Tag Archives: elementary

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)

Halloween, Monsters & Candy Galore!

21 Apr

Spooky, scary, fun, and sugar! What began as a songwriting workshop at the Twin Oaks Branch Library ended with a Halloween-inspired song! Seven elementary-aged kiddos crafted this delightful and frightful verse with the help of musician and teaching artist Jean Caffeine. Click here to enjoy their creation!

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The Halloween Song

Creepy, scared, fun, boo!
Frankenstein and witches, too
Wolves howl at the moon
I’ll bet they come at us very soon

Walking up the streets at night…
Costumes give us a fright

Halloween, Halloween
Monsters, shadows, trick-or-treat
Halloween, Halloween
Call your friends so we can eat
Hershey’s, Reese’s, and much more
Candy, candy at each door
Jack o’ lantern, jagged teeth
Many monsters that we can meet

Pumpkin pie and apple treats
Yummy, nummy, good to eat
Kids running all around
Waiting, waiting to be found

Halloween, Halloween
Monsters, shadows, trick-or-treat
Halloween, Halloween
Call your friends so we can eat

Halloween, Halloween
Monsters, shadows, trick-or-treat
Halloween, Halloween
Call your friends so we can eat

Sophia, Shraya, Isabella, Kalia, Stephanie, Leeza, and Hazel

Scary Nights and Comforting Creatures

9 Apr

Dear Reader,

Caution: The following works comprise a collection of voices and visions waiting to reach out, suck you in, and never let go. From fancy ketchup to zombies in tutus to spring-ready accessories, the works in this line-up are as eclectic as the students who produced them.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring and creating with Ms. Williamson’s fourth-grade students at Boone Elementary School. Each week, we speculated, debated, and laughed as we discussed the essential elements that make a piece of writing compelling, and, above all, matter. I believe each of the following works embodies those traits, and I feel lucky to be in the company of such expansive imaginations.

So, sit back, relax, and prepare to be dazzled by some amazing creative works. Tread fearlessly, but carefully—they might bite.

Amanda Scott
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

How to Sell Ketchup: A Fine Food for Fancy People

Rated number one by food tasters around the world! This ketchup is made with real tomatoes, not Franken-food. What’s more, it’s even a good stress reliever. Just squish the packet in dangerous, scary, or other questionable situations and all your fears will disappear! Don’t wait any longer! Now’s the time! Grab your own fancy ketchup packet today. Available at a fast food restaurant near you.

Tiernan Hunt

Kevlar Comb

Combs are the best way to keep your hair looking both fine and divine! They’re unbreakable—like Kevlar for your hair! Who wouldn’t want one?

Marcus Trevino

Alvin and Theodore

One day I went to get a haircut. As I was sitting there in the bright barbershop, I thought to myself, Wouldn’t it be nice to have a pet? While I was on my way home, I thought of the perfect pet: a hamster. That’s it! I’ll adopt a hamster!

The next day, I drove to PetSmart and stared into the glass cases housing hamsters, ferrets, and kittens. I spotted a hamster with large black eyes and was immediately in love. The placard next to the cage read: “Chinese Dwarf Hamster.” How exotic, I thought. I had to have it, but I didn’t want it to be lonely, so I decided to snag the hamster it shared its cage with. I filled my cart with all the necessary supplies for my new friends: a cage, water bottles, colorful toys, and flaky hamster food.

Back home, they looked comfortable and happy. The only thing left to do was name them. After a while of thinking, I came up with the only names fit for these two friends: Alvin and Theodore.

