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Writing Workshop Pieces


Benjamin Franklin

by Noah Ormsby
5th grade

Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1706. He was the 15th of 17 children. When Ben was a boy, he was apprenticed to his uncle in Boston. Ben wrote a lot of different publications, like newspapers and almanacs. He even helped write multiple treaties. I like Ben Franklin because of everything he had accomplished.

As a young boy, Benjamin Franklin was apprenticed to his uncle, who was a skilled printer. Ben was supposed to stay until he was twenty-one. He gave his uncle his own articles, and his uncle printed them: he did not know they were Ben's writing, because Ben had signed them "Silence Dogood." Ben ran away to New York after a big fight with his uncle only to find that they already had a printing press there. So he went to Philadelphia, where he owned and wrote in the Pennsylvania Gazette. Ben's life as a boy would prepare him for the success he would have as an adult.

Ben's career as a printer started at age 12. James, his uncle, and Ben did not have a good relationship, and they fought a lot. Ben wrote Poor Richard's Almanac when he was young. Of course, Ben knew that James would not print the letters because they were Ben's writings. So Ben signed them, "Mrs. Silence Dogood." Ben owned and wrote in the Pennsylvania Gazette. He worked for various printing presses from 1723-1730. Ben even helped write multiple treaties. What Benjamin Franklin accomplished in his life was amazing.

In Ben Franklin's later life, he signed four very important documents: The Treaty of Peace with Great Britain, The Treaty of Alliance with France, the Declaration of Independence, and the United States Constitution. The Treaty of Peace with Great Britain meant that the United States and Great Britain would no longer fight each other. The Treaty of Alliance with France meant that The U.S. and France would not fight against each other either: they would fight together. The Declaration of Independence stated that the U.S. had freedom, while the U.S. Constitution stated the laws and liberties of Americans. Ben Franklin was the only person to sign all four documents.

Ben Franklin was the only person to sign all four very important U.S. documents. Ben was a very good writer, who wrote in and owned the Pennsylvania Gazette. Benjamin Franklin helped the U.S.A. by being a statesman, a scientist, and a public leader. Franklin died at the age of eighty-four in 1790.

World War I

by Cael Mooney
4th grade

World War I was fought in Europe between 1914-1918: that's four straight years. The trenches were mostly safety for soldiers. When the Yanks were coming, they made a song. By using new weapons, WWI soldiers made a new kind of war. I like World War I because I like history.

WWI soldiers dug trenches to help them survive. The medical post in the trenches was where hurt people went for treatment. They used to hide canons in the trenches, then when enemy soldiers were in range, BOOM! Éthey were dead. In WWI, about thirty-seven million people were killed. It took four years for the war to stop.

In June of 1917, the first American troops landed in Germany. When the Yanks were coming, they wrote a song. Not only did the Yanks join the battle; many other countries joined also. To win the war, we had 400,000 African Americans volunteer to fight. The Lusitania was torpedoed twice from the coast of Ireland. An assassin's bullet set off the war. Americans helped to win the war.

World War I was called a new kind of war because of new technology such as bomber planes, fighter jets, and hand-held machine guns. Germany had early victories, but in the end, the Allies won. Every country in WWI put armor on its tanks to protect soldiers. Germany was the first country to use poison gas but the Allies had gas masks, and thatŐs how the Allies won the war.

A new kind of war had new weapons, new planes, and new armor. When the Yanks were coming, they helped defeat the Central Powers. The trenches helped the Allies win the war by protecting their soldiers. It is very interesting to study World War I because of its weapons and planes


by Rylee Tanner
3rd grade

Weather exists everywhere since the Earth was created. Snow and rain fall from the sky. Weathermen's tools are machines. Floods, storms, and hurricanes are types of weather. Weather is different every day; I like all the seasons.

Snow and rain fall from the sky. Weathermen send up a balloon to see what the weather is, and cans keep it leveled. They use computers to control weather machines on the balloons. The clouds cover up the sun when it sets and make the sunset colorful. A winter storm can be blinding. If you see a dark cloud, it is snow or rain. McCall gets a lot of snow; not as much rain, though.

