The Voyage

“Full sail!” shouts the captain of the ship as we voyage out into deep dark sea. I see a giant black object soaring through the air. Bang, the captain ducks down and shouts, “Take cover!” Another cannon ball hits the side of the ship where the gunpowder is rumbling. Boom, fire roams the ship and surrounds us and the captain shouts, “Half sail!” we all run through the fire sweating rapidly like we were in an oven. We have no choice but to crash on land. We head back to the rocky shore and the ship loudly blows up.


Dear Journal,

It has been 4 years, 11 months, 20 days. The government signed the papers for the World War 1 to stop at 11:00 11-11-1918. We took off base around 2 minutes ago. I remember my girl’s voice and my son’s small hands. I remember the plane trip and landing at base. I remember the soldiers these past years I had to leave behind to die in battle. Despite being crowded in the wreckage I felt more alone than ever.I remember the bombings in the past years and only being able to save few men from the remains. I am glad to be going home.

Show, Don’t Tell

5SK have worked on ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ this week from Seven Steps to Writing Success. They were challenged to ‘show’ a scene or character trait rather than telling the reader.


Cold breeze hits me like smoke from a fire. I walk outside and everything is wet. Big dark clouds cover the sun like a dome trapping us. When will it end?


“Please, HELP ME!” I yell. The hot, red, arid sand burning my feet. I’m hungry, hot, lonely and the only thing I can taste is the dirt ricocheting in and out of my teeth. I imagine I hear rushing water but I know I’m just daydreaming. I have flashbacks of my dear sister Layla, my beloved mother Bethany and my dear dad Tom. I faint face down in the dirt.


I’m out at the reef on a perfect day. Suddenly my rod bends right. I rush to pick it up. It is a big one. I wind it in as hard as I can. I see glimmers of silver. But the line snaps.


The smell of the freshly made coconut ice is wafting through the house “YUM” I think to myself. It’s all going away to my teacher, I’m regretting my decision now. I carefully wrap it up in nice clear cellophane and tie a beautiful, rose pink ribbon around it. I get into the car and we approach the school. I feel excitement running through my blood then I get shivers of fear running down my spine. “What if she doesn’t like it,” I think. I hop out of the car. I get to the school gate, turn and wave to my mum and then my shoelace gets caught around the wire. I fall, the coconut ice plummets to the ground. “Why me?”

”Surprise!” as the class jumps out giving the teacher a fright. We all hand our presents to the teacher and it’s almost like an avalanche of flowers and chocolate. The teacher’s smile lifts up like a huge banana. She won’t be able to walk by tomorrow.


The phone rings. It’s for me. I need to go to the principal. The sweat ran down my face as butterflies filled my stomach. The principal wasn’t there. I nervously sat down. The principal walks in, as soon as I see his face I know it’s Charlie. I let out such a scream it shatters the fish tank. I run as fast as I can. Charlie follows with his whip. Running was a big mistake.


Splash went the chlorine filled water. I got ready for my race, I put my goggles on and BANG! I fly through the water doing butterfly. My class is cheering for me. I start to get lower and lower and thoughts filled my mind.

What’s going on?


The boat travels fast across the glassy water with whistling winds whipping our cheeks. The world looks so happy and I wonder will I ever get what I want. I peer deep into the water hoping to see a mottled shell, hard head, or a flipper. I scan further and see something bobbing a few metres away. “Stop the boat,” I screech. Dad stops then looks over at mum. I dive into the water. I swim then stop. “It’s a turtle.” It’s stuck in a net and as it shivers, they strangle him more. I get the scissors. Will I make it in time?

Greg’s Adventure

Splash! The waves are wild. We are boogie boarding and it is lots of fun. My friends dare me to swim out to the red flag, 200m out and there is all sorts of danger out there, more dangerous than you can ever imagine. I said, “No way” and they called me a wimp and swam out by themselves. I followed but suddenly a massive strong rip started pulling us slowly away. There was an injured turtle so we pulled it close and then as it shivered, more turtles came towards us, one was bleeding and that attracted lots of big, pointy teethed, grey fish.

The Mysterious Creatures

The slimy, pink hairless creature wriggles. We all starred watching it like a predator stalking its prey. As it shivered away, they looked away with disgust. The creature started wiggling away leaving a trail of gooey, green slime behind. We followed its slimy trail until it was gone. But then several of its kind surrounded us. Their teeth stuck out like vampires and they grew as big as GODZILLA. Their huge olive green eyes watched over us. Crimson spat out of their mouths. The sky turned black and cackled like witches surrounding their cauldron. CRACK!! We screamed in fear then he lifted me. HELP!!!

The Beast

I see a pair of bright, blood red eyes staring out at us from the darkness, the image slowly burning into my brain. I can taste the nervous sweat gushing around inside my mouth. I take a step backwards, the snow crackles under my feet. I stop stiff. My friends are staring. I feel like saying it’s rude to stare but under the circumstances I REALLY don’t care. My friends turn to run, the beast moves, as it shivered, they ran and screamed all the way down the hill. With one mighty roar the snow magically melts and peace is restored to our village.


TBE in Our Classroom

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We use a fabulous reading comprehension technique called TBE in our classroom. TBE stands for Text Based Evidence. A few months ago I noticed that quite a few of our students were very high in reading accuracy but unable to answer comprehension questions. Even when prompted, they found it difficult to search through the text and locate the clues. This then greatly impacted on their reading results.

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I have been following Jennifer Jones from Hello Literacy for a few years now. She is an amazing educator from America who truly has a passion for teaching. She develops literacy resources for schools that work. I contacted Jennifer via Twitter and asked for some advice on what I could do to lift these students. She recommended TBE to me. We started our trial in the classroom with two of my students and they worked with our beautiful teacher aide for about four weeks. The improvement in their results was amazing. Both students lifted two PROBE levels. TBE had given them the tools necessary to find the answers within the text.

After our trial, we ran a Skype session with Jennifer and staff from two local schools. This session really cemented the need for this program. Jennifer raised some very interesting points which we all could see happening in our classrooms. From there, TBE has now become a whole school approach. As you visit classrooms you can hear the same language used from years 1 to 7. Our students enjoy the challenge of the TBE graphs and it only took one session for them to understand the format.

TBE at Teachers Pay Teachers

Short Texts by Jennifer Jones that can be used with TBE – two volumes available

I also use texts from C2C and Reading A to Z books.