Student Masterpieces

The fourth grade students had two major writing projects this past year.  The first project was based on the novel Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith.  In that story the main character, Henry Green, eats so much chocolate he turns into a human candy bar.  The students were asked to write a story about a different food fever.    Three of the stories below are Fever stories.  If you would like to read one of the Fever stories, choose authors Emily Duffy, Cory Hinchey, or Nick Piccioni.

The other major writing assignment was based on a joint project in reading and social studies classes.  The students studied immigration in social studies by reading a magazine called Kids Discover Immigration.  They read a short play about immigrants' experiences at Ellis Island, and listened to two books titled Journey to America and An Ellis Island Christmas.  They also read the novel The Titanic Sinks in reading class, so they had some background knowledge of what it was like to travel in third class like so many immigrants did.  The assignment was to imagine themselves as a young immigrant and keep a journal covering five days of their journey to America.  If you would like to read one of these Immigration Journals, select authors Matt Buchanan, Stephen Donaldson, or Joshua Poda.

Choose the pencil point in front of one of the names below to go directly to that story or scroll through the page and read them all.

  Emily Duffy   Cory Hinchey   Nick Piccioni
  Matt Buchanan Stephen Donaldson    Joshua Poda

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Pierogie Fever
by Emily Duffy

It started out like any other day.  Amy, of course, was eating her usual bowl of pierogies and cereal.  Amy was a nine year-old girl who loved pierogies.  She ate them raw, overcooked, just right, and daily.

Amy was tall and skinny and she had long brown hair and brown eyes.  Her family was a nice group of people.  Amy's older brother and sister, Tommy and Tammy, were twins.  Amy's mom and dad were both good workers.  They both worked at a computer company and both worked hard at their jobs.

They never seemed to worry about how many pierogies Amy ate, but other people said she might turn into a pierogie she ate so many of them.  She ate them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even when she ate other foods like pizza, fish, and chicken.

One day during Mrs. McGee's reading class Amy started to feel strange.  She looked at her arms and she had started to turn bright yellow.  She also started to smell like butter.  When Amy raised her hand, Mrs. McGee came over and took her hand, but her skin was so slippery that she couldn't even hold it!  Finally she sent Amy to the nurse.  Mrs. Marks, the nurse, thought maybe Amy painted herself the night before and it hadn't come off.  Then she thought maybe it was an allergy.

The nurse said she was a specialist on food allergies, so she asked Amy, "What's your favorite food?"  Amy replied,  "Pierogies, of course."  Amy said she was feeling even worse, and they both noticed her skin was starting to bubble like it was boiling.  Then Mrs. Marks smelled the pierogie aroma in the room.  "Pierogie Fever," said the nurse, "and I know just the cure."  "What?" asked Amy.  "Vinegar," said Mrs. Marks, "you have to drink vinegar."

Yuck thought Amy, but she drank one cup of vinegar each night for one week.  It worked!  Amy was so glad she got rid of Pierogie Fever.  Now she only eats three of them each month.

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Cookie Fever
by Cory Hinchey

Hi!  I'm Cory Hinchey.  I'm nine years old and I have brown hair and brown eyes.  I have a sister and two parents.  This is my story about Cookie Fever.  I used to love to eat cookies.  I had cookie snadwiches, cookie dough pancakes, and even cookie pieces on pizza.

It all started at home.  I was eating my usual breakfast of cookies and eggs.  As soon as I was finished, I kissed my mom and went to school.  My day was going well until reading class.  Suddenly bumps appeared all over my arms.  Mrs. Mickonis asked, "Cory, what is a synonym for stunned?"  "Little bumps all over," I answered.  "What?" Mrs. Mickonis shouted.  When she saw my arms she added, "You better get to the nurse."

As I walked to the nurse's office, I could hear crunching noises.  When I reached her door she said, "Hold it!  Don't bring any peanut butter in here."  "I don't have any," I told her.  "Well, I know something smells like peanut butter cookies," she said.  "I think it's me," I said.  "Let me do a test on you," she said.  I agreed but I asked her not to hurt me.

She took my hand.  "Why does your hand feel so soft and gooey?" she asked.  "It feels like raw cookie dough," she added.  She took a piece of the skin off and said she would send it to the science lab to be researched.  So she sent the goo to the lab and the science teacher reported that it tasted just like a peanut butter cookie.

The nurse called Dr. Green to come to the school.  He ran into the room saying, "I came as soon as I could."   The nurse explained that she thought I had some kind of fever.  "What do you think it is?" the doctor asked.  "I think it's Cookie Fever," the nurse replied.  "Oh, then I know the cure!" said Dr. Green.

