Monday, December 06, 2004

We do writing in fourth grade on Fridays. Writing consists of filling out a predesigned form that follows a very rigid and often very dull pattern. I don't like it, the kids don't like it, but we do it because we have to. What the students often do, probably to stay awake, is use each other's names in their stories. Some of the time it's quite innocent, but much of time what they write about each other tends to get pretty nasty. The words "poop," "stink," "ugly," "kill," "yucky" and "dead" are often used liberally. As much as I think it's funny, and in my defense it does keep them interested in their work, I end up having to limit the practice. I am the grown up after all.

Last week's exercise was especially dull, so after the kids finished it, I gave them the option of writing a form paragraph, per design, or writing anything of their choosing as long as it wasn't too nasty, or too easy, ie. "My name is Jessica. I am nine years old. I live in Beijing..."

Here is the story written by Michelle. It is the first time that my name has made it into a writing exercise. I can only guess that this means I am "getting through to them," but I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

By Michelle Liu, age 9

An ant named Poop was very ugly, but he was kind too. He had no friends. He lived by himself. He wanted to marry the pretty anteater Cannon. He wanted to see her, but he was afraid that she would eat him. But he loved Cannon! At last he went to meet her. He said “Oh, my sweet, I love you. I know you will eat me, but in my life, if I can see you, even if you eat me, I will be happy!” Cannon didn’t say anything. She ate Poop. But Poop loved her until the end.

The end.

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