Masha and a Hornless Unicorn Named Aralock

I have an eleven-year-old Russian student named Masha.

In school, writing assignments are often kind of boring. I do them a little differently. This is an exercise that we do in class. I write a paragraph, they read it and we go over pronunciation and vocabulary. Then, they write a paragraph, I go through it making corrections while we discuss the changes. It's fun and helps with learning every part of reading, writing, vocabulary, pronunciation, syntax, grammar, spelling, conversation, punctuation, and more. It works better if the students are already fairly advanced, which Masha is.

We've already done some reading and that went well. We read my horror story that's in the anthology "Horror Without Borders", and is also in "A Flash of Horror - Part 4 of 4":

She liked that enough that she wanted me to write another part to it, which is quite the compliment. And, I had a feeling that she would really like to write something too.

She likes fantasy creatures so I thought that we would probably go in that direction. I did the first paragraph and then we alternated from there, with her writing the last paragraph.

- - - - - - -

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there was a unicorn who had no horn. He didn't know why, one just never grew. Everyone always teased him, and so one day he wandered off into the woods alone.

He went far away and got lost. Then he found an old house. He went in and was surprised. Inside it was much bigger than it was outside. He heard a scary sound from behind. It was an old alicorn, who had lived there for 5,000 years. The legend says that only one unicorn in 1,000 years could find it, but this unicorn must be without a horn.

Aralock the hornless unicorn stared at this magnificent alicorn with wonder, and awe, with admiration, and jealousy. He didn't know what to do, so he said, "Hi."

"Hi, my child." said the old alicorn."My name is Dumbledore, but you can call me Dum, or sensei. I've lived here for 5,000 years. I am very old and wise. I can answer any of your questions."

Aralock looked at the ground in deep thought. What to ask?, he wondered to himself. He didn't have a good answer. "What would be the best question for me to ask?" he finally heard himself say.

"It's your choice. You can ask ANY question. But you must know, I can see the past, and future. Think about it. If you will ask the right question, you will know something that will help you in the future."

A leaf fell from the tree beside the alicorn and slowly floated towards the ground. The wind pushed it this way and that, back and forth, twirling toward its final end. Its resting place on the ground was inevitable, but its path had been a wild journey along an unforeseen route. That's when the question hit him. He looked up into Dumbledore's eyes, "What day will I die?", and then he waited with bated breath for a reply.

Dumbledore stood still, but he was a bit surprised. "That's the right question. But the truth is, I can't tell you for sure. If you do something right, you will live forever, but if not, you will..." Then the alicorn suddenly disappeared, and Aralock was all alone in the old house deep in the forest...

- - - - - - -

It's a fun, challenging, and educational technique that I've slowly developed over the last couple of years. I'm often impressed with what ends up happening.


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