Pigs and Zip-Lining

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


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


The Idea

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



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


The Un-Beach Trip

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


My Lock Box

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


Mang and Henry

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



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


A Challenge

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


The Time I Went to Colorado

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


Weird Me

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

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


The Time I Went to the River Walk

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



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


My Problem

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

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



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

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

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


The Challenge

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

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

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



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

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


The Games

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

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


The Adventure of Zoot

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

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

Hopefully he does not do that again!



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

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



No Boundaries

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a place of your creation? Or wondered about the images sounds produce in our minds? For Ms. Golliher’s class at Highland Park Elementary School, the answer is yes. They create places such as Kids Land, where money grows on trees and there are such things as cookie mountains; Baseball Land, where the air tastes like chocolate and the fans are constantly screaming; or Main Fun, where everything is free and you walk on trampolines. The poets imagine pies that win talent shows by dancing to Michael Jackson, colossal pies that only grow in Austin, and pies that have pickles as their best friend. Death sounds black, concerts sound like rainbows, and airplanes and laughter sound blue. These poets take in sights and sounds around them and create something magical: poems that know no boundaries.

Kids Land

If I were a place, the place would be a piece of land where animals live, like horses, cats, and lions, and there would be a cookie mountain and money trees everywhere and lots of toy stores. And for the boys, I would put a soccer place there. The air tastes like cotton candy and pizza, and there’s a giant spring on a cloud that you can jump on. And there’s a fair that’s so big, you’d think it was the biggest thing in the world. And there is TV Land. But girls, there are no boys unless I say they can come! When it snows, it snows snowflakes and hearts. When it rains, it rains jellybeans. The place is calledKidsLand. You won’t have to buy a basket to pick money from the money trees.KidsLandis the best place in the world. Wait! I forgot the best part—free video games! No—I think the best part is that we give out puppies for free if you want to adopt one.



It was a silver sound. It smelled like burnt shotgun shells. It felt like a burst of wind pushing me back. I was shooting clay plates with my friend’s shotgun. I got to fire the clay plates out of the warehouse.


The Airplane

It sounded blue. The sound felt sharp and ragged. I was in the airplane, buckling my seatbelt. The sound of it tasted like calamari. I was thinking of what the flight attendant and captain would do with me. I was going toHoustonby myself.



The Place Called Baseball Land

If I were a place, it would be Baseball Land.

It would feel like grass and dirt.

It would smell like all kinds of smells, like cinnamon and mint.

The air would taste like chocolate.

It would look like baseball fields with designs, like a polka-dot outfield and a glitter infield made of dirt.

It would sound like fans screaming and bats smashing.

And that’s the place I would be.


Flying Tree

Once upon a time, there was a tree. He was all by himself in a boy’s front yard. The boy climbed on him and picked his leaves. The tree was tired of it. That night, he saw a shooting star and wished he had wings. The next morning, he woke up and had wings, so he went off toHollywood.


Colossal Pie

Pie was very lonely. He thought that people would like him because he was cherry, but it turned out everybody but one hated him, and that was his best friend, Frank the Pickle.

Frank had a wonderful idea for everybody to love pie—he got an air pump and made Pie into Colossal Pie. He’s faster than gunshot cherries! He’s stronger than stale crust! He’s Colossal Pie! He’s saved the world three times with his sidekick, Frank the Wonder Pickle! (He’s actually saved the world four times!)

Coming soon to a school near you. . . .


The Pie Tree!

The pie tree grows a lot of pies! It feels soft, like a pillow. It tastes magnificent. It smells very good. The pie tree grows 999,999 pies in a day—it grows pies very, very, very fast! There is only one pie tree in the world. It is inAustin,Texas. The pie tree is tremendous! The pie tree lives a very long time.


A Russian World

If I were a place, it would be Russia.

