Highland Park Writing Club

While teaching Spanish at Highland Park Elementary this year, I also met with 10 fifth grade students after school. We were known as the Highland Park Writing Club. For eight consecutive weeks, we discussed elements of stories: theme, conflict, plot, setting, characterization, dialogue, point-of-view. During that time, the students chose a story they wanted to tell and began to work on it. Sharing their stories with the club was optional, and when/if someone did, we listened and commented. The club was a lot of fun, and since it has finished, I’ve continued to meet with a few of the students as they continue to work on their stories.

Below is the first of what may be three or four pieces from this year’s HP Writing Club.

This is the first chapter from a novel-in-progress by Sarah Murphy.

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Chapter One

If you were to wake up in Delphi today, you would have thought it was the end of the world. It was raining cows. And no, I don’t mean that in a metaphorical ‘raining cats and dogs’ kind of way. I mean it was literally raining cherry red cattle.

I woke up to “mooooo” coming from right outside my room. As I looked out I saw a cow fall from the sky right in front of my bedroom window. There were about a dozen more of the things roaming around our back yard. Of course this didn’t surprise me; this type of weather was common. Just last week it had rained chickens.

As I was starting to take off my night toga, I heard a knock on the door. When I opened the door I noticed a note pinned to it. It read:

Dear Kyra,

Remember, today is a special day! Please wear your aqua chiton with your silver sandals and bracelet. Good luck!

Love, Mama

p.s. don’t forget to feed Atalanta. Yesterday, she almost ate one of the chickens.

By the way I’m Kyra. I am eleven years old and I live in Delphi. I attend Demigod Preparatory Academy of Greece (DPAOG). Our mascot is the fighting Hydras. If you haven’t already guessed, I am a demigod. Who is my godly parent? I’m not telling. If you want to know, you’ll just have to wait. Maybe, eventually, I’ll tell you. Maybe.

After I dressed just as mom had told me, I went down to breakfast. As I sat at the table eating my whole grain hotcakes I began to wonder what the day would be like. Would I have any new half-brothers or sisters? What would my quest be? Who would be my quest partner?

I guess I should probably explain what I’m talking about. Today, August 5th, is the mark of two weeks before school started. Today, everyone attending school this year would meet at the Amphitheatre. All demigods were to be claimed by their godly parent, if they hadn’t already been claimed. Those demigods would be attending their sixth year at DPAOG, and would be assigned a special quest. The quest had two reasons: The first reason was that if it was your first year at DPAOG, and you were 11 years-old, you would have to complete the quest in order for your parent to claim you. The second reason was if you had attended the school since at least last year, you had to complete the quest to earn your special demigod power.

Anyway, what was I talking about again? Oh, yes, eating breakfast. If you didn’t notice, my pancakes were whole grain. Grain is my mother’s symbol. If you don’t know all the gods symbols, I’ll go over them for you. Zeus – eagle; Apollo – sun; Demeter – grain. Again, Demeter’s symbol is grain. If you haven’t figured it out by now, you’re hopeless.

Just before I left the breakfast table my little brother started burping the god’s names. It was utterly disgusting. I grabbed my book sack and started towards the Amphitheatre. This year my brother was not required to come. It was a nice change not having to drag him along.

As I walked along the path I noticed how beautiful the fall colors were. The leaves on the trees reminded me of a sunset. Little birds sang their happy little tunes from above. It was such a beautiful morning.

Then suddenly I heard a large “crack” behind me. I jumped, and turned around to see a large silver and black striped kitten. It was Atalanta. I saw no reason to walk all the way back home so I just let her tag along. After a few steps, she jumped in through the top of my book sack and made herself comfy.

As I approached the Amphitheatre, I stood mesmerized. The sight of the Amphitheatre always amazed me. It was huge, and made of gleaming white marble.

“Come on, Atalanta. Let’s go see what this day has in store for us.”

About Sarah:

Sarah loves to read, write and play with her friends. She has two cats, Dylan and Dana. She is a recent Highland Park Elementary school graduate and will be attending St. Stephen’s in the fall. 

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10 Responses to “Highland Park Writing Club”

  1. Parka Says:

    Really great story — definitely the makings of a young writer with a vision. So proud of you for getting these kids motivated to write at such an early age, George.

  2. Stacy Says:

    George how exciting that you’ve for these kids excited about writing. It must be amazing for you. Kudos!

  3. pobalah Says:

    Fun tale, Sarah!! Keep up the good work.

  4. Holden Says:

    Wow! What an imagination. The creative light has been turned on. Well done teacher and student.

  5. Whitney Says:

    Great work, Sarah! A beautiful piece for such a young girl, I would love to see more!

  6. Bill Says:

    Really cute. These students must love you, George!

  7. heatherly Says:

    Very creative, Sarah! Keep up the good work. George, I hope the after-school writing club becomes a HP tradition!

  8. Emily Says:

    Love the story! Very intriguing and original. I would definitely read more from this talented young writer.

  9. Linda Jefferson Hopson Says:

    Oh,yeah. I can see myself sitting by the fire years from now reading Sarah’s latest novel and loving it. It must be so satisfying for you, George, to be a part of this. Yay!

  10. 4george6 Says:

    Great comment, Linda! Thanks!

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