Fight of the Century

It is the fight of the century, the superbowl of all fights, billions of dollars bet on this fight. Mcgregor ( a UFC fighter) against Mayweather ( a legendary boxer). All odds against me ( the UFC fighter).

It is June 1st,  2017 and I am training hard. Spending everyday in the gym. If I want to beat the legend, I will have to train very hard. I am 23-3-2 in MMA fighting and will hopefully be undefeated in boxing, making Mayweather 49 and 1 if I beat him. Nobody believes that I can beat the legend. I am here to prove them wrong.

During training I weighed myself. I am 5 foot 9, 153 pounds. One pound under the weight limit. I have a matte black maserati and a multi million dollar home so people would probably say that I have anything that I could ever want, but what they don’t know is that I need to pursue my dream of becoming a legend and the only way to do that is by beating the legend himself (Floyd Mayweather).

When it was the weigh in, I tried to get in the legends head. “I will bounce your head off the canvas” I said. I was trying to make him intimidated. As I knew it didn’t work. “You think your intimidating me” said Mayweather. “I am the greatest boxer of all time” he said to me. “Nothing can intimidate me” he continuously said. “Just wait, just wait” I said repetitively. He won’t be expecting me.

As it was now the day of the fight, I could feel the nerves in my stomach. Round one! The announcer boomed! Come out fast and punch hard, so you don’t have to go into the later rounds where he has the advantage, I thought to myself. 5th round! Boomed the announcer for the 5th time! I was starting to get nervous. I knew I couldn’t go into more rounds or I would for sure lose, I thought to myself. Mcgregor with the upper cut to the head, boomed the announcer! Mayweathers face dripping with blood, almost as if he was sweating blood. Round 6! I know I am getting fatigued and he is just getting better and better as the fight went on. I am thinking to myself, this is why he is a legend, he had a strategy coming into this fight and it was to take me into later rounds where he had the advantage, he has succeeded. He laid a blow right to my face, breaking my jaw, but I could not give up now. Thinking that in my head, I pounded him down to the ground, but him being a legend, he sure can take a hit. Round 10! It all happened so fast, he came out and wound back, laying a huge blow to my head. Within a blink of an eye, I’m laying on the canvas with a sharp agonizing pain in my head and I couldn’t get up, feeling very groggy. Knock out! Boomed the announcer! Mayweather wins! The crowd was going crazy. I did not do as good as I could have but as my dad used to say, “you are not who you are at your worst moment”.

Although I didn’t win, It counts as a win in my heart because I went into a boxing match that I have never done before and boxed the greatest boxer of all time, and took him into 10 rounds! Although I did not actually beat him, I’m still leaving this fight with 32.5 million dollars richer so I’m still proud, I mean who wouldn’t be with 32.5 million dollars.

By: Aiden, age 12



Coming home from Burger King, I trudged down the familiar back road that led to my apartment. It seemed like all of my luck abandoned me as soon as I graduated high school. I was late for rent. My boyfriend, who will go unnamed, dumped me over text. He dated someone else immediately after. I was just recently fired from my minimum wage job at a gas station. My parents were beyond disappointed with me for getting rejected from my dream college. I had made the quite idiotic decision of only applying to that college assuming I would be accepted. The only thing I cared about that day was going home and getting some extra sleep.


I stopped in my tracks and looked around. I thought I heard a cat, but I didn’t see anything. Brushing it off, I continued walking forward.

Annoyed, I spun around again. Behind someone’s trash can sat a pretty, white kitten. She looked like a tiny cloud with her stubby legs and thick, long fur. It was slightly matted and dirty. Her bright amber eyes glimmered like the sun’s reflection on the ocean at twilight.

“Aww!” I cooed, kneeling down, trying not to get my jeans wet from the melted snow. She rubbed her pelt against my ankle, staring up at me with pleading eyes. I stroked her flea-bitten neck. Frowning, I picked her up gently and stuffed the tiny fluff-ball in my jacket. With my newfound motivation, I raced back home. I didn’t know how long this cat had been in the cold.