Weathermen's tools have been used for seeing weather. People have always tried to predict weather. They send a camera 22,000 miles above the equator. They have to build a satellite that goes in the air. Weather balloons carry instruments that measure the conditions. I like that weather is different every day.

Floods, storms, and hurricanes are all extreme weather, which are kind of alike. They can be the most dangerous storms ever; they also ruin houses and kill people. The weathermen launch a big balloon into the atmosphere. Satellites measure wind speed for storms and hurricanes. Floods, storms, and hurricanes destroy property because floods have a lot of water and water ruins property; storms and hurricanes have powerful winds.

Hurricanes cause floods and storms on the coastlines. Weathermen use satellites every day for predicting weather. Snow and rain give precipitation and water to drink. Do not be scared of weather because it cannot hurt people unless they are struck by lightning.


by Nicky Gebhards
4th grade

Lakes have existed on all continents since the beginning of time. The balance between fresh and salt water is important to fish life in lakes. Animals in lake habitats are vital to plant life. Dams can make lakes and hydroelectricity. It is very interesting that there is a soda lake.

If there were no fresh and salt water in lakes, there would be no animals in or near lakes. Most lakes have only fresh water and only small amounts of minerals and salts. People can easily float in lakes like the Dead Sea because such lakes have at least one-tenth of an ounce of salt per quart of water. A person would not want to go wading in a soda lake. The chemicals would immediately start burning your skin and the sulfur smells like rotten eggs. Soda lakes contain a lot of sodium carbonate, which comes from hot volcanic springs. Flamingos think soda lakes are just fine to walk in. Their long, skinny legs keep them high above the water and their super-tough skin protects them from the sodium carbonate. Because there are fresh and salt water lakes, we have drinking water and fish for food.

The animals of lakes depend on each other to live. Most lakes have four layers of life: the Littoral Zone (shoreline), the Limnetic Zone (surface of lake), the Photic Zone (middle), and the Aphotic Zone (bottom). Small mammals like beavers and big mammals like moose can be found at the Littoral Zone. Animals like insects and ducks can be found on the Limnetic Zone. Fish in the Photic Zone are usually like pike, with thin bodies, sharp teeth, and are very fast swimmers. Animals in the Apothic Zone are mostly like the paddlefish with a long nose to dig in the mud for food. There are thousands of freshwater fish; animals in and near lakes are many shapes and sizes.

Dams can create lakes and help farmers. There are mainly four types of dams: Gravity dams, Arch dams, Buttress dams, and Embankment dams. The first-ever known dam was made in Egypt in 3,000 BC. Most big dams provide water to irrigate crops and to generate hydroelectricity by spinning giant turbines. When a dam breaks, it can cause a tragedy like on May 31, 1889, when a dam broke in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, releasing 20 million gallons of water, destroying the town and killing 2,269 people. Most dams are helpful for people, but bad for the environment.

Dams can be helpful to many people, but not to very many animals. Animals in lakes must rely on other animals to live. No animals live in soda lakes because the chemicals burn skin. Lakes are very important to the environment. They provide fresh water and homes to many animals.


by Payton Mooney & Sophia Hawkins

wet, cold
falling, boring, depressing H2O, drops, ball, fire
shining, glowing, lighting
warm, happy

Face Burnt

by Elizabeth Scott

On October 27, 2009, my dad let me pick what we had for dinner. I chose pork chops, with artichokes and sweet potatoes. When we got home, I started to watch T.V. Soon my dad called me over to help him cook. The entire kitchen smelled like pork chops.

I dipped the first pork chop in the egg and breadcrumbs; suddenly, SPLASH! I got hot oil all over my face. Owwww. It felt hothothot. All I saw was a cold rag and flesh. Next thing I knew, I was in the hospital getting dead flesh peeled off my face.

I stayed the night in the hospital. When I woke up, there was a blood oxygen measurer on my finger and my eye was swollen shut. When I left the hospital, we went to a restaurant, but I didn't want to eat; I was worried about getting my burn scrubbed later every day until it healed.

