Methow Valley fifth and sixth graders wrote letters to the editor about topics that concerned them at the Young Writers Conference, held on Friday (May 31) at Methow Valley Elementary School.
Students learned a little bit about how to express their opinions effectively in a letter to the editor. Staff from the Methow Valley News also taught the students about freedom-of-speech protections and what types of speech are not protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, including obscenity and libel.
All the students successfully produced a complete letter to the editor in roughly half an hour. Below are letters written by students who agreed to appear on the Methow Valley News website.
I think that wildfires can be prevented. People should not smoke, should put rocks around their campfire, and should keep a bucket of water near them to put the fire out before they go to sleep.
Stop your fellow campers from doing anything rash. Put your barbecues on flat ground to prevent tipping. Remember that houses, animals, trees and people can get hurt or die. Fires can spread even to cities and national parks. If you start a fire on accident or on purpose, please report it at once. So, try not to start a fire.
Keller Hunter Knab, Methow Valley Elementary School
International travel in elementary school
I think that you should be able to go on international trips in elementary school because it would be a really cool cultural experience. In high school, you can go on very cool trips with the Spanish and Chinese classes, depending on which class you are in. If we had trips with the school, you could learn a language better because you would be with people talking in foreign languages. I want the school to start doing this with the Spanish class that we have. That would be great.
Ben Kaufman, Methow Valley Elementary School
Let us listen to music
Have you ever been doing something in class or work and needed to rewind, so you pull out your phone, plug in your headphones and turn on some music? The teacher or boss sees your phone and takes it away. After that, you gain more stress because you start to worry about your phone. Then you can’t focus on anything, and you get nothing done. Because of this, I think we should be able to listen to music in class. Music relieves stress. This is proven by many scientists, as music releases a chemical in the brain that calms the body. It is also proven that people focus better while listening to music. That is why kids should be able to listen to music in class.
Cooper Gurney, Methow Valley Elementary School
Lunch rules unfair
I would like to share my opinion about school lunches. Growing children need nutritious food, and a lot of it. We get only a scoop of whatever we are having, and we barely ever get seconds. Another reason why I am hungry afterwards is that we are given no time to eat! We get around 15 minutes to eat, and if we stay any longer then we miss some of our recess. I normally like the lunches, but when the line is so long and we have no time, how are we supposed to enjoy it?
When we are done eating, the duties make us sweep under our tables, but I don’t think that is at all fair. Sixth grade is the last grade to eat, and we are welcomed with a dirty and used lunchroom. That means that when we sweep, we have to clean up everyone’s mess. I think that kids should be responsible for cleaning up their own messes, not us.
I hope that the school can make the necessary changes in order to satisfy us students. I will not be in the elementary school next year, and I hope that the high school lunches are satisfactory but on behalf of next year’s sixth graders, I suggest that you fix these problems.
Izabel Bajema, Methow Valley Elementary School
No more mold or bugs
I had grabbed a milk from Methow Valley Elementary. It was leaking really badly, and I checked other milks—they were leaking too! And when I took a sip of the milk, I just felt mold slide down my throat, and every time I take a milk it has the smell of mold. Oh, and when I went to take one of my peppers, it had a bug in it. So, I personally think we need a huge upgrade on our food supplies. I think we should check our food. Another important change I would suggest is better food that is not moldy and has no bugs in it.
Kaytlynn Barr, Methow Valley Elementary School
Lunch a mixed bag
I think the school should be better about their lunch because the lunch is bad, including their soup. It looks like a mud pie with plastic toys in it. Their hamburgers are good but their milk is chunky, and I want them to get us chocolate milk instead of chunky milk. The other good thing about the lunch is their deli sandwiches. But another thing I don’t like is their carrots.
Lucas Tufte, Methow Valley Elementary School
Dog fighting is animal abuse
Have you ever thought about how many dogs die in dog fighting every year? The answer is 16,000. I am a dog lover. As most people in the valley have dogs, this is a big problem that needs to be dealt with. For one thing, the sport is making people think dogs are a dangerous breed. Take pit bulls for instance. They seem scary, right? That’s because they were trained that way, locked up on little chains with no social interaction. Without social interaction, the dogs become aggressive. But if you get a pit bull puppy and train them right, they can be wonderful pets.
Another reason that dog fighting is such a problem is that it’s illegal. If you are partaking in this horrid sport, please speak up. If you’re a bystander, help save our sweet canine companions. I may just be a concerned sixth grader, but this is big—really big!