"What is it?" I asked.  "It's simple, really," he said.  "First, you have to stop eating so many cookies.  Second, you have to take these GoAwayCookieFever pills."  "How long will it take to work?"  I asked.  "It will work in one hour," he told me.  "Thank you, Dr. Green," I said.  So I took the pills and in one hour my Cookie Fever went away and my life went back to normal.

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Beef Jerky Fever
    by Nick Piccioni

Hi!  My name is Nick and I am nine years old.  I have brown hair and brown eyes.  I have one brother.  I'm really normal, except for one thing; I love to eat beef jerky!  I love to eat it for breakfast, lunch, after school, and for dinner.  In fact, I spend all of my money on beef jerky.

One day after eating so much jerky, I was in math class and my skin started to turn reddish-brown.  Then my arm started to feel sticky and greasy.  I could smell something spicy.  It was my body!  I looked around to see if anyone else could see what was happening to me.

I asked to go to the restroom.  On my way my arms started to go flat and so did my feet.  I had a hard time walking.  My feet were so greasy that my shoes fell off!  When I saw myself in the mirror I fell flat on my back I was so scared.  "Great!  Now I can't get back up."  I started to yell for help.

The teacher came in and saw how flat my body was and how red my skin was.  He sent someone for the nurse.  The nurse was shocked and called 911.  When I got to the hospital I was taken right to the doctor.  He couldn't believe his eyes.  "How did you get like this?" he asked.  "I guess I ate too much beef jerky!" I said.  "How much did you eat?" he asked.  "Well, I like to eat beef jerky in ice cream, and I like to make pickle and jerky sandwiches everyday," I said.  The doctor turned to the nurse and said, "We need to run a lot of tests on this boy."  When I heard this I made a run for it!

I ran until I couldn't run any further.  I looked around and saw that I was in the middle of a field of carrots.  I was hungry, so I started to eat the carrots.  I must have eaten about a hundred carrots when I started to feel my body go back to normal!  My skin feels better and I know I will never eat that much beef jerky again!

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An Irish Immigrant's Story
     by Matt Buchanan

Dear Journal,
My name is Peter Kenneth Stranion and I am immigrating to America from Ireland.  My mama, my papa, and by little brother are coming with me to America, where we will be happy.  My family and I are leaving Ireland because our potato crop failed, and we almost starved to death.

I can't wait until tomorrow and my family can't wait either.  We can't take all of our stuff, but we can take some personal items.  Each of us have our own shamrocks that we're going to put in our bags.  We are also going to pack clothes and Mama packed a little fresh water and a little food for us to eat.  I packed only two books on leprechauns and their gold.  Papa packed the little money we had and pictures.  My mama said, "I can't wait till we start the journey."

Dear Journal,
We finally arrived at the big ship.  Papa showed cards to the man dressed in a suit that looked important.  Mama said that they were passports.  We were excited when we were walking on the big wooden ramp to the huge ship which was called the Sea Bird.  When we got on the ship we saw the first class dining room; it was beautiful.  We went down some stairs.  The man who was showing us where to go said, "The floor we just came down from was first class.  Never, ever go up there."  Papa asked "Why not?"  The man did not answer him.  The man said, "This is second class and you can never go here either."

Then we came down some other stairs and the man said, "This is third class.  This is where you will be your whole trip and you're only allowed to stay down here."  Then he went back up the stairs.  It was very dark; the lights flickered on and off and there were no windows in our cabin.  Mama said, "This is uncomfortable."  Then I said, "I want to go home."  My brother started crying he was hungry.  All of a sudden we heard the sound of the propellers and motors start.  It was so loud that I couldn't stand it.

Papa smelled raw fish and salt water and then the rest of us did too.  From all of the rocking from the sea and the vibrations from the engines, mama was getting sick.  I couldn't sleep.  I know this is not going to be a nice trip.

Dear Journal,
On the second day the weather was nice, but sometimes it looked like we would have showers.  It's not fair that we can't go up to second or first class where all of the good food and better cabins are.  I carried my little brother and looked around the third class corridors and staricases and I met a boy named Collin Rycons.  He is Irish too.  We explored the rest of third class together.

Dear Journal,
My family and I have been at sea for five days.  Many got sick, but only one person died.  It was Collin's grandmother.  I felt bad.  He mostly stayed in his cabin then.  I feel very, very scared and nervous about reaching America.  I can't sleep I am so nrevous and scared, but I am also very excited about getting there soon.  I am worried about Ellis Island.  Mama said we will be there soon and I believe her. I really want to get off this ship because it stinks and I get seasick sometimes.  I sneaked up to the bridge where the captain gave me a tour.  I liked the view of the sea.

