- 100 word challenge – Due Monday 31st July
- Read 5 times for the week, 30 min per session – Get parent/caregiver to sign – Due Monday 31st July
- Re-read the story “Joseph Bryant” (posted on the class blog) and use the questions on theme (also posted on the blog) to write a reflection on the story – Due Tuesday 1st August
These are the notes for the questions to be looked at as you respond to the story “Joseph Bryant”.
Six Things You Need to Know About Themes
THEME- is the important human concept the author wants you to think about during the story.
It is connected to the message– The message is what the author believes about this theme. Their opinion- the moral/ the understanding about what people are like/ what society is like/ what you should or shouldn’t do in life. eg- loss can be a theme. The message about this theme might be- we all need to experience loss to help us understand each other OR loss can make you cautious
Read through the six facts, then read the story together, then answer the questions one a time for this story.
- When you discuss the questions below, make sure you share some quotes/passages from the story that support what you say.- Themes are abstract nouns. Themes are nouns, just things really. But they aren’t the kinds of things one can easily observe with the five senses. They are ideas and concepts and feelings. You can’t see loneliness, for example, you can only see examples of it. Which ideas and concepts and feelings does this story help you understand? What are some parts of the story where you can most clearly see them?
- Themes are important human issues. People don’t write fiction just to kill time or make a living, they write it to talk about important truths in a unique way. Many ideas in human existence are best explored through examples. Stories can be seen as examples that represent ideas a writer wants to talk about. What does the author want you to talk about after reading this story? What is the author saying about what people are/should be like? What are the examples of this in the story?
- Stories apply to many readers. Ideas like envy, loneliness, and greed enter into all of our lives at one time or another. The best stories are those that speak to the most readers in the most powerful way. What sort of people might get the most from this story? Can you think of a few different sorts of people with experiences that would mean this story has an important message for them? What parts of the story make you think this?
- Events represent ideas. It’s not always easy to realise that stories carry both literal and figurative meaning and that the author is choosing specific events to convey specific messages. What’s the event(s) in this that have a figurative meaning? What might it mean? What might it be representing about humans and what we do or expect? Are there ‘things’ in the story that might have a figurative meaning and represent an idea or concept linked to the theme?
- Experience evolves in patterns. All beings are, to some extent, creatures of habit. Because of this, the same things seem to show up in our lives at different points in time. If an author chooses to use repetition in a story it is usually because they want to emphasise this. There’s often a thread of similarity that ties together the important events in their lives. What is a repeating pattern or event in this story? What might it be representing about humans and what we do or expect?
- Fiction is instructional. As a genre, fiction exists to entertain us, but it also exists to teach us valuable lessons, often the kind that are not easy to learn unless we’re wrapped up in a good yarn. We’re supposed to think about them, to identify the author’s opinion of them, and to see if we agree. It’s not enough to just identify the theme, we have to uncover what the story has to say about that theme. The answer to this is the message or moral that the author has chosen to share. What does the author say about the themes in this story? What would they like changed? Do you agree? Would other people disagree? Why?
Love is a dumb and dangerous word. People misuse the word more than any other in the dictionary. “I LOVE this apple, don’t you?” or “I just LOVE this shirt!” but do they actually mean it? Most people don’t understand the actual definition of love. I do, which is why it frustrates me so much when people say that they love each other when they don’t. I know for a fact they don’t. And don’t even get me started when people say they are “in love” with someone else. That phrase is destroyed by couples that say how they are “in love” with someone after a month of texting. They don’t and never will understand the true meaning of love.
How do I know what the word means? Joseph Bryant is the reason why, he was my third grade sweetheart. When we played tag during recess, he always went out of his way to tag me to be it. We would always walk in line together and sometimes when the teacher wasn’t looking, we would hold hands. He always shared his colored pencils and markers with me. He is the reason why I can do basic maths and he is the reason why I can count to 10 in Spanish. He is also the reason why I know the true definition of love.