I see people walking by in their pajamas. It’s 1:30 a.m. People are walking to the church. It’s 2:30 a.m. now. The priest walks out on a balcony. Suddenly, it’s quiet. Nobody makes a sound for an hour. 3:30 a.m. Finally, the priest says, “Christos voskres.” It means, “Christ has risen.” Then the people say, “Da,” “Yes.” I run home and get my mom and sister for the giant feast. 4:30 a.m. Finally, they wake up. They are as slow as a turtle. 5:30 a.m. We are there. It smells delightful.

Then I wake up in my bed. It was a dream!

Naeda C.

Bored Lady

It was a cool morning. A bored lady sat in a lone house on the prairie. She thought to herself, I feel as if I were a rock. There is a bird over there and I am just right here. . . . Wait! Wait just a minute! I can blow bubbles so that the bird can pop them!

So, the lady got her bubbles. She started to blow, and the bird started to pop the bubbles. Yay! she thought. Now this is fun!

            After 5,600,700 bubbles, the lady was bored again. Wait a bubble-popping minute! she thought. I will feed him walnuts!

So, the lady got the walnuts and started to feed the bird. The bird hated the walnuts, but he was hungry, so he ate the lady’s hair till she was bald! No! thought the lady. You rotten bird. Well, I will just get a wig.


The Food Island

If I were a place, the place would be raining ice cream. There would be no girls allowed! I would only let my family and my friends play. It would smell like bubble gum. You would see kids playing onDonutIsland. The air would taste like Coke. The bushes would grow sodas so you wouldn’t have to waste money. You could go fishing in the gummy pond. You could play baseball in the clouds. There would be money trees. When we had a tornado, it would be made of Jell-O. The place would sound like root beer being shaken. The best part is, you get free video games and video game consoles, but only if you are a boy.


The Super Duper Annoying Sound!

Hudsonwas scratching the chalkboard. It was an orange sound. The sound felt like chocolate and chicken on my skin.Hudsonwas playing on the chalkboard, and on accident, he scratched it. The sound tasted like chocolate chip cookies and milk. I was in Mrs. Golliher’s class, thinking of a screeching sound. I wish he hadn’t scratched the chalkboard.


My Dog Henry

It sounded black. My dog Henry was about to die.

“Does he have to go?” I asked.

I was going to miss him. We couldn’t let him go, but we had to. Some of his organs were failing. He wouldn’t have made it anyway. He misses me a lot. I miss him more. We were sad to see him go. He was the best dog I ever had. It sounded like a baby crying. I was crying. He was struggling. I was very, very sad.


The Ladies

The ladies stick together.

They both lost their jobs. The city people didn’t like them. They didn’t want them around. They lit the ladies’ houses on fire after the ladies packed their bags. They had to leave and they knew it. They walked and walked for hours. They looked back at their smoldering houses. It was hard to breathe. The air was thick with smoke. Everything was trashed up, like a tornado had gone by. They looked at the oil rigs. They were crying. They liked their houses and the city, but they kept walking. They stopped at the bus stop and put their bags down. There was nothing living around. The plants were dead. No animals, no plants, no people, and most of all, no buses in sight. The ladies could barely breathe. It was as if the smoke was going to follow them until it wiped out the world.

They saw a little smoke from the bus.

“Oh phew,” said the lady in the black dress.

They got on the bus. They were so happy. They thought they would die. They sat down and left all their worries and sorrows behind. They were going to start again in anew city, with a new life.



It sounded blue. The sound felt warm and soft. I was at the park. Children played all over. I heard laughter all down the road. Children laughed and babies snug in their cribs giggled. People told jokes to one another. Children tickled other kids. My parents saw some babies and smiled dreamily, like they were thinking about my life as a baby. The sound of the laughter tasted like chocolate milk. I thought about my childhood and all of the fun and exciting things in my life and I started to laugh.


