Monthly Archives: February 2011

Word After Word After Word – Chapter 1

Some things happen in fours.

On the fourth day of the fourth month after the winter holiday vacation, a famous writer came to our fourth-grade class. Her name was Ms. Mirabel. She liked the “Ms.” a lot. She hissed “Ms.” like Evie’s cat, Looley, hissed. I looked over at Evie and she was smiling. She had thought of Looley, too.

    Ms. Mirabel had long, troubled hair and a chest that pushed out in front of her like a grocery cart.

   “Did you always want to be a writer?” asked Henry.

   He smiled at me. Hen carried a notebook with him at all times, sometimes stopping in the middle of soccer practice to pull it out and write something.

   “No,”, said Ms. Mirabel. “I wanted to be a stage performer or an electrical engineer.”

   “How much money do you make?” asked Evie.

   “Evie,” warned our teacher, Miss Cash. “That’s not a proper question to ask.”

   “That’s all right,” said Ms. Mirabel cheerfully. “I make enough to send my children to camp in the summer.”

   Evie frowned. She hated camp. She had once said that only cruel and uninterested parents sent their children off to camp in the summer. Evie knew firsthand. Her parents had sent her off to Camp Minnetuba the summer that they separated. When Evie returned home, her mother had moved out; her father lived there with Evie and her little brother, Thomas.

   “Temporary,” said her father and mother. “It had nothing to do with you.”

   Evie thought it had lots to do with her. From time to time her mother visited, but she never stayed very long.

   “Is what you write real?” asked May.

   Ms. Mirabel brightened. She liked that question.

   “Real or unreal. They’re just about the same,” said Ms. Mirabel. “They are both all about magical words!”

   She said words with a soft hush in her voice.

   “Do you write with an outline?” Russell asked.

   Ms. Mirabel laughed loudly. It was a sudden, startling laugh; and we all laughed, too.

   “Of course not,” she said. “Outlines are silly. Once you write the outline, there’s no reason to write the story. You write to participate … to find out what is going to happen!”

   Miss Cash frowned. This is not what she had taught us in creative writing class.

   “Actually, I loathe outlines!’ said Ms. Mirabel with great feeling.

   Miss Cash closed her eyes as if her head hurt.

   And then Hen asked the question that made all the difference to us.

   “Why do you write?” he asked.

   Ms. Mirabel sighed. There was a sudden hush in the room, as if Ms. Mirabel was about to say something very important.

   As it turned out, she was.

   “I, myself, write to change my life, to make it come out the way I want it to,” she said. “But other people write for other reasons: to see more closely what it is they are thinking about, what they may be afraid of. Sometimes writers write to solve a problem, to answer their own question. All these reasons are good reasons. And that is the most important thing I’ll ever tell you. Maybe it is the most important thing you’ll ever hear. Ever.”

   “Some writers write to earn money,” said Evie.

   “They do,” said Ms. Mirabel. “But that is only one reason to write. And usually not the most important.”

   “What is we have nothing to write about?” I asked. “And how do we change life by writing?” I added.

   Miss Cash smiled.

   “Lucy doesn’t think her life is very interesting,” she said.

   My life wasn’t interesting. Unless you counted my mother’s cancer. Her cancer filled up the hours these days. Sadness filled up my house. Sadness was all I knew. How could I change that?

   “Well, she’s wrong,” said Ms. Mirabel. She walked over to stand in front of me.

   “You have a story in there, Lucy,” she said, touching my head. “Or a character, a place, a poem, a moment in time. When you find it, you will write it. Word after word after word after word,” she whispered.

   The school bell rang. Ms. Mirabel jumped slightly. No one moved. Then, after a moment, Miss Cash took Ms. Mirabel’s arm and they went out the door. We all picked up our notebooks and went off to try to change our lives. Word after word after word.

(— to be continued)

“Word After Word After Word”

By Newbery Medal-winning author PARTRICIA MacLACHLAN

My Bookmark design

Press the like button if you like it!!


