Writing Lesson of the Month Network

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If you've used our "Knot the Whole Truth" lesson at the WritingFix Website--


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Twenty-five Teachers every semester will win a free classroom resource!  Each semester, we choose 25 new students to publish at our online lessons directly at the world-famous WritingFix website. To have your students' writing considered, it can be posted below in the box underneath  this posting.  In November and May, we will select the 25 students whose writing impressed us the most, and if your student(s) is selected, you will be asked to choose from any of the NNWP Print Publications (http://www.unr.edu/educ/nnwp/publications.html) for us to send to your classroom.


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There are two stories written by fifth graders below.

All Hail the Fire King!
Julia, Fifth Grade
Some say it wasn't luck that kept him alive, it was courage. Though he was only an infant, Fiyero withstood a forest fire just minutes after his parents had left him alone for an unknown reason. The news came in an instant that the forest was disintegrating to ash and such a small child was beholding it right in front of his eyes. The fire engines came rushing through the city panicking like a little fly captured in a web by an enormous spider. The crew was concentrating on putting out the fire and rescuing an orphan at the same time. This was one of the most dangerous missions they ever could possibly encounter for the firemen and the baby. The chief thought the young boy looked like an angel sent from heaven above. It was a miracle to discover such a young child in a forest fire and unharmed. The chief decided to keep him as his own and because of the incident he named him Fiyero.
The fire chief's wife was pleased with her new son. She loved him like he was her own. That night, they put little Fiyero in a crib they had just in case they were about to have a baby (That day, the couple finally had a use for it.). He kept crying and crying like a siren on an ambulance. His father took him downstairs to calm him down. It was dark, and coldness was seeping through the window sill. Fiyero's father made a fire in the living room, and he stopped crying once it was lit. His small, barely controllable arms reached toward the fire. Holding Fiyero in his arms, he gently walked toward the fire. The little boy seemed relaxed. Then it suddenly came to him, the boy wanted to sleep somewhere warm like a fire. He took the blanket and pillow from upstairs, placed it on the ground, and put Fiyero under the covers.
Years passed and Fiyero grew to be a handsome, brave, and intelligent young man. Instead of sleeping in the bed his father made him, he slept on hot coals. He loved anything that had to do with fire, except for the evil purposes it can be used. The warmth nurtured him throughout life; whether it was used for cooking or making dark winter nights cheerful, fire was involved in many uses which perfected his own world. While at school, his classmates would dare him to do dangerous stunts in which a normal boy would have gotten hurt, extremely hurt, but Fiyero was not a normal boy. He would never refuse a dare, no matter how fatal it could possibly be. Then came the day. The bully of his class, Pete, walked over to him just after talking to a rather large group of kids. "Hey!" he exclaimed to Fiyero. "I was just talking to these runts, and they said you are quite a daredevil," he said rudely with spit flying out of his mouth like a camel. "What do you say I challenge you to stand in a pit of fire, and not cry. If you shed one tear, you have to say 'I am a loser' in front of everyone at recess. If you do stay in the pit without crying, I'll leave you alone for the rest of the year."
"Don't do it, Fiyero!" said Fiyero's best friend, Rudy.
He didn't listen. Only three little words came out of his mouth. "I'll do it," he mindlessly said, knowing what he would get himself into.
Rudy spoke to Fiyero in private. "Are you insane?" The words burst out of his mouth like a firecracker.
"Look, Pete has been pushing me around all year. This my chance to get him off my back!"
"Okay, from here on you have my full support."
The next day, Pete reminded Fiyero about the firepit dare after school. "Make sure you're there at 4:00. Don't chicken out!" He started making chicken noises in a mocking voice.
"You'll be surprised," said Fiyero with a voice as sly as a fox.
After school, an enormous crowd of children gathered around where Pete's so called "friends" were building a campfire for Fiyero to stand in. A few minutes later, he arrived. The whispering of children of all ages grew into talking which grew into slight shouting which finally formed into complete chaos. Commotion filled the arena for the Daredevil of all daredevils.
Feeling an odd mixture of relaxation and adrenaline, Fiyero stepped up to the gigantic fire. He walked around it for a few seconds then Pete finally stood up and shouted, "Just get on with it! Who do you think you are? A weenie?" Feeling rather impatient, he gave Fiyero a look as dirty as a mud puddle.
Rudy was standing in the front row, praying. "Please let him be okay," he whispered to himself. Fiyero was about to do a stunt so dangerous, even fire walkers would be frightened out of town. Girls covered their eyes and started crying or shrieking. Teenage boys got absorbed into the action and thrill. Rudy kept praying and praying he wouldn't lose his only true friend. Fortunately, his prayers were answered. Fiyero didn't feel a thing but the comforting warmth of a campfire and all the memories of his early childhood. Crowds cheered with joy, all except Pete who just stood there mesmerized by the fact a boy withstood a fire.