Caleb Amayo

Dizziness

It was a dark and stormy night when I fell out of my bed. I got up so I could wake up my dog. I wanted to sleep in his doghouse, figuring I’d feel more comfortable there. But then I heard something odd, something that sounded like a clown. Sure enough, a clown jumped out of the shadows and squeaked his large red clown horn at me. Naturally, I was extremely scared, so I ran the other direction toward the kitchen when a zombie popped out of the pantry wearing a tutu, of all things! I scrambled toward the bathroom and thought I was alone and safe. But then I heard a ghoulish sound from the shower: it was Frankenstein! We looked at each other and both screamed! I dashed out of the bathroom toward my sister’s room, where I spotted crazy Elmo! He started following me as I rushed to get away, but then I crashed into two dancing dolls with eyes as large as the moon. My head was swirling and I started seeing visions. Chicken wings, crying babies, choirs singing. In my haze, a robot dog came barking down the hallway after me. So, of course I ran as fast as I could before spotting the Cookie Monster who yelled, “Cookie, cookie, cookie!” after me as I sped past toward my bedroom. Nowhere was safe. I burrowed into my bed. A few seconds later, the TV mysteriously flicked on, and on the screen appeared the cast of Sesame Street. Slowly, I watched as the head of King Elmo rose at the edge of my bed, and came closer, closer, closer.

Dyson Hall

The Swag Dogs

I have two female dogs and two male dogs. My family likes to call them the “Swag Dogs” because they have a lot of attitude.

They are all very soft but smell very, very bad. My dogs are all unique. I have a Pug, Chug, Chihuahua, and Maltese. Pancho, the Chihuahua, sleeps with me. But one day he died. Magically, he came back to life. It was a miracle, and the Swag Dogs were back together once again.

Sidnee Amador

Jeffery the Zookeeper: Dun! Dun! Dun!

Once, there was a zookeeper named Jeffery. He was a very rich man, and his house was made of gold and cost more than one million dollars! He also loved animals and even had his own bobcat.

One day, Jeffery saw something in his bobcat’s cage. It was shiny and glittery. Jeffery had to have it. The bobcat was nowhere to be seen, so Jeffery crept into the cage, hoping to retrieve the treasure. But Jeffery did not see that he had been wrong all along: the bobcat was still in the cage.

To this day, nobody steps foot in that cage.

Cali Reever

Fight for the Husky

I really want a Husky. I’m trying to persuade my parents to let me adopt one. I mean, who wouldn’t want a Husky? Who wouldn’t want a fluffy, blue-eyed cutie?

I deserve a Husky because I would take good care of it, attending to all of its needs. I already have two other dogs, so I’d convince my parents that they’d also need a new friend.

I’d make my case and seal it with puppy dog eyes. In my fight for the Husky, I’d be victorious.

Lilly Besa

We are Always Happy

My sister is four years old. Sometimes we are mad or sad. But most of the time, we are happy. When I’m sad, she gives me a hug and a kiss. Sometimes my sister and I are mad or sad. But if we stick together, we’ll always be happy.

Marina Tapia

The Switch

There is a photo of a man and his cat. However, what you see is not what is because the man in the photo is the cat, and the cat is the man. The man’s mustache is his whiskers, and the cat’s whiskers are his mustache. They’ve switched bodies.

Since that very first day when the man spotted the cat roaming around his neighborhood and decided to take him in, he knew they would switch bodies. The cat loved it; it loved being human. So they lived like this forever, switching bodies back and forth, between feline and human.

Coryn Rodriguez

The Nightmare

My friend and I were at my house playing games and having a great time when things got… freaky. First, the lights started to flicker, which made us run upstairs and hide in my closet. Sitting quietly together, I suddenly realized it was Friday the Thirteenth. In the shadows of the closet, everything took on a dark red hue, like the color of blood. Then we saw as a hand slide into the closet and slowly feel around. I closed my eyes and hoped it wouldn’t find us. But I never opened my eyes again to see.

Declan Perez

Spring Rose Hairclip! By Hair Clippie Co.

Today we have a limited-edition hairclip for the spring season. But this isn’t just any old hairclip. This gorgeous accessory features a prominent magenta rose that will match any party dress you pick out to dance the day or night away. You’ll be the blossom of everyone’s dreams. But this offer won’t last, so get yours today! Be the beautiful bloom you always thought you could be!

