Posted on

Literacy Essayists

I was invited to be a guest listener during Mrs. Bouwens‘ 5th grade writer’s celebration.  I sat in the round with a 5th Grade Essayistsgroup of seven writers who each shared their literacy essay about a specific short story.  As an essayist, their job was to connect the each essay’s central purpose to their own lives.  As a writer who makes many revisions to even the simplest piece, I have great appreciation for the hours of work devoted to the development of these essays.

I was impressed with the short stories they each reviewed:  Eleven, by Sandra Cisneros, The Marble Champ, by Gary Soto, Boar Out There,  Slower Than the Rest, Marble Champ and Spaghetti–all by Cynthia Rylant.

Not only are these three of my favorite writers, I now have seven favorite literary essayists to follow.  Enjoy their pieces below.

Literary essay on “Slower Than the Rest”
By: Sydney Segard
Everyone is slower than the rest at something from one time to another. For example, when I was in third grade I did girls on the run and usually I was slower than the rest. Because of that time I can relate to how characters like Leo feel.

In the story, “Slower Than the Rest” by Cynthia Rylant Leo has trouble keeping up with his classmates.

Leo doesn`t have a lot of friends because he is slower than the rest. When he finds Charlie, his turtle he is happy because he finally finds something that can relate to how he feels about being slower than the rest.

In the story it says Leo was slow in reading, numbers, and in nearly everything that passed before him in the classroom. In fourth grade Leo was so behind in everything that he had to go in to a special room with people who were as slow as him. Leo thought he would never get over it. But, Charlie helped him feel better.

For example, during forest fire prevention week  Leo took Charlie to school for his project. When it was Leo`s turn he took Charlie out of the box and said, “It isn`t fair for the slow ones during a forest fire.” I think Leo was not only talking about Charlie but himself too. I think this because Leo hates being slow, and he doesn`t think it`s fair for him to have to go in to a a special room because he is slow.

Later that day Leo`s school had an assembly. There were dancers who everyone was laughing  at. But Leo didn`t feel like laughing. Leo just sat there holding Charlie and went off in his head to his own world. Soon, everyone was cheering and shouting his name. Leo walked up to his principal who gave him an award for having the best presentation.

Leo felt happy.
Leo felt proud.
and for the first time in a long time
Leo felt  fast.
Reading this story makes me think that Leo should not be embarrassed about being slower than the rest, because other people are slow too. Just like I was.

Literary Essay to “Eleven”

by Jack Mandryk

I believe growing up is one of the hardest things kids have to go through. And if you can’t stick up for yourself, every thing’s going to get a lot harder.

In the story, “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros Rachel, the main character, thought growing up to be eleven would make her feel older and smarter, but she didn’t. She figured out that even though she was eleven she was still just a kid.

Eleven is about how Rachel has to wear the ugly red sweater that smells like cottage cheese, even though it is not hers. I mostly think this story is about how Rachel is a girl who is unable to admit the truth when it comes to sticking up for herself.

When Sylvia tells the class, “I think it belongs to Rachel.” Rachel knows it’s not hers but all she can say is, “That’s not, I don’t, and you’re not… Not mine.” She finally manages to say in a little voice that no one could hear like when she was four. Then she just gives up and thinks because Mrs, Price is older, she is right. This was showing that Rachel couldn’t stand up for herself  in front of the class. Rachel also shows that deep inside she is three trying not to let the ugly red sweater wreck her eleventh birthday, as it sits of the corner of her table. She is thinking about how when she gets home, her mom will be baking a cake and they will be singing, “happy birthday, happy birthday to you.”

When Sylvia lies about the red sweater Rachel should tell the teacher, but she doesn’t. Like in football practices, when kids are messing around next to me, I should walk away from them or I get in trouble too. Rachel makes the same mistake about the sweater when she should tell Mrs. Price it isn’t hers, instead she has to face the consequence of having to wear it.

“Rachel!” Mrs. Price yells at her bringing her out of her daydreaming.

“You put that sweater on right now and no more nonsense.”

“But it’s not-”

“Now!!” Mrs. Price says. This is a example that Rachel is a girl who doesn’t protect herself in bad situations. In the real world, Rachel will probably find out that starting at that age, she will not get special attention like she did when she was younger. I think Rachel should try to get over the fact that she was to wear the sweater and just get up and tell the teacher. After Mrs. Price yells at her she is forced to put the sweater on in front of the class. She slides her arms through with all the years pushing against her eyes. Now when Rachel finally got the sweater on she thinks the red sweater hurts her, it’s all itchy, and full of germs that are not hers.

