How to Train Your Dragon

dragonby a fifth grade student

Being a Hero

by Alex

In the book How to Train Your Dragon, by Cressida Cowell, Hiccup is trying to get a dragon while the dragons are hibernating in a cave.

Even though you’re not good at many things, you can still be a hero. I notice Hiccup isn’t good at many things, but he is still the hero. Snotlout, on the other hand, is good at many things, but is not the hero. Hiccup is brave and is very smart. He thinks before doing things and is not afraid to do things. You have to be good at the right things, not be good at bullying people. Snotlout bullies people such as Hiccup. That is why Snotlout is not a hero. Hiccup is good at the right things. He doesn’t bully or behave like Snotlout. That is why Hiccup is the hero.


iPads vs. Textbooks

An essay written by a fifth grader

IPads Vs Textbooks

by Anisha

            Textbooks have become a nuisance for students and school districts across the nation. As technology advances, learning has become more efficient, and children have become more accustomed to devices like iPads. Some school district officials think that textbooks are the way to go, but iPads are obviously the sensible alternative. This course of action will reduce stress on students, save the district resources, and endure a longer period of time than textbooks.

Although a few people may think iPads can be frustratingly slow if overloaded with applications, the majority of people realize that iPads are easier for students to use. Textbooks put considerable weight on a student’s back, which can lead to medical conditions such as scoliosis. With an iPad, on the other hand, the weight on the student’s back is reduced by a large amount. Also, iPads are much more portable than textbooks. In addition, when a student has to pack just one iPad daily rather than four textbooks, the chances of forgetting a book decrease by 75%. On many occasions, I have forgotten to bring my textbook home the night before a test. This made it difficult for me to prepare effectively for the next day’s exam.

These electronic devices can provide an opening for other distractions, but iPads use fewer resources than textbooks. Some people may feel iPads are more expansive than textbooks, but they actually save money in the long run. School districts also have fewer pages to print each year. Unlike textbooks, iPads will allow the school districts to go green. Since there is no paper printed, the Evergreen School District will save the thousands of trees that go into making textbooks and printing paper. iPads will also save students a lot of space in their backpacks and in school. Instead of having thick textbooks, they will have a skinny iPad.

With iPads, there is a slight risk of software corruption; however, iPads do not wear out like textbooks. To begin with, iPads are impossible to rip or tear. On the other hand, as a student flips through textbooks, the pages are easily damaged. iPads also prevent students from writing in answers to questions in textbooks or vandalizing them. With an iPad, each child can think for him or herself without a previous student filling in the answers for them. Lastly, an iPad has no flimsy spine that children can bend and break. This will help the iPads stay in good condition.

Last but not least, using iPads in schools to substitute textbooks is a wonderful way to solve the problems of kids of all ages. This replacement is the most productive and efficient method because it helps students be more at ease, allows the district to conserve resources, and will last a long time. Make the smart choice and replace textbooks with iPads in the Evergreen School District.


A Room of my Own

essay written by a sixth grader

A Room of My Own

by Atti

My baby sister, Annie, has taken up my old room, and I am currently sharing one with Ethan, my younger brother. You may think that I am perfectly fine, but certain circumstances that you do not realize have caused me to ask for my own space. Ethan is completely wild, you favor others over me, and I’ll promise to do my best at school and neatness.

Although you possibly could imagine I should share my “abundant space” with Ethan, my little brother is the ultimate roommate nightmare. As he’s one of the noisiest kids in the universe, his snoring sounds like a cat coughing up hairballs and keeps me up at night. Also, he pesters me, 24/7. While I’m doing my homework, he’ll pop up with his toys and beg me to play with him. Ethan’s also very unhygienic. He’ll stick his crayons up his nose if he thinks that will make him look more like a walrus.

You may think I could work it out with Ethan just by talking to him, however people (and a dog) are having a better life than me. Why Annie needs privacy, I have no idea. She too young to wear makeup, and if she did, it would smear. Besides, she doesn’t even have any hair yet! The dog gets better treatment than me, too. Stink sits on the couch all day, eating popcorn and watching TV.

Maybe you assume that letting me get my own room again is expensive, but I will guarantee that I’ll behave like the perfect child.  I’ll make sure my room keeps spotlessly clean. If you come into my room, you’ll never again find toys or papers on the floor. Besides, haven’t I been getting good grades? I’ve gotten lots of A’s lately! I promise that I’ll be responsible overall. If you find anything wrong with my new room, I’ll gladly fix it as quickly as possible.

I’ve been dividing the room with Ethan after my sister took up my former room. Ethan is no longer tolerable, and I’ve had enough watching others treated like kings while I wallow in the mud.  If you give me a new room, I will be the best kid possible. So don’t bother thinking about it when you can give me my own space back now.

About Writing

Proof Copy Arrives

Here it is, a sneak peak at this year’s NaNoWriMo anthology cover.  Last year’s students, do you remember that sense of awed wonder as you first held Novel Central in your hands?  I well remember the hushed silence when I held it up, as if you were all holding your breath.  The rest of the year, the excited pride you had in that fat volume of stories thrilled me.

This year, my students worked just as hard and had the same look of anticipation on their faces.  I crave that look!  It makes it all worthwhile: the preparation, the writing, the technical nightmares, the pushing slow writers, and more than anything the hours and hours and hours of editing.

Novel Central, Volume 2 is a little bigger overall and maybe a touch thinner.  It holds 29 wonderful novels.  My current students are in the process of proofing to make sure everything is perfect before we publish it to Amazon, so stay tuned for that bulletin!  This year’s price is $21.95, so save your nickels and dimes.

Six of this year’s students represented the class at a Thank Goodness it’s Over! celebration at Booksmith bookstore in San Francisco in January.  Three of them read a piece of their story to the crowd, and the stories were very well received.  I don’t know who was prouder, their parents or me.  All six got to take a picture with Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, and they talked to Chris Angotti, the director of NaNo’s Young Writers’ Program, who visited our classroom in November to encourage everyone to keep writing.  Currently, I am planning an autograph party at Barnes & Noble Bookstore for early June.  Want to meet the young authors and hear them talk about their accomplishment, and maybe thrill them by buying an autographed book?  Watch this space for a date and time.

Looking back over two years of participating in National Novel Writing Month, I am so pleased that I would never consider doing anything else in November.  So if you find yourself in my class next year, be prepared.  November is for novels.

What do you think, current and past students?  Would you do NaNo again?  And future students?  If you find yourself in my class, will you be scared? nervous? excited? eager?

On my Kindle: Pegasus by Robin McKinley