This has been brought to you by Hair Clippie Co.

Izzy Gonzalez

Giants

– ¾ after Shel Silverstein’s “One Inch Tall”

If a humans were one-inch-tall, pools would be oceans.
A shoe sole would be a deep, dark cave.
A dollhouse would be a mansion.
I don’t think being one-inch-tall would be so bad after all.

Joshua Hernandez

The Scary Night

It was a dark and stormy night. Tod was in the bathroom when the lights started to buzz and the door suddenly swung open. It was my mom. I was comforted at first, but then I noticed she looked different. She didn’t look like herself. Her eyes widened and her mouth turned into a triangle. She let out a long cackle, and then, poof—she vanished.

Rey Goff

Animals Reign Supreme

Speak all the languages of the world or talk to animals? I’d go with the latter.

I’d rather be able to talk to animals because I could joke with them. We could trade tricks and laughs all day long. There’d never be a dull moment.

If I could talk to animals, I’d also be able to help them when they’re hurt or in need. I’d know how to help them if they were sick.

In the end, aren’t we all the same, anyway? Aren’t we animals, too? If I had to choose, I’d rather talk to animals. How about you?

Jaiden Valadez

Look At My Imagination, Not My Room

9 Apr

Have you ever wondered how to make pickles dance? Well, it’s easy if you follow the steps provided by one of Ms. Barrett’s morning students. Just hire a DJ named Nolan, who plays “hip-hop, rap, or retro music.” And don’t forget the pool for pickle swimming. I love how this group of fourth-grade writers found inspiration in Sandra Cisneros’s “My Name” to imagine the sensory details of their own with colors of “dashing red or a deep blue” and “a fresh chocolate smell.” When we explored places in our writing, rooms emerged that were so clean “I can run as fast as a cheetah.” Other rooms were so outrageously messy, they “smelled like death and bad breath, overrun by ants, stinky cheese, and rotten peas.” I’m grateful for the invitation to write with Ms. Barrett’s fantastic, fun, and fearsome writers.

Terri Schexnayder
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

My Room Is So Clean

My room is so clean I can fit ten very large people in it. I can run as fast as a cheetah in there without stepping on anything. You won’t find noisy toys or LEGO—absolutely nothing is in my room! It is so neat, one billion people can squeeze in the space.

My spotless room smells like roses and tastes like a crisp apple. It is so quiet that you can hear the wind blowing through the trees. That’s my clean room!

Edward

How to Make My Dream House

Have you ever imagined creating your own dream house? Let’s plan and make one together with these materials:

  • Chocolate Hershey kisses, the best on earth
  • Sweet Tarts for the bedroom door, located on the fourth floor
  • Pink bubble gum for a slide
  • Blue bubble gum for the elevator
  • Snickers and Milky Way bathroom—tub, sink, and even the tile
  • Nerds are the windows

Maybe now you can make your own? I am going to build mine right now!

Mya

My Magical Name

My name is Preston.
Take away the “n” and it’s “Presto!”
I love my name.
It’s like the color red and the sound of the ocean.
My name is so magical with its fresh chocolate smell.

Preston

The Best Dream House

Let me tell you about the most amazing dream house ever! Once you have heard about it, you will want to live in it and probably build your own. It’s actually a humongous structure, called the Party Palace, in which a very petite person lives. You see, the story goes like this:

Little bitty Amy shopped for houses, but did not find any she liked. For example, she found a one-room with only one bed, and that was too small even for her. So she designed her own from granite and rhinestones. Inside there was a pool of green Jell-O and a chair made from a really large gummy bear. Amy’s bed squished when she climbed in, because the pillows and mattress were marshmallows. With the softest turquoise blanket, she slept so well!

In her dream house, Amy also had a flat screen TV, where she could watch “Jeopardy” all day long on her favorite spot—the cotton candy couch. There was a hot tub with warm, melted chocolate in her house, located behind Niagara Falls. Listening to the sounds of water tumbling down, it’s the best place in the whole wide world!