You might be thinking, ‘You were in third grade, you didn’t know any better,’ but I did. One day when we were getting ready to go outside, Joseph pulled me out of line to go get a drink with him. I was nervous that I would get in trouble, but with Joseph, I knew I was safe. I followed him to the drinking fountain where I would have the conversation that I will remember forever.
I thought Joseph was going to kiss me or tell me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend, I remember having butterflies in my stomach and wondering what my mother would say if I had to tell her that I got myself a boyfriend. But I soon snapped back into reality once Joseph told me that he had cancer. Being in the third grade, I didn’t really know what cancer was. I jumped up and screamed and shouted and said “Oh my goodness, congratulations Joey!” but soon after my exclamation, I realized my reaction was inappropriate. Joseph then explained to me what cancer was and that he wasn’t even sure what it meant but that his mom said he wouldn’t be feeling good and he would have to spend a lot of time in the hospital. His mother also told him that he would soon have to stop going to school, which meant I would not see him anymore, which meant I would have to find a new best friend and crush. I didn’t know how to respond correctly so I just hugged him, for a very long time. As we were hugging, he whispered to me, “I love you, Charlotte Rose,” and gave me a peck on the cheek. Just as he was pulling away, our class returned from recess outside, forcing me to snap back into reality once again.
Later that day, my mother picked me up from school and asked how my day was. I started the conversation with, “Same old, same old. Lunch was gross and the kids are mean and smelly.” But then I remembered my conversation with Joseph so I asked my mother, “What is cancer?” and immediately she started crying. Joey’s mother had contacted my mother earlier in the day, making her aware of the current situation. “Oh honey, it means Joseph will be very sick for a long time. I talked to his mother and she’s going to make sure that we can set up dates where if Joseph is feeling okay, you can visit him in the hospital.” It took a second, I remember, for everything to set in. I would be losing my best friend and I didn’t know how to respond. I was angry and upset and so confused; what did Joseph ever to deserve this? He always shared with others and he always did his homework! He was also my best friend and I thought at the time, he would be my future husband as well.
Three years went by. Three painful years of visiting Joseph every single day in the hospital. Well, almost everyday; sometimes he was too sick for me to visit. Joseph ended up having a Wilms tumor, a type of cancer that starts in the kidneys. He held on for longer than any of the doctors or nurses thought he would. Despite his condition, he would have flowers everyday in his room for me and he would always thank me for visiting even though I always told him that it wasn’t necessary and that there wasn’t anywhere else I would rather be.
I think why I fell in love with Joseph was because he wasn’t afraid of the unknown, and of course because his mom bought the smelly markers and he would let me borrow them. But Joseph was also the strongest person I’ve ever met. Even if he was in complete pain, he would always have a smile on his face.
Joseph passed away after those three years. He fought against his disease every single day. Maybe that’s why I loved him; he knew things were not going to get better, yet he still tried. He struggled and watching him struggle was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. But towards the end, I could see him slowing down. He would grin instead of smile from ear to ear when I would come to see him. Our conversations would get shorter and that lead to his breaths getting shorter which then lead to his days getting shorter. Being so young, I was intrigued by someone who was so sick, but managed to try and stay the same person. Joseph did everything he could to hide his struggling from those around him because he knew it would upset us, which it did. On his last day, when he was really having a hard time, the nurses warned us that Joseph might not be getting better and the hospital was only able to do so much to help him. I went over to his bed and whispered, “I love you, Joseph Michael,” and went home for the night, knowing that my murmur of love would most likely be the last words that I would exchange with my best friend.
I would not ever cry more than I did that night. Loving someone that is gone forever is one of the hardest things you can do. You can still love them, but you can never hear their laugh again or see their smile or hold their hand. You can just try and remember how everything felt with them to the best of your ability but everyone knows it won’t ever be the same. Nothing will be the same, ever.
And Joseph Bryant, my fifth grade sweetheart, is the reason why I know the true definition of love.