Summer was a little bit better, minus one thing: that was the summer of sunscreen. On the bright side, now I am nine, and I only have a tiny scar.

The Statue of Liberty

by Payton Mooney

The Statue of Liberty has stood in New York Harbor since May 21, 1884. Her size and inside tell a lot about her. Lady Liberty's history can help reveal facts about this "Amazing Statue." Liberty's steps reflect models she went through to become what she is now. Learning about the Statue of Liberty is fun!

Liberty's size and inside reveal her height, weight, inside parts, and much more. She is one hundred and eleven feet tall and weighs more than one hundred tons. She was built with three hundred copper sheets. Each copper sheet was as thin as paper. Liberty was made of six models, each including a dress, torch, and crown. On the inside, she was made of three parts: one called the iron frame, one called the ribs, and one called the skin. Her body was built in three portions: her feet, her middle, and her head. Liberty's size and inside can show damage, history, and old stories.

Lady Liberty's full name is Liberty Enlightening the World. She stands in New York Harbor at this very minute! She was modeled in a studio in France. The owner of the studio was Bartholdi, an artist who made clay models of future statues. Bartholdi had to make almost seventy-two models for the Statue of Liberty. On the statue, there is a plaque with a very long poem saying, "I will protect you!" Liberty's history explains who, what, when, where, why, and how she became a statue of freedom for immigrants.

Liberty Enlightening the World was not built in the U.S., but in France. Liberty was built with careful, slow hands so she was perfect. She went through six shaping steps and each included a special accessory like a torch or a crown. Liberty went from four feet tall, to nine feet tall, to thirty-six feet tall, to 111 feet tall! But not all the cool stuff is on the outside. On the inside, there is an elevator, a balcony, and an observation deck. Liberty's building steps can reveal her final progress to the big finish.

Liberty's steps show her progress all the way to final touches. Her history reveals old stories. The Statue's size and inside present how she was built. All these facts indicate how amazing Liberty really is. She is strong, amazing, and very, very tall!


by Noah Ormsby

My team and I get ready for the game. Finally, it's kickoff: the grass is wet and slippery. The kicker gets the ball set. Boom! He kicks it away. It's coming toward me as if it's traveling in slow motion. I catch the ball and scramble for twenty yards.

I'm nervous. The first play is going to me. We've only practiced it for a week or two. Coach says that it'll work, so I really hope it does. I line up in my position. The Quarterback says his cadence ("Down! Set! Hike!") I receive the handoff, break through the line, and break a tackle. I sprint as fast as I can: no one can even come close to me. I score a sixty-yard touchdown. Our offensive line gives really good blocking.

My friend Peter is Quarterback. He dives into the end zone for a two-point conversion. On defense, the other team gets a first down and another and another. They score: that is not a good defense.

They kick the ball to my friend Jordan. He drop kicks it up and lets it drop again. I run in, pick up the ball in full stride, and run as fast as I can to the end zone. The closest person is ten yards away. We score another touchdown: that's number two. Even though we lose, I still like that game. I have scored three touchdowns, so that isn't bad. I love football.


by Aubrey Cooley

I started skating when I was three years old. It was scary because I was only three years old. Then I did my first competition. I was as scared as a mouse being chased by a cat.

My coach Leesa taught me to do a lunge, a spiral, and a catch-foot spiral. I wore a blue silk dress, but even though I fell on my back I still got first place. I tripped on my toe Đ that's how I fell. It really hurt, but I didn't cry. I was so happy that I won, I wanted to do it again.

The Best Day Skiing

by Rylee Tanner

One day when I was little, my dad and I went downhill skiing. I sat down and took a break, and so did my dad, and we took a bit of the snow and it tasted like Gatorade. I was as cold as a snow cone, and the snow clumps tasted like sorbet ice cream.

My dad and I went to the lodge and had hot chocolate and hotdogs. When I was done, we went home, and took our ski clothes off. Snowflakes flew in the air. The house smelled like candy because we had a lot of candy left from Halloween.


by John Stapp

I was starting to loose my patience. I'd been here at the range for three hours!

