Teachers Connect
Jul 10, 2019

Peer Review & Feedback

Two key aspects of the ABC Curriculum are revision and publication. The goal is to provide multiple opportunities for our students to share, receive constructive feedback, and revise their text. Put yourself in your students’ shoes!

  • Share (publish) one writing sample you’ve composed this week
  • Peer review two (2) of your colleagues’ work. Offer explicit suggestions for ways their writing might be improved (reference 6+1 Traits).
  • Reflect on your colleagues’ recommendations—what suggestions were offered that might improve your composition?

82 Responses to Peer Review & Feedback

  1. Alexandra Cheshire says:

    This is Just to Say

    We are having cereal for dinner tonight

    I have taught for six hours,
    done multiple loads of laundry and
    have played your Uber driver this afternoon

    Forgive me for not making each of you,
    my three dear children,
    your own favorite hot meal

    We are having cereal tonight and
    Quite possibly tomorrow too

    • Maria Chamorro-Beckenhauer says:

      I can relate to your story. Your topic is clear and you have included relevant strong detail. You included precise words to exprese your ideas.

    • Wendy Cresswelll says:

      This resonates with me so much since I am a single mom. Cooking after work was the last thing I wanted to do! I like how you repeated the phrase, “We are having cereal tonight.” Repetition is an organizational tool and helps add closure to your poem. I think you could economize on your word use a bit especially at the beginning. (Played Uber driver). Love your poem!

  2. Stacey W. says:

    Just to Say . . .

    The dishes are in the sink.
    And the bathroom towels are on the floor.

    The wet clothes are still in the washing machine.
    And the bed is unmade.

    The unopened mail is stacked on the table.
    And the grass is 6 inches high.

    Forgive me,
    but I was binge watching Netflix.

    • Monique W says:

      How crisp, power packed story filled with imagery, descriptive words – “wet clothes”; “grass 6 inches high” and humor. Your thoughts were well organized and you painted a picture with beautiful, short strokes.

      • Lynn Zinder says:

        I have never been much of a Netflix watcher until recently, however I just got hooked. I understand exactly what you mean. Unfortunately now I have to decide between that and reading a book. Great writing.

    • Beth Saguto says:

      This is so relatable! I really like the humor in your writing, but I also think it speaks to a more serious idea, which is self-care! As teachers, we need to take care of ourselves to be able to give all that we do.

  3. Lynn Zinder says:

    My Grandmother Betty

    Just about everytime I would visit my grandmother in Queens, New York I would admire her beautiful floor to ceiling birdcage. She would always remark that when she died she would gift it to me. My response back was always, you never are going to die!

    My grandmother was one of four girls and the favorite to my great-grandfather Nathan. When she married as a young woman her life changed forever. My Grandfather meant well, however he was obsessed with control. My grandmother was caged. Although living as a wife and mother, she never got to live her own way. Even a small matter as driving a car became a problem for her because my grandfather secretly had her car stolen so she could never drive again.

    My grandfather passed away in his late eighties and although it left her with a void in her life, it was only then that she began to live. At this time she met George. George was a kind man and became my grandmother’s companion for several years. She was never really in love but enjoyed eating out, going to the movies, and even driving a car. The problem for her family was that she never wanted George to know her real age. At the age of 85 she became 75 and we intern had to always subtract 10 from our ages.

    George and her continued to enjoy many happy times until his passing. Shortly after, my grandmother came to visit us and never left. All her “stuff’ was left behind and once again she started a new life at an assisted living facility. She claimed that this was the best time in her life. The shopping trips took a little bit longer but it was never surprising for us to leave her in the shoe department and come back a little while later and she would have an assortment of styles by her feet. The eating out was always a favorite, as we all would cringe as she sent back dish after dish of food that did not meet her standards. Once she was even challenged by a waiter who accused her of finishing off half her plate before she complained.

    As I pass by the birdcage that sits in my dining room each day, i think of my Grandmother and her “caged” life and how she freed herself to be the extraordinary person I greatly miss today.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Nice use of imagery. The theme of caged was well-developed and the birdcage was a satisfying addition. No need for those quotation marks…try italics instead.

