Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Writer's Digest Writing Prompt #16

Writer's Digest Prompt: Three boys decided to go have some fun at the local swimming hole. Shortly after they arrive, something terrible happens.

We called our band Infamous 3 because the teachers said we were "just the sweetest 3 boys" on our own. Put us together and trouble found us. My dad came up with the name, and he was the one who got me to play with the two Angelos. Angelo A. played the guitar and lead vocals, Angelo V. was on the drums, and I played the bass.

We got really good at our instruments after we performed our first gig at the talent show. My dad even produced a music video for us to put on Youtube, and we already received 42 comments about it since we posted it. My favorite one was from SallyRoxUrSox09. On November 13th, she wrote: "Kevin, is your bass an Ibanez? :)"

Most of the comments were good like the one from Sally, but some were mean. Those comments were anonymous, although I've had my suspicions on who left them there. On December 26th, Anonymous wrote: "Ur band sux and I'm taller than 3 of u put 2ogether." I didn't care. I thought the band was the best thing that ever happened in 6th grade.

Our band started when my dad decided to rebuild his studio at home. He already owned must of the good equipment that most professional recording engineers used, so it was really easy for him to set it up. The hardest part was getting Mom to go along with the plan.

My mom, who was my former 4th grade teacher, was always concerned about everything. She would cross her arms and say stuff like, "I'm concerned with your grades, Kevin." She said this just about everyday when she would see me in the cafeteria after her students left for recess.

Most recently, she was concerned about the name of our band.

"The Infamous 3?!?" She asked irritably over dinner. “Why would you even suggest that it's cool to get in trouble with your friends?" She already jumped to this conclusion, but Dad just rolled his eyes. We both stayed out of this conversation because we knew she had a razor tongue that could rip apart even a cold-hearted soul.

But we made it through the school year without a hitch. My mom was content that we had enough money to pay the bills, plus extra for shopping and entertainment, so she stayed out of our way during rehearsals. My dad smiled more often after a flock of music students enrolled in May since the Camp Rock craze happened, so things pretty much worked out for my parents.

Things didn't work out as smoothly for my band, though. We kept getting mean comments from the same "Anonymous" person on the music video, like, "How about you change your name to The Dorky 3?! LOL!"

The two Angelos got fed up with it. They said it was time to teach Too Tall Trevor a lesson. I told them just to block him from making comments or report the abuse to the web administrator, but they didn't listen.

So on Field Day at Joe Pool Lake, the two Angelos came up behind Trevor gave him the biggest wedgie before we shoved him into the water. Everybody laughed, including me, because it was hilarious! Trevor almost choked on his own tears of humiliation, but nobody felt sorry for him. Not even the girls.

Mrs. Walker ran up to us and yelled, "Why would you boys do such a thing?!" We told her about the comments Trevor posted online, but he denied it, so he was pretty much let off the hook.

We had to go to summer school for a week for “bullying”, even though we didn't flunk any of our classes. Angelo A. even made it on the Principal's Honor Roll, but the principal decided that he would make us clean all the desks in the classrooms.

I thought my dad would be cool and take my side, but he just shrugged his shoulders. I guess now he was too busy with the solo recording artists like Sally, who already finished three songs he wrote for her debut album.

By the end of the summer, our band broke up. Angelo A. moved to Ecuador, and Angelo V. went back to public school. I ended up playing guitar for Sally because Dad made me do it. At first, I didn't want to because her songs were too girly, sort of like Gwen Stefani's No Doubt stuff, but she smelled nice and I liked how her hair bounced when she walked.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

“Breathing Life” © 2009 Pia Villanueva-Pulido

The best spot in the house is the corner bookshelf in what used to be her mother's formal dining room when she was growing up. Now she converted the room into a mini-library filled with all kinds of books she has collected since her undergrad years as an English/Lit major. Those were the years when possibilities like the Great American Novel followed by a Nobel Prize were within reach. HA! What a joke.

How do I get out of here? She thought to herself, shaking her head, as she longingly glanced at the row of paperback Shakespearean tragedies. She walked away from her books, as if avoiding a temptation that would be impossible to resist if she dared to take another step forward, left the room, and didn't look back.

Walking past the small dining area and a narrow kitchen led her to another “best spot” in the house. When she was 12, it used to be what her mother called a “game room” where she had all her daycare kids and grandkids play during the day. Her mother quit the daycare business to take care of an elderly aunt, so it became a laundry and storage room. By the time she was out of college and married, it became a music studio. But the original homeowners used it as a garage. For her family, it had been anything but a garage.

She entered the room and heard her husband rhythmically counting and snapping, “1, 2, 3, 4, 1,2,3,4,” as a student attempted to follow his beat on the drums. She knew better than to disturb the fast-forward pace of his lessons, so she shut the door and walked back to the kitchen.