Whap! The arrow hits the target on the third ring from the middle. I take another arrow from my quiver and put the string in the notch of the arrow. I pull the string back and point my index finger at the center of the target about twenty-five feet away. My fingers gently relax and let go; I release the arrow and it hits close to the first shot. I'm consistent in hitting, but I'm not hitting the middle. I take another shot from my quiver and take a deep breath to steady myself. I slowly pull back the string and take aim. I release the string and the arrow flies to the target. It hits a little above the middle.

My quiver that was full of arrows earlier now has only two. I take a shot from my quiver and load it. Then I pull the string back and aim at the center of the target. I release the string. The arrow flies to the target, whap! It hits in the center a little wide to the left. I take the last arrow out of my quiver, and load it. I pull back the string and release the arrow. It hits the target as fast as lightning. Finally, I hit the center.

Sweet but Naughty

by Sophia Hawkins

Crash, crash, crash:
my dog Lola zooms through the door.
The patter of her clonkey feet
makes me think the Eiffel Tower is falling.
Even when she hears rain hit the ground
like an avalanche,
she still comes out to greet me.
I feel a burst of cold
from her silky black nose.
Although she is adorable,
she still breaks everything
in the house.

A Clay Shatters

by John Stapp

"Dad, it's not raining outside; let's go shooting." Although I love it, a bad thing about shooting is getting ready. My dad and I have to pull the guns out of their storage cases, take them apart, clean all of the parts, and then put the guns all back together, every time we use them. It's like washing dishes: every time, you have to clean them. But wait, there's more. I extract the guns out of their case that they are locked in, and put them in a different case and lock it. When all the shotguns are locked in their own cases, I'm finally ready to shoot.

When we pull up to the range, and start removing the guns out of the car, I taste the dirt that the car kicks up driving into the range. I always love the range. I see the lake where I can cast my line, smell the fish bobbing at the surface, watch the archery range where arrows fly, and hear the pistol range where shots hit cans. The rifle range, whenever I go, is filled with a very loud rifle shooting. Then I turn around and look at the trap range and see all the broken clays about thirty feet out. I know this is going to be the day when I hit one.

I can't unlock the shotgun's case fast enough. I finally get the case unlocked and pick up the shotgun out of its case. I feel the smooth polished wood on the stock; I'm shaking with excitement. Bang! I fire the first shot and miss, then I think, "That's fine, I still have nine more. Bang! Now I miss with the second shot. "Ok, concentrate," I think.

Then the world seems to go into slow motion. I lower the shotgun, ready to shoot, and yell, "Pull!" The disc is released thirty feet away and twenty feet high. I shoot. I hear the crack of clay exploding into spray, like water after you do a cannonball. Now I am feeling good.

Every time I go shooting with my family, we keep score. If you hit a clay, you get one point, if you miss you do not get anything. At the end of the day everybody usually has around 35 points. I am always so exited when I win because it feels like I won the World Series. But when I lose, I always think, "How can I beat my brother Misha next time?"

Dirt Biking

by Ryder Tanner

When I go off jumps,
it feels like you're going to fall back,
but it's just a wheelie. My bike
is blue and black. The skateboarders
practice while I just go
off jumps. It feels like
a bug flying.


by Sophia Hawkins

When I was about one-and-a-half years old, I got my lip stuck between my two front teeth. It hurt like a hornet sting. When I was supposed to be napping, I was jumping in my crib. My mom came in and saw me crying and looked in my mouth. She didn't think anything of it until she saw my lip was stuck between my two front teeth. She squealed like Miss Piggy.

My mom didn't know what to do, because it was an odd situation. She took me to the hospital. It was quite scary for me. I remember people looking in my mouth. They didn't have any idea how my lip got stuck there.

They couldn't fix it, so they called a dentist who said to floss it out. It worked! My lip was as swollen as a plum, but it was free, and I remember the whole thing.

A Bear in my Neighborhood

by Ryder Tanner

When I was coming to my morning class, I saw a garbage can knocked over. It was green, but it was picked up Đ when it left, I could hear the bear breathing out, and then it growled.

