This spring at Weibel Elementary School in Fremont, our students have been writing about a variety of secrets--from secret codes to secret recipes--while simultaneously learning how to craft better fiction using classic story elements such as plot, setting, character. The writing has been spectacular, quirky, and creative. Here are some snippets:
From: Secret Recipes (Students create their own secret recipe - for anything!)
How to Make Fizz Soup
Ingredients (which you probably don't have) 2 rocks from Mars 6 white sea urchins 7 c flour 1/2 c green tea 1/6 c melted Pluto ice rocks 1 c tomato sauce (or any sauce you like) 8 cactus spines 1/4 c butter other spices that you like Step One: Squeeze the sea urchins until they're dry. Step Two: Wash the melted ice rocks from Pluto, and slice the sea urchins and cactus spines. Step Three: Mix the flour and butter until you get a thick paste. Step Four: Add green tea until the thick paste becomes much more watery. Step Five: Take the cut sea urchins and cactus spines and crush them to tiny bits and put them with the mixture. Step Six: Stir. Add sauce and spices. Step Seven: Add Mars rocks and ENJOY
Recipe for Chicken Sauté with Peanut Sauce Which Gives You Special Powers
Regular Ingredients: Chicken from 3 chickens in California Peanuts from a farm in Cape Town, South Africa Milk from a cow in Calcutta, India Sugar from a plant in Hawaii Magical Ingredients: A frog's wart A piece of coral from the Great Barrier Reef Water from the Caspian Sea Exactly 1 lb of sand Note: Recipe must be made at exactly 6:30 PM every year on June 21.
1. Get a really huge cauldron 2. Dump all the ingredients in the cauldron 3. Let it sit there. 4. At around 6, June 21, put the mixture in the freezer 5. At around 6:10 boil the mixture until 6:30 6. It will be finally ready to eat for magical powers at 6:30'
From: Secret Codes (Students created secret codes with partners and then wrote stories inspired by the codes.)
His mother saw the message. She jumped and she asked Percy, "Where did you find this?"
He said, "At the park."
She ran to the park and Percy followed. his mom dug a hole really deep, then picked up something. She told Percy to open it. He did, then a gleaming light came out and Percy saw a bunch of treasure and gold. His mother said, "This is a treasure people fought a war for, now it is yours...forever."
From: Secrets on the Line (Each student selects a secret that is written on a piece of paper hung on a clothesline. That secret becomes the centerpiece of his/her story.)
Adam then shows me his rather ugly so-called "time machine."
"It's just a cardboard box!" I said impatiently.
"Yeah, but it's magical, and I got it from rentatimemachine.com. They even delivered it to me in two days!" said Adam, quite proud of himself for finding that website.
"So, you didn't build it yourself?" I asked, puzzled.
"Of course I didn't. I just told you that I got it from rentatimemachine.com," said Adam, laughing his head off.
"Oh yeah," I said, blushing.
"Where should we go?" asked Adam.
My secret started when I saw a sparkling, dusty blob in the sky, not much bigger than my fingernail. It flew around and seemed to say, "Com on! Let's go!" I just rubbed my eyes to see if it was true that I had seen a real life fairy. But, when I looked back again, it was gone, so I just went back into the house. When I got inside, I ran to my room and I started drawing fairies.
One day, I decided to go off for an adventure to find out what was causing my troubles...Suddenly, a mysterious force pulled me upwards. I climbed into a parachute that was made of grass and leaves. I climbed inside and it floated to a shiny wonderland.