        “13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20. Ready or not, here I COMMMEEEEE!!!” Larry called.

        He’ll never find us here, no, not this place, unless we were playing Marco Polo….. Gilda thought.

        Connie, Gilda, and Larry,(tripelets) were playing hide and seek. Of course, this was a ‘baby’ game, but teenagers can still enjoy it. Which was exactly what they did. Ish.

        They were all bored, that was the reason. But their Aunt Jenne was coming the day after. So.. they could get rid of this childish nonsense, for now…..

        Connie was a girl, sporty, quick and adventurous, and she knew quite lot of languages. Gilda was an indoor girl, straight A+ guy, since 2nd grade. Larry, on the other hand, was a mix of in between, with a great ear for hearing, with a dash of obedience for his sisters. He was 5.67 seconds younger. Hmm….

        Connie and Gilda sneaked into a round stone door, nearly swallowed up with ivy and mold. Squealing, they tip-toed in.

        “Holy cow! I’d like to explore this…. thing!     

   “This must be the ancient ruins those constuction workers were blahhing about, Connie!” Gilda whispered.

        No reply.


        Still no reply, but a rustle of branches from a nearby oak tree.

        “Aunt Jenne’s gonna miss ya!!!!”

         Too late! She realized Connie had alread gone exploring. She thought she was going to flip out!


         “Uh-huh? Hmmm…. uh… where’s Connie??”


           “Ohhh.. then…………”

           He climbed up the same tree the rustles came from. Gilda followed, eager to find her sister, but desparate to go home safe.

          At the top, they were baffled to find the trunk hollow, smooth and big. Next to it lay a pastel and orange Converse sneaker.


          At once, they glided down, down. So far down they thought it was underground. But the only thought that stuck in their heads was, Where is Connie?

A suprise visitor

While I was at Chinese School, my grandpa was at home. He opened our front door and…….. he found an opossum hiding behind our flower pot! He took a few pictures and, after he took some pictures, the opossum came out! He then took even more pictures and I think those pictures look great. Here are the pictures he took:


He looks furry




This opossum is about twice as long as a mouse! He wasn’t afraid at all about my grandpa taking pictures.

Answers to the Tricky Valentine’s Math Problems

 1. How Many Hugs?
Figure out a formula (or algorithm) that will calculate the following problem: Your mom gives you on hug on February 1st, 2 hugs on the 2nd, 3 hugs on the 3rd and so on. How many hugs will you have received in all of the month of February?  406

2. How Many Kisses?
You want to give your mom one kiss on February 1st, 2 kisses on the 2nd, 4 kisses on the 3rd, 8 kisses on the 4th, and keep doubling for the month of February. How many kisses will you need to give her? 268435455

3. How many Valentine’s are exchanged in a class of 20 if each students gives Valentine’s to everyone in the class?  380

4. The florist sells 150 bouquets of flowers. Each bouquet has a dozen roses. Five bouquets were returned because the flowers had ants. How many flowers were sold in all? 1740

5. February 14th is Valentine’s day. How many ways can you add up two numbers to make 14? (What about if you use negative numbers or fractions?)

Father Daughter Dance

Last night my dad and I went to a father daughter dance for girl scouts. Daddy said that he cannot dance but I think he did a good job! He almost didn’t want to go! When we danced he just twirled me around, nodded his head and all that. But he was better than some dads who just walked around.

My dad wore a silvery blackish mask that only covered his eyes. He looks like a raccoon when he wears his mask. He also has a black sweater with dark pants. I had a red mask with black outlines around the eyeholes.  On the top, there are big black poofy feathers. I don’t really like my mask because I look like a devil when I wear it. I also had a red dress with a black sweater. My dad and I were supposed to look like a pair.