Dreamy Ice Cream

Dreamy Ice Cream loved ice cream, only he was blind, so he used two of his other senses, smell and taste. He also had no arms, so he went to the great, best, and powerful genie. The genie would only grant you wishes if you brought him ten bags of Doritos. And so, off Dreamy Ice Cream went. When he got to the genie, he gave him his ten bags of Doritos and told him his wish.

“I want arms,” Dreamy Ice Cream said.

With a poof, he had arms. Now he could go back to his house and tell his family. He felt as happy as if he lived in a mansion.

One day later, they came up with a new flavor of ice cream—peanut butter Cheetos. Dreamy Ice Cream felt so great he sent the genie a thank-you card for his arms. And his whole entire family lived happily ever after.


The Talented Pie

There was a talented pie. He was unique because he was a talented pie. The talented pie’s problem was that everyone wanted to eat him. The talented pie wanted everyone to like him.

One day, at his school, he heard that the talent show was coming up. His whole life, he’d been dreaming about winning the talent show. So, he signed up and he decided he was going to do a Michael Jackson dance.

Finally, the night of the talent show came, but when it was his turn, the talented pie was really scared. Then he had an idea—to pretend the audience were the rubber duckies from his bathroom. He danced awesome, and he won the talent show.

(By the way, the talented pie was so talented because his dad was Michael Jackson.)


The Concert

It sounded like a rainbow. It was a BIG sound. The sound felt happy and jumpy on my skin. I was at my very first concert. I was there to see Taylor Swift. I was singing along, dancing and jumping like a MANIAC. The sound of the concert tasted like my favorite ice cream, chocolate chip cookie dough. When I was leaving the concert, I was thinking about skipping school the next day. And I did.


Dorky Dunt

Picklepiecupcakeswiedorkydunt Corpysmell.

He smells like barbecue. I call him Picklepie for short. Just in case you walk by him, ask for his address: 508 The Pickles He Ate. I know what you’re thinking, because yeah, I know, he’s a dork. But he’s from outer space. I bet he’s just shy if you talk to him. Picklepie is made out of chocolate cupcakes—I know, right!

Well, that’s the story of Picklepiecupcakeswiedorkydunt Corpysmell.


Main Fun

If I were a place, it would be Main Fun in 1999 with no air conditioning (because everyone would be running around so fast) and bowling and rock climbing, and it would be on the ocean. You can see sharks, a money tree with millions, laser tag like in the Hunger Games arena. All-you-can-eat cotton candy and other food. The air smells like bubble gum. You walk in a ball pit with spikes that blow up. And there’s skydiving and hang gliding and zip lining. Everywhere you walk, there’s a trampoline. Free anything! It’s free for boys and girls.



The Power of Imagination

Students of Ms. Nudelman’s second grade class at Highland Park Elementary School know how to convert their wild imaginations into brilliant poetry. Some imagine themselves as books seeking shelter among shelves and cherishing the words they have to tell. Others imagine themselves as french fries that love being dipped in ketchup, or cupcakes with the power to provide happiness in every child’s heart. Some of these poets don’t imagine themselves as anything at all, but use their imaginations to defeat their biggest fear, to show their pets how much they love them, and to create work that reminds us of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous “Sonnet 43“. It’s hard to imagine that these poems were written by second graders, but we’ll just have to ignore our imaginations on this one, and let the reality and brilliance of it sink in.

The Strike of a Blade

A terrorizing scream
Scream fills my ears
The excruciating pain is unbearable
My heart beats faster as I see my fear
A white ghost
Walking in the moonlight
My eyes widen
My body shakes with fright
I scream and run from the room
I panic
My head spins
I feel that I am trapped in doom
The ghost floats in
I start to run
But she giggles and grins
I feel I’ve mistaken her terribly wrong
But there’s a poof!
And she is gone



