Some punishments aren't fair

When you fight with someone, then you get a blue slip. Or if you call somebody unkind names then you get a blue slip. If you run on the walkway then you get one. If you walk in the hallway at recess then you get a blue slip. If you get a blue slip then you pick up trash for the whole recess.
I don't think it is fair because picking up trash for the whole recess is too much. So I asked my classmates what they think. Sixteen people in my class said they didn't like blue slips. But eight people said they like it. I think we should stop giving blue slips. Do you?

--Dalia Zaghi, Grade 5

Help the homeless people

Have you ever thought about being homeless? Can you imagine yourself sitting in the street hungry and cold?
Well, if you have imagined what it would be like to be a real homeless person, you don't want to wait around to find out what it feels like. Look around in the streets of San Francisco, you can see thin, hungry, and cold people huddled on the sidewalk. Help these homeless people and in return, if you need help someday, this homeless person may help you.
One way you can help the homeless people is to bring homeless people to a homeless shelter or to volunteer to work at a homeless shelter. You could also volunteer to work at a soup kitchen, and you could donate money to charities that help homeless people (well actually I think you should donate money to help out anyway).

--Heather Dang, Grade 5

Homework! Oh, Homework! We Hate You! You Stink!

Each grade has at least a little homework each week. For example, Ira Lit's kindergarten class has to bring in their work folder each week. Although it is not a lot, it is a good start for kindergartners.
A first grader, Emily Krehbiel, says that her class does math sheets for homework. First grade is a little jump from kindergarten, but of course, it is manageable. In first grade they learn the alphabet.
A second grade teacher, Mary Law, says her class writes spelling sentences, reads, practices Spanish and does social studies. Unlike the second grade class I was in, her class has a spelling test.
Third grade has a lot more homework than second grade. Teacher, Gloria Williams' third grade class does spelling, math activities or work sheets, and vocabulary. About every month they have to memorize a poem. Sometimes they have geography or social studies. They also have two book reports each year. In addition to all that homework, they learn cursive at the beginning of the year. Although it seems like a lot, it only ends up being about four or five pages a week.
A fourth grade teacher, Donna Rumwell, says her class has spelling, math, reading and research reports.
My fifth grade class has spelling, math and five to eight reading questions. Also, we have to do another project each week. It does not seem like a lot, but all the homework is at least eight pages a week.
I asked many Nixon kids different questions. First I asked, "Do you think you have the right amount of homework?" Sara Krehbiel said that she thinks it is the right amount, because it is preparing her for sixth grade.
Katie Seifert disagrees with Sara, and she said she has too much homework. She feels this way, because she does not like homework.
Then I asked, "Is homework easy?" Lisa Boxer said homework is easy, because she can manage it. She does not like having the same thing each week. Heather Dang feels homework is easy except for reading questions.
After that I asked, "How long does it take to do homework each week?" Guilia Conti takes about nine hours. She thinks it takes her this long because she does not concentrate. Jamie Yu said it takes her four hours, because she thinks she is slow.
Another thing I asked was, "What do you do when you get stuck?" Veronic Sobey said she gets mad and waits until the last minute to do her homework. Katie Young either asks her mom or dad or does another piece of homework. Also I asked, "How would you feel if you had no homework?" Robbie Cole said he would feel horrible, because he likes doing homework. Dalia Zaghi says that she would feel great, because she hates homework.
Finally I asked, "What would you do if you had no homework?" Ger-Lih Li says he would die, because he would have nothing to do. Nick Cunliffe would play all day.
I also asked a couple teachers questions. First, I asked Rachel Jordan if she thought her fifth grade class has the right amount of homework. She thinks that it is the right amount, because it is only fair to prepare them for sixth grade.
I also asked her, "Should children work alone or with help?" She said that they should work alone or with guidelines from parents or teachers. She feels this way, because she wants the students' ideas, not the parents'. The final question I asked her was, "Is it hard to correct homework?" She said it is very hard, because it takes a long time to give thoughtful feedback. Also when kids have trouble it takes even longer to teach them how to do it right.
The other teacher I asked was Gloria Williams. I asked her, "Is it hard to correct homework?" Her aide corrects weekly homework and she corrects book reports. The book reports are hard to correct, because so many kids do not follow the directions. The other question I asked her was, "Do most kids turn homework in on time?" She said that most kids actually turn the homework in, but she did not say if they turn it in on time.
Finally, I took a tally of 20 fifth-graders to see how many like homework. I predicted that most kids would not like homework. It turned out five liked homework and 15 did not.
The fifteen homework haters probably agree with this poem:

Homework! Oh, Homework!

by Jack Prelutsky
Homework! Oh, homework! I hate you! You stink!
I wish I could wash you away in the sink,
if only a bomb would explode you to bits.
Homework! Oh, homework! You're giving me fits.
I'd rather take baths with a man-eating shark,
or wrestle a lion alone in the dark,
eat spinach, and liver, pet 10 porcupines,
than tackle the homework my teacher assigns.
Homework! Oh, homework! You're last on my list,
I simply can't see why you even exist,
if you just disappeared it would tickle me pink.
Homework ! Oh, homework! I hate you! You stink!

