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This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's Contest Time

Actually it's testing time. Next week my third graders will start taking their first Connecticut Mastery Test. In 45 minutes they will have to write a story with an interesting introduction, elaborated middle that builds suspense, a resolution, and an extended ending.

So today we are challenging you to do the same.

The rules: 
- You must write to the prompt.
- You may only take up to 45 minutes (including 5 minutes of planning time).
- Your story can be no more than 700 words.
- Your writing MUST be appropriate for third grade readers.

Writers of all ages may apply.

Post your stories in the comment section of this post before 7 am Eastern Time on Monday, March 5. We will read the stories on Monday and determine the winner. The winner can either chose a critique of 5 page from me (or from one of my third graders if you'd prefer) or we will send you a favorite middle grade novel chosen by the class.

Are you ready? Here's the prompt:

Imagine you are walking down the street when suddenly you feel a tug on your shoulder. You turn around and see a baby elephant. Tell a story about what happens.

Remember, only 45 minutes including planning time. We're looking forward to reading your stories. 

1 comment:

  1. I was walking along the street one June afternoon, enjoying my first day of summer vacation. No school. No responsibilities…ahhhh…I was lost in thought, dreaming of ways to waste away the day when I felt a tug at my shoulder. I ignored it, thinking someone may have bumped into me accidentally. But there it was again.
    Tug. Tug.
    I turned around and saw a baby elephant.
    Now, you may think it would be weird to see a baby elephant walking along the street, but ever since my town passed the exotic pet law, I’ve gotten used to seeing all sorts of animals roaming around. Mrs. Thomas walks her pet goat on a purple leash. Mr. Davis carries a snake around his neck while he delivers the mail, and Ms. Daniels carries her baby chimpanzee like a baby. The chimp even wears a diaper!
    My first thought, then, was that someone’s pet got loose. I walked up to the baby elephant and held my hand out for her to sniff. When she nuzzled me, I felt like it was safe to check her wrinkled neck for a collar. I moved my hand over her soft, gray skin, but didn’t feel anything.
    Now what?
    If it’s not someone’s pet, then maybe the elephant ran away from the zoo, or maybe the circus was in town. I would find someone to ask. When I turned around to see if I recognized anyone on the street, the elephant grabbed the back of my shirt. I remembered seeing elephants on the Discovery Channel walking one in front of the other. The elephants connected in a sort of line, with the elephant in back using its trunk to hold the tail of the elephant in front. I took the cue and started to walk.
    Soon, we passed Mrs. Thomas and her pet goat.
    “Jenny, what a cute baby elephant,” she said.
    “Thanks,” I said, “but she’s not mine. I think she’s lost. Has there been any news about an elephant escaping from the zoo?”
    “No,” said Mrs. Thomas. She looked at the elephant and then at me. “She doesn’t look lost, dear.”
    I didn’t know what to say, so I kept walking.
    Next, we ran into Mr. Davis, the snake-loving mailman.
    “Hey, Jenny. Cute elephant!”
    “Ah, thanks, but she’s not mine. Do you know if the circus is in town?”
    “No, not yet.”
    I pet the elephant on the head, right between the ears, and she snuggled into me.
    “What should I do?” I asked.
    “Well, you could put up signs and see if someone claims her,” said Mr. Davis. “She would have to stay with you in the meantime, though.”
    “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said. I never had a pet before, and summer vacation just started. I was looking forward to getting up late, lounging around, hanging out with my friends, and anything else that required little effort. Having a pet elephant would be a ton of work!
    “Or you could take her to the exotic pet shelter,” said Mr. Davis.
    The elephant let go of my shirt and dropped her head.
    “Someone might adopt her. That’s where I got Sparky here,” he said and rubbed the top of the snake’s head.
    “And what if no one adopts her?” I asked.
    The elephant slowly lay on the ground and turned her head to the side as if she were about to take a nap.
    “Well, she would sit in the shelter until she outgrew the cages. Then they’d have to send her to the zoo or circus, which isn’t bad, I guess, but she looks like the family type, don’t you think?”
    I crouched down next to the baby elephant and realized she wasn’t sleeping. Her ears were pinned back and her big, droopy eyes were filled with tears. She stretched her trunk out and wrapped it around my hand and wrist.
    I knew then that my summer plans were about to change.
    “Come on, girl. Let’s hope my parents are in a really good mood.”
    The baby elephant sprang to her feet, grabbed the back of my shirt, and let me lead her home.

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