Only one time last year every day the bear knocked down the garbage. It would bang the garbage can down with its paws, and then it would scatter the garbage everywhere and start eating it like a fox. Just my mom and I had to clean it all up. There was some garbage under our car and my dadŐs truck. I felt like a garbage man.


by Aubrey Cooley
2nd grade

Antarctica has been in the South Pole ever since the earth began. Explorers go there to discover all kinds of things. Tilted axis is when the sun is on one side of the world, and why it is dark on the other. There are many different kinds of animals in Antarctica that are not in other places. I like Antarctica because explorers go there.

Explorers go to Antarctica every year. The first person to go to Antarctica was Roald Amundsen. He was an explorer. He set off on October 14, 1911, and arrived on December 14, 1911. Roald Amundsen was learning about whales. Amundsen reached the pole five weeks before the British Navy started a race to the pole. It took him exactly fifty-seven days to get to the South Pole. Richard E. Byrd was the first person to fly on a plane to Antarctica. Byrd studied the fossils of plants. He thought Antarctica used to be warm and full of trees and other leafy plants.

The globe's axis comes out of the South Pole. The sun circles around the world. On one side of the world it is night, and on the other side of the world it is day, because our world is tilted. When there are stormy seas, the ice cracks and turns into waves. But there are still floating chunks of ice. Waves break the "grease" (shiny, flat) ice, which then turns into pancakes. The pancake ice crashes together and keeps on floating around the icebergs. Ice can be as thick as eight feet under the water. Most of an iceberg is under water, which makes it extremely dangerous for ships. Icebergs can cover 90% of Antarctica's waters. One iceberg was about 200 miles long and sixty miles wide.

Animals live in Antarctica that do not live in other places. Emperor penguins lay one egg in winter, while other penguins breed in the spring. The mother then treks some hundred miles to the sea to feed. Weddel seals feed on cod, squid, and crustaceans. They have sharp teeth, and can hold their breath for over an hour. Then they come back up for air. Penguins can swim, but they cannot fly. They slide on their bellies off ice cliffs, then splash into the water. It looks like they are flying, but they're not. When the baby chick is born, the father raises the chick while the mother is out for food. The father gives the chick a special oil from his throat. Minke whales do not have teeth, but they do have baleen that filters krill out of the sea. The animals that live in Antarctica can stand the cold.

Animals that live in Antarctica learn how to keep warm. It is summer in Antarctica when it is cold in other places. Explorers who go there have to be brave and learn how to keep warm. Tourists go to Antarctica to do science experiments on animals, ice, water, and many other things.

Flames of Freedom

by John Stapp
6th grade

The crisp red barn stands out:
rays of a newborn sun
flow over dark skies, lighting up
crisp day. Horses
whinny, waiting for release into red and yellow flames,
sparking dry leaves under bare hoofs,
igniting freedom.


by Elizabeth Scott
4th grade

The Titanic was a long ship that was trying to go from Southampton, England, to New York, but hit an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on April 14, 1912, at 11:40 PM. The inside of the Titanic was luxurious; a ticket was very expensive. Construction on the Titanic went on from 1909-1912. At various times on April 14, 1912, something else happened to sink the "unsinkable ship." The Titanic is interesting and gives students a lot to discover.

The inside of the Titanic had many eye-catching decorations, like chandeliers and red carpets. The Titanic's interior was similar to that of a high-class hotel. The ship had two wireless telegraphs: one for sending and one for receiving. Its second class was the same as other ships' first class. First class passengers had a gymnasium, a pool, a squash court, a Turkish bath, and a library. A first class ticket was as much as $4,350.00; today it would be $77,549.00 The inside of the Titanic was very luxurious.