Sorrow falls over me
As I look out the window
Those sad, dark clouds
Thinking of the hiding deer
I hear the rain go pitter-patter
Louder, louder, then Boom!
I look at the temperature
Thirty degrees, it could snow
Thinking of the frozen little deer
I hear footsteps at my door
I look out, a deer
I go inside to get a blanket
Better, better still
Sorrow falls over me
Though I am grateful
Grateful for who I am
Grateful for a roof
Tears in my eyes
Rolling down my cheek
The sorrow won’t leave ’til it’s over
Sitting there waiting
Sorrow falls over me
Finally it stops
I am fine
So are the deer


The Birds

Birds chirp in a nest sounds like a song.
I’m glad it’s not big, loud bongs.
The tree is old.
The birds get cold.
They are on the ground.
They hear a pound.
The little ones play with berries.
The birds thought about getting shot.
They said they should stay in the nest
with the rest.
They should be the best.
They jump up like a cup!



I’m a simple, basic dog.
Watching out the door.
Waiting, waiting for you to get home,
so you will play with me
and maybe drop some food.
I’m white with black dots
and a very furry tail
and a purple collar and leash.
At dinnertime I stand by your chair
and wait for falling chicken.
Finally, I’m at the foot of your bed.
You are sleeping soundly.
Me, I’m almost asleep, when boom!
Your mom comes to get me.
I’m starting to not love that woman as much.


Ned’s Tongue

Slimy and disgusting
I’ll never touch it again
It’s annoying
It’s gross
I’ll never touch it again
It’s bad
It’s pink
I’ll never touch it again
I like it
I don’t like it
I can’t decide
It makes my head spin
Now I can decide
I just don’t get it
I’ll never touch it again
Weird and squishy
I’ll never touch it again
I told you it’s gross
It’s not a nose
It’s Ned’s tongue



If I were a cupcake, I would be BIG and very chocolaty, full of little confetti and icing two inches high. I would be inside a box with twenty cupcakes just like me. Go to Costco and you will see. I would be waiting day and night until somebody buys me for a big party. Then, faster than you can say, “chocolate cupcake with confetti sprinkles,” I will be gone. I will have a very short life, but I will like it. My dream would be to see a very happy heart that Cupid would fly to and make happiness come to life in every child’s heart. Loneliness would go away for every little person. This is part of my BIG dream!


I Love Louie

Soft fur tickling me,
a small blue tag
peeking through a sea of
brown curls.
My dog Louie the poodle.
He swims,
he plays with me,
he is my favorite pet.
I love him.


My Fear

I have a fear of bloody murder by a scary monster.
It’ll tear me up to bits before I can hide,
but my duckies will protect me day and night
in my room and in the house.
They protect me with my love and salty tears.
If they were not there, I’d soon be saying goodbye!



Pattering footsteps on the roof
Rain is falling oh so very fast
Plink, plink, plink
Rain is falling
Looks like teardrops falling from your face
Tastes like fresh spring water
Sounds like footsteps walking toward you
Feels like water from a shower
Smells like a wet plant growing very quickly
Rain stopped falling
All is quiet


Library Book

I am a book.
People read me every day.
My home is the library where I play.
I play hide and seek,
Where kids look for me on shelves.
I hide among my book cousins,
Having so much fun.
My leather cover holds onto the words
I have to tell,
I love living in the library
With a sweet lavender smell.


A Book

I am a book
A plain brown book
I have two hundred pages
Every day somebody reads me
People throw me on the ground
When they’re done reading me
People color on me
Draw on me
People don’t care
If I rip or tear
I see other books being put on shelves
I feel sad people don’t care
I hope people will take better care of me


French Fry

I am a simple french fry.
I have a French accent.
I am a yellow fellow.
I do not like Jell-o.
I like swimming in the thing
people call the french fry basket.
I love to be dipped in ketchup.


The Riddle

you twist it
and you stretch it
you throw it
you catch it
if you shape it like a circle
you would think it is a miracle
it is a…
(finish yourself)


Oddie the ????

I am a sweet, sweet, sweet treat
That you can eat with a sprinkle of heat
The glaze of sweet pink frosting
I have rainbow sprinkles
I have a hole
What am I?


