Monday, October 14, 2019

Tales from the carnivorous forest

Here is Miriam's story about her walk through a carnivorous forest:

"SNAP!" a mimbi had landed on a tree, and it had disappeared from sight. It was pretty cold outside. 

"B U R P!"

Out came the bones.

Suddenly, the human-eater was sucking me out of the mud. I grabbed my knife and cut the tongue off my arm. The poison dart rocks were hard to avoid. They were everywhere! I always got them confused with the non-poison dart rocks. Suddenly I sunk into a patch of hungry-earth and grabbed one of the sausage vines. I sung like Tarzan until it was safe. I sung down and landed on the dippopotumas's feathery back. 

"Go! Go! Go!" I cried.

Then the man-throw trees unfurled their roots and slithered towards me. I grabbed the sausage vine and a giant stick bug and jumped onto the tree. It started to swallow and "SNAP! SNAP! Buuuurrrrpp! Beeeelllccchh!"

Out came the bones.

I think she has some good ideas there that she could really refine. Benjamin took a little longer to come up with his story and unfortunately Miriam read her story to him before he finished writing his so his narrative was a little coloured by hers. It was fine to share...but he needs to practice coming up with things all on his own. You'll probably notice the point in his story where he began thinking about her imagined creatures rather than his own. But he still did fine.

Ahhh! What is that? It looks like a venus fly trap but it's a tree! No, a man-eating waffle! Whaaaaat!

A man-eating waffle looks like a waffle with syrup and butter, but it eats [This. This is where he began to be influenced by Miriam's story] mankill trees. 

I'm not going to die. I brought an ax. The ax is venomous to mankill trees that grow in threes and kill people! Good thing I brought it or else I would be gone forever!

Then I ax them to shreds. Hooray! 

Victor Krum, Fleur, and Harry Potter—you all get a trophy!

He explained to me (when I told him that last line seemed out of place) that the meant that throughout his narrative, Krum, Fleur, and Harry Potter were the protagonists. I told him that he needs to practice writing all the words that are in his mind on his paper because if he only writes some of them we don't know what's going on.

The next day (Friday) I had them do a writing prompt directly from their science textbook, which was to imagine what life would be like if they were the kind of creature that spent their entire existence in the canopy of a rain forest, never touching the ground. They both managed to write fairly good narratives about this, but I was most impressed by Benjamin who filled two whole pages, though his chose to include a lot of little pictures within his narrative (almost like a comic strip). It helped, I'm sure that we had checked out some Peter & Ernesto books from the library the last time we went (as in we don't have them at our house currently but we had them at our house from the last library trip we took). Peter and Ernesto are two sloths, one who wants adventure and one who really does not. Peter is quite shocked when Ernesto climbs out of the tree and goes off to explore the world (and ultimately decides to strike out, find him, and bring him home). It was a cute little comic-style storybook.

For social studies we've moved away from the Holocaust to talk about things that were happening in our own backyard during WWII. I had already planned on doing this little unit the Smithsonian offers on graphic novels exploring Japanese Internment camp, so it was nice that Benjamin was in a comic-drawing mood.

He (and Miriam both) made a beautiful graphic mini-novel. Benjamin wants to make a second part to his novel this week since he had just made it to the camps (after writing about the attack on Pearl Harbour) when he ran out of room in his booklet. Miriam chose to write a comic about 9/11 and how that affected American views of immigrants.

We need to go to the library to pick up some books about Japanese internment camps. We have several WWII books at home and I know of many books about the Holocaust, but I simply don't know many (or have many) about the American perspective of WWII (which is the perspective my children are supposed to be learning, though I'm frankly probably not the best person to be teaching them an American perspective). (The one book I do have is The Sound of Everything, which is a good one, but it's just one so I have a few others on hold at the library, both fiction and non-.)


  1. If you can find a copy, I recommend The Moon Bridge by Marcia Savin for Miriam. The musical Allegiance is beautiful. And I haven’t read it, but Farewell to Manzanar is supposed to be good too.

    1. Allegiance does look very interesting, though I have only succeeded in finding a CD. Is it out on DVD?

      I've heard a lot about Farewell to Manzanar but haven't heard of The Moon Bridge yet, so I will check to see if our library has a copy. Thanks for the recommendations!

    2. I don’t think it’s on DVD, unfortunately. But the cast recording would be a good start!

      If your local library doesn’t have it, maybe interlibrary loan?

    3. I have been watching this musical for a DVD or vocal selections or book (ML 50) but nothing so far. But there is lots of good background info and scenes and stuff at and then I think I chose Shop to get to a bunch of things.

  2. Martin Fujiki's family was in the internment camps. I wonder if he'd be willing to do a long distance interview?

    1. Yes—we found his family's names when we visited Topaz last year!