Dear Journal,
We finally reached Ellis Island.  When we got there they asked for our names and checked our eyes for an eye disease that is going around.  An inspector asked mama questions like "How do you wash stairs?"  We all passed.  We are going to my grandparents' house in Pennsylvania until Papa and Mama get enough money to get a place of our own and good food.

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An Immigrant's Journal
by Stephen Donaldson

Dear Journal,
I am leaving Czechoslovakia.  I will turn nine years old in America.  My sister, my brother, and momma will be leaving with me tomorrow.  We must leave because there is a war going on here.  OUr pap already emigrated to America, and he has a job and a place to live.  He sent us money to come join him.  I am only allowed to bring three things so I'm taking my book from school, my marbles, and my wooden train.  We will wake up at 1:00 a.m. so we can get past the soldiers.

Dear Journal,
We have gotten on the ship called the S.S. Titan.  I saw big smokestacks and I heard many people speaking in languages I didn't understand.  I asked Momma if all of these people were going the America.  She said they were.  I heard the horn blow and someone said, "The ship is about to leave the port!"

We went below the deck.  I told Momma that the ship smelled like dead fish.  People told us to get down to the third class area quickly.  When the boat started to move it felt like we were going across silk.  I met some new friends in third class.  I don't want Momma to catch me up this late, so goodnight, Journal.

Dear Journal,
The weather is really bad.  Momma, my sister, my brother, and I are all seasick, but I can still go exploring.  In fact, it feels better to get out of our cabin.  I explored the second class rooms.  I found a way to get up there at the end of the hallway.  It was neat!  The windows are outlined with carved figures and they are much better than our cabins in third class.  Their beds were big and there were three of them.  I'm going to do more exploring tomorrow and I'll tell you about it then.

Dear Journal,
I told Momma this morning that I can't wait to get to America.  I will be so excited to see the Lady, Journal.  Do you want to see it too?  I wonder what will happen when we get there.  What if I don't pass the tests?

I am getting bored with being on this ship.  I wanted to explore the first class area and the gym, but I got caught.  So I went down to the boiler room instead.  I saw many dirty people putting coal in the boilers.  When I got out of the boiler room, I was covered in black soot.  I have to wash up before we get to Ellis Island!

Dear Journal,
I am writing to you on Ellis Island!  I had to run around the building twice to show them how fit I was.  My sister and brother had to do puzzles to show how smart they are.  Momma had to read and write in our language.  Everybody passed the tests!  When we came out of the big room our papa was standing at theexit of the building.  "Papa!" we screamed.  "Children!" Papa shouted back.  He hugged us and then he signed papers so we could leave with him.

We are going to go New York to live in an apartment  with Papa, but first we must wait to go on another boat that will take us to our new lives in the city.  This is the best day of my life, Journal!

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A Journey to America
by Joshua Poda

Dear Journal,
My papa has lost his job working at a farm in Austria-Hungary.  My mama, papa, little sister, and I are going to America.  We are leaving here to be with our relatives that are already there.  I can't bring much, so I am taking my wooden horse and my marbles.  We are leaving first thing tomorrow morning.

Dear Journal,
This is the first day I am on this ship.  This ship is called The Anne-Maria.  I can smell the fresh salt water.  The ship is very gigantic.  It has two smokestacks.  I can see six rows of windows.  I hear people saying goodbye to friends and family in a lot of different languages.  This voyage is going to be very interesting.

Dear Journal,
This was my second day at sea, and the weather was very clear and hot.  I have been thinking about my cousins in America.  I wonder what they are like and if they will like me.  After feeling the hot air up on deck, I went exploring the ship.  I went to the engine room and watched the men shovel coal into the huge boilers.  It's been a long day.

Dear Journal,
We've been on this boat for five days already.  Mama, Papa, and I are very excited about going to America.  I asked, "Mama, do you think all of us are going to make it through the doctors?"  She said, "Yes, dear, I do."  Everybody was seasick and wanted to get off the ship soon.

Dear Journal,
I saw the Lady as our boat went by her.  Then we went to Ellis Island.  We were in this huge room, and everybody was speaking different languages.  Then we had to get in a line where people were getting their eyes, noses, and ears checked.  We didn't want to get any chalk marks on us or we would have to go back.

Everybody in my family was fine except my papa; he had an ear infection.  My whole family has to stay at Ellis Island for about a week until he gets better.  It isn't the best way to start our new lives in America, but at least we'll be with the rest of our family soon.

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