The dance was a blast!! I saw many of my friends dancing with their dads too. They all had very pretty masks. When I first walked in it was like a rainbow! I never knew there would be so many colorful faces at the masquerade ball! I got a recorder thingy for taking the time to get an exciting mask. I thought that creepy devil face wouldn’t win anything but I guess I was wrong! [I like my regular recorder better.]

At the end, I made a little swap. You could decorate a little mask. It was still a little sticky when we were getting ready to leave. After all of that hard work I could not believe what happened. Right when I put on my jacket I noticed my swap was missing. Then I saw it. I took it of my mask and a big strand of some black poofy feathers stuck to it! I had a great time dancing with my dad.

V.E.R.E. Strikes (Part Two)

That night, I thought about that note. Then, suddenly, I had an idea. I crept out of bed and checked the time. It was 10:34. Okay, I thought. It’s not too late. I went to Nickel’s house. Down Neon Road, Nitrogen Avenue, and Carbon Boulevard. When I got there, I had to ring the doorbell about ten times before Nickel answered it. I told him, “I need to see that note right now!” I came into his house. Nickel returned with the note in his hand, an eager expression on his face. I took out my pen and pad and wrote the alphabet backwards and again this time forward. I translated “Ijyyuib lu yzmp zg nrwmrtsg li szmw jevi $1,000,000 glmrtsg!” into “Robbery of bank at midnight or hand over $1,000,000 tonight!” Nickel read it too. I asked him, “What time is it?”

He answered “Ahhhhhhhhhh! It’s already 11:30!”

“Nickel, calm down!” I hastily said. “We have to hurry if we want to catch the thief in the act!”

 “Okay,” said Nickel. “Let’s go!”

At the bank, we were prepared. We each had a special satellite cell phone. If either of them sensed a robber, it would vibrate soundlessly and we could feel it. The other cell phone would also vibrate, only harder. We each had a backpack with tons of things we might need. We both dressed in black, color-change suits. My good friend Iron, who is an inventor, lent us these things. We waited for what seemed like an hour, though really five minutes, both of us positioned at different places. Finally, my phone started vibrating. Yes, I thought. He’s here. Or she. I waited, holding my breath. I saw a group of people walking towards me. It looked like, but no it couldn’t have been, yes it was, it looked like the group of Very Evil Radioactive Elements a.k.a. V.E.R.E. was here. The whole group! They were most of the radioactive elements. I couldn’t figure out who they were specifically though. They were arguing about whom to send in to rob the bank. I tried to hear what they were saying, but I just caught a few sentences.

“We can’t send in Nobelium.”

“Why not send in Californium?”

“Send in Rutherfordium.”

“He can’t be quiet.”

“Just let him go.”

“No! She can go.”

“No put Lawrencium in.”

I waited for them to stop arguing and finally they said “Okay, you go.” I couldn’t tell who they sent. Next thing I knew, they opened the door with a lock pick and whoever they sent went in. I had only one thought in my head. I slipped in too.

Group Tour to Money Museum Mar.14, 1:30pm

Thanks for all who voted on the date and time of the group tour to the Money Museum.  Unfortunately, the majority voted date, Mar. 11, is not available any more.  But I was able to reserve the spot on Mar. 14 at 1:30pm.  I also requested a presentation for our group after the guided tour. 

Therefore, on March 14, 1:30pm, parents, please take your kids to 1 Memorial Drive, located on the west side of Main Street and south of the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. Detail directions are at: 

Please arrive by 12:50pm to allow plenty of time for security and check in process. The guided tour starts at 1:30pm. The presentation is after the tour and is about 30 minutes long.  After that, you can still stay in the museum exhibit area. 

