Friday, February 26, 2010

Netiquette List by Fourth Graders

1. Don't be insulting.
2. Don't write in ALL CAPS.
3. Don't use bad words.
4. Use correct grammar and spelling.
5. Don't post bad videos/pictures
6. Don't give out personal information
7. Get permission before you post pictures/videos of others

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Video Conference with Fort Wayne, Indiana

Today I video conferenced with an enthusiastic bunch of sixth graders in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The presentation was on Personal Narrative. During Questions and Answers, one student asked, "Will you write on your blog about us?" I took a poll of the class to see who liked the idea (it was pretty unanimous) and so, here you go!

The presentation went smoothly, and I was glad to see that the students had an answer ready for pretty much every question I asked. Definitely the class learned a lot, and they worked hard. Great job!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What If Cats Could Swim Underwater?

I was discussing "What If?" questions and their potential for story ideas with another group of students from the same school, during the presentation Writing Inspirations. Watch the video.They asked the "What if?" quetsion: "What if cats could swim underwater?" Here's the story we came up with:

Blaze the cat had always been a dreamer. In cat class, he had daydreamed about mice instead of actually catching them, leading his teachers to call him a “good-for-nothing freeloading fat cat.” It had to be said that Blaze was a fat cat. At two hundred pounds, he lumbered along with a huge belly of fat. He liked to call himself, “The Great One,” but everyone else just called him chubby.

One night, while resting in his comfortable room at Mr. Lambchop’s house, Blaze had a sudden and vivid vision—a dream, if you wanted to call it that. He imagined that he was swimming underwater, his fur gloriously soaked and his giant belly helping him float. It was an odd dream, since cats don’t like water; but Blaze was an odd cat. He woke up with a start and thought, This idea is too good to let go. With that, he pattered softly out of his room, clambered out an open window, and headed for the nearest lake, Lake Howie. It took Blaze an hour of walking before he got to Lake Howie, and he gazed at the cold rippling waters with some trepidation. After a minute of pondering and observing the lake, Blaze gave a short hiss and jumped into the water.

365 Days in a Frog's Stomach

This is a story idea I worked on with a large group of students I video conferenced with today. I was talking about how you could get ideas from asking "What If?" questions, and one of the "What If?" questions they came up with was "What if you got swallowed by a frog?" I suggested the title "365 Days in a Frog's Stomach," they came up with the characters, and voila! We get the beginning of the next great American novel...about being in a frog's stomach, anyway. :) To the students of this video conference: great work and try to finish the story! I'm looking forward to seeing what you create.

365 Days in a Frog’s Stomach

Character List:
George the frog—he likes swimming; he has yellow spots all over
Prince Charles—he likes video games; he’s chubby, and he’s mean
Queen Fox--Charles's mother

It was a fateful February day when Prince Charles went outside in bad temper. His mother had told him to stop playing his favorite video game, “Chicken Shoot,” which Charles liked to play twelve hours every day.

“Go outside or else your eyes will get rotted,” his mother, Queen Fox, said sharply. She gave him a shove out the door and slammed it behind him.

Prince Charles landed on his bottom on the hard asphalt and started screaming loudly. Since nobody came to assist him, he got up with a scowl and started stomping toward the palace gardens. He was still in a state of agitation at the fact that his mother had had the nerve to shove him out while he was just about to reach Level 50. How awful; how awful.

The palace gardens would have made anyone smile with their beautiful rhododendrons and roses, the finely trimmed topiaries, and the lush grassy walkways. But Prince Charles still had his mind on Chicken Shoot, and that was why, when a large frog (actually, that was an understatement—the frog was as large as the royal palace itself) approached. Prince Charles saw the huge shadow the frog cast first, and then he looked up to see the creature. Tall and green, with yellow spots all over from frogpox, the frog was an intimidating sight.

“Get out of my way,” said Charles angrily, kicking some pebbles at the giant frog.

“Get out of my way, little boy,” the frog said indignantly. “I’m the one who’s hunting for crickets.”

“Crickets. Haha, you have some kind of food source,” Prince Charles snorted disdainfully. “I get to eat pudding and sugar-coated watermelon every day. And I get to eat crepes and waffles and—”

“That’s enough,” said the frog. “I get to eat YOU!” And with that, he thrust out his giant tongue and, with one scoop, lifted Charles into the air and into his slimy dark mouth.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Monday, February 01, 2010