pics to post, question to answer

March 27, 2008

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Students at Howitt Middle School connected with Pat today for a 1 hour videoconference (the third in the three part series)! Here are a couple snapshots of the workshop from our end. Howitt Middle, what were some of the topics you wrote about in this writing assignment?

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19 Responses to “pics to post, question to answer”

  1. Matt said

    Mrs. McKissack,

    Thank you for participating in the video conference at our school with us. During our video conference, I never got to share my journal entry with you.

    Here is my first journal entry about the Holocaust:

    August 22nd 1939-

    I’ve been hiding from the Nazis for weeks now. I can’t let them find me. They would surely take me to the same concentration camp that my parents were sent to. Every time the Nazis cross my path, I can’t seem to breathe. I’m hiding in a very narrow alleyway where I doubt the Nazis could find me but I still need to be careful. It’s really uncomfortable in here. It smells musty with scent of mold along the building walls. I can’t bear the smell of all the garbage in the trashcans, but I have no choice. It is so dark, that I can barely see, and I’ve lost count of how many times I have bumped into the walls of buildings. Now, I better stop writing. If I peer across the corner of the alleyway, I can barely see the Nazis gold starred uniforms coming closer and closer to me, so I need to find something to hide inside.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. Steven said

    Here is a sample diary entry. I wrote about the Civil War period.

    Thursday

    I was mollygrubbing in the smooth spongy grass, eating my vittles that the master barely gave me, and I heerd something. I was going away from my job, but I was going to risk it. I looked in a window of the main house. You could see the fingerprints infested upon it. There was also a yellow-green stain. I saw the master talking to some tall, oversized man. I heard, “ Persons on the streets say there’s a big disagreement a war is going to break out”. When I’m trotting back to my work, I wonder why a war would break out? What war? What started this?

  3. Cecilia said

    Hello Mrs.McKissack,
    I would like to thank you for takingyour time to have a video conference with our class andtalk to us about our writing.
    I am writing about alittle 11 year old girlnamed Anna wholives in New York city during the time of the grest depression. the year is 1929.
    Here is a sample of what i have been writing so far:

    First entry:
    November 5th, 1929
    Last month didn’t turn out to be good as usual. Mom and I were walking and we heard a man talking about the stock market. I don’t know much bout it but hearing that it crashed isn’t so assuring. Mom and the other women at the sewing factory were cut off last week with one last paycheck. Now, we have barely enough money to pay off our rent. Our, landlord, Mr. Thompson, said he would evict us soon if we didn’t cough up the cash. He doesn’t know what it’s like to not have money; at least that’s what mom said. So to save money, mom buys a loaf of bread every few days for us to eat, and we have to last off of the same gallon of milk for 5 whole days. Its getting sour, but mom said I have to learn to deal with it for a while. I’m goin to bed now.

    Middle entry:
    November 10th, 1929
    Today, I met Mrs. Seafort. She is the lady who is hiring a babysitter. I took the pink flyer out of my journal and followed the directions until I got to the house. I could tell this job wasn’t going to be easy considering there were toys all over the front patio, and I could hear yelling and whining coming from the inside. When I rang the doorbell, a frizzy haired stressed out woman opened the door; Mrs. Seafort. She looked overtired. I felt bad for her, but I kept going. She told me to meet the kids before I got myself into this job. Still kept going. When we were finally inside, I met the children. Amanda was nine, and Andrew was three. Mrs. Seafort said that Amanda was obsessed with her paper dolls, and that they should keep her busy, if not…. Good luck. I wondered exactly what she meant by this. Andrew was always smiling, and laughing. I enjoyed that he was able to do this, having nothing to frown at and having no problems. They seem like pretty nice kids, so I decided to take the job. I will be getting $1.50 an hour, and I’m working 5 days a week. I find this pretty good. I can pay for my own meals now and mom can easily pay the rent and if will finds a job, that will be even better. William still needs to find a job, so I’m going to help him.