Please review the security procedure and parking instructions at


Fablehaven: Fall of the Shadow Beings – Chapter Two

The Hall of Whispers

“All right Kendra, Vanessa and Raxtus. We have a pretty good team put together here but even so, we need to be alert at every moment. The Hall of Whispers will very likely be the hardest place we ever encountered. The entities in there will very likely radiate magical fear so I need all of you to drink this potion for me. Tanu made it for the Wymroost trip.” added Braken hastily.                                                                                                                                                                                                                When everybody finished their potion, they mounted on Raxtus.                                 “I would like to have Kendra keep her hand on me since there is such a long journey ahead of us.” muttered Raxtus.                                                                          Kendra obeyed immediately. No sooner that two minutes in air Braken shouted over the wind ” Three griffins Raxtus! The one one the bottom  is trying to cut of a dive. If you drop me right now can you catch me later?”                                             “So you want to use the strategy Warren used before with the harpies right?” clarified Raxtus.                                                                                                                                    ” Exactly! Vanessa hand me the sword now.”                                                                Vanessa gave Braken the sword and at that exact moment Raxtus let go of Braken. Braken whistled through the air while Kendra clutched her face so hard that you could see nail marks on her face. Suddenly, she heard a loud screech. Braken had hacked of a wing of one of the griffins and one of the griffins on top was zooming toward them at 75 miles per hour. Raxtus spiraled down and caught up with Braken right before the impact with the ground. Kendra sighed with reileif.                                                                                                                                                       “You okay Braken?” questioned Kendra with concern in her voice.                   “Good as new. In fact Raxtus should be setting us down at any moment now to intercept the griffens. He wants us safely out of harm’s way but I’m going to charge at that griffen that I sliced the wing off of. Got the plan? Right. Wait for it Raxtus……..wait…….and now! Drop us!”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Raxtus dropped his passengers and swooped to engage in combat with his feathery opponents. The griffins dived and spiraled gracefully pecking Raxtus from behind. They were involved in this dangerous dance until Raxtus, faking to be ever so concentrated on one griffin swiped his tail and one griffin was out of the picture. Unfortunately, the battle one the ground wasn’t going that well. Bracken had knew from his two thousand years of experience that griffins have a hard time turning and when they do turn they turn jerkily like a puppet with half it’s strings cut. But this griffin was a different story, every move Bracken did was perfectly blocked like if this griffin had been prepared for combat. Bracken was tiring and the enemy was showing no signs of weakness. Then Kendra saw why. There was a wizard, a female wizard that was chanting empowering the griffins even more. She was standing on a high rock near a cliff. Kendra clenched her teeth. She was probably going to have to sacrifice herself in order for this to succeed. Lost in thoughts, Kendra jumped as a arrow whistled by her ear missing Kendra by a fraction of an inch. She had forgotten Vanessa was there to help her.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   “Vanessa!” shouted Kendra.                                                                                                     Now it was Vanessa’s turn to jump. She turned and exclaimed”Kendra!” Kendra pointed at the cliff and Vanessa now saw the real problem. She unsheathed her sword and tossed her bow and arrow set to Kendra who caught it and slung it over her shoulder. Vanessa quickly motioned to Bracken and Raxtus who both understood now. Then Vanessa beckoned for Kendra to come with her. The crept along the edge of the cliff always staying hidden. Vanessa whispered “Shoot now!”                                                                                                                                       To late. The sorceress turned her eyes widening and hesitating no more, she began another spell, a different one this time. As she chanted, the sorceress rose into the air encased to a golden sphere shimmering with magic the it popped into and blue glittering ball of power and the sorceress directed it to Vanessa and Kendra, her mouth twisting into a evil smile.                                                                          “Run!” mouthed Vanessa” I’ll take care of this.”                                                                     Instead of running, Kendra snuck behind the sorceress and threw her sword with deadly accuracy. But who knew the sorceress had the Sands of Sanctity? The sorceress laughed without humor.                                                                                                “I am Natacionda! You will never win a direct fight against me!”                                 “You’re right! We will never win a fight against Natacionda! So Raxtus, leave the griffins and lets get out of ………………”                                                                                        Whack! Miss “I’m so magical” Natacionda threw the shimmering ball at Vanessa. Even so, Raxtus carried all the passengers out to sea including Natacionda. But Natacionda was a special case. Raxtus spiraled higher and higher and higher to make her dizzy so she couldn’t work any magic. Then, SPLASH! Raxtus dropped Natacionda while she wailed and cursed at everybody on Raxtus’s ride.

