Students in our after-school and community classes are exploring all the different ways writers generate ideas, and put captivating words on the page.

Here are writing excerpts and some photos of our young authors working with instructor, Lauran Weinmann:

Redwood Heights

Our students at Redwood Heights started their Winter session off with instructor Lauran and with "I Remember" - an activty that invited them to plumb their memories for interesting story possbilities.


I remember the day when my Grandma and Grampa died on the same day.

I remember when I was river rafting for 5 days straight and camping on sandy beaches.

I remember winning the science fair in 3rd grade.


I remember making a pie that was floppy like pudding.

I remember putting milk in my fish tank because I thought they drank it.

I remember my mom making spinach and making me eat at least 5 bits but I’d just spit them out.



I remember how I decided to play the violin.

I remember when I got into my car one day and a tuxedo cat was in a box!

I remember seeing a fish that looked like a cucumber at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

These Redwood Heights students wrote in response to the prompt "I reached into my pocket and found..."


I reached into my pocket and I pulled out a pound of bacon. I ate it and it tasted like chicken wings. Then I had a pair of chicken wings instead of arms!


I reached into my pocket and here’s what I found: a bulldozer, a banana slug, 1 million dollars, a solar system, a timemachine, a death star, a school, a giant box of mystery, and a table. Then I reached into my other pocket.

 Alex H.

I reached into my pocket and found a rotten hamburger. I decided to eat it. I ate it and something weird happened –I began to shrink. “Maybe it was the lettuce,” I grumbled. . . now I was shrinking, shrinking, shrinking. Until I burped.Then I got back to the same size.


I reached into my pocket and found . . . a moldy piece of candy, a head of a plastic cow, half of a twenty-dollar bill, a melted piece of bubble gum stuck to my pocket, a tiny twig with string, and this piece of paper.


I reached into my pocket and pulled out Smokey the Bear. “What are you doing in my pocket?” I asked Smokey. “Well, being on a commercial about forest fires was becoming a boring job. So when we were about to shoot another commercial, I jumped in your pocket.”


I reached into my pocket and found another pocket and I reached into that pocket and found another pocket and Ireached into that pocket and found another pocket and I reached into THAT pocket and found nothing.


I reached into my pocket and found a watch. I recognized it and thought to myself for a minute and said to myself, “Wait a minute—this isn’t mine!”


I reached into my pocket and found a pig. I suppose you’re wondering what a pig was doing in the pocket of my trousers. Well, I can tell you firsthand, that I have no idea.

And some miscellaneous musings:


Window washer? Seriously? I told my dad I wanted to be a Nintendo Smasher! I wish he’d get new hearing aids!

Riley T:

I have a bulldog named Oliver. Oliver has a fang hanging down from his mouth.


I love animals; I have a horse named Bishop and a dog named Ellis. I love animal magazines like Young Rider. I own many clubs.















Crocker Highlands

Lauran asked her students at Crocker Highlands to try their hand at "I Am From" poems - poems that explore the tastes, smells, places, memories, people and experiences we're from.


I am from the delicious, crunchy, goodness of bacon. I am from my brown belt test. I am from the smell of an almond cheesecake. I am from burping.


I am from purple and the starry night. I am from soccer and sunshine on a hot summer day. I am from rivers, forests and jungles.


I am from movie Mondays. I am from broken bones. I am from Math month. I am from music. I am from sports. I am from bacon.


I am from snowboarding down a hill. I am from a huge chocolate bar. I am from the smell of an orange. I am from chicken that is fried. I am from the biggest crayon in the world. I am from a purple people eater most of all though.


I am from pizza Thursdays and movie Fridays. I am from all chocolate. I am from soccer. I am from the sweet sound of my clarinet. I am from green and blue. I am from math and technology. I am from great smells coming from the kitchen. I am from cheese.


My friends are joy. My enemies are pain. My life is a timeline. And my world is a never-ending movie.

These students experimented with writing first lines that would grab the reader and pull them into a story:


Her tan clogs went click click on the linoleum floor. Her high-brim glasses were on the tip of her pointy nose. I shuttered.


“Um, sir?” A skinny boy with Harry Potter glasses and a button-up shirt raised his hand. “I’m pretty sure NONE of that happened.”


“Uh-oh. Here she comes!” Little Sarah Jane. The six-year-old girl with the heaviest head on earth.


Alice did not mean for this to happen. Anna just had to go down the rabbit hole and Alice’s mom told her to go get Anna and she fell down.










What's a fun way we explore how to develop characters? Walk in their shoes! Kids choose from a variety of footwear as inspiration for creating a character.