Robot Teacher

8 Sep

School is back in session all over Denver, but here’s a memory for you from our Young Writers Summer Camp at Lighthouse. Our elementary school campers had a lot of fun writing this story as a group:

by Annalise French, Marlo Pearson, Sophia Luther, Amanda Castillo Lopez, Harper, & Madison

We go to school on Monday and find out that a robot is leading our class instead of our teacher. The robot looks like a flower and is very weird. The robot doesn’t know math. We have to teach the robot instead of the robot teaching us. The robot is a girl named Leslie.

Our class has to take control of the robot and get back our teacher, who the robot is holding captive. To do that we take the hard drive out of the robot and put it into the class computer. The hard drive reveals where the robot is holding our teacher captive.

Our teacher was in the janitor’s closet all along, under the mop, which smelled like mildew. When we find the teacher, she accidentally puts the hard drive back in Leslie and the robot turns evil again. Our class has to get rid of the entire Leslie robot so that nobody can reconstruct her again.

One of our classmates finds out that if you confuse a robot, it will start breaking down. We keep calling the robot’s name, “Leslie, Leslie, Leslie,” until the robot explodes and turns into a bunch of marshmallows.


Live from Summer Camp!

3 Aug

The usually quiet Milheim house is full of energy once again this week as the Young Writers Program hosts our annual Summer Writing Camps. Beginning July 20, our first ever third and fourth grade campers produced tales, letters, and poems galore, and last week, 47 middle school campers filled the classrooms with conversation, laughter, and creativity.

Elementary Summer Writing Camp 2015

Elementary Summer Writing Camp 2015

Middle school campers worked with five instructors throughout the week to create all kinds of new pieces. Joel Jacobson challenged campers with an advanced course on poetic syntax, sound, and line. With Adrian Molina and Sheree Brown, campers used photographs to inspire surrealist worlds, made black-out poems, and explored connections between poetry and prose. Katie Foster led a course in English-to-English translation, which included sessions of translating emoji and birdsongs. Within an hour of Jessica Long‘s workshop, titled Story Boom, campers had brainstormed ideas for a novel, written an outline, and started the first chapter!

Charlotte starts her novel...

Charlotte starts her novel…

On Thursday, campers revised and practiced their favorite pieces from the week, and Friday morning, Jessica Robblee from Buntport Theater led campers in a performance skills workshop to prepare for the afternoon’s readings.

Middle school campers prepare for Friday's reading in a performance skills workshop.

Middle school campers prepare for Friday’s reading in a performance skills workshop.

We’re having tons of fun! Today, we started all over again with the high school-level camp. High school campers will participate in Poetic Choice, a workshop exploring the choices in line, sound, and syntax available to poets; Flash Magazine, in which campers will conceive and create a magazine in 6 hours; Stories that Shock, in which campers will write a short story with a “killer opening” that creates spine-tingling tension for the reader; and Fodder for Funny, a humor writing workshop.

Thinking, working, creating!

Thinking, working, creating!

All campers will reunite in the fall for the book release of the annual camp anthology, And We Created Worlds 6.0. For information on upcoming Young Writers Program workshops, click here. Until then, happy writing!

The Bark Collar

24 Jun

By Sophie Pollock
6th Grade

“Shush, Jake!’ I hear Laila shouting from the house. She comes out and smacks me with the newspaper she’s just gotten from the driveway. “You’re such an annoying dog! Why do we even still have you?” she yells. Laila storms back inside.

I keep barking. I can’t help it. What am I supposed to do, just stay with this family forever? They hate me, and I hate them just as much. I really want to get out of here and find a nicer family to live with. I chew on the rope tying me up, and try to run and break free.

Just then, Laila’s husband, Jackson, comes out of the house, furious. “All right, Jake, since you won’t stop barking I’ve come up with a new solution.” He’s holding two collars in his hand, one black and one made of chain with another long piece of chain coming off of it. I see Laila walking behind him.

“This is a bark collar. Now every time you bark, it’ll give you a small electric chock. That should help with your constant loudness. This”—he holds out the chain and puts it around my neck—“is a new chain to tie you up with, so you can’t chew through it.

He clips the bark collar onto me, and I slump down, disappointed. I decide I will try to sneak out that night.


That night when they’re asleep, I slowly stand up from pretending to be asleep. I carefully grab the chain in my mouth, trying not to make too much noise. I quickly discover that it’s not going to be easy to chew. I twist around, trying to wiggle my way out, but that doesn’t work either. Finally, I pull backwards as hard as I can. I try and try, but neither the chain, nor the post that it’s tied to, budges, not even just a little bit.