    Towards the end: ( i am going to comtinue writing the entries for my authors book in class.)
    November 10th, 1929
    Today, I met Mrs. Seafort. She is the lady who is hiring a babysitter. I took the pink flyer out of my journal and followed the directions until I got to the house. I could tell this job wasn’t going to be easy considering there were toys all over the front patio, and I could hear yelling and whining coming from the inside. When I rang the doorbell, a frizzy haired stressed out woman opened the door; Mrs. Seafort. She looked overtired. I felt bad for her, but I kept going. She told me to meet the kids before I got myself into this job. Still kept going. When we were finally inside, I met the children. Amanda was nine, and Andrew was three. Mrs. Seafort said that Amanda was obsessed with her paper dolls, and that they should keep her busy, if not…. Good luck. I wondered exactly what she meant by this. Andrew was always smiling, and laughing. I enjoyed that he was able to do this, having nothing to frown at and having no problems. They seem like pretty nice kids, so I decided to take the job. I will be getting $1.50 an hour, and I’m working 5 days a week. I find this pretty good. I can pay for my own meals now and mom can easily pay the rent and if will finds a job, that will be even better. William still needs to find a job, so I’m going to help him.

    Thankyou again for your time,and i hope you enjoy all of our journals
    ☺- Cecilia from Howitt Middle School

  4. Alex said

    Mrs. Mckissack

    Thank you for taking time out of your day to join the video conference with us.My journals are about a bot in the time of Jackie Robinson. Here is my first entry after I revised it after what you said.

    April 8th, 1947 Brooklyn, NY

    Everyone is saying that this guy named Jackie Robinson is gonna play in the major leagues even though he is colored, a week from today. I don’t care if they say he is bad. He was born on January 31st, the same day as Robert E. Lee. He must be a distinguished leader because of that. Plus his older brother Matthew Robinson won silver medal in the Olympics eleven years ago. That’s why I expect him to be a great baseball player. The one problem he is causing is racist people to go mad and become dangerous. Now it’s too dangerous for me to walk to school.

  5. David said

    Dear Mrs. Mckissack,
    Thank you for the interesting video conference about our historical-fiction projects. Your contructive criticism has helped me with my writing ten folds. Using your advice I finished my project. My project is about the thirty-six day fight on the island of Iwo Jima. My character is a soldier living this gruesome battle
    Here is an entry that is close to the end of my novel

    Two Hours After the Charge
    Looks like I survived another day in the life of a soldier in Iwo Jima. I don’t know what happened during the charge, my mind just turned off. Sorry if you were hoping for any details. All I remember is that when the charge was over I looked around and I saw Charley half way down the battlefield. I just had to go and save him. I started running and I heard a deadly noise coming right towards me. I knew I only had a couple of seconds before it blew up. I jumped to the side and dug myself into the ground. I heard a low thud. I looked up seeing stars. Even when the sand covers the explosion it still hurts. Then I remembered Charley. I looked around hoping to see his bright red hair. I saw him father along then he was before. I nimbly and expertly dogged into sand pits. I finally reached him. I grabbed him and threw him over. I saw the dazed look in his eyes that someone gets when a mortar landed nearby. I hauled him to the crest of the mountain. I screamed for the medic. They took him away. That’s all I saw of him today. I went to the medics to see if he was ok. He was sent home. Lucky Charley.

  6. Connor said

    Dear Mrs. Kissack,

    Thank you for donating your time to teach me about historical fiction. For the assignment, I chose a solider in the Vietnam War, and is at the end of his service time. You told me to add a introsuction so i did, but it is not that entry. Here is a sample of the diary:
    March 16, 1967

    I drag my feet as I walk across an icy, deep blue river. My feet are numb. Squinting, I could just see my group. Gazing up at the beautiful night sky, General Whose is warning us. We would be very vulnerable if we happened to be spotted by the enemy. He keeps warning us about North Vietnam and how strong they are.

  7. melissa said

    Hello, Mrs. Mckissack,
    I would like to take the time out to thank you for coming to talk to us about writng over video conference. My class and I have learned how to be a better writer from your novels and from the conversation we had with you. You have given us helpful hints and tool s to use when we are writng.
    In my historical fiction entries I am writing about a 12 year old girl who is living during the Holocaust in Poland.

