Posts filed under ‘Literacy’
by Rory and Peyton
In third and fourth grade, we learn lots of different kinds of writing. One of the things we have been writing about is a small moment. The way of remembering easily is that they are a seed of a watermelon. A watermelon is a big story. For example, the time you went on a vacation. A seed is a small story like the first plane you went on for that vacation.
Small moments aren’t just something random or untrue. A small moment is a true story that you love or don’t feel good about. But, it has to be something that happened to you.
When you hear the word small it means not a huge amount of time, but the writing can still be long. One part of small moments is you have to extend and expand your writing. How you do that is adding power words. Power words are long or important words.
You have to include every single detail for a small moment to be true. Lastly, we are going to give you two examples small moments. We hope you learned a lot about small moments! We hope you enjoy reading them, too!
Here are the examples:
“Good luck,” said Peyton. Every Friday I have a spelling assessment, except our words are so hard it seems as if rocks are getting shoved into your back.
I am a very great speller, but I have never scored 100%. I have wished to for so long that it would be a huge accomplishment. I always get a high score but suddenly out of nowhere I saw my test and it said 100%. This is the first awesome moment that this has ever happened! What I did was this. I only had one word left and had all the other words correct. I was almost positive I knew all of the words. Then, I heard it. The word was xylophone and I spelled it correctly just like this
X-Y-L-O-P-H-O-N-E. It felt so good!
Finally, I can prove I’m not a bad speller!
Getting A kitten
One fall day, in the afternoon, my brother went to the store with my dad. Then, when my brother left with my dad, my mom told me that a kitten that my aunt found was coming over so we could find it a home. When I heard that I was super excited! My mom also told me that my friend was coming over. So I had a super busy day!
My aunt did not arrive as quickly as I thought she would. But then a couple of minutes later she finally arrived. I was super excited!! I couldn’t wait until I got to see the kitten! But when I got to see it, it was so adorable I knew right away that I did not want to give it away! The kitten had dark orange stripes and an orange body. I asked my mom if I could take the kitten upstairs so I could play with it. She said, “yes.” I quickly ran up the stairs with the kitten in my hands and I tried not to drop it and I didn’t drop it at all. When I got to the top of the stairs I gently put the kitten down and ran to grab a pompom. When I came back from getting the pompom I threw it and the kitten ran after it and the kitten looked faster than my brother. Then, I ran downstairs and asked my mom,”Can we keep the kitten?” Then my mom said, “Maybe.” I hoped that I could keep the kitten!
My friend, Sydney, finally arrived but before she stepped into the door I grabbed the kitten and ran down the stairs but I only got halfway when she stepped in the door. When she saw the kitten she thought it looked so cute! Then we both ran up the stairs and we both started to play with it right away! We never wanted to stop playing with it. Then we finally decided to go downstairs and make a list of names for the kitten. We ended up with a whole list of names. We had to choose one of our very favorite names and it was a hard choice to make. But then we finally made a choice and it was Stripes. My mom really liked the name too. Sydney did not stay for long. When her dad came she did not want to leave at all so we just ran outside and started playing. When Sydney left my brother and I came back inside. When we back in, the kitten was fast asleep and it was so cute!
Synergy students Alexa, Bridget, Chase, Mary, Myleigh and Nick participated in an Enrichment Mystery Writing Class. The emphasis was on vocabulary development and descriptive writing. Here we have the final project where each student chose an animal to describe. Art teacher, Sara Beeken, worked with these students to create a painting of each mystery animal in its habitat. The students hope you will enjoy their Photostory.
Your comments below are appreciated.
I was ridiculously excited. But intermixed with that excitement was a bit of nervousness. Okay, a lot of nervousness. I had only contacted these people through e-mail. I had never met them, nor had they met me. What if I did not live up to what they expected of me? What if they thought I was just a child? Or worse— what if there were other children there and I was taking this too seriously?
These were all the thoughts I had while walking into Flynn Space on Monday, the second of April. I had been invited to judge the plays for Young Playwrights, a program in which I was a participant last year.
I had contacted Cristina Weakland, the director of education, and she had come up with opportunities to help me in my 8th grade challenge, but also in my passion for writing and theatre. She then directed me to Joan Robinson, the Associate Director for School Programs. They invited me to come help judge the plays submitted by the schools around Vermont, and then to attend the Festival in May. I was awestruck by this honor.