It took 3,000 men three years to build the Titanic. The second the designer saw the small replica of the Titanic, he clearly said, "People don't pay to look at lifeboats!" So instead of forty-eight lifeboats, the Titanic was left with only sixteen. The Titanic was built to be able to hold impact on the front, but not on the sides, and when the crew saw the iceberg they tried to turn away; since they turned only a little bit, the iceberg cut the side of the boat. The Titanic was made to be able to stay afloat if four floors flooded, but five floors filled with sea water. It was so bad, the bow went completely under the sea, and the water went up to the sixth floor. How the Titanic really sank is still a mystery; maybe the construction played a part in how the ship sank.

Times are very important to knowing how the Titanic sank. In 1910, The Olympic (the Titanic's sister ship) was launched, In March 1912, builders put the finishing touches on the Titanic, and on April 10, 1912 the Titanic had its maiden voyage: the first leg began in Southampton and ended in France. On April 14 at 11:41 PM, the Titanic was traveling at twenty-one and a half miles per hour when it hit an iceberg. Twenty-four minutes later, at 12:05 AM, Captain Smith ordered the lifeboats ready. The Titanic sank at 2:29 AM on April 15, 1912. The tragic sinking of the Titanic had something happen every second.

At each and every moment, something interesting happened for the Titanic. The construction of the Titanic took a very long time and was hard work. The Titanic had many eye-catching decorations like chandeliers and red carpets. Even though the Titanic sank over 100 years ago, its sinking is still one of the most tragic events in history today.


by Ryder Tanner

Volcanoes have formed the Earth from the beginning of time. Volcanoes explode all over the place. Living near volcanoes is interesting. It is fun finding treasures in volcanoes. Volcanoes are cool.

Volcanoes get ready, wake up, run down the sides: lava burns houses. The volcano in Hawaii has been blowing up and staying up for thirty years. In Yellowstone, Wyoming, the aquifer gets hot from lava, then it goes like steam from a teakettle. A scientist pulls lava out of the ground to study how a volcano works. Mount St. Helens exploded and went 200 miles down and destroyed the forest with rocks. Volcanoes destroy toilets.

Living near volcanoes is dangerous. An earthquake or a volcano can and might kill them if they don't hide quickly or run to a high place, so students in Japan have earthquake drills. The robot spider climbs volcanoes because he wants to figure out what volcanoes are. He goes in the volcano and collects rocks and gasses. Scientists are learning about volcanoes by taking the temperature of it. They learn about the rocks in there and the smoke in there. Scientists dress in a fire suit to test and learn about hot lava.

Volcanoes are super special. People in Japan boil eggs in hot water from volcanoes. In winter, buffalos go stand by steam from hot water underground in Yellowstone Park. Under the ocean, giant twelve-foot worms eat bacteria that grow on underwater volcanoes. Silversword plants grow only in Hawaii on volcanoes. They bloom once every ten years. Volcanoes make sulfur, but how do they? People use sulfur to make rubber for tires and bouncy balls.

Treasures are interesting to find near volcanoes. It would be fun to live near a volcano. Volcanoes explode and make lava rocks fall out of the air. I love volcanoes.


by Payton Mooney

My kitty-cat
is as special to me as his nose is to Cael.
He is black around the nose,
and white on his tiny feet.
He has an arch enemy,
which I'm not going to tell you about.
My pussy-cat is as fluffy and soft
as a piece of furry silk.
You should really meet him.
Oh, and warning:
he's as fat as a whiskery plum.
My fluffy-cat crows cold,
and I'm special to him.

Ancient India

by Sophia Hawkins
5th grade

Ancient India existed about 5,000 years ago in India. Indian treasures are very beautiful. India has very many unique traditions, as well as the great story of the Indo-European migration. India is a marvelous yet mysterious place.

Ancient India is known for its traditions. A unique tradition in the Indus River Valley is that the people wore birds on their heads to attract other birds. Ancient Indians were very strict on everything including marriage. Ancient Indian food had a lot of curry and meat. Indian women wore drapey dresses and brightly-colored jewelry to show respect. These very strange traditions have made India so much different from all the other places in the world.

Part of a nomadic tribe called the Vedic Aryans moved from place to place together looking for grass, cattle, and fields. Their trip was called the Indo-European Migration. They traveled through the Hindu Kush Valley. After they arrived in the south of India, they invaded villages there. The Vedic Aryans are ancestors of the Indian people who live there today.

