Archive for the ‘Students’ Category

Student Spotlight: Rebagrace

Student Spotlight: Rebagrace

Morning Julie,

I wanted to send praise your way. 🙂

We’ve been working through The Arrow this school year. As Rebagrace has gained comfort and trust in the writing lessons, she’s produced great work, and I’ve been connecting our free write time to the “How to teach the passage.”

As we’ve moved through Poppy by Avi, we’ve both been thrilled with the results of connecting the two writing “lessons!” I wanted to share the results with you because I thought they’d make you smile.

Week 1: Adjectives – Rebagrace wrote a short story that I scribed for her with the goal of using all the words listed on page 4 of The Arrow, Poppy. Then, we went back together to find places to add adjectives. We set a timer for 25 minutes for the whole event so that she didn’t feel trapped. Her results were this passage:

There was a thin, crescent moon. It was faint and white. High in the sky, and it shed light all around. Two small, soft dogs laid under the sliced moon as it glowed. The cottonball-like clouds floated nearby the moon. As the calm dogs lay there, they knew that warm summer was near on this nice spring night. They knew that in summer there would be ripe food, and the ground would be veiled with shimmering, glistening dew. It was a cool night. It was a pretty night with the Eastern crickets chirping. The two fluffy dogs felt the damp grass under their little paws after a spring rain storm. Earlier that day the two happy and joyful dogs had gone out in the spring rainstorm. They had tasted the warm rain, and it tasted life bacon treats falling our of the sky. And now, as the two brown dogs lay there, they smelled the refreshing remains of the spring storm.”

Week 2: Consonance, Alliteration, Similes – Rebagrace wrote her own story in 11 minutes (her choice for time). On her own, without my prompting, she went back to add in adjectives as she wrote. Then, I copied her story, and we went back to add in the consonance, etc. in her chosen 14 minute time restraint. Here’s her passage:

Two little fluffy kittens were sleeping together on a matt with their mitten paws curled up. The two soft, grey kittens had been, all morning, laying with each other like skittish mice. They played with yarn as soft and thick as the furry roots of the poison ivy vine, with a bright-light, light-weight laser and with their cracky, crumbly, crunchy food. Everything was good like the happy sun. Then, the next morning their kind and generous owner went on a trip to Vermont. The two playful and lovable kittens were terrified that the caretaker wouldn’t play with them.

Hope you have a great day,
P. Renee

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Student Spotlight: Liam

Student Spotlight: Liam

Today’s Student Spotlight was inspired by a recent Food Fight Friday Freewrite:

Imagine that the different kinds of food on your plate are angry at each other. Write a scene with dialogue so we can hear them fight!

Here is how Brave Writer student, Liam, brilliantly played with that idea:

Food Fight

by Liam

The torches dimmed as the vikings left the grand hall, leaving half eaten food on the table. As the doors closed, the food stood up. They organized themselves into groups such as these: The Tomato Republic, allied with the United States of Bread and the Cheese Nation. On the other side, there was Red Meat allied with White Meat and Seasoning. On the third side of the battle, the Forests of Broccoli and the mazes of corn stood together, along with the Vegetable Empire. And so the battle commenced!

The cheese battled the white meat by shooting strings of cheesy webbing, but white meat flew away, too fast to be caught. Bread combated the Vegetable Empire’s Broth, and soaked it up with extreme prejudice. The Tomato Republic Sprayed seeds like a machine gun at the Vegetable Empire, for a tomato was a fruit!

Cheese was loosing his battle, so they stuck under the table and picked out a nice laser sword the viking had left (these were future vikings), and quickly regrouped themselves with Tomato and Bread. They made pizza! The great Pizza wielded the sword with ferocious ferocity and cooked a whole batch of brussel sprouts. This epic fight continued, with eggplants snaking around in the dark attempting a strike at the Pizza from behind.

Then a blazing light tore open the roof and a tornado of strands engulfed them. Bread recognized them! They were distant relatives of his, whole wheat noodles! And at the top of the tornado there floated a mysterious being with meatball knees, heels, hip joints, elbows, wrists, knuckles, shoulders, and neck. The places in between the meatballs were all spaghetti, and the only real human part of him were the eyes. They burned red with disgrace, at the idea that food could fight each other!

The Flying Spaghetti Monster ordered the tomato sauce and the vegetables together, making the kingdom of plants. The meats were ordered to aid the others when necessary, and trade with them. The cheese was ordered to show more respect to red meat, because cheese came mostly from cows. The bread would still be able to soak broth, but only with human’s permission. Then the Flying Spaghetti Monster lowered down himself and the others to the table. He congratulated them on making pizza and using eggplant as a ninja. He said it was very clever. He himself put the laser sword away, and then began to fly upwards, leaving this world.

Freewriting Prompts

Student Spotlight: Glory

WordCloud

Brave Writer instructor, Susanne Barrett, writes:

In the Groovy Grammar Workshop, we spend the first week collecting words that we especially appreciate. Some of these words can be ordinary objects and actions; other words may sound cool when we say them. Some words may even make our mouths water with anticipation!