Kendra looked at the Hall of Whispers. There was no opening, anywhere. That’s when she spotted something. A little hole. Kendra called everyone over. Bracken examined the hole while Vanessa stared blankly at the wall.                           Suddenly she shouted” I know! Look at the bricks right here. They all have black on the edge of them and these bricks make a arch…………..”So there must be a round key somewhere to open this doorway.” Kendra completed the sentence for Vanessa .                                                                                                                                             “Exactly!” beamed Vanessa ” Who knew that now we are going key hunting?

“The key”Kendra remarked”must be some kind of round cylinder. But who has a guess on what it’s made of? We passed a pile of cylinders on the way here………..” Suddenly a inscription appeared-Either pass or die that will be determined on your first key try.                                                                                                                                 “That means we try one key and we will either pass or die”Braken said.                     ” We will be  looking for a key that’s silver like the roof .” Raxtus said from up above them.                                                                                                                                           “Wait Raxtus.”Kendra said” we can’t find the key the normal way as most people have done it. They’ve probably looked in the key pile but that can’t be right because the key wouldn’t let itself be so easy to find. Take me up on that roof and we’ll split up and search.”                                                                                                          Vanessa cleared her throat”Ummm, maybe I should do it in case there are dangers up there.”                                                                                                                                “Don’t fret Vanessa. Relax. Nothing can go wrong with Raxtus up there.” soothed Bracken.                                                                                                                                  Raxtus picked Kendra up and flew up and started to laugh.                                               “I am not your meek little friend Raxtus! I am the guardian of the key! I am able to take shape of the first animal that flies up here.”                                                             ” Raxtus is immobilized! The key is up here too.”shouted Kendra.                                 She bit the duplicate of Raxtus with all her might.                                                                “Oweeee!” screeched the fake Raxtus.                                                                                         He dropped her right above the key. Kendra grabbed the key and threw it to Vanessa. Bracken caught the key and inserted into the key hole. A hole appeared in the roof where Kendra was. Before she fell into the hole though she saw that Raxtus was able to fly away as the monster crumbled to dust. Then as Kendra reached for the crumbling roof, darkness engulfed her.

To be continued……………………….

New Kidnappers in the House part 1

RING! The recess bell is killin’ my ears, but still, a good time to get some darn fresh air. I jumped out of my big bulky chair and rushed out the hard wooden door. I looked outside finding a small dame (a dame are what we detectives call the ladies) swishing her head wildly looking like she was trying to find something like a stamp for a stamp collection. I stared at her for minutes and minutes and more minutes. She turned her head toward me and trudged to my face. She stared at me for a second.

“Whata you lookin’ at sis?” I asked.

“Um . . . private eye-”

“It’s detective sis,” I interrupted.

“Um sorry uh we’ll um. . . talk later bye,” She nervously said.

Those dames, couldn’t get an answer out of them. Their pretty good at running though, she pushed me on my stomach.

“UU!” I said sounding very weird. “Next time watch where you push sis!” I yelled.

My eyes looked down my hand holding my chin, thinking what that dame was going to say. Ideas rushed through my blood vessels, tangled through my nerves and got to my brain. My brain hurt after thinking for the rest of my recess. But that’s alright after all, I’ve done this before and after I’ve done it once, I can do it again better than the last time.

I found magnesium at the library running up to me asking me, “Do you want to hear a joke? Oh well of course you do. What did the cheese say when some chips ran up to him begging to be dipped in him?”

“Please stop asking me these-”

“I’m nacho cheese now please go away and find someone else,” he interrupted. “BLAH! HA! HA! HA!” he cackled.

