A grammar schoolboy handed in his composition on "Cats": "Cats that's meant for little boys to maul and tease is called Maultease cats. Some cats is rekernized by how quiet their purr is and these is Persian cats. Cats what has bad tempers is named Angora cats. And cats with deep feelings is called Felines. I don't like cats."
When a certain schoolboy was asked to write an essay about a goose, he wrote the following:
"The goose is a low heavy set bird, composed mostly of meat and feathers. His head sets on one end and he sets on the other. He cannot sing much on account of the dampness in the moisture in which he lives. There ain't no space between his toes, and he carries a balloon in his stomach to keep from sinking.
"A goose has two legs on his running gear, but they came pretty near missing his body. Some geese when they get big are called ganders. Ganders don't have to set or hatch, but jest loaf, eat, and go swimming. If I was a goose, I'd rather be a gander."
A class in English was assigned the task of writing four lines of dramatic poetry. The results were variegated, and, selecting the verse of a bright boy, the teacher read: "A boy was walking down the track; the train was coming fast; the boy stepped off the railroad track to let the train go past." "This verse is very well done: commented the teacher, "but it lacks the dramatic. Try again, Johnny, and make it more dramatic."
Whereupon, in a short time, Johnny produced the following: "A boy was walking down the track; the train was coming fast; the train jumped off the railroad track to let the boy go past."—Sunshine Magazine
Excerpt from a book review written by an Ohio ninth-grader: "The story takes place throughout the life of a young girl of today. Her mother tells the story and the problems that arise in bringing up an addle essence."
The identity of the young lady is withheld, but the memory of her answers lingers on with the instructor conducting a science course at high school. One of the requirements in the written quiz was "Define a bolt and nut, and explain the difference." The girl wrote "A bolt is a thing like a stick of hard metal, such as iron, with a square bunch on one end and a lot of scratching wound around the other end. A nut is similar to the bolt only just the opposite, being a hole in a little chunk of iron sawed off short, with wrinkles around the inside of the hole."
The startled professor marked that one with an "A."—Sunshine Magazine
In writing about the changes the fall season brings, one of my fourth-graders came up with the following: "Today, brides fly away for the winter."
The bird that I am going to write about is the owl. The owl cannot see at all by day and at night it is blind as a bat.
I do not know much about the owl so I will go on to the beast which I am going to choose. It is the cow. The cow is a mammal. It has six sides—right, left, an upper and below. At the back it has a tail on which hangs a brush. With this it sends the flies away so that they do not fall into the milk. The head is for the purpose of growing horns, and so that the mouth can be somewhere. The horns are to butt with and the mouth is to moo with. Under the cow hangs the milk. It is arranged for milking. When people milk the milk comes and there is never an end to the supply. How the cow does it I have not yet realized but it makes more and more. The cow has a fine sense of smell—one can smell it far away. This is the reason for the fresh air in the country. The man cow is called an ox. It is not a mammal. The cow does not eat much but what it eats it eats twice so that it gets enough. When it is hungry it moos and when it says nothing it is because its inside is all full up with grass.—The Atlantic Monthly
Mr. Krebs is my teacher; I shall not pass. He maketh me to sit in a classroom. He leadeth me to the blackboard. He handeth me the chalk. He guideth me in a straight path for my class's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of knowledge, I learneth not, for I am dumb. My notebook and pencil accompany me.
He maketh me to show my ignorance in the presence of my fellow students. He anointeth my head with a ruler. My fountain pen runneth over.
Surely English and social studies will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the eighth grade forever! Amen.—James Evans, The Hanley Acorn University City, Missouri
Asked to write an essay, one little girl submitted the following: "My subjeck is Ants. Ants is two kinds, insects and lady uncles. Sometimes they live in holes and sometimes they crawl into the sugar bole, and sometimes they live with their married sisters. That is all I know about ants."—Kentucky School Journal
Paul Nathan writes (in "Rights and Permissions," Publishers' Weekly, June 30, 1958) that while judging a sixth-grade essay contest, he found the following entry, which, though not a winner, was his favorite. The topic? "Courtesy, the Art of Being Nice."
Courtesy can help us mentally, for it leaves us with a free conchonce & a happy soul. Courtesy has helped us win wars. Suppose the U.S. is being beaten in the war of missiles by Russia. Briton chimes in & we soon beat Russia. They did this kind deed for they knew we could help them too.
Courtesy can save money & lives too. Imagine that Ichabod is driving in the suburbs of a large establishment. Having smoked a cigar, he flicks it out the window. Ichabod's cigar started a gigantic fire which claimed 3,000,000 lives & just as many dollars damage. By the way, Ichabod's children were killed. He could have stopped this disaster by simply putting the cigar in the ashtray......Courtesy Pays!!—NEA Journal
Creative Expression! . . . After the children at the Fiedler Elementary School in Merrillville returned from a field trip to Chicago to see the Egyptian mummies, each child wrote an essay, based on what he had learned. One elementary school child submitted a picture with three figures: a modest, unwrapped mummy, a mummy swathed in a cartonnage, and a mummy case—all the work of careful observation while on the field trip. Here's his essay:
"Mummies is a way for being dead. In Egypt they used mummies in many wayes. In this picture you see a unwraped mummy. This mummy has bin dead thousands of years ago. He did not rot because the people of Egupt put the bodies in a sulaon of salt, water and spies, and then they wrap them up in long strips of wide cloth as a mummy. The boal like on top of his head is so they can glue the end of the tape on it. After they wrap the body up they put it in a mummy case. A mummy case is usly made of wood and then panted up as a person."