- 100 word challenge – Due Monday 24th July
- Read 5 times for the week, 30 min per session – Get parent/caregiver to sign – Due Monday 24th July
- Finish reading the story “Eleven” (posted on the class blog) and fill in the read like a writer OR read like a reader table in your homework book – Due Wednesday 26th July
- Read the story “Little Ania” (posted on the class blog) and fill in whichever table you did not use in the previous story (read like a writer OR read like a reader) in your homework book – Due Wednesday 26th July
Reading Like a Writer
- Ideas. Ideas are the heart of the piece — what the writer is writing about and what the writer chooses to reveal about it. How does the writer reveal the main idea? What types of details does the writer use? How does the writer achieve his or her purpose?
- Organization. Organization refers to the order of ideas and the way the writer moves from one to the next. What kinds of leads does the writer use, and how do they pull us in and make us want to read more? What kinds of endings does the writer use and how do they work to make the writing feel finished and to give us something important to think about? How does the writer handle transitions? How does the writer control pacing?
- Voice. Voice is the expression of the writer’s individual personality through words. How does the writer demonstrate passion for the topic? How does the writer reveal emotions? How does the writer put personality into the piece?
- Word Choice. Word Choice refers to writer’s selection of particular words and phrases to express ideas. What techniques (simile, metaphor, strong verbs, etc.) does the writer use to make the word choice more specific, more memorable, and more effective?
- Sentence Fluency. Sentence Fluency is the rhythm and flow of the language as we read it aloud. What kinds of sentence constructions does the writer use? How does the writer vary the beginnings and lengths of sentences? How does the writer use “sound” effects like alliteration, rhyme, and rhythm?
- Conventions. Conventions are the ways we agree to use punctuation, spelling, grammar, and other things that make writing consistent and easy to read. How does the writer use conventions to make the writing easy to read and more meaningful? Does the author use conventions in unusual ways that are successful?
Reading ‘like a reader’
We might think of this as the “normal” way of reading where we try to figure out what a piece of writing means by understanding the words a writer uses.
What does the author want us to know and feel?
When you read ‘like a reader’ you usually do one or more of the following six things:
(these are comprehension strategies- they help us understand as much as possible-to get the Author’s message)
- No reader, it seems, can resist thinking about what a writer is going to write next. Predicting helps readers sort out important information from unimportant information. It also helps them organize their thinking as they encounter new material.
- Readers ask good questions about the things they read:
Why is something happening? Or not happening? Why is a character feeling or acting a certain ways? Why did the author use a particular word? And so on.
Questions help readers clarify their understanding.
- Infer. Readers figure out things that aren’t actually written in the text. There’s almost always more to a text than just the words on the page. Often, writers leave “clues” that good readers can use to discover important information.
- Connect. We can’t help but be reminded of our own lives as we read. We’re also reminded of similar things we’ve read in other texts and other parts of the same text.
- Feel. Readers have feelings while they read. Sometimes, it seems like we have a direct connection to what we’re reading: sad parts make us feel sad, happy parts make us feel happy, scary parts scare us, and so on. But often, the feelings we have are more subtle. Much of the meaning we get from a text comes from the emotionswe feel when read it.
- Evaluate. Readers make judgments while they read: Is this good? If so, what’s good about it? Do I like it? Why? Should I keep reading or should I put this down and get something else? The evaluations they make help them decide whether or not what they are reading is valuable.
Little Ania was a very unusual little girl. First of all, she started out looking different. She wasn’t bald like most babies. She was born with the hugest mop of wiry black hair that you can possibly imagine. There was, in fact, more hair than girl, which made her very unusual looking indeed.
And then there was her name. Ania. Said like An-ya. She was named after her Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother who had lived on the other side of the world. But no one understood this, and people were always saying her name wrong.
Right from when Ania was very little she started making all kinds of problems for her mother. “Ania!” said her mother over and over. “Why do you have to be so difficult! Why can’t you behave like a normal child?”
