Units 1 & 2: Articles and Stories
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February 2017

Unit 5: Writing From Pictures

Dear Readers,

Unit 5 is one of my very favorite units because it gives students an opportunity to really engage their imaginations and create. If you are looking for additional sources for students to write from, try using a comic strip with the captions blocked out or picture books that do not have words. Remember, you do not always need three pictures; students can also create a story from just one picture.
Congratulations to the students published in this newsletter:

  • Ave Dargel
  • Ally Dickinson
  • Katie Kellan
  • Ryan Lingo
  • Emily Mayer

Thank you to all the students who submitted their work to our Unit 5 newsletter. Keep writing and submit again!

Megan L. Horst (Previously Megan L. House)
Managing Editor

Upcoming Writing Opportunities

Unit 8 – February 28, 2017
Unit 9 – March 31, 2017
Poetry – April 30, 2017
Fiction – May 19, 2017
Journalism – June 30, 2017

Student authors, make sure you take a look at our writer's guidelines before submitting your work. 

No Lions Today
by Ally Dickinson, age 11

         As his homemade cart sped out of control, Nick became increasingly terrified. He and his brother, Flavius, had built the cart because they lived far from their school, and they wanted to get to class faster. Nick’s brother, who was a few years older than Nick, had convinced him to take the cart on a test run. Unfortunately, when Flavius had given the cart a push at the top of the aqueduct, he had realized something horrible: the cart didn’t have brakes! So here Nick was hurtling down the aqueduct, screaming at the top of his lungs and flailing his arms in the air.

        A crowd of Romans quickly gathered beside the aqueduct to see what all the rumbling and yelling was about.

        “Blasted Huns! They must be invading again!” cried Tiberius, a blind aged senator.

        Other people in the crowd corrected him, as they quickly recognized the two brothers. They watched in horror as Flavius chased his little brother down the aqueduct. The cart rumbled. It rattled. It rolled towards Rome. The crowd could only stand silently and watch as the cart streaked past them.

        When the creaky cart finally slowed to a stop and Nick was able to open his eyes, he could not believe who was in front of him. It was the Emperor!

        “Oh no, what did I do? Will I be fed to the lions?” thought Nick.

        The Emperor, who had been sound asleep moments earlier, had awakened to the clattering of the cart and had come to see what was going on. Realizing Flavius had been left far behind, Nick bravely explained their invention and the reason behind it.

        He was just about to apologize for the lack of brakes when the Emperor told him, “Thank you for the alarm. Without it, I would have been late to my meeting in the Senate. Would you be kind enough to roll by each morning?”
        Nick let out a sigh of relief as he agreed to help. The Emperor waved goodbye while Nick strolled across the street to his school thinking, “No lions today!”

Pictures from Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons in Structure & Style by Lori Verstegen

The Accidental Ride
by Ave Dargel, age 10
        The cart began to roll lickety-split down the aqueduct! Scared stiff, Steele, a horse who never imagined such excitement, whinnied, frightened. He had dressed up like a boy for Halloween, had trotted along a path to retrieve his cart, and had been frightened because a ghost had jumped out in front of him. It turned out to be his friend, the huge, jolly, understanding policeman.

        “Hello,” the officer greeted. “What are you doing with that cart?”

        “Well,” replied Steele, “I was planning on taking it to the top of the aqueduct to observe the whole massive city.”

        “Oooh,” breathed the contentedly fat policeman.

        After a while, Steele reached the top of the tall, towering, almost toppling aqueduct. Presently a light breeze whispered mysteriously in the tall oaks. Tree branches nodded wisely and consulted together. An eagle swooped down to an enormous nest and began feeding her young. So engrossed was the dressed-up horse with this amazing spectacle that he did not realize how far he was leaning out over the edge of the cart, until he felt the sensation in his stomach that told him he was rolling.

        Glancing over his shoulder, Steele noticed the policeman sprinting toward him, then falling while a baffled group of wide-eyed children pointed and stared. The horse’s friend picked himself up and continued, feet flying beyond his control, down the monumental hill. As Steele watched the nervous expression on the face of the usually cheerful figure, he felt there was nothing the officer could do to help him. Suddenly, the cart rammed into the side of the strong aqueduct! The horse-boy soared over the edge just as the policeman lunged toward him. He missed. Steele landed in a tub of freezing ice cream.
        “Well, my boy,” stated the vendor matter-of-factly. “What flavor today?”

