Tag Archives: Harry the Hamster

Harry’s Writing Scene

Harry was determined to write something.

Alright. Let’s do this.

I nose the pencil over to the gleaming piece of blank paper in front of me. I get slightly dizzy watching it spin with each poke from my increasingly numb nose.

Time to pick you up, big yellow beast. With my paws latched under the pencil’s groove, I lift with all my might. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggr. hu, hu, hu (heavy breathing). Ug, this thing weighs A TON! Who would have thought writing could be such hard work? I brace myself once more, bending at my knees, and I pull up with all my might. Grrrrrrgrrrgrggrrgrr. hu, hu, hu. Unsuccessful. This is clearly not working.

I sit and ponder my options. Hmm. Maybe a shorter pencil. I scurry over to the counter and climb up the bookcase, making my way to the pencil cup. I pick one out and start with my nosing routine again.

This time, it takes considerably less effort. With one heave I have the pencil resting on my shoulder. Now, my first sentence. I’d better begin with a capital letter.

Harry was tired of being treated as the average classroom hamster.

Because of the weight of the pencil, Harry wobbled to and fro, trying to form each letter correctly.


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Fact #2 Fiction Relys on Character Wants

So, I know my hamster wants a more meaningful life. I think that’s going to happen when he sneaks out of his cage at night and begins to write. OOooo, I got it! He’ll practice what we learn in the mini-lesson that day and leave it on chart paper for us to read in the morning and none of us know where it’s coming from. Yea! I like that idea!

But something has to happen to MAKE him want to begin writing. Maybe a writing contest comes along that he wants to enter? Or I say something that makes him want to write? He reads something that inspires him? I’m not sure yet.

And how will he figure out a writing life will make his life more meaningful? That’s a hard lesson to learn, even for a person. Hmm. That’s going to be toughie. I think he only realizes his life has become more meaningful after he moves somebody or makes something happen with his writing.

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Fact #1: Quality Fiction Is All About the Character

So I’m teaching my children how to develop characters. I think it’s time to write alongside them. Here goes:

My Character’s Name: (yet to be determined) But it’s a hamster who lives in our fourth grade classroom

Age: mm, old for a hamster… but it’s his first year in our classroom. That will make him wise and let him learn something about writing. OR, I could decide he has been in my classroom for years and years and has heard me teach writing over and over. This year, he’ll finally try my mini-lessons himself.

Physical Description: brown/grayish ears, but has the colors of a snickers bar- milky white fur on his belly, caramel colored on his back.

Personality: slightly arrogant, intelligent (for a hamster). I think he has a British accent.

Feelings: resents being a hamster stuck in a classroom. Dislikes being stared at by all the kids but REALLY despises hearing me teach writing. Does enjoy read aloud though.

Socially: doesn’t really say anything since he’s a hamster, though he does try to talk to the students and convince them that my teaching is rubbish.

Family: none known

Dreams & Aspirations: find meaning in his life because all he does is run in wheel, eat, drink, and sleep.

Quirk: Loves the aroma of my coffee (thinks it’s my only redeeming quality).

Some things he might say: “Oh goodness, why is she teaching THAT way?” “Haven’t these kids heard enough of her revolting voice?”

OK- so I made him a HIM and a HAMSTER. I don’t know much about that, but the story does have a lot to do with my classroom and I DO know a lot about that. My character IS human like with some restrictions (aka, living in a cage). And, I think it’s believable. This hamster could represent the character of one of my students. Overall, I feel I followed the guidelines for creating a character.

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