I bark in frustration, forgetting about the collar. It buzzes, and I feel a sharp pain. Then I hear the back screen door open. It’s Jackson. “Jake!” he whisper-yells, “you don’t want Laila to hear you.” I start whining. “ Jake, I’m sorry Laila hates you so much. I keep trying to get you to stop barking and stop trying to run away, so that we can keep you and Laila won’t hate you.”

I never realized that Jackson didn’t hate me as much as Laila did. I continue whining.

“I know, Jake, but I really want to be able to keep you. Your old family was my brother, you know. He didn’t want you, but I felt bad for you so I kept you. But maybe you would be happier with a different family.”

I wag my tail and start panting.

Then the door swings open again, and Laila steps out. “What are you doing out here?! It’s one a.m.!” she yells.

“Laila, I’m thinking maybe we should find Jake a new home where he would be happier.”

“Ugh, finally we can get rid of him. But I thought you liked Jake.”

“Yeah, and I still do, but he’s not happy here.”

“Okay. Well, I’m going back to bed.”

The next morning, Jackson puts me in the back of his truck with a new dog bed and bowls of food and water. He drives me out to some farm. “I’m taking you out to go live with an old friend of mine.”

A man walks out of the house, and we go over to talk to him. “Nick, this is my dog, Jake. My wife, Laila, hates him. Do you want to take him in?”

A little girl comes out of the house and runs over to us. “Doggy!” she yells. She runs over to me and I lick her face. Then I run around, wagging my tail and barking.

“Wow, this dog’s bark is so loud he might even help scare off the crows!” Nick says.

“Bye, Jake,” Jackson says and pats my head. Then he drives off in his truck.

I’m so happy to finally be with a good family! I help Nick and his wife scare off the crows and do stuff around the farm and play with the little girl, whose name is Emily. I have so much fun at the farm with everyone.

Fake Legs

24 Jun

By Everett Ediger
3rd Grade

Once upon a time there was a young child. His name was Evan and he was in a wheelchair. He thought that being in a wheelchair was terrible, but what he didn’t know was it was good.

One day at recess, Evan was practicing walking. Then he realized something good about being in a wheelchair: you have great upper body strength. On his way back to class, he raced down the hall.

Then school was out, and Evan kept practicing walking at home.

Evan asked, “Mom, I would really like to walk. Can I get fake legs.”

His mom said, “Yes.”

So they went to the hospital and made an appointment. That day Evan had the surgery. When it was almost done, the doctors realized Evan had an infection on his leg.

They finished the surgery. Evan woke up, and his mom was the first thing he saw.

She said, “We’re gonna have to stay here for a while.”

Before she could finish, Evan asked, “Why?”

His mom said, “Because you got an infection on your leg.”

Evan yelled, “NOOOOOOOOOO!” Then his side hurt. Ouch!

He had another surgery to fix his leg. After that, it worked. He yelled, “Yesssss!!!”

Then Evan went home and started walking, and it worked. So Evan started to run.

The next day he ran to school and had a great day.


Working Well With Partners

24 Jun

By Jansen Ediger
3rd Grade

Once upon a time, but not so long ago, there was a girl named Alfiba. Alfiba was not very bright. So she was a smart-aleck. She never worked well with partners and loved getting in trouble. Her sister Glinda, on the other hand, was very smart. Glinda did everything she could to help Alfiba, but she couldn’t.

One day the teacher came and said, “Alfiba, you need to make a friend,” and then left. Alfiba didn’t understand this message. She thought and thought and thought, but she still didn’t understand.

Finally, after three weeks, she knew what it meant. She decided the first person she met the next day, she would do her best to make a friend.

The next morning, she got up, went to school and met Minny. Minny was not such a good student, but she was not as bad as Alfiba.

Alfiba said, “Um…Min…Minny, c-can I he-help y-you with h-homework.”

“Yeah,” Minny replied.

After school, Alfiba came to her house and helped her. She tried her hardest not to yell, but it came out, “IT IS ‘C,’ NOT ‘F’!” Then she murmured in embarrassment, “I’m sorry.”

They kept going. Alfiba got madder and madder and madder, until finally she yelled, “I am leaving! Do not expect me to ever study with you again!”

The next day she came to her locker and she saw a note that said this:

I hate you. Move schools, or else!

“Oh no,” she said. But then she thought, What does “or else” mean? It might not be that bad. But I still did something really wrong. She hung her head in shame.

Then she had an idea!

“I’m really, really, really, really sorry,” she said to Minny.

The next morning at school, Alfiba’s voice came over the announcements: “I’m friends with all of you.”