“But I don’t want to eat meat and fish and vegetables!” cried Little Ania at the dinner table.
And she would bring her little knees up to her chin and hide completely behind her huge mop of wiry black hair. Whenever Little Ania was cross, (which was most of the time) she would curl up and hide behind her hair.
And so Little Ania ate very little, and when she did it made her sick, so she was very, very little indeed. She was only ever half the size of other kids her age. But Little Ania didn’t care, because this made it easy for her to hide behind her hair.
At school the other kids teased her about her great, wiry mop of black hair. “I’m surprised you don’t have birds nesting in your hair!” they said to her.
On her way back from school birds really did land in Little Ania’s hair. And by the time she got home they really had started making themselves little nests.
Little Ania liked having birds in her hair. When she got home she would try to sneak past her mother and run up to her room without being seen. But her mother always managed to catch her before she made it up the stairs.
“Ania!” cried her mother most every day. “Take that bird out of your hair! Honestly, why can’t you behave like a normal child?”
After she had taken the bird out of Little Ania’s hair her mother gave her dolls to play with. “Please, Ania, can’t you try to play with dolls like a normal little girl?”
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!” said Little Ania.
“I HATE DOLLS!”
And she would rip them all up, and throw their little legs and arms and heads all over the room.
Not knowing what else to do her mother often put her to bed early. But Little Ania never really slept.
“GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR…” she said all night long.
“Ania!” her mother would cry. “Stop growling and go to sleep!”
“But I hate this bed!”
“Please stop being so absurd!” said her mother. “All little girls sleep in beds! Will you never learn to behave like a normal child?”
But Little Ania never learned to behave like a normal child. She was so unhappy that she started to be sick a lot. By the time she was seven years old she was so sick that she ended up in the hospital.
In the hospital none of the nurses or doctors could figure out what was wrong. They tried feeding her lots of fish, meat, and vegetables and gave her the softest bed in the hospital and lots of dolls to play with. But Little Ania just hid herself behind her hair and said:
“ggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…” and got sicker and sicker.
“I’ve tried everything to try and make her a normal, healthy little girl!” sobbed her mother. And she was inconsolable.
Little Ania’s little growl got softer and softer, until it could barely be heard. All the doctors and nurses were afraid that she was going to die.
Then, one night, someone spoke to her.
“Little Ania,” the voice said, “why are you so unhappy?”
It was late in the middle of the night and Little Ania was surprised. She had thought that she was alone. It was a strange voice, like a whisper, but full of music.
“Because I don’t like eating meat, fish and vegetables and I don’t like playing with dolls and I hate sleeping in beds!” she cried with the last of her strength. “I’m never going to be a normal little girl so I’m just going to die now.”
“Well, what would you like to eat?” asked the voice.
Little Ania had never been asked this question before. She pushed her hair away from her face and looked into the darkness of the hospital room. In the bed next to the window there was an Old Man. At least she assumed it was an Old Man, though it was the strangest looking Old Man she had ever seen. He was pulling up the bed sheet with both hands to just under his nose, so that all she could see was his hands, the top part of his head, and two very pointy little ears. His skin was very yellow, not yellow like skin but yellow like the sun. He looked very skinny and his yellow skin was very, very wrinkly. Ania thought that maybe he looked so odd because he was very sick like her.
“Well…” said Ania, in answer to his question. She thought for a moment, then she said: “I would like to eat… that lampshade.”
“Maybe you should then,” said the strange Old Man.
“OK,” said Little Ania. “I will.”
And she ate up the lampshade.
“MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” she said. “That was delicious!”
“What else would you like to eat?” asked the Old Man.
“I would like to eat……. that flower pot.”
“Maybe you should then,” said the Old Man.
“OK,” said Little Ania. “I will.”
And she ate up the flower pot. “MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!” said Little Ania. “I’m nice and full now.”
And she patted her stomach.
But she still looked very unhappy.
“What’s the matter now, Little Ania?” asked the Old Man.