    • Lindsay Elcano says:

      Your story really painted a beautiful picture of your grandmother. I feel like I understood how you viewed her as a family and as an individual. I think your main idea is quite clear and the metaphor of the birdcage comes across well. I think you could think about some of your ordering of words/word choice. Perhaps instead of saying obsessed with control you could say, He was controlling. Or in the second to last paragraph at the end saying Once a waiter challenged her when she sent back a plate half finished.

      Great job I enjoyed reading about her!!!

    • Lynn, I love the story about your grandmother, Betty. I also had a Grandmother Betty, but am not fortunate enough to have such fond memories. 😉 I love the detail and images you conjured up for your readers. Thank you!

  4. cindy says:

    Salted Muffins…
    My family consisted of a mom and dad, two sisters and one brother. My siblings were fairly close in age. I am the second child, the rule-follower, the peacekeeper, the protector. My older sister was just 13 months older than I. My brother is 2 years younger and my baby sister, 5 years younger. By the time my mom was 26 years old, she had four children.
    My mom loved to pass down her knowledge of things. She was very serious about teaching her children to clean up, iron, do laundry correctly, and clean the kitchen after a meal. Do it right the first time or you will be trying it again! All things good children should know. She also passed down her love of cooking. Not so much meal cooking, but dessert and breakfast foods.
    When I was about 8 years old, my mom let me make muffins all by myself. I was so excited, I got out my ingredients, my mixing bowl, the measuring cup, and the teaspoons. I greased the tins so they would be ready. I got the step-stool and got to work. I felt so grown up as I prepared a nice treat for my family. I got them in the oven and waited. It felt like forever but finally, the buzzer went off. Mom helped me take them out of the oven. What happened?? They were concave! Mom and I talked about what might have happened and she said to just taste them and they might be good. Well, we tasted them…they were so salty!!!! I mean REALLY salty. What happened???? After looking over my ingredients, we found that I put in SALT instead of SUGAR. We threw the whole batch away. I tried them another day. I learned to double check ingredients and recipes before I start. This lesson, among so many others, has stayed with me for decades.

    • Gayle K says:

      I enjoyed reading your story. It reminded me of all the times I baked with my mom when I was younger.

      The topic of your story was clear and focused. You provided many supportive details to keep the story flowing. You created vivid imagery through your word choice. I was able to picture this event as I was reading it.

      Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful memory of yours.

    • Maria Chamorro-Beckenhauer says:

      When you learned from your mistakes is does stick to you better.
      I am too the second child. I have many connections with your story.
      Your topic is interesting with relevant and strong details. The events in your story is easy to follow I can even see and taste the cupcake.

    • Jessica A. says:

      Great story! I enjoyed the beginning where you introduced your mom and described how teaching her children how to cook was important. Describing the steps also created a bit of suspense. Nicely done!

  5. Lindsay Heider Diamond says:

    I didn’t do the dishwasher,
    take out the trash or vacuum the floor.
    I didn’t walk the dogs today.

    I didn’t do the laundry,
    scoop the poop from the backyard.
    I didn’t pick up a thing.

    Forgive me, dear children,
    for those are your chores.
    Now where is my wine and my book?

    • Paula Smithson says:

      Short, sweet, and to the point. It made me feel like I am not alone. There is a nice rhythm to the poem. I like the poems people have written like yours that have a sharpness to them. Your main topic is clear and strong. You have a distinct voice. It goes beyond the listing of things when you defy them by stating that you did not do a thing! So Great!

    • Monique W says:

      Lindsay, enjoyed your post, and I can visualize all the things you touched on. I especially like your tone/voice behind it. I wonder what this would sound like with descriptive words, i.e., the floor, wine or genre of book?
      (I like red wine myself…HA)

    • Lindsay,
      I love the sense of humor you captured in your poem. And I, too, don’t feel so alone with the subject matter! Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Kristin A says:

    Personal Narrative

    RENTAL CAR CONTRACTS

    A good reason to get married is that some rental car companies waive the additional driver fee for spouses. Normally, you have to pay extra if you intend to have more than one driver, but the office was busy that day and the man assumed we were married. We corrected him, but the long line behind us meant that he’d let us get away with it this one time, since changing it now would mean he’d have to start all over.

