Words of the Week – A Writing Exercise

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One of the things I do in my 7th grade literature class is post a word of the day.  I really didn’t do anything with this word other than define it and share a sentence with the word.  That left me feeling that the students didn’t really get enough exposure to the word, so I decided that they had to write a paragraph using each word of the day at the end of the week.

The kids had a blast writing their paragraphs.  They all came up with bizarre and entertaining stories, so I decided to join them and write a couple of these stories of my own.  I have three literature classes, so I modeled the behavior I desired and wrote three little stories.  One was pretty brutal, so I’ll post the other two right here.

The first time through, I went with a completely ridiculous situation, which is always a hit with the middle school students. Remember, this is just a work of fiction. I don’t do anything mean to cats in real life. Here are the words of the week and the first paragraph.

Famish – Memento – Uncanny – *Zip – Enigmatic

Mr. Cuddlepants stole my memento!

Mr. Cuddlepants stole my memento!

For my birthday, my brother took me out to eat at Burger King.  I was famished, so I ate three king sized whopper value meals, but I saved one french fry as a memento of the fabulous birthday meal.  That single french fry was sitting on the mantle above my fireplace.

One day, my wife asked me why I had the fry on the mantle, and I shouted at her, “Don’t question why I have that there.  You were going to eat it.  Weren’t you!”

“No, but the cat just gave me an enigmatic look, like it wanted to eat it,” she replied.

“Mr. Cuddlepants!” I shouted.  “Get down from the mantle!”

With uncanny quickness, the cat snatched the french fry with its mouth as it leapt down from the mantle.  I was furious.  How dare Mr. Cuddlepants eat my birthday memento.  Later that evening, I caught the cat as it was napping.  I zipped him up in his kitty straightjacket and threw him in a cage for the rest of the night.  That will teach ’em.

Yeah, I know that was a little bit harsh at the end, but Mr. Cuddlepants better recognize.  You don’t get between a man and his french fries.  Well, that and I needed to fit the word zip in there somewhere.

The third time through, I went with a more serious approach. Here are the words again.  One word is different because on Thursdays we have Dictionary Roulette.  This is where I open the dictionary to a random page and have a student point in the dictionary.  Wherever they land, that is the word of the day for the class.

Famish – Memento – Uncanny – *Maroon – Enigmatic

I watch too much Survivorman.

I watch too much Survivorman.

Fourteen weeks ago, the brutal winds and massive storm surges slammed my boat onto a rocky shoreline crushing the boat’s hull.  I am marooned.  To some, a small tropical island covered with palm trees looks like paradise, but in reality, its  nothing more than a prison cell.  My body is famished, for all I can find to eat are rotting coconuts and washed up sea snails.   All that I have left to remind me of my previous life is a small memento, a silver wedding band on my left ring finger.  I have to get back to the mainland.  Could my uncanny ability to survive in the harshest conditions pay off?  I flash an enigmatic smile.  Only time would tell.  I push my make-shift raft into the sea, hoping the winds and currents would lead me back home.

I’m not quite sure a wedding ring is a memento, but in the ten minutes that I allow for this little writing exercise, it was the best I could do.  What do you think about this on demand writing exercise?  I found it rather fun.

Natasha is Still Cat Crazy

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My daughter, who recently got bit in the face by a cat, is doing fine.  Her face is healing quite well.  The swelling is totally gone, and only a few small marks remain on her face. It helps that my wife takes such good care of her.  We bought some Mederma and Vitamin E.  Natasha rubs it all over her face like she’s putting on makeup.

I wish I could say that Natasha learned something from being mauled, but its like it never happened in her mind.  We haven’t visited Aunt Bertha’s in a while, so she hasn’t been playing with Darkness.  That’s the cat that bit her.  At home, we have a very docile feline, and Natasha’s terrorizing that one though.  When she’s not chasing the cat, she’s drawing pictures of our cat. Here’s her latest effort.

Don't you think my bow is cute!

Don’t you think a cat with a bow is cute!

Not to bad for a five year old, if I do say so myself.  One of the nice things about writing and illustrating is your children get into it too.  Every day, all three kids sit down to color, write, or paint.  I could do without the painting.  It always ends up on my three year old’s face.