I can’t stand animal abuse and will not stand for anything of the sort. So, what can we do to help? Make people aware. Spread this all over and help save our dogs. Please get in touch with me at school. I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions.
Nora Bosco, Methow Valley Elementary school
Allow phones at school
I would like to be able to use our phones at school because it is a lot easier to get stuff done and a lot easier to get less distracted. I understand that people could be messing around in class and stuff like that, but I think if it were visible and you could tell if they were messing around, we should be able to use our phones at school. Personally, I use my drum music and I know a bunch of my friends do, too. And we could listen to music while working and at recess. I like to listen to music playing football, during recess and working in class.
Madox Johnson, Methow Valley Elementary School
Music good for learning
Most kids are not allowed to have their phones or personal electronics in class or at recess. I think that kids should be able to listen to music on their phones during class. Many kids get their phones taken away for listening to music at school. Music helps some kids focus and get more work done. I agree that kids should not be using their phones when the teacher is talking, but while kids are writing I don’t know what is wrong with that. Some other kids and I in fifth grade focus better when we listen to music.
Helios Shearedeen, Methow Valley Elementary School
Slavery should be abolished
Why do people use other people as slaves? In America, people have freedom. Why can’t slaves have freedom too? Are slaves people or property? Farms in the north do fine without slaves. I would ask the government to not let slavery be allowed anywhere.
Kaiden Sarazin, Methow Valley Elementary School
Strategy games good for kids
I want a strategy game club at school. I have recently been attending an after-school Dungeons & Dragons club and I feel like I have learned good teamwork skills. The game also helps stimulate your brain when you solve problems and have to get around obstacles. The game is also free, so it doesn’t cost the school any money. It also might help with social skills because you work in a party. That is why I think we should have a Dungeons & Dragons strategy game club.
Justice Ortiz, Methow Valley Elementary School
Youth sports encourage activity
I love the youth sports program in the Methow Valley. They don’t cost much money, and they have great coaches. I play soccer, baseball and basketball. I travel all over the state for basketball. The last two years, the sixth grade basketball team won state for AAA schools and under. Our coaches are Colt Scott and Ryan Surface. I think that if you like sports, you should try as many as you can. Our traveling baseball team went 10-0 this year playing teams from Tonasket, Brewster, Oroville and Okanogan. So, I think our valley should keep the youth sports programs as long as they can. They get kids that aren’t active get out and do stuff that they aren’t used to.
Remington Paz, Methow Valley Elementary School
Sports, not illustrated
I love the local sports leagues. We have baseball from the high school level to tee ball. Our sixth grade basketball team has won two state championships. Our high school soccer team made it to state. In the past, the high school softball team has made it to state consistently. All of our basketball programs and high school football is fun and exciting to watch.
The thing we are missing is a whiffle ball league. It would be another exciting sport to watch, and it is a good way to bring the community together and get everybody outside and active. I hope we can get a whiffle ball league started.
Mac Surface, Methow Valley Elementary School
Technology in school
In school we should be allowed to use our technology (phones, iPods, tablets, etc.). We would be allowed to use our own devices during free times, recess and even silent reading. Some people would much rather read off phones and stuff rather than books. During our unit, at times we get to use the school’s Chromebooks and calculators, what’s the difference between your personal tech and the school’s tech? I ask the principal to allow us to use our devices/technology during free time, recess and silent reading.
Kaydence Camren, Methow Valley Elementary School
I do not really like the school lunches. Some of them are good, like pizza and nachos, but some of them are not very good (for instance, teriyaki chicken and chicken patties). I like how they provide two options, deli or meat, but the meat isn’t very good. The salad bar is amazing. The fruits and vegetables are very good and fresh. I like how they let the sixth graders serve the food, but some of them don’t take it seriously and don’t serve well.
Maybe they should take away some of the food because no one eats it, and then it goes to waste. So, I think they should try new things and ask us if we like it and if we don’t, take it away. And they should try some more deli options.
Phoebe Cole, Methow Valley Elementary School
Art in school
I want to have an art program for kids at the school because it would teach kids how to practice drawing at a young age. It’s fun and relaxing. You can get really good at it, and you can get a really good job that you enjoy.
There are a lot of people who would support my idea, so there can be a lot of art teachers to help.
Savanna Bird, Methow Valley Elementary