--Lainey Eaton, Grade 5

Music and Reading Do you Like Them?

From the studies that I have done lately, a lot of people have said yes, they do like music and reading.
I have also asked a lot of different questions, like: "What kind of music do you like?", or "What kind of books do you like?" To these questions, I have gotten a range of different answers. Some people like all kinds of music, others only like country. One person said that they liked every kind of music except for classical. I myself like mostly oldies and Soft Rock. Some people only like hearing music when they are doing their homework.
To the other question, "What kind of books do you like?" I got a lot of different answers. Some people liked mystery or adventure. Others like romances or suspense novels. I myself like adventure and mystery. I like these kinds of books because they always keeps you in suspense.
Another question I asked was "Who is your favorite author?" Different people gave different answers. Some people like Ann M. Martin, others like R. L. Stine. Personally, I like Roald Dahl.
A different question was," Why do you like this author?" The reason why I like Roald Dahl is that he is very funny and writes really good books like the one I am reading Matilda. I like the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a lot too. I also like Ann M. Martin because she writes the Baby-sitters Club books and she also writes the Baby-sitters Little Sisters books. Lainey Eaton likes John Bellairs because he writes good books. Ger-Lih Lin likes Brian Jacques because he writes good adventure books. Others like other books for other reasons.

--Katie Young, Grade 5

TV watching should be limited

A lot of people are wondering if kids should watch TV. on weekdays. I did a survey and found out that most of room A-4 thinks that you should be able to watch TV. on weekdays after your homework is done, but you should only watch for one hour. I think so, too.

--Mark Johnston, Grade 5

Computers make life easier

I think computers are great. They make your life easier. You can use them for many things.
One is writing because it is neater. Microsoft Word has a Thesaurus and press a button and it prints it out. Another reason is that the computer is convenient for calculation. A third reason is entertainment games. They're just for fun. And for information you can go on the Internet or Compton's interactive encyclopedia.
Books are better in one way, though, since they don't hurt your eyes from staring at a monitor. Computers have a lot more information than books.
So there are a lot of advantages and disadvantages to a computer.

--Richard Sportsman, Grade 5

Good sleep for students

You need to have a good sleep during the school week. If you have a good sleep you'll be able to listen and do better school work. If you have a good sleep you can play better too.

--Kenny McCandless, Grade 4


"Friend" is a really strong word. You can think you like somebody as a friend, but they really are not your friend.
I think this really refers to your best friends. They can sometimes be nice and also be mean too.
So, I think you can only refer to them as friends if you know them for a long time. Friends usually have soft hearts like some people that I know. Others can almost be your worst enemies like some other people I know.
So, I think you should be careful about whom you choose as a friend. Some people who you think are friends sometimes aren't, so don't be so sure. If you listen to these instructions then you won't be unfriendly like some people.
"Friends" are usually easy to pick out. You know they are true friends when they help each other. You can also tell if you have friends if some one listens to you (usually besides your teacher or your mother and father).
Friends have a habit of thinking the same as you. As for example, you are sitting with a friend and thinking. Then one of you says, "Let's go on the monkey bars" or "Let's go run six miles." Then the other one says, "Hey! You took the words right out of my mouth."
One of the easiest ways of telling if you have a friend or two is if they are nice to you, or if they share with you. This is the easiest way of knowing if you have a friend. Friends always work well together. For example, you and a so-called friend have a project to do together on say the Solar System. And you think and think of how to do it. You think of a candy Solar System and your friend thinks of drawing it. Then you say or your friend says, "OK! Let's do it! That is cooler than what I thought of."
Then you and your friend get an A+.
The bottom line is nothing can replace a good friend.

--Maggie Wynn, Grade 4

Maya Angelou gives good talk

"I hope there's a time when we don't need Black History Month," is a quote of Maya Angelou. Maya Angelou is a famous poet and author. She talked last night February 4, 1997 at Memorial Auditorium on Stanford campus.
When I went there I got a certain feeling of sorrowfulness when she talked about racism and the happiness of her amazing accomplishments. I think her talent and willpower is also amazing.
I don't think I could imagine this world like it once was. Hearing her stories that were sad, I thought she was kidding (even though it was real). I can't think that someone could be so mean just because of skin color, like they were to her.
I hope there's a time when we all realize that people like Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Abraham Lincoln saved this unfair and racist world.