"That was the most incredible deed I ever and probably will see!" exclaimed Pete. "You can join our posse anytime! I officially declare you as cool,"
"Thank you," said Fiyero as humble as can be. "But, right now I am going to spend time with my best friend."
"Thanks pal," said Rudy. "By the way, we all made something for you to honor your victory." A large group of children were carrying a cape and a crown which were made to look as if they were made of fire. They all kneeled and said respectfully, "All hail the Fire King!" Everyone else repeated, "All hail the Fire King!" That was how a small town boy became the king. The King of Fire.

The Legend of John Mavicsen
By: Dylan - Fifth Grade
Many, many years ago there was a little boy. The boy's name was John Mavicsen. His story has been past on over the years. By now the story is one half legend, one forth true, and one forth complete myth. The story begins on December 2, 1925, when young John Mavicsen is born. Little John was born in the beautiful coastal town of Blokhus, Denmark. He was as cute as a baby puppy. He was a miracle, although they didn't know it then.
On that faithful day, when John was born, it wasn't thought too much of but a rabbi from the local Jewish Temple said that little John would do something. That small something was that he would put an end to a major......well, I probably shouldn't tell you what it is until after you read the rest. Let me just say it is very amazing. Trust me it's even more amazing than "The most amazing man in the world." Sadly for the rabbi, no one believed him. Well, not until now.
Our story begins on September 1st, 1939. John Mavicsen, now 14 years old and not little, is sitting on the porch of his house in Blokhus, Denmark. Everything is so nice and quiet. He is relaxing listening to his radio. He is thinking about the new boat he wants. Suddenly, the local news station on the radio comes blasting on.
"Breaking news!" says the radio host, "The Nazi armies from Germany have just invaded Poland and are taking over!"
For the next twenty days, that was all the radio talked about. The radio also said that they were taking the Jewish people away. In that time period of twenty days, the Japanese got into the action. The down part was they joined the wrong side of the fight. After fifteen days the American, English, French, and Italians joined the fight too. They joined the good guys. This great big war that had all of the world involved once again was eventually called World War II.
On the twenty-first day, the radio made an announcement that had all of Denmark scared and the Denmark Navy ready for a fight. It said that Germany was going to invade Denmark. Denmark's Navy, which was the only defense they had at the time, was ready until they heard what was going to invade. It was supposed to be a full scale attack on Denmark. The Navy made a tough decision to sink their own battleships. They did so so that the Nazis wouldn't be able to use their own ships against them. Many people fled. John Mavicsen was one of the ones who stayed. He was determined to stop the invasion but didn't know how.
When the Nazis came and took over, they took all the Jewish people with them. In towns all over Denmark, Jewish people disappeared. John Mavicsen's family was Jewish. One night when the Mavicsen family was fast asleep, there was a loud knock on the door. BANG! BANG! BANG! When Mr. Mavicsen, his first name being Beau, looked out the peephole, there were two Nazi soldiers at the door. Mr. Mavicsen turned to Mrs. Mavicsen, whose first name was Janice, and then they both looked at John.
"Get in the closet," whispered Mr. Mavicsen. "Now!" he said a little louder.
John did as he was told. When he was inside the closet his Grandmother entered the room. All three of the family members kissed him and said goodbye. Then they closed the closet door. There it was a again. BANG! BANG! BANG!
"Coming," said Mr. Mavicsen.
"OPEN UP!" was the response.
Then the door burst open and two soldiers came in. They looked at the Mavicsen family. Then around the room. They looked at the Jewish symbols and at the Jewish paintings. Then they handcuffed Mr., Mrs., and Grandma Mavicsen. And then right there, with John Mavicsen watching from the hole in the door of the closet, they led them away into the night.
The next day John went out to get food. It was a cold morning. It had snowed overnight, but it wasn't the cold that made him shiver. It was the fact that his best friend Mike Robinson had been taken away too. Along with Mrs. Gingor, Mr. Gingor, Ms. Sindfin, and Grandpa Dingith were all gone too. John knew what it meant. John knew he had to do something. John knew he had to get out of Denmark. He just didn't know how.
John tried and tried to leave the country, but he couldn't. There was always a Nazi soldier and an attack dog watching the borders. After two weeks of trying, he finally got an idea. He realized from watching the harbor that there is a boat. A boat that will go across the Skagerrak Sea to a harbor in Kristiansand, Norway.
"If can get on that boat, I can get out of here!" thought John, "If only I can."
After a day of watching, he learned that there is a watch dog and a soldier watching 24-7. If he can get through them, he can get on board. He finally decided that he was going to sneak past the guard and get on the boat at night.