Then, right before the bell rings, stupid Phyllis Lopez remembers it is hers. Mrs. Price thinks everything is o.k. now, but it’s not.

I think Rachel will learn from this experience and not let it happen again. I mostly think Sandra Cisneros wrote “Eleven” to show that life is rough, especially when you don’t stand up for yourself. What I learned from “Eleven” is that when you are in a tight situations, give yourself a chance, even on days you feel like a, “runaway ballon.”

Literary Essay

By: Andrew Vredeveld

In the story, “The Marble Champ” by Gary Soto Lupe thinks she sill never be good at sports. ”I’ll never be good at sports she fumed one rainy day.” But she kept practicing and became good at marbles. When I was in third grade I wasn’t good at  fielding ground balls. But now since I’ve been practicing I am really good at fielding them. It’s just like Lupe. She practiced and practiced and became good.

Lupe was determined to be good at marbles so she    “rummaged through her closet until she found a can  of  her  brother’s marbles. She poured them out and picked the five most beautiful.” She noticed while she was practicing that her thumb was very weak. So she, “…took an eraser and  squeezed it 100 times to make it stronger.” This shows you that Lupe is determined to win at this sport even though I would not consider it as a major one.

Lupe knew the tournament was coming up so she worked harder than ever and it made her thumb very sore. This shows you she wasn’t going to give up on wining in this sport. Lupe was pretty close to being ready but she still had time to improve. After her dad found out why her thumb was so swollen he wanted to help,”So he rigged up some lights in the back yard so she could practice after dark. He squatted down on one knee, entranced by the sight of his daughter easily beating her brother.” Lupe had practiced so much she beat her brother.

On the day of the tournament it was cold and cloudy. Lupe knew she needed all of her concentration to win the tournament. She was up for it. “Lupe walking between her father and brother, shook from the cold not nerves. She took off her mittens and someone asked, “How are you going to play with a broken thumb? Lupe smiled and said nothing.”  Lupe had practiced for so long her thumb looked broken! “Lupe had her first match on diamond number 3.She easily beat.” Lupe is now really good because of her practicing and she beat her first three opponents. Lupe worked so hard to become good at this one sport.

In the end Lupe goes on to win the tournament. Lupe succeeded and finally got a trophy in sports. That shows you that everything Lupe did helped her to win. “…but winning in sports was a new experience.” Lupe finally got her dream to win in sports. Just like me when I practiced and succeeded in what I needed to do to be a good fielder. I learned from this story that if you set your mind on something and practice you’re likely to succeed.

Literary Essay On “Slower Than The Rest

By:Allie Boonstra

Sometimes I am slower than the rest. Just like Leo was in “Slower Than the Rest” by Cynthia Rylant. I think that the author put Charlie the turtle and Leo in the story because they both can relate to being slower than the rest. I think she shows that it’s okay to be slower than the rest. Sometimes I am slower than the rest in math because it’s a harder subject for me to understand. I know that sometimes being slower than the rest is okay because it helps build confidence and understanding.

I think that Leo took being slow in a bad way. But, when he found Charlie he realized that there are other things out there that are as slow as himself!

In his classroom, “Leo was slow in reading, slow in numbers, slow in understanding, nearly everything that passed before him in a classroom.” He also had to go into a room with kids that are as slow as him. This made Leo upset because he thought that he would never be fast at things. “But Charlie took care of Leo’s happiness.”

“One day Leo decided to take Charlie to school. It was prevent forest fires week and all of the students were working on posters…” and other things. But Leo wanted to take Charlie to school for his project. I think that Leo wanted to bring Charlie because he wanted to show how some people are slower than the others.

When Leo began his presentation he said, “ When somebody throws a match into a forest he is a murderer. He kills trees, birds, and animals.” I think that Leo felt bad for Charlie because he is a slow animal and would not be able to survive a forest fire. When Leo opened the box and took Charlie out all of his classmates laughed at what they saw. After a while Leo’s classmates began liking turtles and hating forest fires. I think that Leo felt happy because they had began to understand how some are “Slower Than The Rest”. “Leo’s teacher had tears in her eyes”during his presentation.

“That afternoon the whole school assembled in the gymnasium to bring the special week to a close”. When the dancers proffered “Leo wondered if he should laugh at the dancers like everyone else”, But he did not feel like it, instead he was in his own little world.”Finally the principal stood up and began a long talk. But Leo just thought about being home.” When Somebody whispered  his  name he could not hear. he was to busy drifted off in his thoughts. Then he heard his whole school chanting his name. Leo had won for having the best presentation.