    Turns out crossing international borders is prohibited by most rental car agreements in the United States, but we didn’t know that yet. We could drive all the way to Mexico, I thought as we made our way down the coast of Oregon, stopping at the place I saw a photo of on the internet. The one that prompted me to spend the two weeks prior to the trip learning everything I could about tides so that we could plan to be there at the exact right time of day to see the ocean swallowed up by the jagged rock formation along the coast. We were late, but the timing was even better than I had planned. And we were alone, except for the man taking photographs of the sunset, who we took a photograph of just as he was knocked down by the exuberant Pacific.

    Rental car contracts say that you must stay on paved roadways, but I’m glad we didn’t know that yet. As our little Ford Fiesta trekked down the dirt path in Northern California that the man on the message board had recommended, we had no idea that we were violating any rules or regulations. If I had known I might have said we should skip it. The road felt so long. Only ten miles maybe, but the curves and bumps kept us moving slowly, the rocky path making us feel almost as if we were in a horse carriage rather than a motor vehicle. But I was grateful for that time together – full of excitement and anticipation of a new place to explore.

    One thing that we both knew already is that you aren’t allowed to drive through bodies of water in a rental car. That pond in the middle of the road was unexpected, seven miles in, the fading daylight keeping us on the clock. It must have formed at the dip in the trail from a heavy summer rain. It wasn’t immediately clear if we’d be able to traverse the rough waters. Maybe, we thought, if we were to be interrogated by the rental car authorities, we’d simply call it a puddle and act puzzled when the condition of our car was brought into question. So we waited for other adventurers to see how they’d proceed. Meanwhile we investigated the pond. We used sticks to calculate it’s depth. Rock-paper-scissors battling to see who would walk through it. Then suddenly before either of us got our feet wet, we heard a vehicle approaching. An SUV. We watched as the monster truck drove through the water with seemingly little difficulty. “Just don’t slow down,” the woman warned as she assured us we could make it in our basically toy-sized car.

    Apprehensively, we got back into our tiny rental. I made Chris drive. He floored it through the pond. Success! Adrenaline pumping, we cheered and beaming with pride from our accomplishment we bounced down the last three miles of the trail.

    We arrived at a place so magical that it looked like it could have been from a movie. The ferns lined the canyon as far as the eye could see. The walls towering over us with dewy ferns sparkling in the late afternoon sunlight. We waded through the crisp stream, so exhilarated and in love, filled with excitement for our future and the adventures that lie before us. But all I could think about as we explored that beautiful canyon on that memorable summer evening was whether we’d ever be able to get back across that pond to return our rental car.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      I liked how you used the rental car reference to move your narrative forward. And you seem to have a knack for descriptive writing with a humor thrown in for good measure. Of course, I need to know…did Chris stick around? How did it all work out? LOL!

      • Kristin A says:

        He did stick around! He’s my husband now and we never have to pay for additional rental car drivers anymore!

  7. Lindsay Elcano says:

    This is Just to Say

    I threw my cup in the trash,
    I could have recycled it.

    I could have brought my own
    Or made my coffee at home
    And composted the grinds.

    Forgive me,
    I want to be greener.
    It is a work in progress.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Your poem has a confessional quality that is refreshing…Have you thought about revising the last line? [I am a work in progress]…slightly changes the tone of the poem. What do you think?

    • colleen says:

      I like that this is quick and to the point and relatable to many people. A suggestion would be to add one more line to your first stanza, so all stanza’s have 3 lines. I “strive” to be greener may be more a tier II word to use..?

  8. Colleen says:

    This is Just to Say Poem

    This is just to say
    I was ready to shine

    You had to leave behind
    a warm and cozy home

    A twinkling Christmas Tree
    a jolly two year old

    A good night sleep
    an energetic morning

    Forgive me Mom and Dad
    I was born on Christmas morning

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      I’m sure your parents were thrilled to leave their warm, holiday-filled home. Text to self-connection? My son was a Christmas baby, too! Well done.

    • Erica says:

      I love this line, ” I was ready to shine.” It sets up the whole story!
      Lovely composition, build, and conclusion!

  9. Colette says:

    Quick write
    This is just to say!

    I’m not sorry that I am going on vacation.
    Twill be the most relaxing and rejuvenating one of all.

    I’ll be a snoozing in my hammock,
    Not taking any calls at all.

    Forgive me but it’s your turn parents,
    to yell, to tell, to warn and reward.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      I don’t think you’re sorry at all! Your sarcasm shines! And I love your last line–your use of assonance provides a musical quality. Nice!

