ARLINGTON — Christine Cobb’s first-grade students have become novelists.
Like their peers in the four classrooms of first-graders at Eagle Creek Elementary, Cobb’s students prepared “self-published novels” for the school’s “Young Authors Day” on Friday, June 7, but before they could show off their literary output, they had to hone their skills in class.
“We focused a lot on rewriting, which they didn’t like,” Cobb laughed. “It was important that they understood that first drafts are rarely perfect. We looked for things like spelling mistakes, and reread the stories to make sure they made sense.”
Since the stories were fictional, they had a bit more leeway on how much they had to make sense, but regardless of the subject matter — which ranged from outer space to “color poems” — Cobb encouraged her students to engage in descriptive writing.
“Many of the stories ranged between four and five sentences,” Cobb said. “A few students wrote about outer space adventures because we’d studied the planets. Color poems try to attach adjectives and feelings to a chosen color. But really, they were free to write any kind of fiction.”
Shayena Hoberg-Schamel wrote “The Adventure in Space,” as follows:
“Once upon a time there was three friends and they went to space. They met an alien named Georgia. Georgia liked the three friends named Shayena, Sarah and Abbie. The alien attacked because she wasn’t a real friend. They escaped the night after she caught them and went home. The End.”
The fact that Hoberg-Schamel shares a first name with one of the characters is no coincidence, since she was inspired to write herself and her friends into her story.
Lillian JaGarde’s “Red Color Poem” summed up her impressions of the color as follows:
“Red tastes like a sweet strawberry cupcake.
“Red looks like a shiny round cherry.
“Red smells like a sugary raspberry pie.
“Red sounds like a rose blowing in a breeze.
“Red feels like sticky cotton candy.”
Starlah Harman took a more prosaic approach to color with “The Blue Princess,” as follows:
“Once upon a time there was a Blue Princess and her favorite color was blue. She had a blue dress, blue hair and blue eyes. She loved a prince that was blue. She talked to him everyday and finally the prince came up to her castle. The evil witch saw the prince. She said you prince get out of my castle now!!! Then the prince asked the princess to marry him and she said yes I will, and they lived happily ever after. The evil witch found a boy witch and they lived happily ever after too. The End.”
As for Bryson Gollihr, his multi-page story of a cougar riding a dirt bike drew from a favorite pastime and some words of warning.
“My family rides dirt bikes together, and it’s fun,” Gollihr said. “I chose a cougar because it’s an animal you have to be careful of. It can jump on you while you’re hunting.”