How Do I Love

How do I love
I love you and me
I love everything that love can be
I love Willow, Jack, Nathan, and Kim
I even love Milo yes I love him
I love purple ribbons blue blossoms green leaves
I love everything that love can be
Kim wears glasses
Nathan has none
They’ll clap and clap for me
When my poem is done



smoothly run across the yard
when you’re tired
you may sit
I love you Lola

you can read
you can climb
you are my tree

you tell the time
you are water proof
you are my watch

fluffy tail
fluffy cheeks
you are a squirrel

smoothly go across the water
I can steer and flip and jump
I love you my wakeboard



I am little, furry and fluffy
My owners give me care
They make me very happy
When they brush and comb my hair
I fear cats that want to scratch me
I try to tell them to let me be
But those cats they just don’t listen
So my owner comes to help me
I dream to be able to do lots of tricks
I give my owners lots of licks
They love me with all of their heart
They bring me everywhere in a cart
They bring me to the grocery store
Pet Smart, restaurants, even more
I love my owners, yes I do
They love me back, it’s really true



When I was awake.
I felt an awful shake.
It was an earthquake.
I started to ache.
An earthquake tastes like cake.



Wind in your hair
Speeding through the air
Do tricks on a bike
Nothing like a hike
Look at all the sights
Only bike when it’s light
I like doing tricks
I never use toothpicks
Biking is fun
I do it in the sun



Penguins have feet
that look like orange chicken feet.
Their bodies look like
a big, white eagles egg.
The wings look like
bridges that are black.
The heads look like
a white bowling ball.
Their eyes look like
frog eggs.
Their beaks look like
a pyramid the wrong way.
Penguins are awesome and cute!


My Doll

I love my tiny doll.
We like to play ball.
I love it when we play everyday.
Our sister’s birthday is in May.
We like it when we sleep together.
We love feathers.
She rides her horse.
I help her, of course.
We go on a trip.
Then we eat carrots and dip.
We don’t like otters!
We are the oldest daughters.
We are always happy together.
Our favorite color is purple.
I love my doll!



Plastic and smooth
Sharp and bitey
Crooked and straight
Sitting there doing nothing
Very white and plain
Goes in your mouth
Do you know what it is?


Color Is Everything

Color—it’s one of the most powerful images used in poetry and literature—for it can signify a taste, a smell, a certain mood, etc. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” is one example of the important work color can do. Gilman’s description of the yellow of the yellow wallpaper means everything to the story. Ms. Pappert’s second grade poets at Highland Park Elementary are experts at demonstrating the wondrous, surprising work colors can do.  In their poems are hot colors and yellow airplanes, and there is purple quiet. But their poems do more too; to keep the colors company, there are “nomadic” cereal bowls and honey stars. What strikes us most about the poems is the balance of how things are defined (through color, through specific detail) but also how things can be defined by what they are not.  We could try to explain more about what we mean, but we think you’ll see it perfectly as you peruse these lively poems.  


Hot Colors

This is a red leaf
on a big sun
over a hot ground.
This is a bowl
on a leaf
over an orange table.

But it is not a half sun.


The Shape

This is a swimming pool
floating in the sky
over some grass.
Or this is a building
floating in space
over a garden.

But it is not a green star.


The Honey Star

This is a hexagon shape
in space very dark
over delicious grape juice
This is a hexagon shape
in a blue star
over purple lightning.

But it is not purple paper.

Logan D.

The Red Watermelon

This is a watermelon
on a blue smooth table
over a purple quiet beach
Or this is a purple strawberry
on a blue smooth ocean
over purple shirts.
But it is not cupid.


The Watermelon

This is a red watermelon
on a blue napkin

over green grass.
But it is not a book.


The Pizza at Dinner

This is a pizza
on an orange tablecloth
over a poster.
But it is not the moon.