Just then, Steele’s pursuer plopped into the ice cream bin, creating a splash that covered the salesman completely. Out of the green blob emerged a voice which asked, “And what will it be for you?”

        The children, who had witnessed the whole confusing scene, began to drool with envy. As the three green masses stood helplessly covered in sticky ice cream, the spectator children, who were awed at this ridiculous spectacle, noticed their industrious mother, who was a laundress, skipping home with a basket of clean towels. Waving her over, the youngsters explained the predicament of the three goopy victims. She kindly cleaned the men, who thanked her heartily. Because Steele offered the children a ride home, they asked the horse if he would like to be their pet. He answered that it would be a pleasure. After Steele settled in his new home, he traveled to see the king. The emperor, after hearing the equine’s tale, constructed a fence around the aqueduct to keep people safe from any more accidental cart rides down the hill.              

Pictures from Ancient History-Based Writing Lessons in Structure & Style by Lori Verstegen

What an Apple Can Do
by Emily Mayer, age 11
      Digory lit the fireplace in the living room and blew happily to make it grow.
“Tell us a story, Sir; tell us a story, and hurry up,” Digory’s littlest guest, Lucy, squealed in delight, “for bedtime is soon.”
     “Alright, alright, but you must promise to run to your beds the moment I tell you to. Yes?”

     “Yes, Sir,” his three other obedient guests, Peter, Edmund, and Susan, replied. They waited in silence, for they knew that Digory was thinking back—back to his childhood.
     “Once, when I was just around ten years of age, I saw with my own eyes a world formed.” Digory paused and took a deep breath. “My wife, Polly, was with me at the time, along with a cabby, a horse, and the cabby’s wife, Helen. Oh, yes. I almost forgot my Uncle Andrew. Now, I must skip over some parts to tell you a story that will help you to calm down before bed.”  Digory winked at the children.

     “The world had been formed with Polly and me watching everything in amazement. It was now midday, and by then, we had figured out who had formed the world which was gleaming with life. A lion. Yes, lion. I thought that since he had created a world with just his voice, he might be able to heal my mother. I approached him with crossed fingers behind my back.

     “‘Sir,’ I spoke as the lion looked down upon me. ‘I have a favor to ask. You see, my mother…’”

     “‘Yes. You are the son of Adam who has brought evil (I mean, the witch) into my new world that I have made. To repay me and this world and all of its creatures, you must fetch an apple which will grow into a tree that will protect all of this land called Narnia. Digory—yes, I know your name—take Polly with you. (Yes, I know your name, too.) Ride on the horse-with-wings named Fledge to a garden where you will pick the apple that is needed. When you arrive back with the apple, we shall discuss your mother.’”
     “I knew I must obey the lion, so I hopped upon Fledge’s back, and Polly did the same. At exactly 4:00PM, we glided into the garden.”
     “‘Might I take one home for my mother, Fledge?’ I inquired, trying to sound as casual as possible.”

      “‘Aye, I don’t think ya’ should be doin’ that, young man. Best just give the lion, Aslan, what he ‘tis yearnin’ fer. He’ll give somethin’ fer ya’ mama, don’t ya’ worry ‘bout a thing.’”

      “I grabbed the apple and mounted Fledge. We were off.  As we flew away—Polly, Fledge, and I—we could feel a sense of accomplishment. I was encouraged by Fledge’s words. At promptly 8:00PM we flew in. I slid off Fledge, thanked him politely, and gently set the apple before Aslan.”

       “‘Thank you, son of Adam. Since you have not fallen into temptation, you shall surely be rewarded. Your mother will live.’”

      “Alright, children! It is time you be in your beds! It is a quarter past nine!” Polly rushed the kids off to bed. As for Digory, he settled by the fire and added a much needed log to the slowly dimming fire.