“He looked back and saw his principal smile at him”. He was so happy Leo felt like he could explode. “ And for the first time in a long time Leo felt fast.” After reading the story “Slower than The Rest” Makes me feel that it’s okay to be “Slower than the rest”,and that everyone works at their own pace.

Literary Essay on “Spaghetti”

by   Drew Boeve

In the short story, “Spaghetti” by Cynthia Rylant, Gabriel is a lonely boy needs to find a friend, but doesn’t think he could do it. Just like me when I moved out of state and never thought a friend would come.

When Gabriel is sitting on the stoop of a tall building thinking deeply about things he nearly misses a cry from the street. He thought it could have been the wind or a stubborn window. Gabriel decides to follow it. In the story it says, “ On skinny stick legs wobbling to and fro was a tiny gray kitten.” I think Cynthia Rylant put the kitten in the story because Gabriel and the kitten are both lonely. When Gabriel picked up the kitten he finally found a friend. Just like Gabriel I found a friend. Now every time I see stray cat I think of Gabriel and his new kitten friend named Spaghetti

Literary Essay

By: Bryce Akins

I think in the story, “Boar Out There” the main character Jenny wants a friend. Jenny thinks she can be friends with the wild Boar that lives in the woods. It turned out she wasn’t. This is similar to a time when I moved and I needed a friend. I moved to a new school and I was thinking I could be friends with someone nobody liked. But it turned out I didn’t become friends with him.

In the story Jenny goes to find the Boar. She finds him and is scared but she doesn’t move even though she knows he is much more powerful than her.  “Jenny matched his silence, her body was rigid but not her eyes.” I think this shows that Jenny really wants a friend. When the boar runs past her she feels sad. I feel that Jenny wonders if she’ll ever be friends with the Boar. Now she doesn’t know where to get a friend.

I also think that Jenny feels that she did find a friend in the Boar because she still looks over the fence and whispers “Boar Out There.”

After reading this story I don’t know why Jenny still thinks the Boar is her friend because if somebody ran from me I wouldn’t think that I would ever be friends with them. I feel that no matter how you see friendship you can always have a friend.

Posted on

BLOG BITS from the OFFICE 2/4/10

STUDENT PICK-UP…….. Please parents as a friendly reminder from the office….  if you are doing student pick-up after school please be aware that school is dismissed at 3:40pm and the students should be picked up no later than 3:45pm.  Just remember to take into consideration when the weather is inclimate to allow for extra travel time.  Thank you!

YEARBOOKS.….  Extra, Extra, read all about it.  Yearbooks came in last week and should have already gone home with the students that had purchased them.  We do a have a FEW EXTRA in the office that are available for purchase.  These will be sold on a first come/first serve basis and will be $10.

DONUT SALE SUCCESS!!! A big thank you to Georgetown for making our donut sale a huge success!  We sold 225 donuts and are now able to pay for our gymnastics!  Thank you for being such a wonderful and supportive school!   Mrs. Kok and students.

CLASSROOM BASKET RAFFLE…..  You should be receiving a note from your child’s classroom with their selected a basket theme.  Donations for these baskets can be sent to their classroom up until Thursday, Feb 25th.  Each classroom will have a box to drop off basket donations.  If you’d rather make a cash donation, send cash or check (made out to Georgetown PTC) to your child’s teacher.

These baskets will be on display in the main hallway outside the library March 1-3th, during the school day AND during conferences. You or your child can purchase tickets during lunch time or conferences where the baskets are on display.  Cost for a ticket is $1 The Raffle Drawing will take place on Thursday, March 4th.  Proceeds from this raffle will be going back to your child’s classroom.  Please come and try your luck on winning a basket!

Please see the attachment for the list of teachers and their basket theme.     Classroom Baskets Blog Letter 2010

5th GRADE UPDATES…….. We have tentative dates for this year’s 5th grade music testing, fitting, and parent meetings.
5th grade orientation at each Middle School (meet with counselors, tour of building, music testing, music concert with 6th graders)

  • Wednesday, March 17th Baldwin Street MS
  • Thursday, March 18th Riley Street MS
Instrument Fittings at each elementary (the 5th graders get to try different instruments)
  • April 13 –Georgetown April 21, 22  Rental Nights: Parent meetings to find out about how to get an instrument (band and orchestra only)