--Jeff Mendelman, Grade 4

Our opinions about school

At school we would like to be able to erase all of the bad words in the bathroom. We could have a cleaning day. We would go in the bathrooms and wipe off all the bad words.
We like Family Fun Nights and things like that. We think there should be more of them, and on more convenient days and times (like Friday afternoons). We could ask the office to plan more Family Fun Nights.
We think the school should be bigger and have more classrooms. If that could happen then we can have less people per classroom so the children can get more help and attention. To do this we could turn extra rooms and staff rooms into classrooms.
We think the school should at least check the drinking fountains once in a while. Only one out of every four drinking fountains works. We think each pod should pick five representatives to go check the drinking fountains.
We'd like to have a lot more art. We think we could get more art by suggesting to the office and having a vote.
We could suggest selling the six pianos sitting in the hallways to get money for supplies and equipment. We would like to have one computer good enough to connect to our TV and show pictures we have researched from the Internet for our Animal and Mission Reports.

--Lissy Powell and Jenny Drexler

Football is too rough

At Nixon Elementary School students are playing basketball, football and other sports. I think football is rough. Kids that are playing football are playing too rough. I think football shouldn't be played because people are getting hurt.
Kids are not taking football seriously. I know people are getting hurt because of football. I think basketball is more fun because not many people get hurt. I know some people are taking it seriously, but I like playing basketball because it is fun. You work hard as a team, and you can play different games with basketball. With football you can only play one game. Basketball is my favorite sport now.

--Jessenia Roman, Grade 5

10 reasons to like computer games better than board games

Computers are easier to set up, can play alone

by David Lai, Grade 5

I would rather play a computer game than a board game.
There are many reasons why. First, a board game takes some setup to unfold and get ready, while the computer loads the game without you having to do anything but hitting the ON button and selecting the game. Second, a computer game takes much less space than a board game. Third, you can't cheat in a computer game.
Fourth, you don't get into long arguments about whether this is legal or not in a computer game as if you were playing a board game. Fifth, you don't have to look for a partner to play a computer game, while you have to play with someone else for most board games (and you don't have to listen to your partner brag about his/her victory when he/she wins). Sixth, you don't create a big mess when you play a computer game, like you do in some board games. Seventh, you don't have any problems hiding something like your hidden headquarters near the front lines in a computer war game.
Eighth, you can't get the feeling of being physically in the game, like a flight simulator or a first-person action game with a board game, unlike a computer game. Ninth, the built-in artificial intelligence is a lot more cooperative than a person. Finally, most computer games have sound and music, unlike board games.
However, there are several accidents that can happen in a computer game that don't happen in a board game. One is the small chance of the computer locking up, crashing, restarting, or someone deleting a file or shutting off the power. Another is the cost of a computer to run the computer games. The last one is the radiation in a monitor.

Math could be made more fun, kids say

Math is a subject in school that many kids are hard workers in. Other kids may not be. But I am here to talk about their opinions about math.
"I think that it is terrible and very boring," said fourth-grader Sarah Howell.
"It's fun, and you learn new things," said fourth-grader Chloe McDougal.
"Ah, it's OK. It's hard sometimes," said her classmate, Janie Rue.
"I hate it," announced Kate Kosco, a fourth grader.
So, it seems like it's boring and hard. Only one person said it's fun. So, maybe we could improve our math program. We could make math fun by doing more neat things. Maybe you could make Mad Minute Math a contest. Whoever got 50 all week could get a prize. There are a lot of ways we can make math more fun. That was just one of the ways. You could also put only one really hard math problem on the chalkboard.
Different people's opinions are fun to hear. Janie and Chloe announced it's fun and OK. Maybe we could ask the people who don't like math how we could improve math. Sarah said, "You could make math into some games." Kate said, "I think we should go back to the old math program." Janie said, "We could do easier problems."
Maybe we should try some of these ideas, like Janie's and Sarah's ideas. We could make problems into a bingo game. You could start doing easier problems.
Maybe more children would enjoy math then, just as they would in history, spelling, and writing. Math is fun, but you have got to make it fun also yourself.

--Allie Holodniy, Grade 4

Pros and cons of biking to school

There are many advantages and disadvantages to biking to school and back. We bike to school every day, and every day something happens that's good and something happens that's bad. These are some of the things:
You have to wake up earlier than if you didn't bike.
It's cold in the morning at 7:45.
You have to pump up your tires a lot.
It's hard to bike up hills. Sometimes your tires blow up. When your chain pops out and you have to put it back in, your hands get greasy. When you cross streets you have to wait for the street lights to turn.
It takes time to lock your bike up and sometimes we're late. If it's a hot day, you burn up on the way back from school. We're sometimes late to activities after school.
You can be away from your family. You get exercise. Your legs will get stronger so you are better at different sports.
If we get hungry, we just stop and get something from our lunch. We have a fun time making new games. You can talk with your friend alone. You get fresh air. You can have a fun time choosing what route to take. Every hill you go up, you get to go down later. If you drive it takes 2 minutes and if you bike it takes 15 minutes so you don't have to do your homework as soon.
Even though there are many disadvantages to biking to school, we still enjoy it.

