Writing Workshop 2017-2018

To see who has signed up for 2017-2018 classes,
go to REGISTRATION & Class Lists


by Gabriell Shafer
(2nd grade)

For 130 million years, flowers have grown on the earth. There are lots of parts in a flower. Smells and colors help keep away predators, and attract pollinators. There are lots of types of flowers: they all make air. I like flowers seeds.

Flowers have many parts. The anther makes pollen for the plant. Roots are at the ground and help get food for the plant. The stamen is the male part of the plant, and the pistil is the female part. The stigma is on top of the flower, and it receives pollen. All these parts help the plant reproduce.

Flowers are colored to attract pollinators. The African violet contains a pigment called violanin. The wood lily is a reddish-yellow. Forget-me-nots can be blue to white to orange. Saline shooting stars are pinkish-blue. An Indian pipe is bright white and looks like a buttercup. When you are picking a bouquet of flowers, it is good to have lots of colors.

There are lots of types of flowers. Water lilies need to grow in water: you can find them in ponds. The Fly orchid has the shape and color of a fly. Poinsettia leaves turn pink, red, white, and yellow at Christmas. The Rafflesia measures up to three feet wide (91 centimeters), and grows in southeast Asia. Stone plants have leaves that look like stones. There are lots of flowers for different environments.

It's good to have lots of types of flowers in a bouquet. You should only plant good-smelling flowers in your garden. Every time you look at a flower, you see petals, right? People don't usually look inside at the parts of a flower. I love flowers because they grow.


Kids Discover magazine: Flowers. Kids Discover Publishing; Boulder, CO: April, 1995. Volume 5, Issue 4. p. 5.

Went, Frits W. The Plants. Time-Life Books; New York, NY: 1963. pp. 33, 69.

World Book Encyclopedia. World Book, Inc.; Chicago, IL: 1993. Volume F: pp. 270, 277, 280-281, 285, 287.


by Maddison Keplinger
(2nd grade)

Dogs have existed for more than 10,000 years in every country in the world. Puppies need their mothers' help to grow big and strong. It is hard work to care for your dog. Many types of dogs have different talents. I think dogs are cute because they have big eyes.

Puppies are baby dogs. Baby dogs get milk from their mothers. Dogs make noises to send messages, like barking or growling. They nip each other to tell the other dogs who is boss. Every twelve weeks, a pup is ready to leave home. All puppies become dogs.

It is very hard to take care of a dog. Owners must give their pets water in a bowl. Some dogs get food from cans or eat cooked eggs or cottage cheese. You need to cut their nails with special cutters, and brush their fur. Owners must play with their dogs because dogs like play.

There are many kinds of dogs. A bloodhound can sniff out the best hiding place, and a terrier can chase foxes and badgers. Working dogs help rescue people and drag sleds. Herding dogs help farmers bring sheep to their pens, and sporting dogs help bird hunters sniff out and capture birds. Some kinds of dogs don't like to play or fetch. There are more than 300 kinds of dogs in the world.

There are more than ninety types of dogs in the world. Owners must give their dogs water when they are thirsty, because like flowers, dogs grow if you give them water. Dogs are very special because some of them rescue people, and that is special about dogs.


Kids Discover magazine: Dogs. Kids Discover Publishing; Boulder, CO: August, 2000. Volume 10, Issue 7. pp. 4-5, 12-13.

World Book Encyclopedia. World Book, Inc.; Chicago, IL: 1993. Volume D: pp. 278-279.

Rain Forests

by Nina Giddings
(4th grade)

Rain forests grow in tropical places near the equator. They have existed since plants were starting to grow. The Amazon River is a place that many people explore. Many plants only grow in the rain forest. The animals in the rain forest are unique and brightly-colored. I've always loved to see pictures of rain forests. Rain forests are beautiful.

The Amazon River is in South America. It is the second largest river in the world. At some places, the river is too wide to see across. In a few places, the river can be forty feet deep. The Amazon River is 4,000 miles long: longer than the route between New York City and San Francisco. More than 1,500 birds make their home in the Amazon.

Plants make rain forests green and spectacular. Rain forests are home to half the world's plants and animals. The biggest flower in the world, the Rafflesia, is three feet wide and weighs twenty pounds. In some places in the rain forests, 325 inches of rain may fall per year. The canopy of many trees reaches a height of 150 feet. Rain forest plants even grow in the rivers. All of these plants need water to survive.