“I hate this stupid bed!”
“Well, where would you like to sleep?”
No one had ever asked her this question before either.
Little Ania thought for a moment. Then she said: “I would like to sleep……. under the bed. With no covers or pillows or anything.”
“Maybe you should then.”
“OK,” said Little Ania. “I will.”
And Little Ania climbed under the bed, with no covers or pillows or anything. “AAAAHHHHH!!!! This is more like it!”
“I’ll wake you up before the nurses or doctors come in,” said the Old Man. “That way no one will ever know.”
“OK,” said Little Ania. “Thank you.” And she was soon fast asleep.
In the morning the Old Man woke her up before any of the doctors or nurses came in. They arrived to find Little Ania sitting up in her bed. She wasn’t growling and she wasn’t hiding behind her great mop of wiry black hair. She looked better.
“It’s a miracle!” cried one of the nurses.
“Not a miracle,” corrected one of the doctors. “It’s the benefits of modern medicine.”
“But where did the lampshade and flower pot go?” someone asked.
“Little Ania,” said one of the doctors, “you mustn’t steal the lampshades and flower pots.” This made no sense, of course, as there was nowhere in the hospital room where she could have put a stolen lampshade or flower pot. But as there was no other reasonable explanation for the disappearance of the lampshade and the flower pot, the doctors and nurses left it at that.
“Nurse Price,” said one of the doctors. “Make sure the custodian brings in another flower pot and lampshade before Ania’s bedtime.”
And then they all left.
“Hee hee!” said Little Ania.
A little while later Nurse Price came in with Ania’s breakfast. Little Ania stared down at her food. She looked over at the Old Man, who winked at her.
“What’s the matter?” asked the nurse. “I thought you were getting better.”
“I am…” said Little Ania. “But you see…. I don’t like eating in front of other people. Yesterday I hid my food under my pillow until after you left. Then I ate it all up. That’s why I’m better.”
“I see…” said the nurse. “Well, it’s against the rules, but OK. If that’s what will make you better. But don’t tell anyone.” On her way out the door the nurse winked at her.
“Hee hee!” said the Old Man after the nurse had left. “That was very clever.”
“Thank you,” said Little Ania. The Old Man reached over with his skinny yellow arm, took the tray of food and dumped it out the window. Ania had never seen such a long skinny arm in her life.
That evening the custodian brought a new lampshade and flower pot and Nurse Price brought Little Ania some dolls.
“Since you’re feeling better, I thought you might like some dolls to play with,” said the nurse.
“Thank you,” said Little Ania, clenching her teeth. She knew the nurse was trying to be nice. But as soon as the nurse left:
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” said Little Ania.
“I HATE DOLLS!”
And she ripped them all up and threw their little legs and arms and heads all over the room. “Hee hee!” said Little Ania. “I haven’t done that in a while.”
But then she started to look unhappy again.
“What’s the matter now, Little Ania?” asked the Old Man.
“Why does everyone want me to play with dolls? I hate playing with dolls!” And she started to growl.
“Well,” said the Old Man, “what would you like to do?”
Little Ania stopped growling. She thought for a moment, then she said: “I would like to… ride around on a broomstick.”
“Maybe you should then,” said the Old Man.
“OK,” said Little Ania, and she looked about the room. “But there’s no broomstick in this stupid hospital room!”
And she hid behind her hair.
“I just happen to have one,” said the strange Old Man. He pulled out a broomstick from under his sheet. With his long, skinny yellow arm, he handed it to Little Ania.
“Hooorrraayyyyy!!!!” she cried, and jumped out of bed. “Come on you stupid broomstick! Fly!”
“Do you know how to fly around on a broomstick?” asked the Old Man.
“My mother would never let me try,” said Little Ania, and she started to look very cross.
“Try this,” said the Old Man. “Try saying:
Dolls are fine for some little girls, but if a bit unusual you be, hop on a broomstick and fly around, cause it’s the only way for some little girls, yippee!“
“OK,” said Little Ania. She said the funny little rhyme. Nothing happened. She said it a second time. Still nothing happened. She said it a third time and was about to give up when
She started flying all about the room.
