made a decision to go to Mexico instead of Poland. I was watching the sea’s waves pounding against the boat when someone spoke to me in my language.

“Are you coming here from Poland?” said a young man about my age who was standing next to me.

“Yes, are you?” I replied. He nodded yes. Suddenly he shouted as he looked over my head. I turned to see what he was looking at, and my eyes started to water. We had made it to Mexico after so many months.

Sunny Greenblum

 

Tree

… And from an unwanted soda can, a paper tree sprouted from the earth into the air, reaching out its long, thin, airy limbs and offering a single golden flower.

Sunny Greenblum and Gillian Lucente

 

100 Years Ago on My Mom’s Side of the Family

One hundred years ago, my great-grandfather, named George Murray Hulbert, was born in the New York area. He loved to study olden-day ships on the salty water, and the breeze that was salty enough that it hurt your eyes if you kept them open for three minutes. He loved political things too, like president things. Well, when he was walking around the salty-smelling docks for a job, he asked if he could take the jobs near the docks. Some men tested him to see if he could do anything with the docks. He impressed the men so much that he got the job of being in charge of the docks.

Six or seven years later, he got the job to be mayor of New York City. His wife was so happy that she gave him a hug. Six years after that, he got a letter from the president saying, “George M. Hulbert, since you have done so well and proven to everyone that you’re a nice, smart, and clever man, you should be president!”

After two years, he got a letter from his wife saying that she had a girl child and named it Regina Elizabeth Hulbert. He smiled and thought to himself while looking out the window, Wow… I hope she is going to grow into that name. He smiled because he knew that Regina meant queen.

Gillian Lucente

 

My House

Ruby Airhart

 

Volcano

Imagine a small but powerful (and colorful and creative) volcano made not from rock and lava, but from recycled materials. Don’t worry, you don’t have to! Ruby created just such a volcano for us.

Ruby Airhart

 

One Hundred Years Ago

I am Mary Sophia Borlase. I was born on March 11, 1904. I grew up in rural Philadelphia. I was the third of four children. I was also the only girl. Two of my brothers were older than me, and one was younger.

Even though I was only five-foot-two, I played girls’ basketball in high school. After graduating from high school, I went to secretarial school since my parents couldn’t afford to send me to college. I learned how to type and how to organize things like folders, documents, and flyers. After that, I managed to get a job as a secretary at the Sears headquarters. This was amazing, because most women didn’t have a career. Heck, we didn’t even get the right to vote till August 18, 1920!

I took that job seriously, and I kept getting promoted. Soon I became the private secretary to the chairman of the board of Sears. My boss was the rich Mr. Rosenwald. His family founded the Museum of Science and Industry. Mr. R also collected fine art.

Soon after getting promoted, I met my future husband. He didn’t want me to work, so I quit at age thirty-two. I still came to Mr. Rosenwald’s estate, though. I organized his traveling art exhibits. Then I’d ship them to loan to museums all over the country! I learned that it doesn’t matter if you are a boy or girl, old or young, black or white. \ Just reach for the stars.

M. M. Montgomery

 

The Day Obe Moved Seats

Tommy went to his seat. The bus driver greeted me saying, “Can you sit next to Tommy because he and Mike haven’t been making the best choices next to each other?”

“Sure,” I sighed. Then I walked slowly to get to Tommy. I didn’t see Mike, but I was sure he wouldn’t listen to the bus driver.

“What are you doing here?” Tommy asked.

“The bus driver told me to move next to you,” I said.

“Who listens to the bus driver these days? It’s a free country. Go sit somewhere else,” Tommy said.

“I’m not moving seats,” I said.

The bus driver dropped us off.

“Where were you, Obe?” Annie asked.

“The bus driver told me to move next to Tommy,” I said.

“Are you okay?” asked Annie.

“I’m fine,” I said.

“Well, tell the bus driver if he bullies you,” Annie said.

“Okay, I’ll tell her after school.”

