Posts Tagged ‘middle school’

Young Writers

April 26, 2013

Editor:  Yeah, we’re still chasing that youth demographic.  Plus, it’s a change from corpse eating hogs.

Crossover Dribble

Crossover Dribble

Life Is a lot Like Basketball, the More You Learn the More Difficult It Seems.

by Thawit Nelson

I moved to US in the beginning of June. I didn’t know any English. The only word I knew was “Hello” or “Hi”. After about a week I started school. It was pretty difficult, because I didn’t know any English. I went to school about a month, and the last day of school was the twentieth of June. Where I live, which is up above the hill from Stillwater Store, I have two friends that played basketball who were my neighbors. They played for fun, and they wanted me to try. I tried to shoot, but the ball was hard to shoot.

At first, I dribbled the ball back and forward.  But where I come from there is no such thing as basketball.  It looked like a fun sport.  Still, I didn’t know about basketball.  The only thing I knew was that it was dribbling and shooting.

Summer 2011 I went camping with my parent.  And everywhere I saw basketball courts.  I started to play basketball on January 23, 2012.  There were lots of people making fun of me when I started playing basketball.  But I kept practicing and practicing until I felt like ‘I’m a lot better than the others that think they are good.’

I started to play a year ago, when I was thirteen, because I was adopted by then.  The first day I moved here, I touched the ball.  I didn’t know how to dribble or shoot the ball.  A couple months later we went camping and every time I saw a basketball court, I asked my parents to let me play there.  But I didn’t get a chance.

 

In the beginning of 2012 there was basketball activity at school and I started to play.  I didn’t know how to shoot, layup, dribble.  It seemed very hard.  I was always the only one who got bullied.  I was pretty upset.  I never said anything to fight back because I was still learning the language.  About 20 days later, I asked my parents for a basketball driveway hoop.  And I kept practicing and practicing.  Then I attended the NBC (National Basketball Camp), which was a good camp for me.

Knowing more basketball made it harder and harder.  There are so many moves, fakes, layups, crossovers, and all kinds of footwork.  Now, I’m 15 and trying to get up to speed so that I can play for the High School.  But there are lots of players who started playing basketball when they were little.  And some of them are big.

I hadn’t realized how hard being good would be.  But each day I wake up and continuing trying.  Just like Michael Jordan says, I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying. 

TinTin6WEb

Photo by Carl Nelson

 

Young Fiction

December 16, 2012

Editor’s Note:  Yeah, we chase the youth demographic, just like everybody else.

The author with his dog, Max.

The author with his dog, Max.

The Diamond Hunter

by Tin Tin Nelson

© Copyright 2012

 

I wake up the day before Christmas Eve and it is snowing. Everybody is going outside and having fun in snow. No one is home.   Mom, dad, my little brother and my little sister are went shopping for Christmas. Mom left two big waffle and a big sausage. It is pretty good. Mom is gonna be back about 3:30 because I have basketball practice today at 4:30-6:00.

Back from practice it is already 7:30. So I go to my room and lay on my bed. The next day I wake up and , “ It’s Christmas Eve”, I say to myself on the bed. That day is one of my favorite days because I get to go snowboarding with my best friend.  Then, after I come back it is already 8:30.

Mom says, “ Steve, go to bed! And no facebook, twitter, instagram. Okay?

Okay, “I say.

The next morning, I hear something that sounds like a puppy, and it sounds like something that comes from under my bed.  It is a dog.  I yell from upstairs, “Mom!! Whose dog is this?”

She says, “You didn’t fill out Christmas list.  So I had to get something. It’s yours!”

“Mom, I don’t want this.”

“You better get it. That’s what I got for you.” Mom says, “It’ll be alright sweetie.  Don’t worry.”

I’m like, “Okay. I’ll try.”

“What kind of dog is this?” I ask.

“Mom says, “I don’t know.”

“How the heck you don’t know what kind of dog is this?”

I try to be friendly with the dog because he is mine and I have to take care of him.  I name him Max.

The next morning I wake up at about 5:30.  Max is barking and makes me wake up.  He wants me to go walking with him. But I’m still pretty sleepy.  “I can’t go,” I say.  But I have to go because Max will get upset.

Two weeks later after winter break, I am walking to school and I leave Max outside.  Max tries to go after me.  School is about a five minute walk.  It is sunny and about 78 degrees.  It’s pretty weird that it is 78 degrees in winter.

Back from school, I find Max isn’t at home  I look around the house.  “There you are.”  He is in my parent’s bedroom.  The jewelry box is messed up.  But it seems like everything is fine in the house.  Mom is home.

“Hi honey.”  I run downstairs.  “How was school?” She asks.

“Pretty good.  Max tried to run after me.”

“Well.  Not good.”

“Yep.  Hey!  Can I take Max for a walk?”

“Yes.  You have done your homework.”

“Alright, thank you.”

I feed him a piece of baloney before I take him for a walk.  Dad just gets back, and it seems like he got a different car, that he told me he was going to get.  “What kind of car do you have?”