BOX TOP COMPETITIONS…..  Just a reminder about the LAST box top competition.  This started on January 4 and will continue through March 19.  There are two levels of the competition… the first is the top classroom from each wing EC, 1st/ 2nd, 3rd/4th, and 5th; and the second is the top boy and girl from each wing.  Please help support Georgetown by participating in this great program.  There are three ways in which to participate: 1.) CLIP box top coupons from your favorite products.   2.) SHOP at your favorite online stores through the Box Tops MarketplaceSM ( and up to 8% of your qualifying purchase will be automatically donated to your school.   3.) PURCHASE BOOKS through the Box Tops Reading RoomSM at Barnes & Noble.
FAMILY FARE REMINDER………Family Fare has just given us our “Cash for Class” dates.  Please help support our school as you do your grocery shopping during these dates.  The first dates that will be coming up are FEBRUARY 21-27. The second week for this event will be held from APRIL 18-24. This is a great way to help out our school without even having to go out of your way!
COMMUNITY ED NEWS…..Posted below:
One is for Babysitting Classes, one for Tae Kwon Do and the last is for Girls Softball clinics.  If you have further questions please call Community Ed at 669-1740 ext 3 and you may also register online at

The Hudsonville Community Education Department will be offering a seven-week workshop on becoming an Love and Logic parent starting Thursday, March 18 (skipping the week of Spring Break) from 6:30-8:00 at Park Elementary. The topics covered will include how to: raise responsible kids using the Love and Logic philosophy, respond to kids with empathy, design appropriate consequences, avoid power struggles, share control through choices, and use enforceable statements.  The cost of the workshop is $10 to cover the cost of materials.  Childcare is provided free of charge.  To register, please e-mail Kristi Sherrington at

Posted on

BMS Orientation Dates

As we move into the new year,  we are getting set  for our new kinders and preparing our 5th graders for middle school.  Orientation, instrument fittings and information nights are posted below.  Mark your calendars!   A note from Mr. Powers, the BMS principal, outlines the time line for these dates on this letter:   Parent Letter-6th Grade Timeline

Orientation for our 5th graders at Baldwin  Middle School (meet with counselors, tour of building, music testing, music concert with 6th graders)—Parents do not attend this event.  Your child’s teacher will accompany the class during the school day.

  • Wednesday, March 17th Baldwin Street MS
Instrument Fittings (the 5th graders get to try different instruments) held at school–parents need not attend:
  • Tuesday, April 13  at Georgetown, 1:30 to 3:30 pm

Rental Nights: Parent meetings to find out about how to get an instrument (band and orchestra only):

  • April 21 and 22  (Details will be coming in March.)
Posted on


WOW…….  here comes a whole lot of information from the Georgetown office.  It has been a very  BUSY 1st week back to school from holiday break!!


FROM THE OFFICE…. Just a reminder from the TRANSPORTATION DEPT. AND THE OFFICE, parents MAY NOT drop students off in the back of the school!!  Either in the bus loop or the back parking lot by the Middle School.  This is imperative for the safety of the students.  PLEASE drop students off in the circle drive in the front of the school. We thank you for your cooperation in this matter!  We just want to make sure every student is safe and sound!

BOX TOP WINNERS….The individual box top winners area as follows:

K/1  Wing Boy=Carson Bretz (Huizenga) / Girl=Skylar Hill (Stadt);  2/3 Wing Boy=Brendan Ham (McDonald) / Girl=Chloe Patrick (Quigley);  4/5 Wing Boy=Noah Ambrose (Jurewicz) / Girl=Linnae Conkel (Burdis)

Individual prize is a board game and $5 gift card to Barnes and Noble.

Classroom winners are as follows:

K/1  Wing Classroom winner = Woodring;  2/3 Wing Classroom winner=Greenlund;  4/5 Wing Classroom winner=Jurewicz

Classroom winners will be rewarded  with having lunch and watching a movie.


The Third Graders would like to have an ongoing school wide pop can drive to collect money to buy books. We would then make book baggies for children at Georgetown (readers that struggle either with interest, skills or financially) to read over the summer. We would also like to donate our gently used books that we have “grown out of” to the younger grades. During this project we will be gathering data, making wish lists and in the end purchasing books so please send in your empty cans to either Miss VanArkel or Mrs. McDonald’s classroom.

5TH GRADE INFORMATION–VERY IMPORTANT NEW Immunization Requirements for 2010-2011 School Year ~ We have recently been notified by the State that beginning with the next school year, all incoming 6th graders (current 5th grade students) will have additional immunization requirements as stated below:

1.  Two doses of Varicella vaccine or have a history of having chickenpox.
2.  One dose of meningococcal vaccine.
3.  One dose of tetanus/diphtheria/acellular pertussis (Tdap) (if 5 years or more have passed since last dose of tetanus/diphtheria vaccine – DTaP, Td or DT).