Vivienne Authement

My Name is Maya

Do you know what my name means? Well, I will tell you. It’s like a vanilla donut, and it makes me feel as happy as sunshine cupcakes and rainbows. My name is Maya.

Maya is a nice name. It smells like a daisy and tastes like cookies and creamy ice cream. My name is a pink color and cute as a puppy doll. My name is mostly perfect. Maya means hope.

Maya Barrientos

My Icky Room

My room is so dirty, I can’t see the floor.
It’s so dirty, I can’t find the door.
The toys are stacked up so high,
I think they already touch the sky.
My room is so messy, it looks like a maze.
Somebody help me—I’ve been in here for days!
The closet is so full, it’s going to blow.
What should I do? Where should I go?
It smells like old gym socks and stinky feet.
Plus, I lost my cousin Pete.
Please call for help!
There’s an avalanche of slimy kelp.
Oh, no! My closet exploded!
My shoes flew so far away; I think they are in France.
My room smells like death and bad breath, overrun by ants,
stinky cheese, and rotten peas.
Won’t someone just rescue me? Please!

Ameris Basden

My Enormously Neat Room

My room is so clean I can fit California in its space. Last week, I even held a football game in my room—the Dallas Cowboys won, of course! I once held a party in there and 1,000,000 people of all ages came and there was room left over for more.

When Queen Elizabeth visited for lunch, she complimented me on my room’s tidiness. It is so shiny, even the sun thinks it’s too bright. My room smells as if millions of roses lived in there. It tastes like a chocolate ice cream sundae. Hey, are you planning a superstars concert? Well, my bedroom is the place to rent! And, I promise, an event in my room will be an unforgettable evening.

Ava Contreras

How to Make Pickles Dance

Have you noticed those big, fat green things in jars? Have you ever imagined the pickles dancing? Well, I have, and I have seen them come alive at night! So, now, I will share with you some pickle-dancing tips. Be sure you get the regular, big fat green kind.

  1. Play hip-hop, rap, or retro music.
  2. Turn the music up very loud!
  3. Create a disco room.
  4. Hire a DJ named Nolan.
  5. Make sure you have plenty of Coke and cherry soda.
  6. And don’t forget the Minecraft video game.
  7. Order ten Domino’s Pizzas with ranch on the side—enough for 100 people and pickles.
  8. Build a backyard pool for pickle swimming.
  9. Remember the pool table with colorful legs.

So, now you know how to make them dance. Have fun watching the pickles dance and join in!

Nolan Edward Espinosa

I am Stuck!

My room is so dirty that toys are everywhere, climbing the walls and hanging off the roof! If you dare to enter my room, you must be a doof. You will trip and fall on your face, then roll down the hill of toys, hit the wall of dirty clothes, and disappear for the rest of your life.

Don’t stand in one place in my room, or the monster with no face, which hides under my floor, will get you! My room is so sickening that if you want to sleep with a blanket, you will have to dive deep to find one. And don’t go into my closet. If you open the door, one billion toys will jump out at you, pushing you through the floor and into the underworld. Hey, maybe while you’re down there, you will find the other toys I have been missing!

Oh, no! There’s my old friend Logan hidden under my LEGOs. Well, I should say my enemy now, because he just knocked me out!

Chase Foley

How to Ride and Handle a Unicorn

Have you heard the expression “somewhere over the rainbow?” Unlike this idiom, finding a unicorn is a real skill you can learn! Let me show you how to accomplish this with these simple steps:

  • Find your unicorn, usually somewhere over the rainbow. (Now, I mean literally!)
  • Tame it by feeding it a silver carrot, more than likely found in the same spot where you found your unicorn.
  • Once the unicorn has finished its meal, hop on its back. I promise, it won’t throw you off because it is your friend now.
  • But, remember, whatever you do, don’t put a saddle on it!
  • Gently grasp its rainbow horn so you can communicate telepathically, steer, and accelerate extremely fast.
  • If you need to break through a wall, unicorns provide many weapons to do this—explosive barf, laser eyes, laser horn, and the rainbow of death, to name a few example.
  • Use your psychological connection with the magical creature to use any of these.
  • Eat a mint and offer one to your smelly unicorn, too.
  • When your unicorn gets hungry and runs out of silver carrots, just spray paint your baby brother.