“Mommy, I'm hungry!” Her four-year old daughter announced, rubbing her belly exaggeratedly. Moments later, his metronome counting and the banging on the drums faded.

Oh, eternal gratitude!

But before she could even catch her breath to take out the toaster and some ham and cheese, she heard the electric guitar and his familiar three-chord progression technique he always used on beginner students. “It's a universal three chord trick,” he lectured to the little second grader. “If you practice just five minutes a day using these three chords, you can play any song you want.” That was his hook, and it always worked. The kids always walked out of his music lessons excited and passionate.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Pia Villanueva-Pulido, a published freelance magazine writer, children’s author, novelist, and an upper elementary school teacher, will offer creative writing workshops for youth to develop their writing ability over the summer break. The two-week session covers:

Character Creation and Development
Finding Inspiration Through Imagination
Structure in Writing (a little bit of grammar mechanics)
Oral Reading Fluency

Tuition: $150 per student for 2-week session
$10 registration fee
Materials will be provided
GET MORE INFORMATION – 972-523-6246 or email piav_pulido@yahoo.com

Session 1: June 15th – June 26th 9 A.M. To 2 P.M. MWF in Mrs. Pulido's home
Session 2: July 6th – July 17th 9 A.M to 2 P.M. MWF in Mrs. Pulido's home

Sponsored by: Timidsoul Productions


Student Name: __________________________
________ Grade:____________

Address: _____________________________________ Phone:______________

Session Dates: _____________________________ Parents' Names: ___________________

Please include registration fee of $10 to secure your spot and session preference by Friday, May 15th 2009!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

To Parents and Future Parents – What You Should Know About Your Child's Teacher

Helpful Tips for Parents with school-aged children written by a mother and teacher

Next to a child's parents, the single most important person in a young child's life is his/her teacher. As parents, many of us rely on the schools and educators to “do their jobs.” Teachers are held to a higher moral standard because they are paid to be role models and they represent moral codes. Thus, we respect their authority and put our trust in them so much that we leave our children in their care for 8 hours a day, five days a week and hope that they do their jobs. But how can you tell if your child's teacher is doing his/her job?

We all know that the salary of a teacher compared to the working hours he/she spends in and out of the classroom hardly makes the job worth it. In this case, we see apathetic teachers who are burned out and bitter because he/she did not want to be in the classroom in the first place. Despite master's and graduate degrees and advanced certifications, no amount of professional development would make them better teachers if they lack passion and purpose for what they do.

It is very important that we as parents step up and be our children's advocates. Becoming a proactive parent in a school community doesn't just mean attending PTA meetings and participating in fundraisers. Proactive parents realize that they are the primary educators of their children and they work in partnership with their children's teachers. Good teachers realize this and are open to the parents' participation in and out of the classroom.

Here are some qualities you should look for in your child's teacher:

  1. PASSION FOR TEACHING – This should be a no-brainer, yet if you carefully observe any school, you will find the passion as a rare form as it steadily declines in the schools. Passionate educators consider teaching as a vocation and not just a job. They are open to learn new things and try new strategies instead of using the same worksheets over and over again throughout the years. Passion for teaching can manifest in so many different levels, but more importantly, that passion will transfer into your children in hopes that they will become passionate lifelong learners. You'll recognize that passion when you feel the excitement from your children.

  2. CONNECTION WITH THEIR STUDENTS – Teaching is definitely not a popularity contest, but listen to your children when they talk about their teachers. They are observant and expressive, and they can pick up on whether a teacher “likes” them or not. I've seen teachers who clearly knew their stuff and taught everything they needed to teach. Their students learned everything they needed to learn in the curriculum, yet there was a big missing piece to the puzzle. The kids didn't feel loved! If the teacher's classroom management style is fear and intimidation, then these teachers are NOT who I want teaching in my children's classrooms. I, like all of the other loving parents out there, want the teachers to make my children feel special while firmly disciplining them. This is a fine balance that many teachers have to master.

  3. COLLABORATION WITH PARENTS AND OTHER COMMUNITY MEMBERS - Some great teachers like to do their own thing, but in order to expand their purpose, they need to work in partnership with the community. Parents are the #1 supporters for their cause, so great teachers will want parents to be as involved with their children's education as they possibly can. Great teachers will actively seek out skilled parents to volunteer as guest speakers on career day, volunteers for art classes, coordinators for field trips, etc. to enhance their students' learning experiences. Teachers should be open to these resources and realize that well-intentioned parents are willing to help teachers out in any way they can.

I could list many more qualities of a great teacher, but I know that kids will know it when they feel it. That's the passion I'm talking about....