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Guest Blogger: AJ Spy

June 1, 2010

One of the chief advantages of the end of the school year is that you finally get to find out what your child has been doing for months at a time, because there is no way your child has actually told you about it. Every day for the last week, AJ has been coming home with a very heavy backpack full of old workbooks, empty snack containers he found in the back of his desk, and a billion worksheets and art projects.

The best thing that’s come home so far is AJ’s writing notebook. Every morning, the third graders have to write in their journals. His teacher gives them a writing prompt — usually a word or phrase — and they have to write a paragraph about it. Some of the prompts are related to something they were doing in class, but a lot of them are just designed to get kids to use their imaginations. I have particularly enjoyed reading the ones that are less factual, because I don’t hear AJ talk about more fanciful things too often. He doesn’t want people to think he’s silly. Here are a few of my favorites. As is usual when I print AJ’s work, original spelling/punctuation preserved, although at this point, he’s probably more accurate than I am.

September 29
In My Lunch
When I was walking to the cafeteria, I opened my lunchbox a crack. A red spark came out, so I slammed it shut. When I sat down, wondering what had happened, I opened it and another spark came out, bigger and blue. I opened it wide, and a huge green spark came out and exploded into a firework. Every point of it exploded into more fireworks, and more, and more and more, until we had to evacuate because of a fire. It was an exciting day.

November 2
If I were an animal, I would be a sea monster. I would have 4 eyes and 10 legs. When an enemy attacked me, I would strangle them. Maybe I could grow 20 feet long and 10 feet tall. It would be very fun.

November 3
On the way home from school when I pass my yard, I have this trail that goes into a forest. Then I stay in my fort for a couple minutes before I go home. I have a rock to sit on and a patch of leaves that I can lay down on. It is very fun.

November 17
How to Grow a Pumpkin
1. First buy some pumpkin seeds.
2. Then, make a hole in the ground with a shovel and put the seeds in.
3. Water the seeds every day.
4. Wait.
5. Keep watering.
6. Eventually, a pumpkin will pop up!
7. Pull the pumpkin off the vine.
8. Make the pumpkin into a pumpkin pie.
9. Wait until Thanksgiving.
10. Eat!

December 7
I like to go sledding a lot. There is a huge, steep, sledding [hill] across the street from me. I like to make mini snowmen at the bottom of the hill. Then I run over them and wipe out. Another fun thing is making a ramp and going over it. I also am awesome at snowboarding. Sledding and snowboarding are very fun.

This next one cracks me up because his language sounds like some 1970s era textbook. Also please note his textbook use of the Oxford comma.

December 8
Computers are very interesting gadgets. You can easily install internet and do many things. You can also make, write, save, and delete files. Computers have great memory. Computers are up-to-date technology.

Here’s a story AJ wrote about evolution and metric to English conversion. A tragedy. I think.

December 10
Little Things
Once upon a time, a long, long, time ago, a creature appeared. It was very small, just five centimeters long. It grew to be two inches long and half an inch high. It gave birth to an invertabrae. The first jumped into a lake and the first living thing was never seen again.

January 5
Elephants are HUGE! Here is a fiction story about elephants.

Elephants lived way back. As far back as I can remember. Farther. There was a very immense group of elephants traveling through Africa. One of them saw a dark figure dart through the woods. One said, “It looked like an elephant without a trunk.” Three-quarters of the group guffawed. “Yeah, like that’s ever going to happen,” one said. Actually, he was right. If you don’t want to believe me, go right ahead. But he saw a trukless elephant, and he didn’t even believe himself! One did see it though, and he burst out laughing. His friend asked him, “what was so funny?” and he told him. It finally spread out the whole group.

February 17
If I was a pencil, I would NOT LIKE IT! Getting choked to death by pencil grips! I would want a calm person using me. I would be yellow with a blue eraser. I would probably be at home with a lot of cool stuff to look at. If I was a pencil, there would be a lot of ups and downs.