That very same day as the judging, I had come back from a weekend trip to Boston for a final showing of Les Misérables on tour (Yes, this is what we playwrights do in our spare time) and I was so tired that all my negative thoughts ate at me. What if? What if? It was not helped by the fact that when I got there, the inside door was locked. Just in front of it was a sign that read: Young Playwrights Judging meets down here, with a nice and big arrow pointing to the stairs. The elevator would not go down. What if I had come to the wrong place? Or the wrong time? What if it was the wrong day? My father and I stood there for a few moments, awkwardly shifting in the thick silence. But soon a woman with short hair wearing a white Irish cable knit sweater went to unlock the door. I opened my mouth to speak, but she didn’t seem to notice me or my 6-foot-something father. But just as she turned the key, she also turned to me, and said welcomingly—
“Are you Madeleine Barrett?” and extended her hand as I said yes. She brought me down to the basement stage room and explained to me what would be happening. I was still a tad jumpy, but seeing that stage down there and feeling the atmosphere made me feel much more secure; and as the others filed in, I knew I was with my own ‘kind’ and I felt completely at ease. Some people as they walked in looked confused at my presence and my tiny briefcase. Some looked just plain surprised. Others rushed toward me and introduced themselves, asking about what brought me here. I met my e-mail buddies, along with seeing people I already knew. When we began, we sat and introduced ourselves. We were to state our name and what force had brought us here, or our occupation. The line slowly progressed toward me. Each person had fantastic feats under their belts— like being in medical school or producing a show professionally, and I wasn’t sure what to say to make me sound in the least bit impressive. Finally they all glanced toward me. And the words were coming out before I knew it.
“Madeleine Barrett; avid student playwright.” I said certainly. They all smiled— some seemed as if it was because I was ‘cute’, but most others looked almost proud at how well I was blending in. I was the only younger-than-adult person there. When they divided into groups of four and divvied up the plays, the real fun began. We’d go through a play, making it come to life as best we could, and then comment and rate it. Between plays, I’d glance at the treat bowl in the center of the table, which none had yet taken from. I must not give into my childish urge for sweets! I did not want to be the first to break, but I was. Oh, well.
Each play was unique. Some did need some clear editing work, but they all shined in their own light. One of the things I found was that the group much preferred the plays of the middle-school pupils than that of the high school students. We had some real fun with characters, and it is not because we’re all undiscovered stars that an agent was never lucky enough to pick up. Well, that too. But it was because each person really made their characters, and story, shine in one way or another.
I must admit, I was much impressed by the work of the students. Now, the last thing I wish to be sounding like is superior. I am most certainly not, or I at least do not think of myself as being this way. I make mistakes; have stiff dialogue in some places; and sometimes many too-dramatic-storylines, among other things. When my school selected Young Playwrights participants this Fall, I was not selected since I had already had the chance to participate last year. I felt an unbelievable sadness about this. I was jealous of those who were lucky enough to have their name plucked by fate. For a long time I was bitter. But now I know without my misfortune, I would have never have looked for another way to be involved and have this awe-inspiring experience. By reading the work of others, I gained insight into my own writing.
I grabbed my briefcase and the last bits of chocolate from the treat bowl, looking around the near-empty room. Our group was the last one there. My father came in, right on time, 7:00 pm, and waved. They greeted him as Madeleine’s father. “You can call me Bob,” he said with a wry smile, “but my name’s David.” We all laughed. “Now we know where she gets it from.” Joan said with a wink.
Kindergarten students wrote about activities for a snowy day after reading the story by Ezra Jack Keats. Enjoy hearing their ideas. Please comment below.
By Jared, Ellie, Hailey and Lauren
All students in Harmony House went to the Flynn to see the play Henry and Mudge. Henry and Mudge are characters in many stories by Cynthia Rylant. Henry is a young boy and Mudge is dog who likes crackers and popcorn, likes to drool and likes to sleep.
We have been reading many Henry and Mudge stories in our classes. Hailey thought the play was funny and delightful to watch and it showed her how to be a better friend. Lauren thought they added a ton of feelings. Jared thought the acting was great and Ellie learned that you shouldn’t run away because you might get lost and your parents would be really scared and mad.
There was lots of talking, singing and dancing. This story was about not getting mad when a friend is better at something than you are. In the beginning of the story Henry moved away from his good friend and cousin, Annie. He didn’t want to move. Annie mailed him notes and he put them together to make a sentence and found out that Annie was coming. That meant they had to clean!
Annie is a better dog trainer than Henry. It seems like Mudge likes her more. Henry runs into the forest because he is mad and he doesn’t want Mudge to listen to Annie. He wants Mudge to listen to him. The whole point of getting Mudge was to have someone to play with since there were no children near where he lived.