    • Kristin A says:

      I love the last line here and I think that your word choices throughout are really wonderful. I also think you have a very clear and distinct voice. Your topic is relatable and simple, which I appreciate. Fantastic job on this, Colette!

  10. Jessica A. says:

    This is to say
    I’ve been turning more inward these days
    Away from deeds that try to change the world
    by changing others.
    No more activists meetings, protests, letters to the editor.
    Now I’m with my sketchbook by the stream
    at the yoga class
    making picture books for the nephews
    getting acupuncture or massage.
    Forgive me, world, as I appear selfish
    For I’ve discovered that
    the best way to make you better
    is to nurture and share my gifts
    enjoy your beauty
    and work on myself.

    • Lindsay Heider Diamond says:

      I can relate to this and appreciate the voice that you use, one of knowing and confidence. I appreciate the specifics you mention for it gives me a clearer picture of the actions. I do not have any suggestions to change it. I love it as it Is! Perfect.

    • colleen says:

      I love this! I think this is quite relatable to many people, in a world where we seem to be pulled in hundreds of directions all the time. I like how you used a short list of “old things” and your new list is longer, as it should be! I also like that you are talking to yourself, but at the same time offering advice. I wonder for your short sentence about yoga if you can use word choice to allow us to “see” you in yoga?

  11. Allen says:

    This is Just to Say

    When I kicked you
    the other day
    as I was walking
    down the hall

    As you were
    lying on the floor
    waiting
    to be fed

    Forgive me
    for not seeing you
    in the dark
    in the middle of the hallway.

    • Lindsay Heider Diamond says:

      I can get a clear sense of the irony here. The last line is great! I wonder if you could add some images that expand the visuals. Like descriptive about the hair or the shape the pet makes in the hallway. Something that bring more imagery to this great little pics of writing.

    • Lindsay Elcano says:

      I loved this the first time you read it in class! It is so funny and relatable to anyone with a pet. I think it is expressive with a strong voice and the audience understands what the poem is about. I wonder if you could mention the time of day and why it was dark in the hallway to add some more descriptive words. Great job!

  12. Maria Chamorro-Beckenhauer says:

    This just to say

    I have put all
    the beer bottles
    you collected in
    the recycling vin

    Over the year
    the bottles
    obscured
    my view to
    my garden

    Forgive me
    now I can enjoy
    my garden

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      LOL! It sounds like beer bottles wasn’t the only thing that landed in the recycle bin! Nice use of sarcasm!

      • Colette says:

        Maria, your poem is a great read. Your ideas present the clear of taking back your garden. Well written. Very clear,

  13. Gayle K says:

    This is just to say…

    I have no pencils
    in Norbirt the Duck
    for you to use

    Some pencils went
    on diets and disappeared
    in the dust

    Others grew legs
    and walked away

    Forgive me
    they went so quickly
    you will need to be
    creative and write with
    something else.

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Sarcastic teacher? You might depersonalize the poem further…Instead of ‘I have no pencils…’, consider ‘there are no pencils.’ That removes your complicity. Nice job.

    • Lynn Zinder says:

      Great read! I definitely agree with your thoughts. I hope you have a great vacation, we all deserve a vacation!

  14. Niya Robinson says:

    This Is Just to Say
    I’m sorry that I didn’t listen when you were speaking.

    I just thought I could make it on my own and figure it all out.

    Forgive me God and thank you for never leaving me.

  15. Beth Saguto says:

    I am the oldest of three sisters. This story is about Emily, my middle sister – the classic “middle child.” We grew up on the outskirts of a very small town in rural Pennsylvania. When each of us turned 16 and learned to drive, our parents procured an old car for us out of necessity. For me, this meant my grandparents’ old 1977 Caprice Classic; I swear that thing was as long as our house!

    For Emily, the good news was that her car was a more manageable sedan. The bad news is that it was “Barney” – bright purple, and easily identifiable. With Emily’s car came some rules: no leaving town, and no friends in the car. My parents had learned from their friends experience that teenage girls together in cars was ill advised.

    A few months after Emily got her license and adopted Barney, she called my stepmom; I happened to be home. “Mom, I had a fender bender,” she began. “Where are you?” “Somerset.” [Somerset is the county seat, about 30 minutes away. Strike One.]