    Heres is a sample that takes place about half way through my book:

    The next day

    The door slammed open, cold air came rushing in and my first instinct was to run into the attic. I lowered the stairs and made sure Pa and Kristi were on their way in. Once they were in I motioned up the stairs until a leathery glove gripped my ankle, I didn’t bother to look back, I knew who it was. Kristi and Pa couldn’t do anything, because then they would know that they were also in the attic with me. I couldn’t help it, “PA, PA help me, please” Tears steamed down my face, the leathery grip began to tug. “ PA, please just take my hand” This Nazi was getting furious, I could tell because his grip turned into two leathery hands pulling with all their might. “ KRISTI, please help”. Anybody please help. I lost grip of the ladder and I came crashing down, my chin hit the bottom step and all I could see was a blur. All I heard after that were footsteps and screams, one gunshot, silence………

  8. Niamh said

    Mrs.McKissack
    Thank you for the video confrence. I thought you gave some good advice. For my diary entries,my topic was the yellow fever epidemic in 1793. The story’s setting is in Philadelp-hia, and the main character is a freed slave from Georgia whose name is Eliza. Here is one of my favorite entries.

    August 11th, or the worst day of my life

    I returned from the coffeehouse with Nell today. She brought Matilda to keep William busy while we help Mama cook supper. But when we got home, there were no smells of even a soup starting to boil for supper. “Hello?” Matilda called. No one answered. We searched the entire house in silence. Then Nell screamed the horrid words. “The fever! It’s got them!” I ran to the bedchamber while Nell ran to comfort the crying Matilda, who thought the fever was a person who captured them both. Then Matilda decided to help by takin’ the bedclothes off and washin’ them. Nell opened the windows, the door, and smothered the fire to stop the heat. First I got William cleaned up in the bathing tub, then Mama. When both of them were finally asleep, I made a small soup for supper. Nell and Matilda left to check on their Mama and Papa, and their Joseph.
    Late that night
    Mama was talkin’ nonsense words just now. I couldn’t really understand them, but I got a few. They were like Mama was sayin’ she wanted to send me away, but I won’t let her. Who else will care for her and William?

    This entry is in the middle of the diary, when the characters mother and little brother catch the fever.

  9. Jasmine said

    hello again Mrs. McKissack,
    i would like to thank you again for giving our class the experience of meeting and learning about writing with you. You have shown me many useful tips and ideas to use in my pieces, such as showing not telling and how to add a story to facts. i now have a new perspective on the topic of writing historical fiction! here i have posted an entry for my story about the war in Bangladesh,taking place not to long ago and used as one of the first entries in my ‘diary’. i hope you like it!:

    December something, 1971

    An extraordinary event took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh today. The cold air was filled with sense of danger, but we did not move, we did not care. Shoeless and dirty, the sky was still bright and the sun stared at us standing on the dirt mound. “Something miraculous is going to happen, if it will be terrible or wonderful, I do not know.” Muttered my best friend Picklu. The planes and Pakistani soldiers in the distance seemed unreal, although it has been this way since March. Suddenly, a shadow cast above Picklu, my brothers,my sister Lipy, and I. A plane. A huge plane. Exhilarating at speeds to great to even imagine, and it was coming, flying low, towards the village, the houses…and us. People screamed, and my brother prayed. But then i thought “this plane, so high tech and mammoth, could not possibly be an enemy plane.” The plane flew over us and did not stop, speeding towards the small Pakistani aircraft. At the same time, it seemed that we all understood at the same moment: “It’s an Indian plan! India has joined us, we are saved!” Our plane raced to the smaller one, colliding into it, setting fire, and then pushing it across the sky. A cheer was heard from every direction. This was reality; we are saved. This alliance could change everything.

    thanks again, jasmine

  10. kyle said

    Hello Mrs McKissak
    Thank you taking your time to have a video conference with us. You really gave some good adviceI am from Howitt middle School. I am posting a diary entry which is about a “Hippie” who is protesting against the Vietnam war. This entry is the first one when he is protesting