Finally, I was inside of my heated apartment. I set her down and she looked around curiously. I watched her adoringly, but inside I knew I couldn’t keep her. I was barely surviving myself. There was probably some rich family that would spoil her to death.

Loud meowing snapped me out of my thoughts. The cat was headbutting and kneading my leg. She seemed hungry, so I found a can of tuna in my fridge. She ate it quickly.

“I might as well name you while you’re living with me..” I hesitantly sighed. I looked at her flat face and long whiskers. As the uncreative person I was, I named her Whiskers.

The next few days came and went. I became emotionally attached to Whiskers. I scraped up all of the money I could get to buy cat food and a flea treatment for her. Luckily, my local veterinarian gave me a generous discount. I also applied for a job at Subway. Whiskers gave me motivation to keep going.

I was watching the local news. It was a boring day. I didn’t start work for one week.

Suddenly, my phone began ringing. I practically jumped out of my body. I grabbed my phone clumsily. The caller ID said “Julia”. I was confused. My best friend from high-school hasn’t spoken to me since the last week of school. I reluctantly answered the phone.

“Um, hello?” I said awkwardly. The only people I interacted with during the past month were the vet and fast food employees.

“Tyler!!” Julia exclaimed happily. “It’s been too long. I just found your number on my old phone.”

Startled, I replied, “Yeah, I guess so.” I smiled. We chatted for about fifteen minutes. She told me that she hasn’t applied for a college, and that she wanted to take a break for a year. I told her about Whiskers, and I confessed my feelings about my misfortunes during that month. She asked me if I wanted to meet her at The Bridgeport Coffeehouse. I told her I would call her back with my answer.

“I don’t think I should go. I’m not the best at social stuff. I mean, look at me. I’m talking to a cat.” I complained in stress.

Whiskers padded next to on my couch, slowly blinking at me with round fiery eyes, and purred. I stroked her head, and she curled up beside me as if to say, “You’re going to me okay.” I knew she didn’t understand anything, though. She still comforted me.

Smiling, I waited for a few moments, then picked up my phone and called Julia I told her that I would meet her at noon.

And so I did. The next day, I met Julia. We chatted away about funny and sad experiences, failures and achievements. Let’s just say I had a lot of failures. I mentioned about Whiskers, and Julia said that she wanted to see her. We agreed to meet again. And again.. We were getting really close.

Perhaps Whiskers did understand me. She was right. Everything was fine. Everything was.. actually pretty great. I almost completely forgot about my ex, and my parents contacted me again.

Finally Spring came. The weather improved, and so did my luck. I owe it all to Whiskers.

I started dating Julia. I applied for a different school I was still waiting for the letter. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t get in. Even if I didn’t things would be looking up.


“So Ty, she’s having a second kid.”

“Yeah, Josh wanted to be a little sister.” I was talking to my friend Michael on the phone.

It was 2023. Julie and I were married. We had one kid, expecting another, and two cats. One of which was Whiskers. I graduated, got a job, a nice house, and settled down. I’m still not as close as I’d like to be with my parents. I’m probably closer to my in-laws.

I recalled a funny conversation Juls and I had yesterday.

“Kitty!” Josh, our three year old son, pat Whiskers on her head. Our other cat, Jake, sat next to me and Julie on our couch. We smiled adoringly at them.

“Julia? You do know that none of this would be possible without her?” I asked her softly.

“Who, Whiskers?” She gave me an odd look.

“Yeah, I meant Whiskers.”

She squeezed my hand. “Well, yeah, but I’m still a dog person.”

By: Ollie, age 12, written September 2017



Welcome to Public Education

At the end of last school year, the administration of my district decided it would be in the best interest of the students to separate the reading and writing curriculum (a 90 minute course) into two separate 45 minute courses.  This came as a shock to me because I had to choose between my two favorite things: reading and writing.  Because reading and writing go hand-in-hand, to teach one without the other broke my heart.  So, I let my colleague decide; she picked reading, and therefore I was left with the intimidating task of preparing and implementing a writing curriculum for approximately 180 seventh graders.

