Pa t hwa y s A Journey Through Middle School Language Arts 2019-2020

Stimulating our Spirits This year’s edition of Pathways includes a wide range of assignments from our students in grades five through eight. The approaches range from an expository essay promoting Greece, to imaginative, inspirational, and meditative poems, to an original graphic page of a novel’s conflict. These expressions represent reflections from the first half of 2019; to discover a full range of our talented student body, the reader will need to wait until May, when Visions , our K-8 literary magazine, is distributed. I hope that this brief collection will inspire all students to turn in their own work for consideration in our spring publication. In the meantime, enjoy! Joanie Geffen, Editor

Table of Contents

Going to Greece by Ethan Margolies A Quite Interesting Sight by Ella Sadka



Frances by Ariella Weisman


Winter by the Fire by Chloe Glanger Hope in Hard Times by Sara Lipszyc



As students move into middle school, they put to use all the writing skills used in the lower grades. In 5th and 6th grade, we focus on the organization and development of ideas to create writing that will prepare them for success in their future writing endeavors. The following composition was revised many times with the teacher, his classmates, and the writer discussing and sharing ideas to incorporate and develop his ideas. The student and his peers are well on their way to becoming accomplished middle school writers.

Going to Greece Πηγαίνοντας στην Ελλάδα Ethan Margolies, Fifth Grade

Slam! My mom enters my bedroom in a rush. “Happy Early Birthday,” she says. Your dreams and wishes have come true, we’re going to Greece for 3 weeks for your birthday at one of the fanciest hotels, the Leto hotel.” I was so happy and thrilled, I knew she knew I wanted to go to Greece but I never thought it would actually happen. I just couldn’t wait to board the plane in just one week! I am so excited to visit interesting places, do fun things, and eat great food. There are so many great things to do and visit in Greece. One great place to visit is the museum of contemporary art where you can view various Greek art and architecture. Another place to visit is the Museum of Olive and Olive Oil where you can learn the process of making olive oil from olives. If you’re into going boating, you can go on a boat on the amazing Corinth Canal. I have read a few books about Greece, and I’ve been wanting to go because the books explained Greece with such great scenery and great architectural features. Lastly, you can visit Delphi, which is the most sacred Greek temple and the oracle of Apollo( the Greek god of archery, music, poetry, prophecy, dance, and diseases). There are so many places to visit in Greece, I can’t wait to go. It would be so amazing to go to Greece also because there are so many fun things to do! One adventurous thing to do that would last hours would be to go spelunking, which is exploring caves. I would really like to go spelunking because I love exploring natural sites. Another cool thing to do in Greece would be to hike the Corfu trail. I have hiked a few different trails in Maui, Hawaii but those were shorter with more greenery. The Corfu trail is narrow and stretched out across the coastline of Corfu island. If you like climbing then you should definitely go and climb Mt. Olympus. Mt. Olympus is located between Thessaly and Macedonia and is the tallest mountain in Greece. ( Continued )

Mt. Olympus reaches 2,917 meters from the ground and has 52 peaks and many deep gorges. If you’re not that much of a climber you may just want to admire the fascinating architecture in Santorini. Of all the vacations I’ve been on relaxing on the beach has been the best part. In Greece, there is a famous beach called Balos beach where you can splash in the warm water, rest on the soft luscious sand, or build sandcastles. There are so many fun things to do in Greece so if you’re there you should definitely consider these remarkable places. Another reason it would be awesome to go to Greece is that they have great food. The Greek cuisine is part of the Mediterranean cuisine influenced by various Middle Eastern cuisines. One reason the food here is so tasty is because of the fresh olives and olive oil there. Souvlaki is one of the most popular dishes there. Souvlaki is a skewer containing small pieces of chicken, lamb, or gyro and sometimes grilled vegetables too and is eaten hot. A famous appetizer in Greece is dolmadakia which are stuffed grape leaves filled with chicken, lamb, or beef and rice. Greek salad is a “ must-have” for any Greek meal. It’s made of olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, and large pieces of feta cheese and is typically served undressed. Some people say gyro is the most popular food in Greece. Gyro is meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie, kind of like shwarma. Almost any Greek meal is served with pita and hummus ( a delicious combination if you haven’t tried!). Baklava is one of the most famous desserts in Greece. It is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of dough, chopped nuts, and is sweetened with dampened syrup or honey. I think if I went to Greece I would love the food there. I can’t wait until my next birthday! I walk over to my calendar and mark September 13, 2021, my next birthday. I wonder what the next surprise will be. Greece was so amazing and was definitely the right choice. I got to do all the things I had planned to do. Visiting interesting places, doing fun and adventurous things, and eating great food was awesome. Only another 364 days till the next surprise.

During the second session of our poetry elective, I showed the class an abstract image of a spoon-filled tree as a stimulus for a poetic response. This imaginative student immediately thought of the Harry Potter series. Joanie Geffen

A Quite Interesting Sight Ella Sadka, Sixth Grade

You don’t see it every day. Well, at least I don’t. Very unusual. It would be great décor for Dumbledor’s house. Spoons in a tree. I wonder if Professor McGonagall has forks in a tree. Or if Professor Snape has knives in a tree. It still keeps me wondering about those spoons in a tree. At first, I didn’t see it. I thought they were leaves! Silver leaves. Oh, how beautiful that would be. Now, they are here,

But they are only spoons in a tree

As a summer reading option, this student chose a bio-poem of her novel’s protagonist. The genre follows a specific structure, but not an exact word count for each line.

Frances Ariella Weisman, Seventh Grade (Based on Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn ) An empathetic girl who transforms into a young woman, making mistakes along the way. Determined never to give up, taking every chance fate throws her way.

Working hard to make ends meet, although that may not be her desire.

Living in a city where a tree can grow tall, rooted beneath the rotten soil. Knowing her life may not resemble the tree’s strength, but striving for it every day.

Daughter of a mother who loves her son more than herself, but makes Frances feel inferior.

Who has a father that understands her, but is no longer there to express his love. A sister of two siblings who need her to survive.

A resident of a city where it is easy to go unnoticed; one among millions. Loving a father who will never be seen,

yet feeling triumphant providing for her family. Needing to be acknowledged by her mother, who never hears her silent cries. ( Continued )

Giving help to others before herself although she may need support the most. Fearing the judgment of others, amidst following her heart.

Dreams of being the best she can be, but nearly falling short. Realizing she tried her best while others tell her she did not.

Having hope in her heart to see places unknown. First in her family to achieve the ultimate goal of attending college.



Wordplay serves as a delightful method of varying word choice to increase reader interest. On Grandparents Day, seventh grade students engaged in a lipogramatic exercise in which they could write in any genre as long as they did not use the letter “A.” What a surprise to read this lovely poem, created on the spot and yet following all the rules!

Winter by the Fire Chloe Glanger, Seventh Grade

When the wind howls through the trees, ice forms on the ground, and then I know it’s winter. It’s time to sit by the fire drinking hot coffee. My tongue cheers in my mouth. Then I know it’s winter.

Sitting by the fire, I drift into sleep, sinking in my cozy covers. Then I know it’s winter.

One of the options for eighth grade summer reading was to prepare a graphic novel of the selection. This student created a wonderful eighteen-page version of Hillenbrand’s Unbroken . In this scene, Louie Zamperini, stranded for 47 days, ends up in a Japanese POW camp.

Hope in Hard Times Sara Lipszyc, Eighth Grade

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