Ugh this sucks I thought to myself.

I told her about the weird approach of the little dame and some thoughts I had in mind. We decided to start to annoy our teachers and go to Mr. Zincs office to get him to call the dame down and we’d have a chance to talk with this mysterious dame. The plan started as we walked in the walked into the class after library.

“Okay class now let’s start with math, try this problem, 54×96=” she said

I raised my hand holding it still.

“Can I go to the principal’s office Mrs. Curium?” I asked



“Because you can’t.”


“It’s against the school rule.”


“Just shut your mouth!”


“That’s it Radon go to the principal’s office!” she shouted.

I gave her a Thanks-Mrs. Curium look and waved. I ran down finding Magnesium leaning by the window of the office. I waved and whispered, “Ready to get this dame in the game?”

“Definitely!” he whispered back.

“We walked in finding Mr. Zinc sitting in his office examining papers.

“Um Mr. Zinc, can you call down this dame called Lithium? I want to talk to her.” I said. (I should’ve told you her name was Lithium)

“Sure Detective Radon,” He picked up his walky-talky and said “Mrs. Arsenic, please send Lithium down to the office,” he said. “Sure thing principal,” she replied.

Lithium arrived after a few seconds. I told Mr. Zinc that Magnesium, Lithium, and I had to have a private talk. Mr. Zinc scooted his chair down to a farther room at the back of the office and closed the wooden door. I asked lithium, “What were you going to ask me during recess?” I asked.

“Um . . . nothing,” she replied looking down at the floor.

“We’re serious tell us now,” Magnesium said.

“Okay fine, this is a case for you. The principal has been kidnapped!” she said.

“Really you think we’d believe you.” Magnesium said.

“No but he really has been kidnapped. I saw the fake principal back in the room over there take off his mask before and say: Whew! It was hot in that mask.” She said.

“Okay this time you don’t have to pay us, the principal does, we’re on the case.”


Please give me more Ideas or clues for Magnesium and Detective Radon

to find for the next part. I want this better than my last story.

Writing Rubric


Focused, clear, specific. It keeps the reader’s attention.


a) I know a lot about this topic and added interesting tidbits.

b) I showed what was happening instead of telling.

c) My topic was small enough to handle.

d) I can easily answer the question, “What is the point of this paper/story?”

e) I have a beginning, middle, and end.


Extremely clear, visual, and accurate. I picked the right words for the right places.


a) My words are colorful, snappy, vital, brisk and

fresh. You won’t find overdone, vague or flowery


b) All the words in my paper fit. Each one seems just right.

c) Look at all my energetic verbs! (actions words like run and throw)

d) Some of the words and phrases are so vivid the

reader won’t soon forget them.


Mostly correct. There are very few errors in my paper.


a) My spelling is accurate.

b) I have used capitals correctly.

c) Every paragraph is indented to show where a

new idea/speaker begins.

d) Periods, commas, exclamation marks, and

quotation marks are in the right places.

e) My grammar/usage is consistent and shows control.

Fantasy Fiction

Fantasy Fiction

No one can resist the temptation of a Harry Potter once one gets the glimpse of the fantastic world of brave heroes, life-and-death situations and the magical kingdom. It is difficult to ignore the impossible and the improbable once we are part of the amazing maze of wands, and magic chants and talking animals. The unicorns and Lord Voldemort will effortlessly capture the imagination of the young minds.

Some of the very frequent and mostly-used topics of the fantasy fictions are dragons, all kinds of mythical animals like goblins, trolls, leprechauns and unicorns. The main composition contains elements of magic and supernatural things and the magic is woven through words and settings. No Harry Potter would be possible without the Hogwarts School and anything will be possible when one has companions like Hermoine and Ron. In other words impossible is possible in the fantastic world and fiction seems to be stranger than truth.