If you’re wondering, Natasha likes Hello Kitty.  That’s why she put the bow in the cat’s hair.  Our cat, we’ll call her Silve, because that’s her name, actually does get bows in her hair.  In addition to putting bows on the cat, Natasha has managed to put three different outfits on Silvie, and she’s determined that our cat looks best in pink.

Here’s one mistake I made.  Sometimes, Silve will have a little smudge on her butt after she poops.  On accident, I blurted out, “I’d better clean that dingleberry.”  Now the kids are always running around the house chasing the cat to see if she has any dingleberries on her butt.

I shouldn’t laugh, but it’s pretty hilarious when my three year old son hollers at the top of his lungs, “Daaaad!  Silve’s got a dingleberry!”

For all the readers out there, if you didn’t realize already, here’s a little warning:  My sense of humor never made it past my sophomore year of high school.

– Dave

Story Time – My Daughter Chases Darkness the Cat

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It’s Story Time!  Every Monday at my school, I tell a story about what happened in my life over the weekend.  I figured, I might as well post it here too.  All the names have been changed, but the story really did happen.  The Story Time posts are strictly for entertainment purposes.  Don’t expect to learn anything, except for the fact that you should write down your awesome life stories. Enjoy!

I'm a cat.  Fear me!

I’m a cat. Fear me!

Let the story begin!

Because my five year old daughter, The Flower Child, loves our cat, Tabby, so much, she chases the cat all around the house and tries to pick her up.  Fortunately, the cat never bites The Flower Child.  Unfortunately, my daughter had a false sense of security around cats.  She thought all cats are sweet like our little Tabby.

On Thursday, The Flower Child slept over at Aunt Bertha’s house for the first time.  Aunt Bertha has a cat of her own named Darkness.  I think Darkness is part black panther because he is absolutely huge for a domestic cat.  He’s super long and has muscles popping out of his fur.

Darkness is relatively friendly, but not used to being chased by a little girl.  The Flower Child spotted the cat and went to pick him up, so Darkness raced down into the basement.  Aunt Bertha saw this and said, “Flower Child, leave him alone.  He doesn’t want to be petted.”  My daughter didn’t listen to this advice at all and immediately ran downstairs to try and catch the cat.  She backed the cat into a corner in the basement, and then Darkness bit her right in the face.  Blood was everywhere.  Aunt Bertha washed off all the blood and tried to clean out the six deep puncture wounds.  The Flower Child cried some, but once her face was washed off, she was okay.

The next morning came, and The Flower Child’s face had swelled up like a balloon.  It looked like she had a tennis ball stored in her left cheek.  When we came to pick her up from Aunt Bertha’s house, we were shocked.  My wife took The Flower Child to the doctor, and now she has to take two different antibiotics for 10 days because her cuts are infected.  I did a little internet research on a cat bite with deep punctures and my daughter probably has a bacterial infection.  Pasturella multocida (whatever that is) breeds in a cat’s mouth, and that was transferred into my daughter’s face.

The doctor was very worried that the infection had spread too much already, so she drew a big circle on my daughters face around the swelling.  The doctor said we had to report to the emergency room immediately if it went past the circle.  Luckily, the swelling never expanded any more. My three year old son, Ivan the Terrible, thought that the circle on The Flower Child’s face was really cool.  He decided to draw a circle on his face too.  My wife thought this was such a sweet gesture.  She said, “Oh, Ivan.  You’re so nice!”  Ivan the Terrible took this the wrong way though, and then colored with marker all over his entire face.  Luckily, he used washable markers.

For a day or two, we were still very concerned about The Flower Child, but by Sunday, the swelling has subsided considerably.  All that’s left on my daughter’s little face are some scabs where the cat punctured her skin, and a pretty nasty black eye.  She was embarrassed to show her face off in kindergarten, so I hope school went well for her today.

Did she learn her lesson?  Nope.  She still chases our cat all around the house and picks her up repeatedly.

 What happened on your weekend?  Do you have any stories you’d like to tell?  Any questions about my story?  Leave your comments and questions below!