    Day of Protest 1967

    Derek and I wake up early today to prepare for the protest. We paint the signs and practice the chants. While driving there I hear a Bob Dylan song. He is my favorite and has got to be the greatest singer of all time. We start singing along to “The Times They Are A-Changing”: “Come senators, congressmen Please heed the call Don’t stand in the doorway Don’t block up the hall For he that gets hurt Will be he who has stalled There’s a battle outside And it is ragin. It’ll soon shake your windows And rattle your walls For the times they are a-changin”. I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. We drove all the way from Haight–Ashbury California to get here. The Haight is really close to San Francisco. We park our car that is a 1960 Chevy. It is like Derek’s baby. My hands are so sweaty right now but the song has just inspired me. We follow the rest of the crowd. In two hours we start protesting. People in Flower Power Clothes Chanted “Bring our soldiers home” and “This war has no meaning” People held signs that read.

    Peace stop the violence

    an this war is killing to many people

    I hear sirens. I’m thinking this is not good. We keep marching no matter what. The chants are getting louder. People are shouting, blaring the words. People start burning their draft cards. We are still marching. When we reach the Pentagon. I hear a voice shout “surround the building and chant until it levitates” This attracted a lot of people. Businessmen came

    P.S
    The pictures of the signs are in the diary

    Thanks Kyle

  11. Jen said

    Hello Mrs. Mckissack:
    I would like to take this time to thank you for taking time out of your day to help us with our writing. Our journal entries sound better because of your help. We learned so much and are better writers already.
    I wrote a diary about a young girl in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The time period was the holocaust during the year of 1943. This is my last entry after Annie esca[ed Auschwitz and escaped Poland and came to Sweden. Her Mother and Father died and all she has is her 2 older brothers.

    February 19,1943

    Finally we are free! I am kissing the land of sweet, sweet Sweden. The land of freedom! Petey is here. He ended up escaping to here. I am so glad that we can be a family. All the people I have met, lost and been reunited with make this day so bittersweet. I am very disheartened that Papa and Mama aren’t here to be with us. But at least they are in a better place now and so am I.

    Love, Annie

    Once again, thank you for taking your time to read this!

    From Jen

  12. Curtis said

    Dear Mrs. McKissack,
    I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to show you one of the entries that I have written. I put a lot of time into this entry that I am going to show you. These entries are about this x-slave named Willie Jamison. He is in a really intense moment in this part of this these entries.I am close to the end of my diaries.
    3 Days Later
    Mr. Reed came today and visited us and asked how our father was doing. I was wondering how he knew about it because Mr. John didn’t tell anyone about it and no one else saw it. Mr. John went to get us all some lemonade. Then, it hit me that he must have sent the police to come and hurt my father. I then screamed out at him “Get out, you tried to kill my father!” I ran after him. Suddenly he grabbed me, threw me on the ground, and said “You little black monkeys don’t deserve to live, if you did you should be working for me!” He kicked me and tried to run, but Mr. John grabbed
    him and beat him with a wooden spoon. Mr. Reed was so bloody that he looked like he had gallons one of ketchup poured all over him. He went home and got immediate medical help. I have a knot on my head from the kick Mr. Reed gave me. I have to go to bed now so I have to put this journal away.

  13. Tom said

    Dear Mrs. McKissack

    Thank you for making time to meet with us over a videoconference and listen to our diary entries. You inspired me from what you said about show and not tell. This is one of my entries.
    The Next Day

    Last night we encountered huge surprise attack. I guess it was a welcoming present. Right now I can still hear the moaning and groaning of the men who were wounded.
    The battle was very harsh, grueling and probably the largest we will face because there were so many troops for each side.
    It all started when we began to set up a place to sleep temporarily. The Japanese frequently attack at night. All of the sudden every thing went quite and then the enemy fire was tremendous on us. We were prepared slightly. The people who panicked were killed instantly. We all dug in and tried to return fire. The sand was slowing me down a bit as I ran. Everywhere there was moaning and groaning and people being shot. We held them of for a long time and eventually won the battle, but casualties were very high for one battle.
    We are trying to recover so I’m going to go try and help out in any way I can.

