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Getting It Write

I really do love teaching. When I am in the classroom interacting with the students, life is good.

Today’s writing prompt was:

There are many exciting people in the world. Tell about one.

I wrote the prompt on the board and then displayed a poster board with a non-example on it. I read the prompt, then I went to stand next to my student, Cindy, and read the poster:

My friend, Cynthia, is very exciting. She is in the fifth grade, has brown hair and brown eyes and is a good student. I like her a lot.

Finally I asked: “Would that be an acceptable paragraph?”

The class chorused, “No!”

So far, so good.

I asked, “Why not?”

Rick said, “It wasn’t long enough.”

Moses said, “No! No! Cynthia is not your friend, she is your student.”

The little voice in the back of my head said, Oh yeah, this is going well.

Then Jasmine raised her hand. “Your paragraph is boring,” she announced.

Finally, my little voice chanted, but I pretended shock. “Boring? What do you mean?”

Jasmine said, “The prompt wants to know something exciting about Cindy. You just listed a bunch of ordinary facts.”

“Oh!” I exclaimed, over-acting as usual. “So, what do I need to do to make the paper more exciting?”

Jon, who sits beside Cindy, looked over at her and drawled, “First, choose another person …”

The class laughed and Jasmine waved her arm frantically. “Choose me! Choose me!””

“Can’t,” I answered. “It says amazing person, not obnoxious person.”

Jasmine responded with her standard open-mouthed, wide-eyed — Who me? — head shake.

“You have a problem?” I asked her.

“You just called me obnoxious! You can’t do that!” Jasmine over-acts, too. We make a great team.

I responded with a question, “Weren’t you the kid that just came to my desk and asked me 473 questions in less than three minutes, while I was trying to read?”

Jasmine tried to hold her indignant pose, but cracked up laughing.

I nodded my head at her. “Yep. See. I win. Obnoxious.

Jasmine turned to Pansy Petite. “Ms. A. always wins, but someday I’ll get her!”

Pansy nodded her head, “You just keep believing that,” she said. And then she rolled her eyes.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. That is precious as always. You have the neatest kids in your classes or atleast they are neat as you reflect on your day and describe them in your blogs.

  2. Angela, all teachers have kids like this. I just encourage their personalities rather than supressing them. I want them to talk back to me (respectfully) and I want them to try and out think me.

    Kat — the kids make it fun, I’m just the instigator, as all good teachers should be.

  3. This was a wonderful story, loved it. Just one question, how do you find the energy to make three posts in one day when I struggle to make one post.

    Wonderful day wished for you

  4. Bill — perhaps it’s because I don’t watch TV; perhaps it’s because I have no other life; perhaps it’s because I talk too much.

    Tired I wrote last night before going to bed. Re-educating Squirrels I wrote this morning when I was angry. Getting It Write I wrote this evening when I got home from work. However, you likely won’t see another post from me before tomorrow evening.

  5. OC — my Emmys come in the form of returning students. Whenever there is an open house or afterschool night, my classroom fills up with former students. Tonight one of them dashed to the curb and practically threw himself across my car at a stop sign. They come at the end of the school year with their report cards, too — especially the kids who struggled through math.

    Every year at least two of my students enter the NASA Magnet School program at Jim Bridger Middle School. Last year 4 went. I set the bar high in my classroom, but I give everybody who will take it a leg up.

    So far this year only one of my students, Pansy Petite, has applied to the NASA program, but a couple of the others have applied to the FPA Magnet School.

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