If your child needs immunizations, please make work of completing these immunizations during the 5th grade school year. Doing so will be a great help to the Middle School Secretaries who need to check for immunization compliance for every 6th grade student in our district.

Please be advised, that any child who has not had all of his or her immunizations will not be allowed to start 6th grade.


Please read the attached flyers in regards to two upcoming events from Community Ed.  One is for Gymnastics and Dance and the other is for Gymnastics and More.  Gymnasitcs and Dance is offered for ages 2-6.  Gymnastics and more is for ages 1st grade and up.  Please fill out the attached forms and return to Community Ed of visit and you can register online.




Come support the volleyball program on January 13 at Culver’s in Jenison!  The high school volleyball players will be working and a portion of the profits that evening will go to the volleyball program.  Take your family and eat at Culver’s from 4 pm to 9 pm on Wednesday, January 13 and support your volleyball program!

The Hudsonville Athletic Boosters are once again sponsoring the Eagle 10k/5k. On March 27, 2010 at 9am the runs will take place starting at Hudsonville High School and running through the city of Hudsonville. This is a fund raiser for the Athletes of Hudsonville High School. For more information log onto or, be sure to mark your calendars for this event. If you would like to volunteer to work this event please call 893-5830 or email through the website.  Thank you for your support of Hudsonville Athletics.


Georgetown Little League……  Georgetown Little League in-person registration will occur on January 16 & 23 from 9 – 1 at the Jenison High School Media Center. Online registrations are open now and will run through at least February 14 with some divisions having late registration with a $10 late fee until February 28.  Little League is open to girls who are 5 before 12/31/09 and boys who are 5 before 4/30/10.  If you live north of Port Sheldon and east of 56th Ave , Georgetown Little League is your Little League.  More information is available at or you may call Rob at 437-5054.

Hudsonville Little League…… Hudsonville Little League’s season is just around the corner. If you’re in our district and would like to play this season, then please pre-register on our Website at to make the registration process go faster on Saturday, Jan 23rd. It’s quick and easy…

Let us know if you have any problems registering online and we Hope to see you this season playing the Great American Game of Baseball… Thanks,  Coach Bob
Okay I do believe that is all for now.  Whoo… hopefully that will be enough “light” reading for you until next time!!!
Have a great weekend!
Mrs. Nurenberg  : )
Posted on

Instrument Fittings

We work very closely with the Baldwin Middle School staff to prepare our current 5th graders for their transition to sixth grade.  Mr. Dave Powers, the BMS principal, and his team work through every single step from course selection, elective scheduling, to instrument fittings and much more!  Mr. Ron Good, the band director, spent the morning at Georgetown matching 5th graders with a just right instrument for next year.  Check out these fun snapshots we caught of the event.

Posted on

BMS 6th Grade Orientation

5th Grade Parents:

Baldwin Street Middle School will be holding its 6th Grade Parent/Student Orientation Night on Monday,   May 4, from 7:00-8:30 p.m.  On this night parents and students will meet our administrators and counselors.  They will also learn about our academic, exploratory, prime time, and extended opportunity programs, and have ample time to ask questions.  The Orientation Night schedule is as follows:

7:00-7:45 – Overview of Middle School Program
7:45-8:00 – Q&A Session
8:00-8:30 – Opportunity to tour the building

If you have questions, please contact BMS at 669-7750.

Posted on

Symphony Trip: 5th Grade

The 5th grade students have a wonderful opportunity coming up to attend the Grand Rapids Symphony orchestra. The GR Symphony offers a special educational concert open only to 5th grade students. Since we have been studying orchestras and the families of instruments in class, this provides an exciting, hands-on culmination of our studies.

This year, our concert will take place on Tuesday, March 10. It will be held at Central Wesleyan in Holland at 11:10 am.  The concert is 50 minutes long.  If you would be interested in attending as a chaperone, contact your child’s teacher.  There are a few chaperone spots open.  This concert is only open to 5th grade students.  Younger siblings will be not be allowed to attend.

We look forward in sharing this musical experience with the students. Since this is a special symphony orchestra performance, we do encourage the students to dress nicely that day if possible. For more information, please check out the music blog. If you have any questions, please contact me!

Mrs. Bretz,; 797-9797 x 22411