I’ve been trying to get my students to write short, simple little fairy tales. Easy, right? They even get to write them in Spanish(their native language). I even gave them some ideas. They could write about either a talking tree, a magical food, or a flying carpet. But for some reason, it’s like pulling teeth to get them to write it.
I have this one student who asked me about five times yesterday afternoon if he could just translate a story into Spanish. I tried to explain to him that that was plagiarism and that he needed to use his own imagination.
He comes in today and has three beautifully written paragraphs in excellent handwriting. I glanced at it and thought, well good for you! actually writing when you thought you couldn’t! But then I started to read it….”Habia una vez un arbol amaba un muchacho….” (translation: Once upon a time there was a tree who loved a boy)
Then I kept reading. And yup! You guessed it! He tried to pass off The Giving Tree as his own fairy tale about a talking tree. And for about three seconds I was thinking, Man, this kid is a good writer….and then I translated it in my head and went…WAIT A MINUTE!
Ahhhhh lazy teenagers…it’s the same no matter what language you speak I guess.
The good news is that I showed them the actual story, so they had to learn some more English.
So this post is for you, Mr. Silverstein. Thank you for writing a beautiful story that is so good my students want to pass it off as their own.