The mostly used subjects for fantasy fictions are the eternal conflict between good and bad, dark lord who is responsible for the destruction and havoc in the world. Of course one cannot miss magic which is responsible for all the changes and happiness. Even some of the folklores and romance are taken as the basic elements for the fantasy fictions.

Historical Fiction


The genre of historical fiction in the field of children’s literature includes stories that are written to portray a time period or convey information about a specific time period or an historical event. Usually the event or time period is about 30 years in the past. Some well-known examples are Karen Cushman’s


In historical fiction, setting is the most important literary element. Because the author is writing about a particular time in history, the information about the time period must be accurate, authentic, or both. To create accurate and authentic settings in their books, authors must research the time period thoroughly. They must know how people lived, what they ate, what kinds of homes they had, and what artifacts were a common part of their lives.

Historical fiction books—whether they are picture books, transitional books, or novels—may have characters who are either imaginary or who actually lived during the time period. Settings also may be real or imaginary. The plot events may be documented historical events or they may be fictional. If they are fictional, it means that the author created the events for the telling of the story. The fictional characters, settings, and plot events must be portrayed authentically as if they actually

could have happened. A classic example of historical fiction is

Johnny Tremain, a 1944 Newbery Medal book. The primary setting is Boston in 1773. The book contains both real and fictional characters, real and fictional settings, and real and fictional events. The book is successful because of author Esther Forbes’s extensive historical research and knowledge of the time period and her skillful blending of history and fiction into a believable story.

Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife’s Apprentice, and Christopher Paul Curtis’s The Watsons go to Birmingham—1963 and Bud, Not Buddy.

Show vs. Tell

Showing instead of telling helps you create a picture in the reader’s mind. It also helps you get away from the repetition of empty words, such as weird, really neat, beautiful, wonderful, and boring.


Telling: The girls were excited.

Showing: The girls held tight to each other in a mock effort to contain themselves. Arms flailed upward and giggles and screams filled the arena as the pop star bounded onto the stage.

Telling: The room was vacant.

Showing: Cob webs flowed freely in the air as the open door brought light to the peeling paint on the walls. The new air gave life to a stuffiness that entrapped the room. Faded and torn white sheets covered once new furniture now drowning in dust.

Telling: Sam was a great pitcher.

Showing: The ball shot from Sam’s hand as if it had been fired from a cannon. The batter steadied himself for the hit as the ball blazed toward him. “Strike three!” the umpire called. Sam’s fast-ball was so hot the batter never had a chance.

Telling: Emma was sad.

Showing: Tears rolled down Emma’s cheeks and splashed onto her new party dress.

Writing Assignment Due Mar. 5th

Hi! It was great to see you all on Saturday! Just a reminder of the assignment we talked about: From the 3rd and 4th graders I would like to see at least 6 paragraphs by the next class.  For the 5th graders and up I would like to see at least 12 to 14 paragraphs. 

Please email me your assignments so I can print/read them before class. 

sschank64(at) sbcglobal(dot)net  

Looking forward to reading them!


V.E.R.E. Strikes (Part one)

As I rushed down Neon Road, on my way to my friend Nickel’s house for an important case, I saw Arsenic walking along Neon Road. He spotted me and asked, “Where are you going, Detective Cobalt?”

I wanted to ask where he was going but instead I said, “To Nickel’s house for a mystery. He called me about five minutes ago.”

“Oh,” he said. While we were talking, we turned onto Nitrogen Avenue. One more block to Nickel’s house, I thought.

As we turned onto Carbon Boulevard, Nickel came running towards us waving his arms and saying “I’ve been robbed!” over and over again. I was used to this sort of behavior from him.

“What happened?” I asked.

“I was in my house on the computer.” Nickel instantly said. “I heard a thump and wondered who it could be. I went downstairs to check and found a robber raiding my wallet. When he saw me, he jumped out the window, leaving my wallet behind. Luckily, he only took about one-third of the money. There was only about one hundred dollars. When I looked out the window, the robber was running away down Carbon Boulevard. He seemed to have landed in my flowerbed. My flowers are beautiful and today they’re in bloom.”