This is a red trapezoid
in the yellow sky
over orange cuts of apple
This is a red trapezoid
in the orange jello
over a sunshine yellow table
But it is not a red circle.


The Red Triangle

This is a red triangle
on a blue background
over a purple napkin.
This is a little dark red triangle
on an aqua blue background
over a violet purple napkin
But it is not a dark red triangle
on a light blue background
over a light purple napkin.

Sami D.

Water Saucer

This is a flying saucer
in a blue galaxy
flying over a green planet
or a yellow fish in blue water
over a green planet
But it is not a star.


The Purple Ground

This is a watermelon
in the sky
over a pencil sharpener
This is an eraser
on the ground
over a piece of paper
But it is not a pencil


Yellow Airplane

This is an airplane
in the air
over the grass
This is a light
in the night sky
over the big green slimy pond
But it is not a raindrop.


The Yellow Sunset

This is a setting sun
in a yellow sky
over an ocean
or a flare in the sky.
But it is not a UFO


Is It a Diamond?

This is a red diamond
on a blue background
over a purple bottom
or it is a red jewel on top
of a blue table over a
purple rainbow
But it is not a watermelon.


Purple Mystery

This is a purple orange
on a red table
over water

this is a purple apple
in lava
over blueberries
But it is not a devil


But It Is Not …

This is a nomadic cereal bowl
on a sun
over a soft pad of grass
This is a half snowball
on a piece of wallpaper
over a green carpet

But it is not half moon!



This is a pyramid shape
on an orange background
over a lemonade bottom
or it is a roof top
or it is half a book
but it is not a finger sandwich

Sami G.

Raindrop Raindrop

This is a blue raindrop
on a cloud
over an ocean
or land
or underground
but it is not a book.


Red Triangle

This is a triangle shape
on a dark night
It is a blue. Why?
Because it is a dark night.
In the bottom it is purple
for underground
but it is not a diamond and it is not a square.


Where Every Lego Is Free

The country of Ms. Collins’ second grade class at Highland Park Elementary School has a diverse population: there are crazy grandmas, the stinky (but loved) feet of those grandmas, badgers, and colors that smell like penguins. In the country of Ms. Collins’ class, every lego is free and friends give each other flowers.  In the country of Ms. Collins’ class are the glittering imaginations of creative, caring young poets.


Crazy Grandma

Crazy Grandma is super crazy.
She bites Elvis
and Elvis screams, “Geez!
Crazy Grandma is crazy!”


The Life-Size

I am a life-size head.
I am a life-size loco head with bananas.
I am a big fat loco freckle with a banana.
I am a window with skunks.
I am a loco loco lopo loco.
I am a lilo lilo life-size ant.
I am a po po po po po banana.


Her Flower

Sydney’s flower is pretty.
She loves it.
She puts it in her vase
because it is so, so, so pretty.
It is a rose that is red.
It has a beautiful stem.
The stem is green.
I gave the flower to Sydney.

Zoe B.

Badger Bob

Why does Badger Bob not wear

When will mimes start to be
like real people?

Why does Frank look
like a frog?

Why does Bobby Joe
step on yellow snow?

Who has an arm that’s
an inch long?

Why can’t aliens be like

If I move to a different
home, will I cry?


Her Feet

Grandma’s feet smell like a dump.
Sometimes she makes me want to throw up.
Everyday I massage her feet.
It feels like my hands are a piece of dried meat.
Everyday I put so much lotion on her feet
to make them smell better,
but everyday I think they get worse.
Sometimes I want to cut off her feet,
but my mom says, “That would be mean.”
Instead of going to school,
I sit down and massage her feet—it’s so cruel.
Now I wish to go to school.



It smells like a penguin
flying through the water.
It feels like a smooth,
wet flipper.
It sounds like the splash
of the water.
It tastes like a cold snowball
made by the penguin.



It tastes like an orange
from California.
It feels like a sweet, juicy apple
lying in the sun.
It smells like a lily pad
floating in the water.
It sounds like the nice wind
blowing in the evergreen trees.