Jordan Saleh

 

100 Years From Now

One hundred years from now, when you are rushing to your son’s best friend’s birthday party in your fancy car, you look at the dashboard and see three lights. One is green, one is yellow, and one is red. You see that the only light on is the red one.  So when you get to the next intersection, you stop and wait like we normally do. Then the light on your dashboard turns green and you go. When you get to the next intersection, red lights start flashing.  That means you only have five more miles before you run out of electricity and you are stuck in the middle of the road. So then you go to the nearest electric station and fill up for 100 more miles. Then you pay your fee of five dollars. Then you speed off toward your son’s best friend’s birthday party. And three hours later you drive back home and cook dinner on your electric stove.

Deven Sharma 

 

Recycling Symbol

What if a recycling symbol were made out of recycled materials?! (And sentences from a book about a monster who only eats plastic?)

Deven Sharma

 

Older Marvin, Tommy, and Obe

It was one hundred years later.  Tommy and Obe were watching Marvin splashing in the water.

Tommy said, “I miss those days, when Boardwalk was with the babies. Now the babies are gone with their own families, and Boardwalk is at home.”

“Yes,” said Obe. “I remember that.”

Rohan Sharma

 

The Golden Garden

What will gardens look like in 100 years? Will they be lush, verdant, and filled with flowers, birds, and insects? Or will they look more like this… blossoms of soda cans and discarded trash? The answer is up to us!

Rohan Sharma

Who I Am Is Where I Am From

10 May

What a delight to walk into the cafeteria after what must be a long school day for the students and see the eager faces of the Baty Elementary writers. Ready to capture stories about their names or poems about their dreams, the results of their creativity are wonderful. Walk into one student’s room, and you might run into a pile of clothes “so high, you can see them a mile in the sky.” In another cluttered space, a dog enters wearing a hat! Names feel “like the fluffiest pillow in the whole wide world” or “smell like garbage poop.” We connect with the rich Mexican heritage of family, friends, and foods in several “I Am From” poems. And only the most fertile imaginations could have created tales of escaping donuts and the invasion of gigantic purple marshmallows. Stay tuned, because I guarantee you will see more in the future from these emerging authors.

Terri Schexnayder
Teaching Artist

My Wonderful Name

My name smells like a room full of lavender perfume.
My name feels like the fluffiest pillow in the whole wide world.
My name looks like the finest vase of white carnations.
My name tastes like the best sugar cookies—right out of the oven.
My name sounds like clapping hands at a wedding.
My name is Kendyll.

Kendyll Bell

I am From

I am from playing games on two iPads.
I am from singing “Us!”
I am from watching “Backstage,” “Girl Meets World,” and “Daily Bumps.”
I am from eating seafood, like juicy salmon.
I am from a crazy brain and body.
I am from jumping on a trampoline that bounces me five feet into the air.
I am from a crazy, fun friend with a nonstop mind.

I am from a home with a gray hamster and two dogs—a Chihuahua/Hot Dog and a Labrador.
I am from a big family with four older siblings—all girls and my dad.
I am from an uncle who owns a Fiesta in Houston.
I am from a nephew who is nosy and another who cries a lot.
I am from a Mexican family, kind of poor.
I am from Austin, Texas.

Jazmine Covarrubias

Isaiah

My name smells like sunflowers.
My name tastes like pepperoni pizza.
My name sounds very peaceful and quiet.
My name feels like a soft, little puppy.
Isaiah.
An exciting name—one that raises the roof.

Isaiah Guzman

My Name

My name is ugly. I do not like it, because “Jeimi” is the Spanish spelling, and in English it’s “Jaime.” The fourth-grade teachers always mistake me and my friend Jaime. My name tastes like garbage with poop and rotten milk. It sounds like boys screaming. Its touch is like rough sand. My mom spells her name a little differently than mine. Like this: Jeymi. I want to be called Cristiano Ronaldo and would love to tell my mom to change my name.