 Well, everyone knew that Nickel had a green thumb, and his flowers didn’t just bloom. Their petals bursted open and there were only three flowers in his flowerbed because their petals were so big.

“So the thief must have had a nice and bouncy landing,” I muttered to myself. “What story of your house were you on, Nickel?” I asked.

“The first story.” he replied.

“Okay.” I said. “Continue.”

“Well, he turned onto Copper Street and vanished from view. Then I called you.”

“All right.” I said. “Let’s go to your house.” So we walked up to Nickel’s front door. As we went, I saw Nickel was right. The thief had really landed in Nickel’s flowerbed because the flowers were ruffled and a slightly wilted.

“Hold on.” I said to Nickel. I walked over to the flowerbed and began examining it. The flowers were wilting towards the road, their petals still in full bloom. I noticed some small pieces of glass in the flowerbed and around it. It seemed as though the thief had jumped out the window, landed in the flowerbed, and slid off, leaving them wilting towards Carbon Boulevard. As I walked into Nickel’s house, I noticed that Arsenic was gone. I thought it was very odd because Arsenic liked being in the thick of the action and that was made him such a good police element. I asked Nickel to show me the window the thief jumped out of. The glass was on the outside which means the thief had really jumped out of the window. As I had no clues, I asked Nickel “What did the thief look like?”

“Well, they were wearing a ski mask so I couldn’t see their face. They were very tall. Oh yes, I forgot something. It left a note.”

“Let me see it.” I said. So he showed me the note. It said “Ijyyuib lu yzmp zg nrwmrtsg li szmw jevi $1,000,000 glmrtsg!” What what what what what what what what what? I thought.

 “Do you understand it?” asked Nickel eagerly. I shook my head, and the smile on Nickel’s face disappeared.

“I mean, who can?” I said.

Mrs. Wu’s Fine Arts Class On Fridays

Mrs. Wu’s Fine Arts Class is now also available on Fridays. The class start time will be after school, starting 4:30pm or later.  


1. Drawing (Cartoon style, realistic style, perspective, shading)

2. Painting

3. Chinese brush painting

Schedule of the Classes Each session includes ten 90-minute classes; one class per week. 

Location of the Classes: Indian Creek Church

Tuition and Policies:

Tuition is $160 per session One time registration fee $10 per student

After registered, payments are not refundable.  Payments cannot be credited for missed class. 

Minimum students: 7, maximum: 20.

Regular Saturday classes at 9:30am and 11:00am are available as usual.

To enroll, please contact Mrs. Wu by phone (913) 780-1570 or via email at

National Library Week 2011 Bookmark Design Contest Due Feb. 28

 Submit your entry to any Johnson County Library location by Feb. 28, 2011. Winners will be announced during National Library Week, April 10-16. Winners will receive gift certificates from the Friends of the Library and have their creations reproduced on bookmarks distributed throughout the library system. All designs become the property of the Johnson County Library and cannot be returned. Entry form is at:

See previous winners’ designs:

Reading Reptile Young Writers Contest Reception is Feb. 18, 7pm

If you participated in the contest, whether or not you won, you are all invited to the Reception for all contestants on Friday, February 18th, 2011, at 7pm, at the Plaza Library. (in the Truman Forum at the Plaza Library 4801 Main St. KC MO)

At the reception, 6 (or more) winning entries will be announced and read aloud by the judges, and prizes awarded. All contestants will receive a Certificate of Recognition. Refreshments will abound! 

At the reception, contestants and their parents will have the opportunity to meet and hear from several of Kansas City’s finest, nationally-published children’s book authors and illustrators, including Lisa Campbell Ernst, Brad Sneed, Jenny Whitehead, Pete Whitehead, Eric Brace, Dana Regan, Shane Evans, and Laura Huliska-Beith, all of whom are Writing Contest judges!