Mudge found Henry in the woods because he smelled Henry’s shoe that smelled like gopher and smelled treats had fallen out of his backpack.
Henry’s Mom told him that Annie had a rough time in the woods and that he should be nice to her. Her fancy ‘dry-cleaning’ dress with sequins got ruined when she was looking for Henry. She wanted to go home.
In the end, Annie gave Henry a hug and she gave a hug to Mudge, too. Henry and Annie were best friends again.
We felt excited to go to the Flynn and everyone clapped at the end.
Alexis’s dad, Sam Mathiowetz, was the guest reader in Mrs. McCormack’s class. BUT, he is in Kuwait, all the way around the world. How did he do this? He used a special camera, read the book Clifford and His Pals and make a DVD for the class. We all watched it.
Alexis was really surprised. “I was bouncing and clapping.” Tarik thought it was amazing that her Dad could talk to them from Kuwait. Jake thought it was cool because he doesn’t usually see soldiers.
Last year, the class used technology to skype with author, David Martin. We could talk to him. He read a scroll to us. It had pictures of animals on it and they were asking which animal was making the noise. The class had lots of questions.
What is a guest reader? We all try to guess who the reader will be. We ask questions like, “Is it a boy or a girl? Does s/he like to cook? paint? swim?
Mrs. McCormack gives us clues such as, “S/he wears glasses.” We write guesses on our whiteboard and keep adding or taking away names. Some of our guest readers have been Mrs. Wentz, Mrs. Benoit and Ms. Blaine.
When trying to guess we think who it might be. We wonder if s/he will be using technology to read to us or if the person will just come in and read!
By Kathy Joseph
Thursday, October 4thwas an exciting day for the Williston Spellers. The Spelling Bee District Competition was held last Thursday, and took place in the Williston Central School auditorium. Both the Williston 5/6 and 7/8 teams had been practicing and working hard for the Bee, and they’re glad to announce that it all paid
off. The 7/8 team won by a landslide, earning 92 points out of a perfect score of 96. They only misspelled one bonus word during the whole competition- emphysema! The Williston 7/8 team competed against the two other 7/8 teams in the district, Hinesburg and Shelburne. Shelburne came in second with 68, and Hinesburg finished last with 54 points.
The 5/6 team had quite a different story. There were three other schools to compete against, and they were racing neck and neck against them until the end. The Williston team started strong, but until the final round (there are 8 total rounds), they were always either tied or a little behind another team. Charlotte was fully expecting to win, having been in the lead since the beginning, but the Williston team had an exciting finish and made no mistakes for the final two rounds. They won by just two points. The final score was Williston in first place with 82 points, Charlotte with 80, Shelburne with 76, and Hinesburg with 56 points.
For the first time in several years, both the Williston Spelling Bee teams are excitedly preparing for the regional meet that will take place on Saturday, November 5th. We wish them both the best of luck!
Loser! Donald Zinkoff thinks he is a loser because feels he never does anything right. Mr. Kellogg’s class is reading a book called Loser by Jerry Spinelli. Mr. K chose this book because he really likes Jerry Spinelli’s work.
We’re only in third and fourth grade but we do SO much work talking about a book, asking questions and writing about it. If someone raises his/her hand while Mr. K is reading, either he or one of the students answers the question. We don’t have to wait until until he finished reading.
We have a motto in our school that is Good Person, Good Citizen and Good Learner and we all try to follow it. We are writing about how Donald Zinkoff, the main character in Loser, is a good person, good citizen and a good learner. He is a good person because he earned a gold star from his mom. He is a good citizen because he pays attention in school. He is a good learner because he went to school on Saturday and he tried to spell his name when he was six years old.
We are also writing about Donald Zinkoff’s character on a map of his body. We know he was flexible because he did not do anything when his teacher, Ms. Meeks, took his hat away from him. He is brave because he doesn’t care what others think about him. He’s a good sport because he doesn’t care if he wins or loses. Donald has an upside-down valve in his stomach and it causes him to vomit a lot. He thinks it’s normal to vomit five to seven times a week!
Even though Donald Zinkoff is younger than us he sets a good example for people reading the book because he doesn’t get mad when someone takes something from him and he listens really well.
It’s a good idea that Mr. Kellogg reads to us everyday so that even if we are not reading the book we all still get to know what’s really happening. It’s a good chance for everybody to share their thoughts.