Sky Blue

It smells like
birds flying in
the sky. It feels
like Neptune in
my backyard.
It sounds like
the blue ocean
making a lot
of sounds and
splashes. It
tastes like
blueberry cake.


In the Country of Crazy Things

There are crazy
fishies that are

It smells like
chocolate and

You can see
burgers walking.

You can see
spiders that
look like ants
with eight legs.


Grandma Elvis

Grandma Elvis sings on the stage.
She doesn’t wear anything.
She falls off the stage
and cracks open her head
and all her teeth fall out.
She is watched
by her boyfriend Bynard.
She is Grandma Elvis.


Beautiful Feet

Oh, beautiful feet!
People say they stink.
To me, they are just a sight.
I think they were brought
from space. I hope they stay
forever so I can make
a sculpture of them.



It smells like a hungry wolf on a mountain.
It feels like soft, fuzzy fur.
It sounds like a growling animal.
It tastes like icy hair.

Zoe L.

Dancing in Massachusetts

Massachusetts was tired
of standing there and standing there,
so one day, it decided to dance.
For us, it was an earthquake,
but to Massachusetts,
it was just dancing like crazy.


In the Country of Talking Dandelions

Big talking dandelions.

People on the dandelion leaves listening
and laughing at the dandelions’ stories.



I am an asteroid
that is a giant meatball.
I am Superman
who runs into the Empire State Building,
and it falls on him and he dies.
I am a fish that gets eaten by another fish,
and that fish is eaten by a big fish.
I am a giant pair of green pants with holes in them
that nobody wears.
I am an apple with worms, cockroaches, and crickets.


Dog with a Yucky Eyeball

I had a dog with a yucky eyeball.
(I spilled mac and cheese
on his eye.) I went to Walmart
to find a clean eyeball.
I took the yucky one out
and put a clean one in.


Fat Bob Marley

For Bob’s breakfast,
he had sausage, pancakes,
bacon, donuts,
cereal, orange juice,
milk, water,
and apple juice!
Oh! So that’s how he got so fat!


In the Country Where Every Lego Is Free

A dragon that is 5,682 pieces.
A giant that is 10,252 pieces.
I am the protector of the village.



It sounds like a drum pounding
in Japan.
It feels like Ms. Collins’s
warm hugs.


The Places Poems Make

Ms. Marques’s second grade poets at Highland Park Elementary School disappeared into new territories during their Badgerdog workshop this spring. With their instructor, Cara Zimmer, they created and then inhabited jungles where there’s sour pickles; they became adventure ducks and the color aquamarine; and they invented what sounds like the most beautiful place: a country where everyone laughs, even babies.  To read these poems is to remember to pay attention: there are opportunities for discovery and invention everywhere.

A Highland Park Elementary writer's collected poems



In the Country of Dog Snort

In the country of Dog Snort,
dogs live with snorting,

and puppies are snorting
and are born from their mom.

No people or cats
live there,
and all the other animals,
they don’t live there.

People always want to be
the first to
discover it.

know about it because they
hear their mom and dad talking about it.


In the Country of Frank

A Paul Frank in a
rainforest that
shakes up and down
where people get water.

The valley of a big, fat person
on a little, tiny rock.


In the Country of Marshmallow City

In Marshmallow City
you see hopping marshmallows
that have big eyes and teeth.
They live in tissue box holes—
to make the tissue box holes
not smell bad, the marshmallows
spray perfume. Their houses
are very purrrty. They have pink
houses and polka-dotted lamps.
Their rugs are very furry.
Their roofs are pointy, like
a castle. The marshmallows
look like Mario fish markers.
Dogs bark when they see
these hideous marshmallows.