That’s how you find, ride, and handle a unicorn. Go out and discover one for yourself. And good luck!

Emmett Foley

How to Build Your Dream House

Let me explain how to build your dream house. Personally, I would prefer one made out of vines so I could swing throughout the living room and kitchen with all the power in the world! But, let’s get back to how to build it.

First, gather vines from Madagascar and make sure they are stuck together with gummy worms for the maximum strength. Be sure and get enough for all ten stories of your house. Plan on not having a floor—only water—so you are forced to swing around your house. (Plus, by moving around this way, your mom can’t tell you to stop climbing all over the walls!)

Another thing, remember to put the correct type of crocodiles in the water, so you can swim with them. You know, the dark as night ones. Take care of them and feed them some chocolate milk and nothing else.

Don’t even think about adding an elevator. You will be carried up to the top by a roller coaster when you get tired of swinging on vines. The last thing I recommend when you are designing your own dream house is to flavor it with a rosy smell.

Uma Green

My Messy Room

My room is so messy that whenever I open my door, everything falls out like an avalanche of colorful fabrics. I have to clean up with a bulldozer before I can go in—it happens every time. Maybe I should get a tow truck to pull it all out. When I finally enter my room, it smells like wet socks and rotten eggs. Once, I was stuck in there for a month, I passed out twenty times!

My room is so disgusting, my friend Logan went in and never came out. His mom and dad called the cops, and luckily they found his body! But then we had his funeral in my room and it stunk even more like moldy cheese.            

On to the next subject, when the zombie apocalypse hit, and they came into my room, the smell was so terrible, it killed them! I hid at the top of the house with a can of Febreze to save myself.

JonPaul Lara

Life is My Name

My name is like the number five, one of the most beautiful numbers.
A dashing red or a deep blue color.
A bright star or a dull planet.
A light in the sky to lift you up.

M, Meaningful
I, Interesting
K, Kind
A, Amazing
H, Hope
Mikah, a name to be crowned.

It tastes like rich, dark chocolate
and smells like homemade chicken soup.
A beautiful flower sprouts my name.
It is so fascinating, like prehistoric dinosaur bones.

A name derived from the culture of Saudi Arabia, a land far away. My name—all because my grandfather’s company desired educated workers. So he came to the U.S. to attend college and stayed. His story lived on through my Aunt Sara and my father Jamil. Later, I was born and released into the world along with my name, Mikah.

Mikah Muhaisen

Monster Room

My room is so messy, it’s like a monster is living in here, breathing out dog poop. There is chunky pizza on the ceiling. It smells like a thousand shards of old milk are hitting my nose. My eyes water as if lemon juice was squirted into them.

One time, my Shih Tzu entered my room, piled so high with soiled laundry, he disappeared. He was actually pulled into a black hole below my bed. When I step on the trains on my floor, it hurts my feet as if I were crunching on 1,000 pieces of glass. Slimy fish stick to my shirts and pants, and I discover 1,000,000 pieces of chewed gum all over my room, too. Whenever I say, “Fine, I will clean my room!” and tidy up, it is back to its filthy state within two seconds.

Brianna Perez

How to Build Your Dream House

Let me give you some tips on how to build your dream house. For me, I would start with gumball candy for the door and gingerbread for the base of the house. Add some delicious Hershey chocolate bars for the roof, which is eight feet into the air. Now that the outside is built, let’s go inside and see what we can create.