Jeimi Jimenez

I am From

I am from wearing pink all day.
I am from three pets that are adorable—
one cute bunny, a beautiful blue bird, and an itty-bitty green parakeet.
I am from the most delicious food that my mother bakes,
like tacos, beans, and alphabet soup.
I am from the tradition of going somewhere, like Schlitterbahn, every Sunday.
I am from a family who’s fun to play with,
the kind family who gives hugs every night,
one that is historical with ancestors rich in Mexican heritage.

I am from a friend named Silvia who has a lot of secrets
and another who does not trust me.
I am from an artist friend who makes masterpieces
and another who writes beautifully.
I am from a soccer-loving brother who never stops playing.
I am from a brother who loves to play on his Wii all night long.
I am from a sister who writes very neatly
and another who enjoys playing outside.
I am from a dad who works a lot.

I am from a very exciting team named Badgerdog.
I am from Austin, Texas, which has a beautiful view all day and all night.

Yasmin Ortiz

Keep on Dreaming

Dreams cannot fly if they are broken.
Life is too short.
Dreams should live a long time.
If your dreams are broken,
life is a bird with broken wings.
But if your dreams are fulfilled, the eagle will soar.
If you dream big, success is yours.

Erica Orturio

How to Survive the Invasion of the Giant Purple Marshmallows

They’re coming! The purple marshmallows—the big, fat, ginormous ones! Join me to prepare for an invasion in Austin, Texas. Are you with me? First, we need brave people to step up and fight. Next, find a football field-length net in which to catch the huge attacking marshmallows. After that, gather chocolate, graham crackers, and, of course, build a large campfire. As the gigantic purple marshmallow starts zooming towards you, throw the net around it; then put the creature on your graham cracker and smash it down with the piece of chocolate. Roast to perfection and enjoy your S’mores. You will never run out, because you will have a classroom full of marshmallows. They will soon stop invading because the word will get out to the other gigantic purple marshmallows: “Don’t ever attack Baty Elementary. They will swallow you up!”

Ajouk Otto

My Crazy Room

In my room, my PS4 uses its hands to play itself. My brother comes in with no pants because he has not washed his clothes in many years. He finally sprays his shirts, jeans, and socks with the hose! In my room, the dog, smelling very bad, comes in and puts on filthy clothes and my hat. He starts talking. “S’up?” he growls. My brothers and I freak out and race from the room while the dog munches on some nuts. Well, actually, he eats regular dog food—this is just a crazy dream!

Christopher Ramirez

The Escaping Donuts

There are six different types of donuts, and the blueberry one is the leader. She lives in a hot kitchen inside dark boxes with five others. One morning, the donuts, bought by a hungry family, decide to escape before they are eaten. Just as Luzia, the cute hair lady, is about to place the donut box in the back seat of the car, the determined donuts spin out of the box and roll onto the sidewalk. Bam! Bang! Splash! The chocolate and vanilla donuts bump into each other. A little boy steps on the raspberry one. Squish! The strawberry and cereal-tasting donuts keep on rolling as they try to escape, but a baby sitting on the floor of the store picks up the strawberry one and eats it. The final four donuts roll through the kitchen, past the man who is cooking breakfast. He is so hungry that he grabs both chocolate and vanilla and stuffs them into his mouth! The scared cereal-tasting donut and his fearless leader, Blueberry, are all that’s left. They hide in a barrel until night comes and the store closes. But the cleaning crew comes, picks up the barrel, and throws the last two escaping donuts in the trash.

Jenny Rueda

My Ugly Room

In my ugly room, my clothes are so high
you can see them a mile in the sky.
My dog comes in with six legs and two heads.
I wish he had brought in some beds.
My sister drags in her dirty clothes.
I wish she had also brought a hose!
My brother enters my room
hauling in a dirty broom.
I asked, “What are we going to do with that?”
He answered, “Let’s make a hat!”

Next, my mom delivers to my room some nasty food.
It is so disgusting, it smells like dunking doo!
In my room, my shoes are so crazy,
they look spiky and hairy.
When I walk in them, I look like a porcupine.
In my room, my dog ate my homework. (Or, so I told my teacher!)
I guess my room will stay ugly.
But, you know what? I kinda like it.

