Their Writing

Welcome to my 2015-2016 parent/student group and other interested readers. Last year I chose to include a page that showcased the writing of my students. The writing currently found here is all 8th grade work. This year I plan to ask my 6th and 7th graders if they would allow me to publish their writing here. For now though, enjoy the writing of students who wrote not just with their minds, but also with their hearts on their sleeves.
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When I ask students to share their work, I do so tentatively. Personal narrative writing has other names. All writing has purpose and a writer (who is also a high school teacher) I respect, calls it “Express and Reflect”. Kelly Gallagher wrote a book called “Write Like This” where he teaches teachers how to show students the different forms of writing. My intent this year is to follow his lead, where it is appropriate to the curriculum here at SIS. In his chapter on expressive and reflective writing, he shares how personal this writing really is and that it can serve several purposes. This page is to showcase the writing of students in both my 6th and 8th grade classes. Students whose work appears on this page, have given me permission to share, with or without their names attached. You will find the writing I have done, that models different forms of writing for my students, on my page (called My Writing).

I am thankful to every student whose work appears here, for their willingness and courage to share.
Cello music
Photo Credit: Konstantin Sutyagin via Compfight cc

When I Grew Up in Beijing
by Luke S

When I grew up in Beijing, I would sometimes go out and eat at my favourite restaurant called the Mexican Kitchen. I would take a big bite of my tender and juicy steak burrito like a pack of wolves devouring its helpless prey. Sometimes, I would order my burrito extra spicy, and it makes my mouth burn as if there was a devil inside my mouth stabbing my tongue ferociously with a sharp pitchfork.

When I grew up in Beijing, I would swim very often in the icy cold indoor swimming pool. I am now used to the sound of the splashing water, the angry coach yelling at us like thunder hitting a tree, and the dog like panting of the worn out swimmers.

When I grew up in Beijing, I practiced and performed cello to the people back in my old school. The sound of the strings vibrating, the deep hum from the cello when you play it, and the different musical tones were beautiful sounds that will always be in my head.

As I left my hometown, my heart sank and it felt like all of my happy memories burned in my very first school’s Guy Fox Bonfire, but I knew I had to move on. Still, deep down in my heart is a big city with its bright lights, a big city with a lot of things I love, a big city with a lot of good memories, Beijing. Beijing is still my favourite city on earth, and it always will be.
from Trey Ratcliff at
Photo Credit: Stuck in Customs via Compfight cc
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When He Was Six
By Tim Su

When he was six he had really good friends in the public school that he attended to. Everybody spoke Mandarin. The teachers there were like parents to him. He assumed that his new school were full of mean teachers and classmates. He believed that he was alone because he doesn’t know how to speak English.

The first few days he pushed through the big doors of the campus and entered the classroom, talking to no one. A cold shiver traveled down his spine when he thought he heard people talking about him behind his back. Everything the teacher said was unknown to him. Everybody spoke English.

Weekends it was relax for everyone, but not him. He flipped through pages and pages of English books and asked his dad for the definition if he met an unfamiliar word. Days went by as slow as a snail. But as hard as it may seem, he didn’t have a confused face on him anymore. He started to speak basic English. He met some classmates who are friendly to him. At last, the corners of his mouth started to rise. His eyes revealed that there is still hope for him to love this school.
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When She Was Eight
By Eileen Maes

When she was eight, she believed that flying to the moon would be easy. She loved reading fantasy books, and then pretending she was a dwarf for the rest of the day. She always wore her hair in a messy ponytail, or let her mom braid her hair in the mornings, or let it loose, free-falling around her shoulders. She never wore pigtails like the other girls.

When she was nine, she believed that the the most important things in the world were being able to hang upside-down from the rusty monkey bars at the school playground, and having the most Hello Kitty stickers among her friends. And even though a boy or two “liked” her, she never felt particularly pretty.

That summer, she flew to Greece with her family and collected stones at every beach she went to. She went on cheap boat rides with her stepsister and bought fluorescent blue necklaces, donkey earrings, and silver charms. She sat on shaded patios overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and played card games against herself. She ordered lavender ice cream and watched as the sky turned darker and darker, until she saw the stars, like glitter smeared across a black canvas. She wore her overalls with only one functioning strap and pretended she was a Greek farm girl, as she ran in the fields and made conversation with the crickets.

And then she grew up. Her head dismissed all the things that happened when she still liked Hello Kitty and wanted to fly to the moon. She threw away her sticker book and donkey earrings. But she kept her half-functioning overalls at the back of her closet. And on the eve of her 13th birthday, she came across them and smelled the old fabric. Her mind flashed and recognized the faint salty whiff of the Mediterranean Sea, and she remembered. They piled in abruptly, one after the other, until all that was left in that moment was her shaky breath and the memories that should’ve haunted her.

The Rambling Autobiography
With thanks to Linda Rief

By Jennie Guo

I was born exactly one month and one day after 9/11, as volunteers cleared away the rubble of the fallen towers. I love eating double chocolate chip mint ice cream on a hot summer day. I got my favourite necklace as a gift from the priest at my Catholic Church. I still feel sorry about breaking the golden porcelain teacup four years ago. I had never appreciated the beauty of music until last year. I admit that I am sometimes na├»ve. In seventh grade I wrote what I thought was the best poem ever and then accidentally deleted it. I always visit the river with the willow trees that gave me such good memories. Every time I eat raspberries I think about my grandmother’s raspberry cake. I think this world is unfair, but it shouldn’t be. I felt guilty when I felt no grief for my late paternal grandfather as I stood in front of his grave, because I’ve never met him. I look up to my older sister. I once plucked a flower from the garden of the White House. (Through the bars). I am an artist that writes. I want to write through art…

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