“Hah! Hah! Hah!” she said. She flew up to the strange Old Man and gave him a hug and a kiss on the forehead.
“Thank you,” she said. “But… why have you been so nice to me? You don’t even know me. And how did you know how to make the broomstick fly?”
“I knew your Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother who had lived on the other side of the world. She’s the one who taught it to me.”
“You are very old then! No wonder you look so funny!”
The Old Man laughed. Little Ania noticed that his teeth were as pointy as his ears. “Sorry,” said Little Ania, thinking that she had been terribly rude.
“I wouldn’t want to look any other way,” he said, climbing out of bed.
Little Ania gasped. His whole body was the same bright yellow, and he seemed to have no flesh whatsoever, so that when he turned sideways he nearly disappeared.
“I’ve had enough of this hospital room,” he said, opening the window. “Shall we fly about out in the night a bit?”
“OK,” said Little Ania, and they flew out the window and into the night.
The strange Old Man taught Ania how to fly all about the night without being seen. He showed her how to land on the rooftops of sleeping houses, and how to get up to all kinds of harmless mischief, like making all the dogs in a neighborhood start barking all at once, or people who had been nasty to each other bump their heads on doors.
He also showed her some nice things to do. He showed her how to lure people together that were going to fall in love. And he showed her how to fly into open bedroom windows, to take away the nightmares of sleeping children.
Little Ania enjoyed all this very much. But after a while she started to look sad. “What’s the matter, Little Ania?” asked the Old Man.
“I miss my mother.”
“Well, maybe you should go see her.”
“But… what will she think of me, eating up lampshades and flower pots, sleeping under the bed with no covers or pillows or anything, and flying all about the night on a broomstick?”
“I think she will just be glad you’re better.”
The Old Man had been right about everything so far, so she decided to take his advice. And, after all, what else could she do?
So they flew together to her mother’s bedroom window. “I have to leave you now,” said the Old Man.
“But…” Little Ania began to protest. She wanted him to help her get up her courage to face her mother.
“I’ll see you again,” was all he said. And he was gone.
The window was open, and Ania could see her mother, by the lights of the neighborhood- sleeping under the bed! And with no covers or pillows or anything!
Suddenly her mother woke up and climbed out from under the bed. She turned on the light, so that although Little Ania was hovering right in front of her window, her mother couldn’t see her. Her mother sat on her bed and looked very sad. Little Ania felt sorry for her.
“I guess I will finally have to tell her,” her mother said to herself. “Poor little girl! It only gets harder and harder to be unusual in this world! I wish for her sake that she could have learned to be a normal little girl. But I can’t let her get any sicker. If the hospital can’t make her better then there’s no other way. But at least I’ll eat something first, to get up my courage to face my daughter!”
She opened up a tall closet door. Inside was chock full of lampshades and flower pots. Her mother ate up two lampshades and two flower pots, then got on her broomstick. She flew towards the window- and came face to face with Little Ania.
Mother and daughter looked at each other. They stayed this way for a long time.
Finally, they hugged one another and started to cry. They cried and they cried and they cried. They had seven years of crying to do.
When they were finally done crying they looked at each other again. And they started to laugh. They laughed and they laughed and they laughed.
“Why didn’t you just tell me?” asked Little Ania.
“Because I didn’t want you to grow up feeling so unusual and different from everyone else!”
“But I’m not different from everyone else. I’m like you. And my Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother who had lived on the other side of the world. And that funny Old Man. You should have seen him mother. He had yellow skin like the sun and….”
“Pointy ears and pointy teeth and was so skinny that when he turned sideways he nearly disappeared?” her mother finished for her.
“How did you know?”
“Zbyszek!” said her mother. “I should have known.”
“You know him!” cried Little Ania, delighted.
“Come inside and let me show you something.”