Jungle Pickle

Way down deep
in the jungle
there is a man-eating
sour pickle. It is so strong
it can rip you in


Big Fat Dumb Dog

I am a big fat dumb dog
who goes to the bathroom
and runs into walls
and destroys the water.
I am years old
and I am a ninja who wears hobo clothes
and destroys buildings
and eats dogs.
I am cocoa from Cocoa Puffs
that smashes books
and doesn’t have a tongue.


In the Country of Laughing People

No one could talk
because they were
laughing too much.

They even laughed
when they drank a cup of tea.

And even if you
lived somewhere else
and then moved there,
you laughed.

They laughed when
they went to bed.

Can you believe that even
the babies laughed?


In the Country of Whosamawhatsa

The Whosamawhatsa country
does not know anything.

They do not like flies.
That’s the only thing they know.

The Whosamawhatsas
have a fort around their

The Whosamawhatsas
are pretty

The Whosamawhatsas
always say “Whosamawhatsa.”


In the Country of Time

You’ll see the most ancient temples,
scrolls, and the best historical events
ever. You’ll see Jesus. You’ll see
D-Day. You’ll see George Washington
and meet Abe Lincoln. You’ll join
the union. You’ll team up with
General Eisenhower. You’ll board
the Titanic. You’ll help Harriet
Tubman escape from the South.
You’ll help Robert D. Ballard find
the Titanic. You’ll help Dr. King
win the Nobel Peace Prize.
You’ll join SEAL Team Six
to assassinate Osama bin Laden,
and finally, you’ll join the Americans
in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


In the Country of Pokémon

You’ll see a Pokémon
getting murdered
by Brock.

Zoo bats

spitting water
out everywhere.

Bug-type buzzing
and annoying


In the Country of Bananas and Other Fruit

You see it—the first part of the land
is an apple and a coconut.

You see bananas.

A bathtub with a banana
and a monkey in it.

You see a coconut,
an apple, and a monkey.

Banana, peach, orange,
pear, strawberry, raspberry,
blueberry, and the grand fruit—
the tomato!


In the Country of Fashion

Everyone wears sparkly clothes,
even to sleep.

And everyone has a pet.
Even their hair is sparkly.

Kids don’t have to go to school
because they know everything already.

Everyone has long hair.
The fish have one hundred colors on them.

But as normal as it seems, it’s not.


Adventure Duck

I am a duck that killed a lion
and stayed in jail for a year
and walked the plank
and went skydiving and disco dancing
and dodged cannon balls
and was buried
and killed ten ducks
and fired a gun
and was in a UFO
and was locked in a chest
and won a boxing fight.



It feels like a starfish
and smells like sea salt.
It tastes like a gummy butterfly.
It sounds like rushing water
hitting against rocks.


Food That Runs

Why does the hot dog
run away to the park?

Can a Lego talk
to a human with a bucket?

Do you know how to talk
to a window?

Does a can walk on the plane
to get ice cream?

Can milk make a cake
for a birthday?

Why does a ketchup bottle
run to a hot dog?


The Cardboard Fish

The cardboard fish hates math, reading,
and spelling, but it loves BADGERDOG!
In fact, its favorite subject is BADGERDOG.
When it’s not in BADGERDOG, it won’t even
move—it just sings “La, La, La, La, La.”
It will only do BADGERDOG. It


Exploding Icky Jellybean

Exploding icky jellybean in my mouth—
it’s so icky
it’s sticky
like a piece of gum.



Why don’t scissors
wear out ice cream?

Who has a phone who
can call aliens?

Can fish pick
their noses?

Can markers
blow bubbles?

Why can’t
pencils fly?

Can a spaceship
peel a banana?

Is there a flag that
stands for green beans?

If there were a kangaroo who
couldn’t jump, where would he live?

Is there a trumpet that
blows carrots instead of sound?

Do donkeys
eat clocks?

How do you put
your pants on?



It tastes like gold licorice with black lines.
It sounds like a rock paintball.
It feels like a sledgehammer.
It sounds like an angry chipmunk.
It tastes like the Transformer bumblebee.