A number of the paragraphs show tell-tale signs of rigid classroom instructions on the formation of paragraphs, like this one:

February 18
If my cat was stuck in a 10-ft. tree, I would first try to get it to come a little lower. Then, I would call the fire department to get it down with their ladder. Then, I would bring it inside and give it a treat. That is how you get a cat down from a 10-ft. tree.

March 16
How Rainbows Came to Be
The real way rainbows form is light passing through water. But here’s a fictional side of the story. Once upon a time a leprechaun with no name lived in a empty pot. He was very lonely. In fact, the only light in there was the sun reflecting off his messy green suit. Then, suddenly, it started to rain. All the dry dirt washed off, and the light was so amazed, that it exploded into seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. From then on, it was very odd, evey rainbow landed in No Name’s (now full) pot of gold.

April 6
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs
If it was raining cats and dogs, (literally) some people would favor it, but most people wouldn’t. For one thing, it would be hard to sleep with meows and barks everywhere. Another thing, you couldn’t get out outside without getting scratched. The only good thing is — FREE PETS!

That last one is accompanied by a hilarious drawing of cats and dogs falling out of a cloud onto their heads. For the next one, AJ tells me, they were given the word “Griblix” and they had to write a story about it without any explanation of what it meant.

April 7
The Griblix
The Griblix was a monster. A very small monster, green, and spiky hair. But it had GIGANTIC eyes. He lived in a small tree. The odd thing was, he was invincible. He ahd a force field around him at all times. One day, he drank some cider. Then the crazy part o fhim took over. He went on a five-minute rampage, yelling and screaming. Then, he calmly stopped. It’s like he has an on-off switch. You never know what he’s going to do.

April 20
Here is a fictional story about a home.

One time, two boys were playing in a burned-down tool shed in their backyard, when the wind picked up. It blew so hard, the dust covered up the tool shed. When the dust cleared, the junky took shed was a brand new fort! They played in it for the rest of the day like it was home.

May 20
The Empty Box
It wasn’t always empty. The box, I mean. There used to be a space warp in it, to take the box to an alien planet. But the warp only took itself. The aliens were disappointed. The warp ran out of batteries. But on Earth, it was just an empty box waiting to be used. No one knew what was in it.

May 27
Under the Sea: Adventures of a Jellyfish
Once upon a time a jellyfish swam to an unknown part of the ocean. There was no sea life there. Or so he thought. Suddenly, he saw a puffer fish. And then a clownfish. Then a shark! He swam towards the cave that the pufferfish came out of. “Oh of course,” he thought. a squid. Nothing could be worse.” So he shocked the squid, and made a bed out of it. His brother came and asked him, “How was your day?” “Oh, nothing much happened.”

I wonder what he’s going to bring home tomorrow.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Eleanor permalink
    June 1, 2010 9:07 pm


  2. June 1, 2010 9:07 pm

    These are amazing!! What a mind!! My favorite has to be about the pencil. Very fanciful and thoughtful 🙂

  3. June 1, 2010 10:25 pm

    I just linked here from another blog and I couldn’t stop reading. I just have to tell you that your son sounds very smart. It must be exciting to wait and see what he brings home next 🙂

  4. Lass permalink
    June 1, 2010 10:39 pm

    So wonderful! Love the inner workings of AJ’s brain.

    Also, older charge brought his writing journal home last week – I wonder if his folks would give me permission to share some of them.

  5. June 2, 2010 7:56 am

    I feel like the Griblix some days.

  6. freshhell permalink
    June 2, 2010 8:11 am

    I wish fireworks would come out of my lunch box sometimes. Also, I’m enamoured of (with?) the Oxford comma and use it as often as possible when I’m writing, note taking, and filling out forms.

  7. cranky permalink
    June 2, 2010 10:49 am

    Those were very entertaining. Especially the “If I was…I would” paragraphs. He does very well with spelling!

  8. June 2, 2010 2:56 pm

    Thanks, everyone! I think the pencil one is my favorite too. I also like how he’s managed to make a character out of the narrator in a couple of them. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t figured out how to do that in third grade. Cranky the “If…then” seems to be a common theme — there are many more that I didn’t include (believe it or not). They almost all end with either a statement about it being fun or about how it’s really better if everything is normal.

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