After doing several fun activities with the words we’ve collected, we offer an optional activity of creating a Word Cloud. Word Clouds are cool collections of words arranged creatively. Our students often enjoy creating their Word Clouds using their newly-collected words and word combinations.

While some of our Groovy Grammar students use a terrific website to create their Word Clouds, Glory, age 13, made up her own Word Cloud using words that she collected in a wonderfully creative way (see above)!

Groovy Grammar Workshop

Brave Writer and the College Admission Essay

College Admission Essay
Brave Writer Instructor and Minister of Magic, Nancy Graham writes:

I’ve been teaching Brave Writer’s College Admission Essay class for three years now and I love watching the essays come into focus. Students often start with no ideas or a vague sense of the story they want to tell about themselves, and they leave with a piece that traces a time in their life when they were transformed in some way. What seems at first like a purely functional piece of prose—“Let me into your college!”—becomes a moving document of insight and self-reflection. Whether the writer has undertaken her education at home or in a school, this essay is an opportunity to reflect on her life so far—what she values and what she has learned.

Every couple of months we’ll feature an essay, beginning with Cassie’s meditation on how a county fair became a family heirloom. Cassie took our Fall 2014 College Admissions Essay class.

County Fair Heirlooms

By Cassie W.
Knox College, class of 2019

Stepping into the cinder block clubhouse near the first gate of the Prince William County Fair, I’m greeted with both a wave of nostalgia and friendly hellos. The old ladies—dressed in sweatpants and gingham aprons—step out from behind plastic folding tables heavy with aluminum warming dishes full of mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken, and lima beans. They smile at me and squeeze my arm and tell me how much I’ve grown up since last year, and I smile and say that it’s good to see them and I’m glad to be back. It’s been like this for as long as I can remember.

This year, my green volunteer t-shirt is sticking to my back, and my bangs are plastered to my forehead. I’ve been working in the Home Arts building for the past five hours—a tin-roofed barn where the exhibitions are held. I fill out paperwork, help with judging, and hang the exhibits—amateur photos of babies and animals, now decorated with blue, red, and white ribbons that flutter in the breeze of electric fans. Although it’s hard, hot, and tedious, I take more pride in my job than in any other work.

I grab a paper plate from the stack on the table and pile it with the creamy mashed potatoes, dousing the miniature potato mountain with gravy, and dipping the spoon into the mess of soft lima beans and melted butter for an extra helping.

Sure, I love the cotton candy, soft-serve ice cream and funnel cake of the carnival as much as anyone, but it’s the homemade food cooked up by the remaining members of the Ladies’ Auxiliary Fair Club that I love best. It’s the same sort of food my grandmother would make for me as a kid, which makes sense, seeing as she used to cook in the clubhouse kitchens. She worked hard for the fair for most of her life, like my grandfather, who helped found the fair over sixty years ago when he came back from World War II. I never knew my grandfather, but I have childhood memories of my grandma walking me around the fairground, smiling and waving at me while I rode the merry-go-round or the bumper cars, scolding me when I got lost in the crowd.

Grandma died the spring I turned fourteen, but for this week in August, when I spend every day at the fair, her legacy—and that of my grandfather—is palpable. The fair has always been deeply woven into the history of my mother’s side of the family, and we joke that the clubhouse is like more like Thanksgiving in August.

Every day, I walk the midway. I’m usually alone. There’s no one to scold me when I get lost in the crowd, so I let myself get lost: I ride the rides, the bare backs of my legs sticking to the vinyl seats. I scratch the oily heads of sheep and let cows lick my hands, pose proudly for pictures by my award-winning cookies or decorated potatoes, eat ice cream, and watch acrobats perform in the little circus ring behind the chicken barn. I strut at the fair, and my personality shifts: I am proud of every aspect of the place. A deep pride in my family, yes, but also a personal pride. I feel like the fair is mine, and I always have. It is something that has been handed down to me, like a gift.

I don’t have many heirlooms from my my maternal grandparents—my grandmother’s hand-stitched quilt, a set of china plates. I will treasure these things. But I also have the fair, the community, and the memories of humid summers, oily sunscreen, and my grandmother’s wrinkled hands that come with it.


Brave Writer’s 10 Tips for Writing Your College Essay

Student Spotlight: McKenna

The Sound of Swimming by McKenna Rooney

One of our students in last spring’s KidsWrite Basic class (taught by the fabulous Sarah Holden) and had her final piece published on a swimming website! Congratulations, McKenna! Here’s the intro to her essay:

The Sound of Swimming

by McKenna Rooney

It’s Regionals, the last big meet before State. Three grueling days of racing. It’s Friday night, day one.

The normally packed Rec Plex, (one of the biggest aquatic sports complexes in all of America) is pretty empty – there must be very few crazy people like me who want to start their weekend off with a distance race.

I’m waiting to swim the 500 free – 20 long laps of music going through my head over and over again. Ugh.

As I get up to approach the blocks my coach, Scott, said to me “I want you to break seven minutes.”

I gulped and said “Okay? Sure?” My seed time was 7.11.96, meaning I had to drop almost 12 seconds off my best time to achieve this new goal. I nod my head, but in my mind I’m thinking, “You’re insane!”…Read the rest on Swim Swam.

Brave Writer Kidswrite Basic