Mother and daughter flew inside. Ania sat on her mother’s bed while her mother retrieved an album from her top dresser drawer.
“These are drawings someone made of your Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother.”
“Ha! Ha! Ha!” said Little Ania when she saw the first picture. “She has birds in her hair!”
And indeed, in her great mop of wiry black hair there was a bird, in a nest, with three little baby birds. In the next picture her Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother was stirring a big pot.
The liquid inside was the color of the sun and there was a little head starting to form in the goop.
“Zbyszek. Your Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandmother made him to look after her daughters and her daughters’ daughters after she was gone.”
After they had looked at a few more pictures her mother put the album away.
“We can look at some more later. How about we fly about in the night for a bit?”
“Can we make all the dogs in a neighborhood bark all at once and people who have been nasty to each other bump their heads and lure people together who are going to fall in love and take away the nightmares of sleeping children?” asked Little Ania.
“Of course,” said her mother. “And much much more besides.”
“OK,” said Little Ania.
And they flew out the window and into the night. As soon as they did a bird landed in Little Ania’s hair.
“Hah hah hah!” said Little Ania.
“Oh alright,” sighed her mother. So mother and daughter flew all about the night together, making dogs bark and people who had been nasty bump their heads and lovers find each other and taking children’s nightmares away, and much much more besides…
And all the while the bird started to make itself a little nest in Little Ania’s great, wiry mop of black hair.
What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You feel like you’re still ten. And you are–underneath the year that makes you eleven. Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay. That’s what I tell Mama when she’s sad and needs to cry. Maybe she’s feeling three. Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That’s how being eleven years old is. You don’t feel eleven. Not right away. It takes a few days, weeks even, sometimes even months before you say Eleven when they ask you. And you don’t feel smart eleven, not until you’re almost twelve. That’s the way it is.
Only today I wish I didn’t have only eleven years rattling inside me like pennies in a tin Band-Aid box. Today I wish I was one hundred and two instead of eleven because if I was one hundred and two I’d have known what to say when Mrs. Price put the red sweater on my desk. I would’ve known how to tell her it wasn’t mine instead of just sitting there with that look on my face and nothing coming out of my mouth.
“Whose is this?” Mrs. Price says, and she holds the red sweater up in the air for all the class to see. “Whose? It’s been sitting in the coatroom for a month.” “Not mine,” says everybody. “Not mine.” “It has to belong to somebody,” Mrs. Price keeps saying, but nobody can remember. It’s an ugly sweater with red plastic buttons and a collar and sleeves all stretched out like you could use it for a jump rope. It’s maybe a thousand years old and even if it belonged to me I wouldn’t say so. Maybe because I’m skinny, maybe because she doesn’t like me, that stupid Sylvia Saldivar says, “I think it belongs to Rachel.” An ugly sweater like that, all raggedy and old, but Mrs. Price believes her. Mrs. Price takes the sweater and puts it right on my desk, but when I open my mouth nothing comes out.
“That’s not, I don’t, you’re not…Not mine,” I finally say in a little voice that was maybe me when I was four. “Of course it’s yours,” Mrs. Price says. “I remember you wearing it once.” Because she’s old and the teacher, she’s right and I’m not. Not mine, not mine, not mine, but Mrs. Price is already turning to page thirty-two, and math problem number four. I don’t know why but all of a sudden I’m feeling sick inside, like the part of me that’s three wants come out of my eyes, only I squeeze them shut tight and bite down on my teeth really hard and try to remember today when I am eleven, eleven. Mama is making a cake for me tonight, and when Papa comes home everybody will sing Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to you.