How about blue cotton candy for your bed? And silly string for the carpet, sugar cubes for stairs, and, best of all, slushies for the wallpaper?! The water flowing in the bathroom can be Coke, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, or some other soft drink you prefer. And your bathtub is made out of Mentos, and it’s so large it looks like an elephant’s. Your house smells like hot popcorn and sounds like people crunching and munching on delicious food.

Pretty amazing dream house, right?

Sofia Pezzi

How to Train Your Tiger to Dance

Let me think. How would I train a tiger to dance, to spin around, even talk properly to humans? Here are some suggestions:

First, find the perfect tiger at your local zoo because they can be easily trained.

Next, gather together ribbons and spin them to show him how to twirl. Play a song by Michael Jackson—tigers just love him!

While you are training your tiger, be sure and give him some chores, such as mopping the floor and washing the dishes. Tigers eat a lot, and you want yours to contribute to the household expenses.

Okay, back to training. Always cheer him on by clapping your hands. Teach him how to move his hips by feeding him a hot taco. And, to instruct the tiger on how to talk, just say, “Hi!” and he will answer you back.

Final tip: Don’t ever distract your tiger while he is dancing. He can bite.

Jakenzie Murphy Vargas

How to Dig a Hole

Holes are crucial to life. You need them to build basements, to hide from tornadoes, and to hold water, among other things. Here is how to build one. First, make a list of what you will need:

  • 1 long shovel
  • 1 short shovel
  • A backyard
  • Sticks and leaves
  • A poker face

Let’s get started! First, dig a shallow drop with the short shovel. It should be about one foot long and one foot deep. Second, go inside and eat lunch. Digging short, one-foot holes is so tiring! Third, go back outside and dig the hole about two feet deeper with the long shovel. Nice work. Now, you will need to clear out the hole with the short shovel—it’s more precise. (I hope you have a backyard because we are not throwing dirt into the street!) Toss your dirt all over your yard, but keep watch for the hornet’s nests. Remember I told you to get a poker face? Put that on now because you are going to need it soon. Next, take your sticks and cover the top of your hole. Finally, hide your sticks with grass and leaves.

Bring your brother or sister outside and have them stand close to your hole. Using your poker face, trick them by saying, “Hey, if you stand right here, you can see a bird’s nest on the top of that tree.” Guide them to the spot where your hole is. When they fall in, laugh as much as you want and walk away. Did this help you build a hole and also learn how to prank your siblings for the next time they do it to you? I hope so!

Dorsey Warstler

Arrow Maker

I am an arrow maker. Cold stone and wood. I get respect from warriors and myself. Arrows are speedy and agile—going with and against the wind. It feels powerful to make the weapon that shoots from a bow. A bow without arrows is useless, but arrows alone are still strong with an ability to kill ducks and deer.

Feathers for accuracy fall from the clouds. Added to the arrows, they help to make a straighter shot. Now, there are rifles, but I do not make bullets. I keep my culture and continue to make arrows to protect my tribe and to be the best Fletcher in this colony. If my name were Taylor, I would be a clothes-maker. But, true to my name, which means “arrow maker,” I have a passion for making them. Fighting the Europeans off on charging horses. Indian. American. European. Texan. Brave. Western. Southern. Fletcher.

My name is Fletcher Wilson.

Fletcher Wilson

Abundant Like Grackles in the Trees

8 Apr

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.

Adam Edelman
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

My Season

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

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!

Paxton Antognini

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.

Aubry Arispe

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.

Gorgeous Sahlin

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.

Ava Diaz

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!

Brandon Alvarez

Best Sandwich

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.

Morgan Montgomery-Cafferata

Fly

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.

Malak Omari

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.

Valerie Ramirez

Math!

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.

Luke Robertson

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!

Hillary Rodriguez

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!

Angel Villegas

EPSON DSC Picture

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!

Johnathan C

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!

Derek B

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.

Sasha R