On the night of October 26th, 1939, he snuck down to the harbor to begin phase one. He found a rock. John thought, "Now to phase two." He jumped the harbor gate and snuck into, the dock area. Once he was there, he saw the guard. He was a good thrower so he threw the rock over on the other side of the guard. John sprinted as fast as he could. He was as fast as a cheetah and as silent as a ninja. He was almost there when.
"Stehen bleiben!" shouted the soldier. Which means, "Freeze!" in English.
John stopped dead in his tracks. He looked at the soldier. He realized something. The rock hit the soldier! What he saw was a dog about to be unleashed on him and a gun pointing at him. He stood there in the silence. He was scared. The next moment. BARK! BARK! BARK! The soldier let the dog go!
They were both running to him with the guard saying,"Hände hoch!" Which means "Put your hands in the air!"
John stopped and put his hands and in the air. He was scared. He didn't know how to get out. Then it hit him. No, I mean it literally hit him. It was a wave from passing boats. There was a wave that hit him. He was drenched. Right then, with the guard 100 yards away from him, he realized that when the next wave came he could duck out of sight when the water was on him.The water would act as cover and he could make it out of sight. He stood there. The soldier and dog got closer and closer. Then John saw his chance. A patrol boat was coming fast.
The boat went by and SPLASH! The wave hit and covered John. John dove down and rolled away as quick as lightning. He was down hanging onto the side of the dock by the time the wave stopped. The soldier stopped, looked around, and said something to the dog that John couldn't hear. John crawled into the water. It was as cold as the Arctic. He swam, rather quickly, to the nearby boat. He recognized it as the boat that went over to Norway. He crawled in silently. The being in a boat made him want a his own boat even more. He looked out the window to see the soldier running around, flailing his arms, and screaming things in German he didn't understand. When John saw that, he laughed. John knew then that he was safe. All he had to do was wait until morning.
When John woke up, it was just getting light out. The birds were chirping, the sun was shining and the morning patrols were walking around. It was a beautiful day. John looked around the big fishing boat. He peeked outside to see if there was a good place to hide. He didn't see any. He did see some fishing pots, but he didn't want to hide there. He looked in the cabin and only saw some air vents. He did see some more places, but he would have to be as small as a mouse to fit in them. He kept looking when, he heard voices outside.
"Hey Jimmy. Ya think it's a good fishin' day taday?"
"Ya, I think so. What 'bout you Tom?" asked the one referred to as Jimmy. "Probably, looks stormy." answered Tom.
"Oh ya." said the first guy,"Your ight."
John stood still. Where was he going to hide? Then he remembered, the pots. He ran onto the back deck to the pots. He got behind them to see the men walking onto the deck. They were saying something. Then John realized they were talking about him!
"Hey Barney, ya hear 'bout this kid who broke in las night," said Jimmy.
John figured out that the first guy was Barney.
"You bet it! It was all over the radio," said Barney.
"C'mon guys. Let's sail off already!" said Tom.
"Fine. Fine." said Jimmy,"Let's go."
In five minutes the trio, not counting the stowaway John, were off to Norway.
On their way to Norway, John was able to see many sea life animals. He saw some dolphins, some bass, and a lot of crab that wasn't being loaded onto the boat. When they arrived in Norway, the men got off to eat lunch. John snuck out of his hiding spot once they left the docks and walked into town to get some lunch too. John had a turkey sandwich with fries and salad. It was a great lunch. John went off into town. When he reached the town square, he breathed the air. He knew he made it.
John looked around the town for a military base to join. He always wanted to be in the military. Now was the perfect time to join. He saw a police officer, so he walked over to him.
"Good morning," said the police officer.
"Good morning," replied John, "Does this town have a military base I can join?" "Yes it does," said the officer, "Are you ready to join. We have a strict rule that you have to be over eighteen to join, but I don't know why I'm telling you. You look over eighteen."
"I am," John lied.
He knew he was fine because he was a lot taller and looked older than his age. John was still fourteen with his birthday coming up on December 2nd.
"Ok," replied the officer. "It's over there." He pointed down the hill to where planes were taking off.
"You take this road down the hill, than turn onto a road that says Norway Southern Air Force and Military Base. Tell them why you're there, and they should let you in."
"Okay. Thank you!" John said with a smile. With that John was off to the base.
John went down the hill. When he reached the bottom, there was a sign. The big, bold sign with letters and numbers on it said:
Norway Southern Air Force and
Military Base: #47895
John followed the road down to the gate. When the guard came out, he didn't look happy. John told him why he was there, and he was allowed in. When he went through the gate, John could feel the guards cold eyes following him. When he turned to look, he saw the guard on the phone. He went on. John went up the slope, then down to a building with men all around it in uniforms. He went inside to the front desk.
