Filed Under (writing) by Lee Kolbert on 23-01-2010

textimageIn class we’ve been working on writing essays, from start to finish in 45 minutes. It’s a really tough thing for 4th graders. To be honest, it’s a tough thing for anyone; especially if the prompt isn’t “your thing.”  In that time limit, we expect the students to have a well organized essay with clear details and vibrant vocabulary, grabbers, take-away endings as well as generally good writing conventions such as spelling and punctuation. Below is a narrative essay written by Raegan. Raegan is a voracious reader who is one of my best writers. When she submitted this essay, I couldn’t resist asking her permission to publish it for the world to enjoy. It is published as is however, I changed some spacing. Your feedback is most welcome.

The prompt was, “Tell about a time you broke a rule.”

by Raegan
My warm fingers slid across the keys of my phone, almost dancing. “Ding!” My message had been sent. I was in aftercare (boring!) and was bored so I started texting my friends. I could hear the shuffling of Mr.Davids feet coming towards me and quickly stuffed my phone in my jacket pocket. “Close one” I thought to myself.

In school there is this obnoxious rule that your not allowed to use cell phones, and yes I was breaking that far-fetched rule.

As I headed towards the school bathroom to text some more, I passed a yellow sign plastered to the wall that read “NO CELL PHONES!” I started to feel a bit like a criminal, but in the same breath how would me texting my friends do any harm? Without sleeping on the question, I hurried into the ladies room and got ready to start a marathon on a phone keyboard.

My fingers pressed the letters with desire and passion, almost as if they were a vampire who hadn’t drank blood in years. After I sent a message I realized I had to get out of here before someone noticed me. So I put my phone in my pocket and scurried out looking kind of sinister.

I creaked the door open and entered the noisy eardrum-breaking aftercare portable. Luck was on my side because no one had noticed my absent. I plopped down in a chair and started texting under the table. And that’s when my luck faded away.
Mr. David was tapping on my shoulder. I slowly turned around and gave him a worried “hi”. He just looked at me with a smug expression on his face. “No phones in school” and then he gave me a written warning. Oh no was all that was going through my mind.

Ok, so I broke a rule and got a warning. I guessed I deserved it, now I know I shouldn’t brake rules. As my dad says ” You can’t do the time , don’t do the crime!”
Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Lee Kolbert on 17-01-2010

From Weather WizKids website:

“A powerful earthquake rocked Haiti flattening the president’s palace, the cathedral, hospitals, schools, the main prison and whole neighborhoods. Officials fear thousands may be dead after Tuesday afternoon’s magnitude 7.0 quake. This was the strongest earthquake Haiti has experienced in over 200 years. About 33 aftershocks continued to rattle the capital of 2 million people with the highest coming in as a strong 5.9. Haiti is an extremely poor country and has no real construction standards. The Red Cross dispatched a relief team from Geneva and the UN’s World Food Program is flying in two planes with emergency food aid.”

There are many adult-targeted relief efforts underway but what can kids do to help? Please leave your comments in the comment area. Thank you.

Filed Under (reading) by Lee Kolbert on 09-01-2010


Are you ignoring Books? We have some students who are not reading for pleasure and that makes me sad. It also has a serious impact on their learning in every subject matter including writing.

You can help.Your recommendations are needed!

What books would you recommend for 10 year old boys and girls?

Please leave a comment and:

  1. tell us a little about yourself like what grade you are in or what type of job you have and why you read
  2. what book do you recommend and why.
  3. tell us what state/country you are from (remember, never leave personal information, like last names, phone numbers or addresses, on websites).
  4. feel free to leave any other information you feel will help our reluctant readers learn to find the joy in books.