into the paragraph, and by the end of the semester the students will
have a handle on the all-powerful five-paragraph essay.
"We're going back to basics like when I was in school," Stalcup
said. "We're moving away from the touchy-feely philosophy and
teaching our kids how it's done."
Stalcup made a suggestion after patrolling the classroom and
seeing some of the children's most consistent struggles.
"Don't get too hung up on the article," Stalcup said.
Her advice proved helpful to more of the classroom's attendance
than just the students.
The last thing the award-winning Stalcup wanted her award-winning
students to do was to think hard about the word, "A," even though
fourth-grade is the first year students receive A's rather than E's
for exemplary work.
Nine-year-old Tyler Head's sentence -- comprised of an article,
adjective, noun, verb and adverb -- accurately reflected the
classroom's conduct while hammering away at the exercise.
"The smart students worked quietly," Tyler wrote.
Kyle Wicorek, 9, went a different route in bringing the parts of
speech together -- and even added a prepositional phrase.
"A bad student wrote terribly on his paper," Kyle said.
Kyle wouldn't comment on whether he was citing a specific student,
but his statement apparently wasn't autobiographical, as his
penmanship was near flawless.
As studious as the class was in working on something college
students might labor through, some kids couldn't wait for the award
of finishing early: A visit to the bookshelf.
Cole Ogdon sifted through a row of "Goosebumps" books, muttering
to himself about the exact piece of literature he sought. He spoke up
when mildly prodded.
"I'm looking for a really weird one," Cole said. "It's one that
has wolves in it doing all kinds of weird stuff."
He found the book, pointed at the wolf on the cover, then opened
the book to the middle and started explaining how his favorite
"Goosebumps" book worked.
"You get to choose your own adventure at the end of the page,"
Cole said. "And when you reach the end, you're dead."
When free time to read his favorite book ended, Cole and the rest
of his class met a more rosy fate -- 20 minutes of Friday free play.