Archeologists have found more national and ancient treasures in India than anywhere in the world. One of the most beautiful treasures in India is the Taj Mahal in northern India. This palace is a beautiful tomb for the Indian ruler's wife. Another national and amazing treasure is the Himalayan mountain range, which is known as the highest mountain range in the world. An elephant statue from the Shang Dynasty and a bird from the Zou Dynasty reflect the craft of ancient Indian artisans. Ancient Indians used Sanskrit, a language of symbols; later, English words were found to have the same root words as Sanskrit, which is also considered an ancient treasure.

Indian treasures are mostly gold, silver, and coins. The Ayrans arrived in India through the Indo-European migration. If it were not for the Indians' yearly traditions, India would not be so much different from any other place in the world. India has very unique religious, cultural, and historical traditions.


by John Stapp

The Aztec empire existed between 1325 and 1521, in a city called Tenochtitlan in South America. For almost two hundred years, warriors played a big part in the Aztec Empire: attacking neighboring cultures to supply human sacrifices was common for the Aztecs. The Aztec Pyramid of the Sun is four times larger than Egypt's great pyramid of Giza. The Aztecs were very brutal and aggressive; they would force neighboring tribes to participate in war games known as the Flower Wars. The Aztecs built a strong and powerful empire, revealing the success of their people in many skills.

Warriors played an essential part in Aztec culture. They went on raid missions to neighboring tribes to supply their empire with human sacrifices. There were two elite units: the Jaguar warriors, and the Eagle warriors. Everybody wanted to be in those units, because they were the highest-ranked warriors in the Aztec army. Eagle and Jaguar warriors went on raid missions, so everybody feared them. The Jaguar warriors attacked quickly but brutally, and would nearly kill the human sacrifices they would take. The Eagle warriors chanted loudly to scare their enemies, then they would storm in and capture their sacrifices. The Aztecs were known for their warriors, who would fight on the battlefield until the last Aztec was killed.

The Aztecs were known not only for warriors and sacrifices, but also for architecture. They built their city Tenochtitlan in the middle of a swampy lake, with three roadways out to the mainland. They also built hundreds of pyramids for gods and sacrifices. Their greatest pyramid was the Pyramid of the Sun. It was four times larger than Egypt's pyramids at Giza. The pyramids that Aztecs used for human sacrifices were different than normal pyramids. They had a temple on the top that was open to the sky, and stairs leading down the pyramid to the ground. Also, sometimes there were living quarters on the top for the priests. Aztec architecture was a part of daily life, and was one of their best skills.

The Aztecs committed thousands of sacrifices a year. In the Flower Wars, fifty warriors from a tribe would battle each other and then sacrifice the losers in a thirteen-day war game. Only about five warriors from each tribe would survive. The pyramids they used for sacrifices were enclosed on the sides with statues of the gods on each side. The Aztecs believed that right before they would kill the sacrifice, he would change into a representative of the god they were sacrificing to. The sacrifice would be brought to the top of a Pyramid and laid on top of a flat stone. There, his chest would be cut open and his heart ripped out. The body of the victim would then be tossed down the pyramid as food for their dogs, or the warriors would eat the victim, to scare their enemies. The Aztecs sacrificed people because they believed it would make the god they were sacrificing to stronger.

Only skillful warriors survived the Flower Wars. There is evidence that the Aztecs sacrificed 84,400 people in four days' time. That would be two people sacrificed every minute. Aztecs sacrificed people because they believed it would feed the gods, witch would make them stronger. Today, we would not know anything about the Aztecs if it were not for their architecture. Sacrificing humans, worshiping the gods, warriors: we would not know any of it if we had not found ruins of Aztec temples, cities, or weapons.

Older Brother

by Aubrey Cooley

Having an older brother is not fun because they stink. They call you mean names and they kick you and punch you and push you.

I'm almost as tall as my brother. The bad thing about it is that his friends tease me. Everybody says we look like twins.