    My stepmom, appearing calm, continued, “What happened?”

    “Well, the car in front of me stopped at the light as it turned red, and I rear-ended it. I didn’t notice he had stopped, I thought he was going to go through as it turned from yellow to red.”

    “Why weren’t your eyes on the road?”

    “I was talking to Amber.” [Strike Two.]

    “I see.” After a long pause, my stepmom asked, “Is the other driver hurt?”

    “I don’t think so, but he didn’t get out of the car.”

    “Why?”

    “He’s that County Commissioner. You know: the one who uses a wheelchair.”

    “Emily. Are you telling me that 1) you drove to Somerset; 2) with a friend in the car; and 3) rear-ended an elected official who uses a wheelchair?”

    “Yes”.

    Strike Three.

    When my car was in the shop a few days later, my dad offered, “You can drive Barney. Emily won’t be needing it for awhile.”

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      That Emily! She sounds like my daughter! I made lots of text-to-self connections. Thanks for making me laugh.

      • Rosemary Fessinger says:

        Beth,
        Great story! I enjoy the pace of the story. It consistently builds without distraction. You keep the reader hanging on waiting for the consequences you have shown us are coming. You succeed in putting the reader inside the mind of your step mom and we are listening and thinking with her.

        I believe you have hit all of the marks on the rubric! Your topic is clear and interesting, as well as relevant to a wide audience. The voice is very strong and gives off that dry sense of humor. Your choice of words carried that consistent tone of funny but not funny throughout. Nice job.

  16. This is just to say

    I cannot help myself

    I need to travel

    Experience new things

    Differing cultures

    Differing ideals

    Differing landscapes

    Forgive me

    I must purchase that ticket!

    • Gayle K says:

      I love this poem. It is short, sweet, and to the point and so true for anyone who has a passion to travel.

      The main idea is clear and focused. You have a distinct point of view. You carefully chosen your words for precise meaning and from personal experience. You created a vivid image through your word choice as well.

      Thank you for sharing your poem.

    • Wendy Cresswell says:

      I am a traveller too, so I loved this poem! I like the use of repetition with the word “differing” as it makes your poem flow. The ending surprised me a bit because I thought it changed the tone of your poem. (Made it lighter-less serious). I am wondering if spending money on a ticket is really what you need to be forgiven for or if it is something else? For me, the idea would be different, but it is your poem! Nice job!

    • Stacey W. says:

      I like how you repeated the word, “Differing.” This word choice lets the reader imagine all of the different experiences this speaker needs to have. Your idea is very clear.

  17. RosaMaria F Gamble says:

    This is just to say
    This biography is really about me:
    The patient husband;
    The powerful children;
    Our faithful pets.

    This biography is really about passions:
    Encouraging dreams;
    Family and friends;
    San Miguel de Allende
    And vibrant celebrations.

    This book is really about me:
    Forgive me,
    I am usually taking the photographs.
    RosaMaría Gamble
    July 10th, 2019

    • Rosemary Fessinger says:

      Your poem suggests a satisfied life. Reading your poem was a good way to start my day!

    • Kristin A says:

      RosaMaria, I am so inspired by this wonderful poem. I love the idea of this and how it suggests your behind-the-scenes influence of a beautiful family life. I loved the word choices “encouraging dreams” and “vibrant celebrations”. Your voice is strong and clear here. I’m so glad you shared this piece!

    • Beth Saguto says:

      Your adjectives paint a really beautiful and clear picture. Well done!

  18. Paula Smitthson says:

    This is just to say…
    That I kept your money,
    that was left in your jeans pocket,
    that were left on the floor,
    that were under layers of other dirty clothes. Left for a maid we do not have.

    I know you will not miss it, you never do.
    So I apologize, and here will sit and sip my Caramel Macchiato and think sweet thoughts of you.

    • Erica says:

      Paula, there is so much to love about this poem! I particularly enjoyed the “sweet thoughts” while sipping the sweet drink. I think the maid definitely got paid! 🙂

    • Allen says:

      Paula,
      Your apology is great! Checking my pockets before putting clothes in the laundry is the last thing I do. It is clear that you are the one who does the laundry and benefits from the lack of checking pockets. I wonder if you could use more vivid verbs when explaining the process, or colorful adjectives when describing the clothes and your drink. Overall, Great writing.