--Nikki Perlman and Chloe McDougal, Grade 4

Drivers to Nixon School don't like traffic

Most people hate driving to Nixon School. They hate traffic and some just do not like going long ways. The following people commented on driving. Tommy's parents reported that there is always traffic.
Marisol's mom said that it is a long way from where they live.
Joe's dad complained that he just does not like driving to school.
Some parents like driving to Nixon school. They love going places, long or short. They just love driving.
Allie's parents commented, "We just like driving my child around."
Maria's parents said that "we like driving Maria to school when the bus is late."

--Derrick Brooks, Grade 4

We need stricter pollution laws

Pollution from cars, trucks, and factories is ruining the air. We see pollution in the air wherever we go. We should put a stop to this by making less pollution, by putting stricter laws on factories that do not follow the laws on polluting.
We should have our cars smog-checked every six months to make sure they are safe to drive. Why doesn't the President put a stop to the pollution?
The world would be a better place without pollution.

--Jason Noghrey, Grade 4

Homework is a waste of time

Takes away from having fun after school

Some kids at Nixon think homework is a waste of time. I think kids shouldn't have homework because it takes up their time to have fun after school. Although some homework is fun, it still takes too long to do. I think the way to solve this horrible problem is by vanishing homework from this school.

--Nick Dawson, Grade 4

Nixon has driving problems

Lately, Nixon School has had a driving problem.
People have been making wrong turns, stopping in the wrong places, and more.
Someone drove slowly the whole way to school, but started speeding when he entered school grounds.
I don't know why people do this. They've been told it is dangerous and letters have been sent home. Mike Di Gino said, "Do the people think the rules don't apply to them?" Sometimes it scares me just to cross the road (even in a crosswalk).

--Joe Di Gino, Grade 4

Cigarettes are bad

I think people should not make cigarettes anymore. They should not make them because people are dying from them. The individuals that are making them are only thinking of the money not the thousands of people dying every year.
Solutions to the problem could be to stop making cigarettes. People could stop buying them and the cigarettes companies would go out of business.
Also, smokers could try to stop smoking to save their lives.
I think the world would be a better place because it would be better for those who don't smoke as well as those who do!!!
The people who don't smoke wouldn't have to be around second hand smoke and therefore wouldn't die!!!!

--Ryan Dorian, Grade 4

Students not happy about school bathrooms

Bathrooms. You would refer to a bathroom as a private place. "It smells like a bathroom. And a bathroom never smells good," said fourth-grader Joe Digino.
We should all take part in making this a good environment for children.
"They are disgusting," says Ross Bennett.
"They smell," says Derrick Brooks.
As you can see, the Nixon students are not happy about the bathrooms. The problem is that children think that the custodian will clean it if they leave it dirty. But the truth is that he doesn't. The solution to the problem is to give the boys' and the girls' bathroom one big scrub. Then in each class room a person should check pockets for stuff that you could write with. If we clean the bathrooms children will be happier and appreciate the bathrooms more.

--Kate Kosco, Allie Holodiny, and Sarah Howell, Grade 4

Nixon School's hot lunch is awful

Students think school lunches are greasy

We have a problem with the Nixon School's hot lunches. Everybody is complaining that it's awful.
Sarah doesn't like the hot lunches because it's cold and greasy .It's disgusting.
Nikki hates hot lunch because it's just grease.
Ariel doesn't like the hot lunch because it doesn't have much of a choice for vegetarians.
Allie doesn't like hot lunches because the food tastes like rubber.
A way to solve the problem would be to buy school lunches from a different place that makes healthy food that tastes good and is cooked well.

--Samantha Hastie, Grade 4

Blue slips aren't enough

When I see kids getting a blue slip, I think they should get a stricter punishment because some kids enjoy picking up trash. Some don't enjoy picking up trash, but some think it's cool.
Maybe it would be better if they punished the kids by having them stay in the office until their recess is over. Then they can use the blue slips for when they bring stuff from home. Or you can have kids help around the school for their recess for a punishment.

--Tommy McCandless, Grade 4


Hi, I am here to thank you for letting our school run the Palo Alto Weekly. We have enjoyed it and we have learned things, too. It is a nice chance to have fun, work together, and tell what is going on in our school. Also it is a nice break from the grown-up world. The news from a kids' view.
--Beth Brown, Grade 5

I think that you should read more often, because you can learn a lot and you can get smarter. If you don't have books, which you all should, or if you don't like any of them, you should go to the library and if you don't have a library card, get one! Thank you for listening.
--Phelena Gayton-Hall

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