But when the sick feeling goes away and I open my eyes, the red sweater’s still sitting there like a big red mountain. I move the red sweater to the corner of my desk with my ruler. I move my pencil and books and eraser as far from it as possible. I even move my chair a little to the right. Not mine, not mine, not mine. In my head I’m thinking how long till lunchtime, how long till I can take the red sweater and throw over the schoolyard fence, or leave it hanging on a parking meter, or bunch it up into a little ball and toss it in the alley. Except when math period ends Mrs. Price says loud and in front of everybody, “Now, Rachel, that’s enough,” because she sees I’ve shoved the red sweater to the tippy-tip corner of my desk and it’s hanging all over the edge like a waterfall, but I don’t care. “Rachel,” Mrs. Price says. She says it like she’s getting mad. “You put that sweater on right now and no more nonsense.” “But it’s not-” “Now!” Mrs. Price says. This is when I wish I wasn’t eleven, because all the years inside of me– ten, nine, eight, seven, six five, four, three, two one–are pushing at the back of my eyes when I put one arm through one sleeve of the sweater that smells like cottage cheese, and then the other arm through the other and stand there with my arms apart like if the sweater hurts me and it does, all itchy and full of germs that aren’t even mine.
That’s when everything I’ve been holding in since this morning, since when Mrs. Price put the sweater on my desk, finally lets go, and all of a sudden I’m crying in front of everybody. I wish I was invisible but I’m not. I’m eleven and it’s my birthday today and I’m crying like I’m three in front of everybody. I put my head down on the desk and bury my stupid clown-sweater arms. My face all hot and spit coming out of me, until there aren’t any more tears left in my eyes, and it’s just my body shaking like when you have the hiccups, and my whole head hurts like when you drink milk too fast. But the worst part is right before the bell rings for lunch. That stupid Phyllis Lopez, who is even dumber than Sylvia Saldivar, says she remembers the red sweater is hers! I take it off right away and give it to her, only Mrs. Price pretends like everything’s okay.
Today I’m eleven. There’s a cake Mama’s making for tonight, and when Papa comes home from work we’ll eat it. There’ll be candles and presents and everybody will sing Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday to you, Rachel, only it’s too late. I’m eleven today. I’m eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one, but I wish I was one hundred and two. I wish I was anything but eleven, because I want today to be far away already, far away like a runaway balloon, like a tiny o in the sky, so tiny-tiny you have to close your eyes to see it.
Read, read, read!
It is important that you keep up your reading over the holidays.
You should have 5 signed sections in your reading log from the last week of term (between Monday 25th June and Monday 2nd July) which I will check on the first day of term.
Over the holidays, you are expected to read regularly. Vary what you read. Read to a parent or sibling or maybe ask someone to read to you. Visit the local library to find something new to read… or find a favourite book you already love and re-read it.
I am not expecting you to keep up your reading log in the same way as during the term, however I would like you to list what you have read, and get a parent or care-giver to sign and say that you have read regularly over the holidays.
Have a happy and safe holiday.
Due Thursday 29th June 2017
Then look at the post that was created at the beginning of the Unit-here
At the top there are are 3 areas in red that describe the opportunities you were given for learning:
- Science Knowledge
- Science Inquiry Skills
- Personal and Social Capabilities
During your reflection you should reflect on something you learned from EACH of these areas at least once.
Write a reflection of what you have learnt during this term’s Science unit and project. Your reflection must include:
An introduction summarising the project and what you achieved with your team-mention here items from the rubric that you feel you did well or could have improved on. What overall level did you achieve and why do you think that?
- Three facts that you found interesting or surprising.
- Two understandings you now have.
- One wonder you still have.
Next, refer to your learning throughout the unit (in the whole class lessons, in your research pairs, at the excursion, and in science experiments) and answer:
- What were the most important things I have learnt.
- How did I learn it.
- What am I going to do with what I have learnt.
To conclude create a statement that summarises what you have learnt in both section 1 and section 2 and a goal you have for the next time you work in a group.
Look at Adriana’s and Anton’s Term Three Project Reflection from when they completed this unit when they were in Year 5 to help you get an idea of a standard to reach for:
Note that these reflections use full sentences and paragraphs. Both these reflections include an extra paragraph where they reflect on goals they had set at the start of the unit. As we did not do this, you don’t have to include this section