  19. Monique W says:

    Alabama Blues?

    Suffocating, one-hundred-degree, inescapable heat…

    Playing red light/green light, dodge ball, hide-and-seek, running through sprinklers, making mud pies, constructing forts behind the stately pine tree in our front yard, skateboarding down curvaceous, steep hills, bicycling, catching frisbees, footballs, frogs from a nearby creek and fireflies were summer pastimes for the children in Smithfield Estates. Racing home when the street lights came on was a real thing, not something that occurred in a far-off land. My neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama was a newly developed, close-knit community of mothers and fathers and their children and pets.

    My family stood out like a sore thumb. My mom, dad, two brothers and I, along with our miniature collie named T, lived in the same house. Though my father was not present much of the time due to his over indulgence of alcohol, he had the loudest presence. Despite many hopeless times, there were countless loving, yet funny moments that overshadowed the darkness and served as a warm blanket for us all. Somehow, in some miraculous way, I and my brothers ended up ‘mostly’ unscathed.

    After the death of my father, when I was six years old, my mother’s mother came to live with us. My grandmother’s quiet, gentle welcoming presence now filled our house with the aromas of homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, chicken and dumplings, laughter and love – lots of love. Having her with us was medicine to our souls.

    In later years, though, she became increasingly forgetful due to a series of mini strokes. Living with grandma became like the Forrest Gump saying, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” This statement took on a whole new meaning, one day.

    One sunny afternoon, my mother announced she was taking me and my brothers to the movies to see King Kong. What a rare treat this was and how thrilled we kids were. Before we left, my grandmother prepared a large pot of spaghetti and meatballs. Because we were heading to an early show, we voted to eat after the movie. When we returned home with our growling stomachs and large appetites, I heard my mother exclaim at the top of her voice, “Mom, what happened to ALL the spaghetti?!” “I gave it to T,” grandma said nonchalantly. “You What?!” “Why would you do that?” “He was hungry!!” In utter disbelief, we stood in the middle of the kitchen staring at the empty pot….my mother….my grandmother.

    “Who wants cereal?”

    • cindy says:

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! Your writing skill is wonderful and you painted a perfect picture! Even though you verbally told me the story yesterday, I felt I was hearing it for the first time. Beautifully done!

  20. Monique W says:

    ‘Almost’ Spaghetti…

    Suffocating, one-hundred-degree, inescapable heat…

    Playing red light/green light, dodge ball, hide-and-seek, running through sprinklers, making mud pies, constructing forts behind the stately pine tree in our front yard, skateboarding down curvaceous, steep hills, bicycling, catching frisbees, footballs, frogs from a nearby creek and fireflies were summer pastimes for the children in Smithfield Estates. Racing home when the street lights came on was a real thing, not something that occurred in a far-off land. Our neighborhood in Birmingham, Alabama was a newly developed, close-knit community of mothers and fathers and their children and pets.

    My family stood out like a sore thumb. My mom, dad, two brothers and I, along with our miniature collie named T, lived in the same house. Though my father was not present much of the time due to his over indulgence of alcohol, he had the loudest presence. Despite many hopeless times, there were countless loving, yet funny moments that overshadowed the darkness and served as a warm blanket for us all. Somehow, in some miraculous way, I and my brothers ended up ‘mostly’ unscathed.

    After the death of my father, when I was six years old, my mother’s mother came to live with us. My grandmother’s quiet, gentle welcoming presence now filled our house with the aromas of homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, chicken and dumplings, laughter and love – lots of love. Having her with us was medicine to our souls.

    In later years, though, she became increasingly forgetful due to a series of mini strokes. Living with grandma became like the Forest Gump saying, “life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” This statement took on a whole new meaning, one day.

    One sunny afternoon, my mother announced she was taking me and my brothers to the movies to see King Kong. What a rare treat this was and how thrilled we kids were. Before we left, my grandmother prepared a large pot of spaghetti and meatballs. Because we were heading to an early show, we voted to eat after the movie. When we returned home with our growling stomachs and large appetites, I heard my mother exclaim at the top of her voice, “Mom, what happened to ALL the spaghetti?!” “I gave it to T,” grandma said nonchalantly. “You What?!” “Why would you do that?” “He was hungry!!” In utter disbelief, we stood in the middle of the kitchen staring at the empty pot….my mother….my grandmother.