The man there said, "Hello. I was informed someone was coming. What is your name?"
"My name is John, John Mavicsen. I would like to join the army," replied John.
"How old are you?" said the officer.
"I'm, uh, eighteen!" lied John again.
"Ok then. Can you hold over 50 pounds of weight on your back?" asked the officer.
"Yes!" said John who was now realizing that the nameplate of the man was Alfred Bernard.
"Mr., uh, Bernard."
Mr. Bernard replied, "Well, then let's get you started. And it's Lieutenant Bernard " John was embarrassed, "Sorry, Lieutenant."
The Lieutenant ushered John to the back of the base. From there on John signed his name on over twenty papers.
When it was all over Lieutenant Bernard finally said, "Alright, Mr. Mavicsen, you're all signed up. When can you start?"
"Now!" said John excitedly.
"Okay then let me get your uniform."
The lieutenant went off. In 1939 getting into the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines wasn't as hard as today. When he came back, he gave John his uniform and showed him around. John was extremely hopeful that someday he would find his parents. He knew he would.
Two weeks later, on December 2nd, it was his birthday. The men at the base threw him a party. He loved it! By then he was good friends with the soldiers there. The next month was normal. He was a radioman for the base, so he was constantly on the job. At night the night shift worker came in to take his place. It was one month, then two, then three, and on the fourth month, April, he got an interesting call on the radio.
John was sitting their eating his lunch next to the radio when, "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!" crackled over the radio.
John jumped up and threw his sandwich in the air. It went flying out the window and hit the soldier passing below.
John responded, "Hello! Can you hear me?"
"Yes, loud and clear!" said the voice.
"This is John Mavicsen of the Norway Southern Air Force and Military Base number 47895! What is your situation and name?"
"This Corporal Hensen aboard the navy helicopter Seahawk. We are losing altitude from a hit from a enemy carrier," said Corporal Hensen.
"Okay, the radar has got you at 90 by 71," John replied.
"Alright, backup is on there way. Can you make it back to base?" asked John.
"I'm not sure, we are spilling fuel," said Corporal Hensen.
"Try. Backup will fly with you," replied John, "I'll be in radio contact, but I need to go send the party."
Then the radio clicked off. John turned to the emergency switch and pulled the lever. It went off.
He then picked up the transmitter and announced, "Emergency! Helicopter hit by carrier at 90 by 70. Escort squad go!"
John looked out the window to see a helicopter and two fighter planes taking off. They zoomed away and a half and hour later came back with the helicopter. It was safe.
A year went by. By then John was sixteen. The time went by with only a couple escort calls. John was bored. He went to General Monad and asked a life changing question. He went into his office.
John asked, "Um, sir."
"Yes," answered General Monad, "What do you want?"
John replied, "I was wondering...um...if I can do some field action?"
"Some field action. Some field...," he trailed off thinking. "I may have a field job for you."
"Really!" said John excitedly.
"Yes, but I need two things first," said the General.
"Um, what are they?" asked John a little less excitedly.
"They are a new radioman, and I need to know if you re ready to do the job. If you are ready to get out into the field."
"I am ready," said John confidently. "I am."
Two weeks later John was going to be deployed to the strike to take back Denmark. John was happy to be involved in his country's take back. The United States of America was going to help. One a day in October, the air strike team took off with the navy team not so far below. John was on the big battleship leading the fight. They were almost there when. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! WHOOSH! SPLASH! It was a missiles hitting the water next to them! They were under attack!
They fired back and the battle began. John and his team got in the small motor boat. They went under the radar. The small boat went right up to the dock and they jumped out.
"GO! GO! GO!" yelled the captain.
One man running to get them slipped and went over the railing. All the other soldiers were outnumbered so they surrendered. The men watched the prisoners while John went up and took over the big gun that shot at him earlier. John took it over and fired at the Nazi ships. The American Navy joined in and deployed troops. They went took over the city. Over a month passed before the Nazi occupation was lifted. All of John's neighbors were shocked to see John take back the city. They praised him for weeks.
And that was the amazing story of John Mavicsen. From prisoner, to radioman, to soldier, then hero. He was an amazing man. He stopped the Nazi occupation, most likely saved a lot of lives, and made some friends. That thing the rabbi said in the beginning of the story was that John would put an end to a major occupation of Denmark. He also did something else. Besides getting the boat he wanted, he found someone or some people.
One day after the take back of Denmark and after he retired, he was sitting inside his new boat down at the dock. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. He opened it. Standing there was General Monad. "Come outside with me John, I have something for you," said the General.
When he did, John was astonished. Standing there in front of him were around ten soldiers, half the town, and his mom, dad, and grandmother. When he saw them, he ran up to them and hugged them. Finally, after two years, John knew he had found his family.




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