Some rain forest animals use camouflage and it's like they're not even there. Others are colored brightly and can be spotted easily. One square mile of South America's Amazon rain forest may be home to as many as 1,500 species of butterflies. A piranha's teeth are so sharp, some people use them for tools. Squirrel monkeys look kind of like flying squirrels, and are about as big as a kitten. They only live in the rain forests of South and Central America. A few toucans have bills longer than their own bodies. Almost all of the animals in the rain forest depend on other animals and plants for food, water, and shelter.

The plants in the rain forest are unusual. Many animals of the rain forest attract mates by dancing in strange ways. The Amazon River basin makes up almost one third of all the rain forest we have. Rain forests are being cut down for paper and wood, but many people are trying to protect them. It is important to remember all of that because animals are losing their homes, and even just a little bit of help helps.


Kids Discover magazine: Rain Forests. Kids Discover Publishing; Boulder, CO: May, 1993. Volume 3, Issue 5. pp. 2, 4, 6, 9.

World Book Encyclopedia. World Book, Inc.; Chicago, IL: 1993. Volume A: pp. 402-403. Volume D: p. 520. Volume T: p. 450.


by Kenneth Weinrauch
(2nd grade)

Earth is 93 million miles from the Sun. It is 4 ½ billion years old. On land, we can play soccer, hike, and play basketball. In water, people swim and dive and float. Air and space surround the Earth. Earth is fun, because it is our home.

Land is made of layers of rock and soil. Gold miners go into the earth and find gold. Water eats away limestone: by eating it, the water forms caves. There was a mountain and the Colorado River wore rock bit by bit and formed a canyon. Mount Everest is the highest place on Earth. Limestone captured sea fossils more than 100 million years ago. The planet Earth is named after its land.

Without water, there would be no life on Earth. Water falls from clouds as rain. There is one big ocean in the world. Water from oceans is too salty to drink. By the late 1800's, scientists had discovered 4,717 new water species. Every year, Antarctica gets a layer of ice: each layer of ice has a record of the air. Raindrops, ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans support life on Earth.

Air and space surround the earth. Earth spins on an imaginary line from the North Pole to the South Pole. There are two types of planets: rocky ones, and gas giants. Gravity holds everything in place. 500 years ago, people thought that Earth was the center of the solar system. Copernicus shocked everybody. He showed that Earth orbited around the sun. Solar winds would destroy life on earth. Atmosphere is what we breathe.

Air and space surrounds the earth and reaches out into the universe. Water covers about 70 percent of the earth's surface. On land, trees grow, plants grow, and in mountains there are caves. Earth is the planet that we live on.


Kids Discover magazine: Earth. Kids Discover Publishing; Boulder, CO: March, 2004. Volume 14, Issue 3. pp. 8-9, 12-15.

World Book Encyclopedia. World Book, Inc.; Chicago, IL: 1993. Volume E: pp. 22, 26. Volume O; p. 657. Volume W-X-Y-Z: pp. 120-121.


by Jasmine Robertson
(3rd grade)

Light has been in our solar system and universe since the beginning of time. The beauty of light makes people stare. Light creates energy for some machines. Sometimes, light is slow, and other times, it is fast. Light is pretty useful because it helps people see objects.

The beauty of light amazes people. A rainbow is formed when sunlight shines through raindrops. The sun rises and sets each day, making the sky full of red, pink, orange, and yellow. The Aurora Borealis colors are green, purple, blue, and turquoise. It looks like a colorful ribbon moving across the sky. Different light wavelengths make colors. When lightning strikes, people see light and energy at the same time. In January 2018, there was a Super Blue Blood moon that amazed people everywhere.

The energy of light helps some machines, plants, and people move. Sunflowers turn their faces to follow the sun. Light gives people Vitamin D so they can have strong bones to move. The Mars Rover depends on the sun so it can roll across Mars. Fire is light that can fly a hot-air balloon. Most people use gas or electricity for energy, but some people have a solar panel farm or a solar panel on the roof. Light is a form of power.

Light travels faster in air than under water. When a star is 1,000,000 miles away from Earth, its light takes light years to reach our eyes. If light raced against runner Carl Lewis, the light would be 186,000 miles out, and Carl would only be 40 feet. Light under water is slower than on land. The light of a star that people see today is probably already burned out. The speed of light is hard to write about.