He has blonde hair; I have blonde hair. He has green eyes; I have blue eyes. He is small; I'm small. Sometimes he's nice. He takes me to get ice cream, candy, and snow cones.


by Cael Mooney

I can do lots of things.
One is flexibility: I can
put my feet
behind my head.
It's really easy.
Give it a try: some
people can.
Some can't. Some
people don't believe, so
sometimes I have to
prove it!

Big Sister

by Ryder Tanner

I don't like having an older sister because she lots hits and doesn't share her phone. When we went whitewater rafting, she wore a shirt that said, "Recycle my brother."

She reads to me and she cries about when I want to read with my dad, 'cause she's sad because she wants to read to me. She sometimes plays tag a lot. I like having her because she's funny.

The Race of Skis

by Nicky Gebhards

It was January 15, 2012, at 9:30 AM: time for the cross-country obstacle course at Bozeman, Montana. Already, I could see a cheering crowd forming.

Bolting out of the starting gate, I went off a three-foot jump. It felt as if I had jumped off a cliff. A tube appeared in front of me; I ducked as fast as I could. Then I came out and into a bamboo forest. I raced through the bamboo and quickly started to trip.

Oh NO! I fell over with a loud THUMP! I scrambled up off the ground. Then I saw a light. I was at the end! I raced out as fast as I could, but I had to lie down and shoot at a target with a paintball gun.

AIM. . . . Fire! I hit the target, so I didn't have to ski the penalty loop. I shoved my ski poles down one last time and finished with a time of 40.35 seconds: a new record.

On January 16, at 2:00 PM, we had the awards ceremony. The judge announced the winners of the obstacle course, and handed me the first place medal. I had won the race.


by John Stapp

It's a cold day out, and I'm riding a chair lift to the top of Wachusset Mountain. The cold wind is blowing in my face through my ski mask; my feet are numb. I can't feel my toes. I arrive at the summit of Wachusset Mountain, and look out at the landscape: white snow covers the mountain like a wool blanket. All the people are little black dots far off down the Mountain. I angle my skis downward while I push off the top. I'm starting to gain speed. Faster and faster I go until I feel the wind blowing against my face as I'm passing people, snow flying up behind my skis.

I'm halfway down the hill coming up to a jump. I get to the jump and launch into the air like an airplane taking off. Am I going to land it? Or am I going to wipe out? I close my eyes and hope that I'm going to land. My feet hit the ground and I feel a sudden force against my feet. I landed.

Now I'm approaching the final straight away, and my friend Joe comes up right next to me and starts to race. I crouch down low so the wind flows over my coat. I speed up, but heŐs not slow. He pushes on forward and now he's next to me. I start counting down feet to the end. Fifty, forty, thirty, twenty: suddenly I make my move! As fast as lighting I bend down as low as I can go and now I'm slightly ahead. I start to cut him off; he has no other choice except to slow down. I get to the bottom of the slope and win! And I think to myself, "What a great ten-second race."

Is it Real?

by Sophia Hawkinss

When I walk down dark streets
on Halloween night,
gusty wind hits my hair like a strong blow dryer.
It's here
It's here
It's everywhere
witches, goblins, and
more more more
begin to gather on the lake shore.
I do not know what they like to talk about;
I do not know.
I do not have a single idea,
but I do not care because in
one blink,
they are gone.
It must have been my

Awesome Sport

by Ryder Tanner

When we do the face-off, when I slap the puck into the goal, I feel happy. When I get checked, I feel sore. The puck came to my stick and I slapped it. I did not give up, and I scored. After the game, whoever wins feels happy like a hockey puck. Hockey pucks are always happy because they listen to the sticks.

I am on the Mites. Hudson and Trey are on my team. I just practice when it's freeskate, or when Huddie and I are doing lessons -- we just practice until the coach is ready. I practice shooting, and I practice crossovering, and I practice stick handling. It's a good game for everybody.


by Ryder Tanner

One day I went skating and my mom signed
me up for goalie and I played it
and it was fun. We went to games
and we won. Just like the Junior Steelheads, it was
eighteen goals. I was the best
goalie. They did not get a goal
on me.

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