Friday, September 4

Me? Smart as a Third-Grader?


On Wednesday, I was in charge of Grandboy’s virtual school day—he’s in third grade and he enjoys learning, but he hates, hates writing. Not the creative process—he’s an amazing storyteller; rather he hates the mechanical process of writing. The actual forming letters with a pencil. He does better at using the computer to write, however his method is hunt-and-peck. I've vowed to teach him to touch-type, so the typing isn't so arduous.

His assignment on Wednesday was to write about a small moment in a place that’s important to him. He chose our backyard as his place and his moment was when we all saw a hawk swoop down and catch a chipmunk and carry it off for his dinner. I thought that was a pretty tough assignment for an eight-year-old, so I decided to take the challenge and try it myself. So, here’s my story about a favorite place and my small moment there.

One of my favorite places in the world is Frankfort, Michigan, specifically, the beach by Point Betsie lighthouse. The beach is just below the lighthouse, which sits up on a dune overlooking Lake Michigan. If I had made a map, it would have included the white-painted lighthouse tower and its red-roofed keeper’s cottage. My small moment happened one day in 2008 when I was in Frankfort doing some research for my first Women of Willow Bay novel, Once More From the Top. This was a place I’d been so many times in my life, so I felt perfectly at home as I wandered along the beach. One of the things the area is famous for is Petosky stones—rocks that are actually fossilized coral. They’re beautiful and when they’re polished, they can be made into jewelry. I’d never found a Petosky stone before, but as I sauntered along the shore, the chill waves lapping over my bare feet, I saw one! It gleamed on the wet sand, the design clear and beautiful under the water. It was the real thing! My heart sang. I finally had my own Petosky stone!

So that’s the kind of writing my little third-grader had to do and I’m telling you, frankly, from conception to finished paragraph, it was harder than I thought it would be. Liz and I were discussing how much more advanced kids’ school work seemed to us. Although I was an avid reader from the age of four, started writing at about age nine or so, and have been writing stories for years and years, I don’t recall writing something so cerebral when I was in the third grade. In many ways, kids today are more advanced than we were.

Anyone else want to take a shot at a third-grade writing assignment? It's just one paragraph. If you decide to give it a try, I’d sure love to hear about it. Have a good holiday weekend everyone and welcome to September!




  1. I love this, and am so anxious to see Cam's progression!

  2. Nice job!

    When I got my first computer, a little box iMac—back in the Stone Age—KB wanted to play on it, so I said she could when she learned to type. Mavis typing tutor had come with it and she worked all summer mastering it. What I didn’t know was it that Mavis teaches kids by incorporating the lessons into games and challenges. You might try a Mavis program for Cam. KB remains a faster, better typist than me which works out since her job relays on that. Lol Who knew I was setting her up for her future?

  3. That's a cool assignment - those kinds are bebe's favorites! Here's my try at being a third grader:

    Before I was 35 I'd never been to Disney, so I didn't think there would be much magic left for me. But as we turned the corner and those little gates came into view, my breathing stilled and my heart slowed and for just a minute I wasn't 35 any more. I was 5 again, and the flowers weren't just petunias and roses with a few bees buzzing around, there were fairies in those bushes. And the flowers beckoned me forward, leading me back to magic.

  4. I had a similar experience to your grandson's story. One day when I was at my kitchen sink looking out over the back yard, a hawk swooped down and plucked a robin from a tree and flew away. It happened so fast! His assignment was pretty interesting for an eight year old. I think I was still reading Dick and Jane at that age.