Jaime Silva

Call to the Sun

5 May

The Hornsby-Dunlap Poet Heroes gathered every Wednesday after school to share life stories and build friendships. We explored the lives of authors: Shel Silverstein, Billy Collins, and Langston Hughes; we used sensory details to write about our grandmothers and we practiced limericks, similes, and symbolism. We played imaginative games to practice identifying nouns, adjectives, and verbs. Each week, we were thrilled to see each other and sad to leave. A few parents expressed to me their surprise that their children could be so excited about poetry!

Poetry allows us to express ourselves in a way unique to and distinct from any other art form. Lara writes in her poem, “Oh, how the rain is driving me insane!” William writes, “With all this light, now I see the true meaning of life.” When we offer positive feedback and encouragement, we see our fellow writers take flight. As Danika writes, “‘You can fly?’ asked the mama. ‘Yes, I can,’ said baby bird.” There is no greater joy than witnessing a group of elementary students discovering their own potential, being supportive of each other, and having the courage to share their original works. I think once you read these wise and hilarious pieces, you will all feel like Samuel, “I am happy as a butterfly in the air.”

Jena Kirkpatrick
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

The Light

I am running, fast as a bird,
running fast as I can.
I can see the floor disappearing
behind me.
The darkness is coming
fast, quite fast.
I avoid all things in front of me,
all obstacles, all stops, all problems.
I can see the door of light,
but am I fast enough? Can I make it?
The darkness is right behind me.
I make a leap for the door,
and the floor under me turns into
thin air.
I grab onto the edge of the door.
I look down and see dark, dark, dark despair.
I pull myself up, then something grabs
on to my leg.
I turn over and see a
dark, decaying, evil silhouette of myself.
It tries to pull me down, but I say,
“Not this time!” as I kicked it off.
I pull myself into the doorway.
With all this light, now I see the
true meaning of life.

William Maldonado

Run to the Sun

A bright bird had a run to the sun.
The bird always believed he could touch the sun.
Fwoosh!
As he soared by the trees.
He thought he was getting closer to the sun.
Birds watched as he flew faster than any bird in the world.
He looked back for a second, then — smash!
Straight into a tree.
Down, down, down he went.
Plopped on the ground.
Next, the mama bird flew to him and said,
“You’ll get there some day, so keep trying.”
He smiled and flew back to his nest.

William Maldonado

Rhyme

A flower is like
a bower on stage
I am happy as
a butterfly in the air

I am crazy like
a bull
when I am outside
I’m sweet like
a bird

Samuel Ojeda

Weird

My dream is to become a skater
and to overcome my fears.
I have crazy dreams.

In one of them, I was playing
then I jumped off a tree to the ground.
In another one, I jumped to the playground bar.
I tried to jump, but my legs
were frozen.

They couldn’t move because I was scared.
My body was ready, but my legs
were not.

Samuel Ojeda

The Rain

Oh, how I hate the rain.
It is such a pain.
I want to go to the shore.
But my mom said, “No go… Snore
Oh, how the rain is driving me insane!

Lara Kefeli

The Pig and the Ram

Once upon a time, there was a tooth. It was in a ram’s mouth. It always said, “Get me out of here!”

But the ram was too smart. One day, a pig came over, and he was smooth and squishy. He said, “Knock your tooth out!”

The ram said, “I thought you were on my team, best friend.”

Pig said, “Just for once, listen to me, please!”

“No!” said the ram.

The tooth giggled.

“I WOULD PUNCH YOU OUT RIGHT NOW, BUT I DON’T WANT YOU OUT!!!” said the ram.

The next night, the tooth and the pig talked while the ram was asleep. The pig punched the tooth out. The ram woke up the next morning and saw the pig dead, lying on the floor. He was shocked! He looked on the TV and saw the tooth was the king! The tooth called himself Donald Rump! The ram got mad and jumped into action. He looked on the Internet and saw that there was a special potion that had been in a cave for millions and millions of years. Seventy-three people have tried to find it, but they either starved to death or got eaten or even died from being scared.

