Fourth Graders and A Dead Lizard

Pink Think: “There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

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I went into my fourth grader’s class today and told them to imagine a dead lizard.

I read to them a short story I had written about a fictional dead lizard their class wanted to keep as a pet and had them each write their own ending. You can find it (the story, not the lizard) here in my horror fiction blog. Though it isn’t a horror story, it is about a dead lizard so I thought it was close enough.

After I read the page-long story, I gave them five minutes to come up with their own ending. I myself didn’t really know what the ending was. One of the kids said their teacher put gum on the feet of the dead lizard and threw it at a teacher next door; another said their teacher dove out the window and saved the lizard. Many brought back the lizard to life; it wasn’t dead, kidding!

I loved watching their excited faces. Yeah! Fiction rocks.

I had the hardest time writing the story because, well, when you know that these kids are reading Fablehaven and Harry Potter, the pressure is high. Plus, I usually write horror stories that involve disturbing things, and I knew this audience wasn’t the Stephen King crowd. I went ahead anyway and gave it my best shot, then was pleased to hear some chuckles as I read the story, which featured my daughter and her best friend.

Unfortunately, my own daughter didn’t want me to read her ending; neither did she want to read it herself, so her ending is a mystery to me, the stinker. I tried to tell her, “I am the teacher,” but that didn’t work.

I get to volunteer and do this once a month for my daughter’s class. It sure beats making copies and correcting papers.

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