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Saturday, April 26, 2014

#AtoZ : W for Winning

"We're going to the tournament to have fun. 
The way you have fun is you win!"
                                             ~Richard Bute    
Memphis Futbol Club Soccer Coach


Every year our city celebrates Memphis in May where we honor a country and teach students about a foreign land. This year the country of honor is Panama. I attended a teacher's conference and presented my students with interesting facts about Panama so that they could enter the Memphis in May writer's contest. Not to brag, but I typically have a winner of this contest each year. This year, I was blessed with two winners! 

Second Prize went to Lauren for her story about painting the golden altar in Panama black to keep
pirate Captain Henry Morgan from stealing it from the church. Her story was rich with historic detail and smoothly written; however, other than giving her the background information, I can't take credit for her writing ability. She entered my class a few months ago, so I have not had a lot of time to develop her writing.

Santiago, my first place winner, came to my class close to the beginning of the year and was not the writer he is now, so I'll take credit for his success. His early writing was cluttered with boring "be" verbs that he has learned to replace with his rich vocabulary. This is a kid who reads constantly, and as a result, his vocabulary is better than that of most adults. He has also learned to use multiple senses in his writing and strong descriptive nouns. I am kicking myself for not saving his early work because it would be a great artifact for my professional development evaluation. 

Here is the first paragraph from his winning entry. It's hard to believe that this was written by a fifth grader.


The Hunt

     Crawling close to the ground, I stalked my prey. I got as close as I could. Then I lunged and with a quick snap of my jaws, the bird was dead. It tasted as sweet as the juice that came from a monkey's meat. I padded my way back to my home, a rocky overhang curtained with leaves; my prize hanging from my mouth. As I sprinted my way back home, my spotted coat blended in the shadows caused by the leafy canopy. The sweet fragrance of the star-shaped flowers wafted around me. The meaty taste of prey filled my hunger. I was home.

We enter contests for fun, but it is most fun to win!

14 comments:

Rory Bore said...

A 5 year old with excellent use of the word "wafted" - brilliant.

One day we will being his books I suspect. :)

Joyce Lansky said...

Fifth grader. He's eleven.

peppylady (Dora) said...

i know a few people who went down to central America.

Stop in from A to Z challenge.

Coffee is on

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

Wow! This kid really has a gift for writing! Your teaching and encouragement truly shows here, Joyce. The world needs more teachers like you.
Blessings!

Rhonda Albom said...

Congratulations on two winners.

messymimi said...

Congratulations to the kids and you! He is talented, you've done a great job with him.

Rory Bore said...

Oh - whoops.
I still think it's quite impressive!

mail4rosey said...

He did do a great job, and you're right that does seem advanced for a 5th grader.

beachlover said...

JOYCE!!! This was amazing and I want to tell you that your little 5th grader has inspired me in my writing today!
Wow, I felt like I was in that tiger's head...nice!

Debbie said...

He's certainly well on his way to becoming a great writer! :)

Marie Moody said...

Extremely impressive. I'm glad I stopped by. He had me totally under his spell with his writing. So pictorial. Thanks for sharing.

Binky said...

That was really good. Congratulations to you and your student writers!

Adhi Das said...

An inspirational teacher for the students...every time i go through your blog its so interesting!!Smiles to a great teacher and mommy:)

J. Lenni Dorner said...

"A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!"

That is some great writing. Your student really got into the mind of the jungle cat. Very nice.

Great image choices.

Stopping by from the #atozchallenge !
@JLenniDorner