“A black and yellow Ford Mustang GT BOSS 302.  I like it better than Mom’s white Porsche.”

He got it from Pittsburg, the same town Wiz Khalifa is from!

About a month after Christmas the news is that three people are killed in town each day.  The police find out that it’s Aliens.  But one day, a lady isn’t killed, because she wears so much jewelry.  So I go back home every day after school and I go on my computer and research about it.  But it says Aliens are not real.  No one has ever seen an Alien before.

I research about it for 10 months and stop.  Also, I just find out my dog is a dachshund.  Because he has gotten very long!

Every day I go walk with Max.  It seems like he always wants to go under the bridge.  I don’t know why.  Maybe a dead animal’s body is there?  I don’t know why Max is upset about wanting to go there.  But I say, “No, you can’t go there.  It’s too dangerous, okay?  Alright we gotta go home now, okay?”

I go to school the next morning, and I feel ready to study.  Third period comes up and it’s Mr. Thompson’s class.  It’s science and I eat lunch afterwards every day.  But it seems like Mr. Thompson never goes to lunch.  It’s pretty weird that he is not eating his lunch.

One time I am at the grocery store and I see him getting tons of meat.  And I ask him, “What are you doing with all that meat?”

“To give to the zoo animals,” he says.

“That’s nice,” I say.

Back from school, Max is barking.  And I don’t know why.  And it is annoying me. I ask him, “Why?  What is the matter?”

Max says, “We  need to go under the bridge now, because the diamond is deposited under the bridge.  Before the aliens are all over town in 3 days.”

“You can talk,” I say.

“We need to get moving,” Max says.

“What should we do first?” I ask.

“Well, first go get a rope, knife, and dynamite.  We need to borrow your dad’s car.”

So I ask dad and he says, “Yes, but don’t go over 180.  Okay?”

“Okay,” we say.

The car can go about 220 mph anyway.  I get in the car with Max and we drive to the bridge.  In one minute I am already there!  Max tells me where to put the dynamite and where to attach it.  The dynamite explodes, leaving a very big hole!  Max and I look down the hole.  The hole is sloped at 45 degrees.  It is pretty shiny.  After that, Max is in first.  He asks me to follow.  I unroll the rope so I can use the rope to go faster.  “There is the diamond!” I exclaim.

Max is the only one who can read the instructions, which are in a different language.  “It says that you need to get gold.  That’s it!  And mix it up with the diamond.”

The next day is Saturday.  I wake up and get as much gold as fast as I can.  I have just enough gold to mix with the diamond.  And we’re ready.  “Which Alien are we to kill,” I ask Max.

“Mr. Thompson, because he is the boss of all the Aliens,” says Max.

“No way,” I say.

“Way,” Max insists.

“Let’s go,” Max says.

That night there are no more Aliens around.

Photo by Carl Nelson

From the Editor’s Perch

December 2, 2012

Editor’s Note:  grumble, grumble….

Hyperactive Textbook2

Hey Kids!

The Hyperactive Textbook

If you have kids, chances are you end up helping them with their homework.  When I was a student the texts had chapters and paragraphs explaining the material to be learned followed by questions to test whether we had indeed understood the lesson.  Nowadays, just locating the explanatory narrative can be challenging.  The page is a jumble of fonts and colors and letters printed in a variety of bold types and sizes.  There are illustrations and photos and diagrams and insets and outsets and a matrix of colored explanatory boxes rife with additions and digressions and further explanations, and even little cartoony, happy learning helpers to point out important things you might not want to miss.  All in all it’s a thriving, teeming mass of intelligiblia (my term).  Just locating the preceding and following chapters takes a bit of concentration.  And the whole phantasmagoria of it makes me a little queasy.  Whatever happened to simple schoolbook type and the narrative progression of reason… followed by a few well thought out questions?

Hyperactive Textbook3

Look at this!

If your students’ problem solving skills are anything like my son’s, it’s a matter of reading the question and stabbing at an answer.  And if the answer doesn’t come in a lucky burst of insight, the next thing you do is to go looking for help.  Actually, demanding  help.  (Looking for that little ‘happy figure’.)  And any help should cut to the chase – providing the answer first, before providing the explanation.   Any help which has to mull the problem over – pause to think for a moment – is obviously incompetent.

And this!
And this!
Cool!, huh?

As a parent we have to resist this tyranny of the ignorant, for the sake of our children.  But it’s hard when the text itself panders to it.  To my thinking a good text implicitly practices the problem solving skills required by the questions. Chris19Web It is a calm thoughtful explanation, each of which parts are an equally important link in a narrative of constructed understanding.Chris5Web It begins with what we know – just as should the process of answering the questions – and progresses in clear, thoughtful steps towards conclusions which reveal much that we didn’t know.  It is an exercise in delayed gratification, much like a successful life.

But apparently our educators and their publishers all know better now.Chris16Web  Cool!  huh?

Photos by Carl Nelson of a professional model


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