Photos from Following Narnia Volume 1: The Lion's Song by Laura Bettis

The Unexpected Ending of John's Adventure
by Katie Kellan, age 13
      Wearily, a young boy trudged through the park, where he promptly sat down under a tree to unpack the contents of his red knapsack. As he rested and chewed his lunch, which was a partly squished sandwich, he wondered if perhaps he had not thought this through. This boy’s name was John Fisher, and he was a sturdy eleven-year-old. At the time it had seemed like the only option, but it was his second day since running away from home, and he was starting to regret it. Why had he run away in the first place? John could not remember. Depressed that he had nearly finished his food, he consumed the last of his scanty meal. Packing up his knapsack, he sat surveying the park under the welcome shade of the tree with his back against the rough bark.

      Suddenly, two shiny black boots came into his line of sight, and he looked up in alarm. A burly policeman looked down at John, his warm brown eyes twinkling. “Are you lost?” he asked.

      John shook his head, staring up at the policeman. “No, sir,” he answered. Then he looked down and mumbled, “I ran away.”

      With a knowing nod, the policeman sat down beside John on the grass. He pushed his police cap back on his head and ran a hand through his curly brown hair. John supposed it looked as unruly as a bird’s nest he had found once, though he rather liked it.

      “Hungry?” The policeman inquired casually. When John nodded, he continued, “Because I was just going to get ice cream at this place I know down the street from here.” Grinning, the policeman stood up again, waiting for John, who sat dumbfounded as he stared at the policeman’s boots.

      Later in the diner, John and the policeman talked like old friends. The amiable policeman introduced himself as William. Smiling cheerfully, he added, “But everybody calls me Will.”

      John, who was quickly beginning to like the policeman, grinned back. “I’m John. Nice to meet you, Mister Will.”

      Licking his ice cream cone between words, Will talked cheerfully about his family and his dog, Bernard. As he talked, John began to feel homesick. John stopped demolishing his ice cream and looked down at the countertop sadly. He missed his dog. He missed his parents. He missed home.

      Will chuckled, “Would you like me to walk home with you?” he asked kindly.

      John told Will all about his house and his family as they got ready to leave the diner on their way back to John’s house. John mused about how unexpected the ending of this adventure had been.

Norman Rockwell painting recreated by Anthony Andress

Ridicule in a Room
by Ryan Lingo, age 17

      In the 1950s there was a neat and perfectly organized classroom. Sitting daintily toward the back of this classroom, a teenage girl named Jane buried her face into a cluttered desk. Jane wore a frayed and tiny dress while also sporting a less-than-desirable makeup job. Condescendingly four teenage girls, who wore dazzling clothing and meticulously-applied makeup, stood around Jane. While Jane was further attempting to obscure her figure, two of these girls stole tiny glimpses of Jane, another watched her with outright revulsion, and one could not bear to even witness a glimpse of her. Jane sobbed rivers. Inside of this immaculate and sparkling classroom were some of Jane’s most annoying, appalling, and abysmal memories.

      After a dreary school day, Jane walked to her worn-down home and sat bitterly in front of a mirror propped up on an ancient wooden chair. While she sat in front of this mirror, a dismal array of makeup supplies—nothing more than cheap lip gloss and a hairbrush—lay at her petite feet as if the supplies were mocking her. Longingly she stared into the aged mirror for hours, like a Siamese twin and its counterpart. She always revolted at her appearance: a plain hairstyle, such a meager amount of makeup no one could notice it, and hand-me-down clothing that would rip from the smallest movement. In her lap she held a magazine, which was known for possessing photographs of stunning, beautiful women. She wanted to be beautiful. This tradition of constant self-ridicule in front of her antique mirror continued for the entirety of her teenage years within her dusty and crumbling home.

      Later in life, Jane stood in a snow-white room with sunlight streaming in, wearing clothing that was equal to a Greek goddess. Walking around Jane, employees measured her arms, legs, and hips. Jane was magnificent. Jane was alluring. Jane was stunning. She wore a dress created by the most prestigious fashion designers in New York; it had purple and green streamed patterns that effortlessly glided down her figure. As if the dress did not do her enough justice, her chestnut brown hair, which was long and wavy, almost ran down her entire back. Joyfully the women and Jane tried new clothes and edited her professional makeup to prepare her for the fashion show. All of the ridicule she endured as a teenager meant nothing while she wore these magnificent dresses in this spotless, white modeling room.


Norman Rockwell painting recreated by Anthony Andress

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