The starlight people see today is probably from the age of dinosaurs. A solar panel collects light for energy. At night, the beautiful moon, and in the day, an orange sun, give lovely light. Light helps people see in the dark universe.


Kids Discover magazine: Light. Kids Discover Publishing; Boulder, CO: October, 1993. Volume 3, Issue 8. pp. 2-3, 9, 12-13, 17.

Robertson, Mark. McCall, ID: Personal interview. January, 2018.

World Book Encyclopedia. World Book, Inc.; Chicago, IL: 1993. Volume L: pp. 285, 291. Volume S; p. 975.

Please have your students read books from the 4th-6th Grade Reading List during the year. If they want to, they can also select books from the 7th-8th Grade Reading List .

Remember that these lists are not an indication of reading level, but are created to give students a background for their upcoming years of study at the NFS. Please do NOT have children read books from lists that are in their reading level, but above their NFS class level.

See finished pieces from this class in our Writing Archives.
Pieces written by WW students in 2016-2017
Pieces written by WW students in 2013-2014
Pieces written by WW students in 2012-2013
Pieces written by WW students in 2009-2010
Pieces written by WW students in 2008-2009
Pieces written by WW students in 2007-2008
Pieces written by WW students in 2006-2007
Pieces written by WW students in 2005-2006
Pieces written by WW students in 2004-2005
Pieces written by WW students in 2002-2003
Pieces written by WW students in 2001-2002
Pieces written by WW students in 2000-2001


colorful, pretty
disappearing, curving, floating
long, big, droplets, cotton
snowing, raining, shading
fluffy, puffy

Maddison Keplinger (2nd grade)

complicated, fun
folding, making, looking
square, paper, triangular, bearing
fidgeting, spinning, sparking
fun, active
Fidget Spinners

Gabriell Shafer (2nd grade)

bright, hot
shining, burning, spinning
star, orb, rock, satellite
freezing, spinning, orbiting

Kenneth Weinrauch (2nd grade)

hot, bright
burning, building, catching
pit, blaze, water, cloud
dripping, floating, falling
cold, wet

Nina Giddings (4th grade)

bossy, pretty
singing, demanding, ruling
girl, crown, cape, boy
bossing, walking, eating
clean, exciting

Nina Giddings (4th grade)

big, cozy
playing, sleeping, eating
building, house, classrooms, teachers
learning, reading, writing
fun, easy

Kenneth Weinrauch (2nd grade)

green, fuzzy
inching, munching, crawling
leaves, cocoons, pretty, decorative
fluttering, flapping, floating
delicate, beautiful

Maddison Keplinger (2nd grade)

To see who has signed up for 2016-2017 classes,
go to REGISTRATION & Class Lists

2017-2018 Supplies

No supply needs this year! Just come to class and enjoy what we do!

You may want to leave a fleece or sweatshirt & warm socks or slippers at the NFS site: we have a no-shoe policy, and it can be chilly, especially on Mondays.

Class snacks and hot drink mixes are kept in a separate cupboard for each class, so bring in your favorites to share.

Course Description

Classes will follow a Writing Workshop format, focused on process rather than product. Students will receive a binder "portfolio" for the class, in which all math, French, drama, and science projects, as well as artworks and written pieces will be indexed. Student portfolios are a key component of documenting student achievement.

How process-oriented learning works:

In Writing Workshop, students learn to select writing topics, draft, edit, give and receive response, revise, redraft, and refine their writing at their own pace.

Students have a "draft folder" in which they keep all drafts of their work. Included in the folder is a personalized "skills list" -- a list of grammatical or technical errors that have occurred in each student's writings, and for which the student agrees to be responsible in future edits.

Students typically rework two or three drafts of a piece, receiving response from peers, before they turn in a draft for "teacher editing". At this point, the piece is as polished as they can make it. Often, two or more drafts are necessary before the piece can go into the student's "final folder".

Teacher/peer or group response provides students with feedback on a piece as it is being written, when such help is most useful to them. One of the great advantages of Writing Workshop is that students are not assigned topics; by choosing what and how they write, they become incredibly invested in their pieces.

3rd Year Program 2017-2018 | English III 2017-2018 | all Math classes

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