The ram never gives up, so he got a bag with a toothbrush and mint, a pack of smiley face stickers, and other random stuff. He set off and saw a huge monster-like creature. It had a clown face and a hairy body. He was blubbery and see-through. You could see his bones. The ram said, “Do you have a problem? I could help.”

“Yes,” said the monster, “give me a toothbrush!”

“OK,” said the ram. The ram gave him his toothbrush. Then he saw an even scarier monster! It had a smell that could kill someone! The ram said, “Do you want a mint?”

The monster said, “Yes!”

Then, he walked for days. He kept walking past monsters. One ate his leg off! He finally saw the potion, ran back, and gave it to the pig. The pig saw Donald Rump (the tooth) and together they put the tooth in jail. Then the pig and the ram ruled the world! They only ruled because of the ram.

“That was a happy ending.” said the ram.

“Well, for us!” said the pig.

Lara Kefeli

A Girl

There was a girl before
That we all ignore
The thing that she bought
She always brought
She was kinda poor

Danika Siv

The Always Ending Story

Once upon a time, a zebra was lying on the floor. Then a giant ant came and was nibbling everything in the city. He even bit the zebra king! “Ahhhh!” the zebra king yelled.

Then, the magical tongue got out of Jerry’s mouth and said, “I will save the city!” She ran for miles trying to find the crime. Finally, she found the screaming. “The time has come, tata,” she said. “Tongue versus ant!”

The tongue took a gigantic lick. The ant took a little nibble. The tongue yelled, “Ahhhh! That’s it! I’m taking you down whether you like it or not!”

The ant hissed at the tongue. The tongue used the taste bud slap. The ant now had terrible vision because of all that goop. Then the ant just walked right on top of the tongue. The tongue said, “I’ll eat you today then!”

By the time he ate the ant, the tongue had six bites and the ant was long gone.

He was never seen again.

Danika Siv

The Bird

Once upon a time, a bird was stuck on a bunch of little sticks. The bird was wondering where its mama was. The bird was very scared. The bird searched and waited for food. All you saw was a colorful bird behind her. The little bird was wondering, Is that my mama?

Then the big bird walked around and was waiting for a huge hug. Instead, the bird hesitated. The big bird was just waiting until she got tired. The big bird was very happy to see her little bird. She gave her baby bird a big surprise — some living worms that were pre-chewed. The baby bird was grateful and said hello to the big bird. Then the big bird had to live with the baby bird. She asked, “What is a surprise?” The baby bird thought until her brain got an idea. I might have a sibling, the baby bird thought.

So, she trained to fly. After a few days of training, she could fly. She spotted her mama. She flew faster than ever. She saw many eggs that still weren’t cracked. The mama bird was happier than anyone in the world!

“You can fly?” asked the mama.

“Yes, I can,” said baby bird.

She flew with her mama everywhere she went. After days and days of waiting, the eggs finally hatched. The mama was so happy, they found the dad, and the family was completed.

Danika Siv

City Like a Song

21 Apr

Gather together a small group of kiddos in the Twin Oaks Branch Library, send in teaching artist Jean Caffeine and her guitar, and the result is a sweet song that captures the night energy of a bustling city. Quiet, dark, bold, and energetic — this song paints a beautiful portrait. Click here to enjoy!

City Night

Lights are twinkling (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
People are walking (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Full moon shining on midnight (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Tonight, it’s a city night
Tonight, it’s a city night
In the dark sky (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
See Venus and the stars (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Bats flying, dogs barking  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Bugs are buzzing  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Sirens flashing (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Dark slowly turns to light  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
People talking  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Cars are honking   (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
And I can’t sleep  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Tonight, it’s a city night  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Tonight, it’s a city night  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)

Lights are twinkling  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh
Tonight, it’s a city night  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Tonight, it’s a city night  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)

Lights are twinkling  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Tonight, it’s a city night  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)
Tonight, it’s a city night  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)

Lights are twinkling  (ooh ooh ooh ooh)