  14. Steven said

    Dear Mrs. McKissack

    Thank you once again for taking time out of your busy schedule to let us share our diary entries. I was very excited to share my entrie, but unfortunately we didn’t have that much time. But, through the power of the internet, I can post one of my diary entries on this blog! I am writing about The Beatles in 1967 while they were recording the Sgt. Pepper. These diaries are through the eyes of the great John Lennon. This is the first entry……

    May 5, 1967

    The Sgt. Pepper album has been worked on for nearly ½ a year now, but we are only 45% done. The actual faces appearing on the cover is a mystery, too. Jesus, Hitler, and Ghandi were turned down by EMI, saying they “Would anger great parts of the population in India and the world”. I was shaking in absolute fury at their thoughtless comment. To get my mind off THAT……… this is the album so far:

    A-Side
    1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
    2. With A Little Help From My Friends
    3. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
    4. Getting Better
    5. Fixing A Hole

    We currently have 1 candidate running for the second-to-last song on the A-Side, “She’s Leaving Home” about a girl that… well, leaves home! George has been working on his own collaboration for the album, “Within You Without You” an Indian based piece with many Indian instruments such as the sitar. Man, it sounds…weird. But, I think we can fit it somewhere in the album. We should really think about the “future” of the A-Side.

    Thanks again!

    Sincerly,

    Steven

  15. Timmy said

    Dear Mrs. McKissack,

    Thank you very much for taking the time out to meet with me and my peers, and discussing out historical fiction entries with us. I was one of the student you did not get to meet with at the second conference. I wrote about the Invasion of Normandy. My character is Lawrence Mattews and he is 18 years old. This entry is from the near beginning of my diary.

    June 9, 1944

    Today was very tiring. It’s hard to see all of the dead, mangled bodies just lying, still on the sandy beaches. Today’s high tide was strong. All of the bodies just floated out to sea. It is scary seeing all of brave soldiers just die instantly like that. I can’t imagine all of the sorrowful days these troops families would have. We got information out of one of the prisoners. One prisoner was a German. He looked about 25, but had cuts everywhere and it looked like he had a broken leg. He spit on the Captain’s shoes. Boy, did captain get mad. He took his M4 smack him across the head with it and then shot him right in the chest. As I saw the trigger getting pulled, my heart skipped a beat. The other prisoner was Italian. He gave us information and told us to look out for snipers uphill. Right now we are camping out with nothing to eat or drink.

  16. Minhal said

    Dear Mrs.McKissack,

    Thank you for taking the time to meet us in the videoconference.After our first meeting with you, I was enthused to start writing historical fiction stories because of the inspiration you injected into me.When I shared my entries with you,your comments and feedback were helpful and they improved my writing. Here is another sample of my diary.

    Another day of war…
    In the blink of an eye, everything changed. My last friend died today. All the lives this war has snatched from me…
    As I ran across the battlefield, with gunshots missing me by a needles length, I heard Davy Crockett yelling instructions, when suddenly; he came to an abrupt stop. Instinctively, I swiveled around, my heart throbbing with fear of what I thought had just happened. Davy Crockett yelled in pain as a shot pierced his body, right under his heart. Blood leaked out off the large gash and sweat beaded across my forehead. I cantered over to where he lay and picked him up with exertion. I brought him upstairs and looked at him miserably. There was nothing I, nor anyone else could do, besides let his last minutes go by in peace. I clasped his hand and gently caressed his face. Davy Crockett made a small smile at me as I told him the usual, “You’ll be alright,” but that was definitely not true.
    The minutes past by and Mr. Crockett assured to me that I’d lead the troops for the remainder of the war. Out of nowhere, Davy Crockett suddenly yelped in horror as the pain burned his soul. His breathing was limited and his last words were hard to hear. All I could make out was: “John, Remember the Alamo!”

  17. […] Writing.  Several students have submitted some of their writing to the post entitled “pics to post, question to answer.” Boy, are they answering the question!  Thanks for sharing. . .  Posted by Rebecca […]

  18. […] pics to post, question to answer […]

  19. […] forward to hearing what kind of stories the participating students write. To see past student work, click here. Posted by Rebecca Morrison Filed in Distance Learning, Videoconferences ·Tags: author […]

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