Prior to this change in the curriculum, our district had already implemented three separate initiatives into our classrooms.  The first one was the Collins Writing program which was implemented to create a structure for teaching and grading writing across all content areas K-12.  This system is based on 5 types of writing.  The other two initiatives were the use of Learning Targets and Essential Questions.  Both of which must be posted in every classroom and referred to by every teacher at the beginning, middle, and end of each class session.

So amid the daunting task of designing a writing curriculum that not only covered our three main districtwide initiatives, but also addressed the PA Common Core standards, I found myself in my own land of uncertainty.  However, I had a clear focus on what I didn’t want to do.  My class would NOT be a course taught directly from a grammar book. Over the years, people have conducted too many research studies that have proved writing skills and grammar/conventions knowledge doesn’t improve when taught outside of the realms of students’ own writing.  I believe too often people separate grammar from writing, rather than seeing grammar as the conventional tools for writing (a great book about this idea is Tools, Not Rules Teaching Grammar in the Writing Classroom).

My biggest challenge was creating a course in which students could write, edit, and revise to improve their writing while, as the teacher, I had the time to read and provide support/feedback to all +/-180 students (all while still having a life/family outside of my classroom).  Our district Literacy Coach gave me a book that seemed to help create a guide for constructing a course that would fit my instruction, The Art of Teaching Writing.  Love it or hate it, the writing workshop model has been integral in helping me  create a curriculum that has fostered an atmosphere of learning in my classroom.

Obviously, I have modified the workshop to help it mesh with the initiatives set by my district, and the initiatives have actually complemented my workshop model.  The class itself is divided into three separate parts:  1.  The ten minute mini lesson, 2.  25 minutes of writing time, 3.  Ten minutes of share time and a Type 1 exit ticket.  To begin the school year smoothly, I developed a specific learning target in “kid language” for every PA common core standard I teach; then, I determined which targets would be taught during each nine weeks and decided to make each nine weeks a genre study (1st-Narrative, 2nd-Informative, 3rd-Argumentative, and 4th-Poetry/Research).  I organized these learning targets into the following 5 categories (modeling the Collins Writing program):  Content, Organization, Style, Conventions, and Reading (used as mentor texts for each unit).  Then, I created six specific essential questions for each nine weeks that connected to the genre and grammatical concepts covered in each unit. I took every single area and created a nine weeks packet for the students to use daily in my classroom.

On a daily basis, following the mini lesson, students write in the specific genre of the nine weeks.  As students finish writing pieces, they begin editing and revising for 3 Focus Correction Areas (FCAs) of their own choosing (these FCAs are the learning targets from within their nine weeks packets).  Then I read, provide feedback, and score their writings for only the FCAs.  Because each student turns in pieces as they finish, I am not bombarded with writings from 180 students at a time, and because most learning targets (FCAs) are repeated in multiple units, all students are given many opportunities throughout the year to focus and get a score on every learning target.  At the end of the nine weeks, there is one specific due date and that due date is for the Type 5 publication piece which is graded based on a rubric that incorporates all writing components taught during the nine weeks.

There are many more specifics to my course that I haven’t gone into great detail about; however, this blog was created to celebrate the works of my students.  If you would like more information about the course itself, please feel free to contact me, I’d love to help.

After having successfully finished the first nine weeks of this new curriculum, I have found that my students have become better writers who are more thoughtful about not only their content choices, but also their use and knowledge of grammar and mechanics within their writing.  This site celebrates the pieces of writing that, for whatever reason, have stood out to me.

Some of the works I will showcase will have errors in them.  I want to remain true to each student, so be aware that you are looking at stages of growth.  I will not be showcasing only my high achieving students.  This site will give you a glimpse of all of the beautiful personalities that make up my classroom and their unique/creative minds. I have also done my best to spot plagiarism, so please let me know if any of these posts have been taken from another source, and I will remove the post immediately.