A Letter to the YAC

2 Jun

By Eilidh Spery

The dictionary defines a writer as “someone whose work is to write books, poems, stories, etc.,” or “someone who has written something”. This definition is restrictive and not at all representative of what we do as writers. I believe that a writer is someone who spins ink cobwebs across paper, trying to capture half-forgotten dreams, things they can’t see or touch or hear. We chase dandelion seeds of inspiration on the wind, following them for miles of pages, for hours, accompanied by only the sounds of clicking keys or scratching pens.

YWP porchBeing a writer is both difficult and incredible, because when you catch that dream and hold its silver light in your hands, you wield magic.

It seems that being a writer could be a lonely, isolating thing, that writers would be struggling to spin ideas into stories, accompanied only by a notebook or laptop. However, through the Young Authors Collective, I have discovered that this is not so, and I have learned how wonderful writers are. We are a quirky bunch of people, nerds and beauties and geniuses and ramblers. We are filled with wanderlust, with smiles and rain, with the tales of millions of other people and worlds. We daydream and cram information into our heads, cry over characters and make sure to smell new notebooks. Although we are all unique people, are raised differently, live in different parts of the worlds, write differently, we are tied together by our passion to create, to bring something new and lovely into the world. Writers are not empty, lonely people; they overflow with light and beauty.

I am very lucky, therefore, to have been able to spend the last four years around a group of such wonderful, brimming-over people. I have been able to improve my own writing, to be amazed by each of your own words, and to spend my Wednesday afternoons with a fun, sweet, silly group of people. Although writers are sometimes seen as quiet nerds, I think of us as the secret cool kids. We don’t rely on popularity; we know that life is more than that. Life is becoming so lost in a story that you don’t even notice time tickling your ears as it brushes by; it is seeing and enjoying the smallest details in each day; it is creating new worlds full of characters you love so much that they break your heart. It is about being full of light and giving that light to others. So thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. I’ve really enjoyed spending these years with you and will miss you all and your stupendous, heartbreaking, gorgeous literature.

Eilidh Spery has been writing since she penned a mystery story about two detective rats. She first came to the Lighthouse Writers Workshop for a youth workshop, then became a part of the Young Authors Collective from 2011-2015. Now that she has graduated from Jefferson County Open School, she plans to attend the University of Iowa to study English and creative writing, and to pursue writing as a career.

That Doesn’t Go There

24 May

By Hannah
3rd Grade

Sam was a nine-year-old boy. When he was only a couple of months old his mom put his diaper on his head instead of between his legs. Ever since then, he thought that it was right to wear underwear on your head.

When he went to school he tried to tell other classmates to wear their underwear on their heads. None of them listened because they knew it was a bad habit of Sam’s. Nobody wanted to be his friend because they thought he was weird. He still wore Pull-ups and wanted to show everybody his Dora The Explorer Pull-ups. No one wanted to be his friend because they were going to be embarrassed to be seen with Sam.

He decided he had to get rid of the bad habit if he was going to get friends. He became potty trained without having to use Pull-ups. Then he glued all of his underwear to his dresser. “There,” he said. “Weird stuff that I don’t need!” He strutted out of the room, satisfied with his work.

His mom saw what he had done and yelled, “Samuel John McPherson! What on earth do you think you are doing?! A thing like that! What are you, two?”

Sam replied, “I’m doing it so that people will like me! And I’m not two. I’m nine!”

His mom said, “Unglue it right now or you are going to get THE BAD FOOD TREATMENT!”

“Oh no! Not THE BAD FOOD TREATMENT!” Sam cried. “I will unglue it right away!”

And he did it in a jiffy!

After it was all unglued, he needed a new way to get rid of his underwear. So he threw it away, although he loved his underwear so much. Again satisfied with his work, he left his room.

His mom was spying on him and gave him the hairy eyeball, which means, “Oh, really? Do you think you are going to get away with that?” His mom took the underwear out of the trash can and put it in Sam’s dresser.

Sam came back and saw his underwear in his dresser. “What! Is this magic underwear or something like that?”

This time he had a hard time throwing it away. Shoulder angels popped up.

“Do it for the best,” said the devil angel.

“No! No! You like your underwear too much. Even if throwing it away gives you friends, will that make you happy?” said the good angel.

Sam had a thought. “Maybe I should wear it in between my legs like the rest of my family.”

He did that, and flowers, butterflies, and cotton candy leaped out with joy.

It felt so good he put on the rest of his underwear. He stole his mother’s and father’s underwear and wore it over his own. When his parents had no underwear, they didn’t know who took it. They thought Sam didn’t like his underwear.

When they saw Sam wearing all their underwear he got the BAD FOOD TREATMENT. They made him eat rotten food for twenty-five days. After twenty-five days were up, he only wore one pair of underwear at a time, and the underwear was not his parents’.