    “Who wants cereal?”

    • Stacey W. says:

      Your first paragraph is full of imagery and I can clearly visualize your neighborhood. The second paragraph doesn’t seem to fully go with the rest of the story and I might suggest leaving it out. I love the ending of your story!

      • Monique W says:

        Thanks, Stacey, for the feedback. I totally agree. By the end, I felt like I had 3 separate stories, :)! Will definitely revise.

    • Allen says:

      Monique,
      I loved your narrative. I felt almost transported into your life for a moment with all your descriptive words. You say that your family stuck out like a sore thumb. I’m wondering how did you not fit with the community? You could explain that fact a little more. Thank you for sharing such a personal story.

    • Niya Robinson says:

      I can relate to your story on so many different levels with my grandmother going through a great deal of memory loss now. Your writing was so detailed to the point that I could see myself in NC making mud pies again as a little girl.

  21. Wendy Cresswell says:

    This is Just to Say

    You follow
    my tattoo
    with your
    disapproving
    eyes.

    It won’t
    disappear
    no matter
    how hard
    you wish it
    to be so.

    Forgive me
    it was a
    small way
    to rebel.

    • Erica says:

      I can relate to this as both a parent and a tattooed lady. I feel like the last line could be…more. Either more concise? Or maybe more…I don’t know. It makes me want to know what you were rebelling against. And were there big rebellions too?
      Also, as an artist, I would love to see this printed over an image of the tattoo!

      • RosaMaria F Gamble says:

        Thank you for your post! I love the first lines in your poem, your word choice helps creat an image in mi mind of a parent looking at the tattoo in dismay. Well done!

    • Jessica A. says:

      Nice! I wonder if you could integrate in an image or two – maybe give the reader a sense of what the tattoo looks like, colors, etc. or how it has meaning for the speaker.

  22. Paula Smithson says:

    Beth,
    Great story! I enjoy the pace of the story. It consistently builds without distraction. You keep the reader hanging on waiting for the consequences you have shown us are coming. You succeed in putting the reader inside the mind of your step mom and we are listening and thinking with her.

    I believe you have hit all of the marks on the rubric! Your topic is clear and interesting, as well as relevant to a wide audience. The voice is very strong and gives off that dry sense of humor. Your choice of words carried that consistent tone of funny but not funny throughout. Nice job.

  23. Erica says:

    This is just to say
    that I knew I was leaving
    years before
    I actually left.

    I had thought we would grow old,
    and together,
    but you never grew.

    Forgive me.
    I chose the children,
    and the dog,
    instead of you.

    • cindy says:

      This is well written and very concise. I feel your emotions in your few words. This left me with several conflicting thoughts The conflicting thoughts are more on a personal nature instead of your writing. And that is what writing should do…well done!

    • Alexandra Cheshire says:

      Your word count is minimal but each word packs a punch. I physically felt the emotion when you read this out loud in class. Your repetition (grow and grew) illuminates the main idea.

  24. Shawanda says:

    This is just to say…

    I didn’t wash the dishes this morning
    I got caught up in how to place the pillows on the made bed

    Please forgive me
    At least we have plans to go out to eat this evening

    • Alexandra Cheshire says:

      The third line is painting a visual image for me. I can see you doing the more satisfying household chores and can relate! I guess I’d like to know a little more about the dinner plans, but I also realize that this poem is meant to be short and sweet.

      • RosaMaria F Gamble says:

        Thank you for your post! I can relate to this poem. It is usually challenfging to know which pillow goes where in me bed. Each one of us have our favorite pillow, but when I make the bed, they all get thrown, gently, in the same pile. I like the sentence structure, specially in the pillow sentence. Your poem is short and concise. Well done!

  25. Allen says:

    *Revised*

    This is Just to Say

    When I kicked you
    the other day
    as I sleepily stumbled
    down the dark hallway

    As you were lying
    in the middle of my path “patiently”
    waiting to be fed

    Forgive me
    for not seeing you
    in the dark
    morning hallway.

  26. Colette Jones says:

    Loved your poem! It speaks volume.

  27. Lynn Zinder says:

    Great read! I definitely agree with your thoughts. I hope you have a great vacation, we all deserve a vacation!

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