Twist on a Tale: sharing some of your learners' stories

Twist on a Tale: sharing some of your learners’ stories

We hoped you enjoyed running your in-school Twist on a Tale competitions this year and if you didn’t get a chance, you can still organise your own writing challenge for the new year using the resources in this post. We are sharing below some of...

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We hoped you enjoyed running your in-school Twist on a Tale competitions this year and if you didn’t get a chance, you can still organise your own writing challenge for the new year using the resources in this post.

We are sharing below some of the wonderful examples of writing from around the world sent to us by proud teachers showcasing their individual winners writing on the theme of Everyday Heroes. We wish we could have shared them all, but here are a sample of ten for you. So go on, grab a cup of tea and have a read of some of the talented story writers in schools around the world – and rest assured, you’re all winners in our eyes!

Tvisha Gowri Shankar Rao, aged 18

Overseas Family School, Singapore

3pm. Rush hour had passed. The diners that had once crowded the enormous food court not even 20 minutes ago had left just as quickly as they arrived. Unfortunately, they left behind their mark of presence – dirty tables, litter, plates and cutlery abandoned. You would think during a global pandemic, people would be more cautious of their actions and perhaps improve their habits to create a safer world for everyone. Though, it appeared as if there was no regard for the safety of the sanitary keepers – or cleaners as they are referred to – in this world that is seemingly so obsessed over an illusionary hierarchical system.

The aunty scanned the area. However, instead of a sigh of contempt or a grumpy attitude, she wore a gentle smile on her ageing face. With a slight struggle, she managed to rise from her seated position off the bench, grabbed her stained cloth and approached the closest table to get to work. That table would then become the first of tens of tables to clean. Though, that is an easy job, right? It’s not as difficult as a high paying, corporate job. It’s just cleaning.

This is the ideology that is entrenched in modern society. But beyond the cleaning, beyond the decluttering, beyond the ‘ease of job’, are hard working individuals, working day and night, risking their own lives to protect that of others. Maybe their jobs are not as glorious as working at a skyscraper office, or a prestigious law firm, but these are the individuals that make our country safe. They are the reason we can look forward to the gradual ease of restrictions, they are the reason we do not hesitate in visiting places, they are the reason we stand a chance at beating this virus that has flipped everyone’s world including theirs. These individuals risk their lives, through this horrific period, to ensure that everyone can look forward to a safer environment that has become quintessential.

As the aunty finished up with the last table, and awaited the next rush hour to set in, another smile set on her face. She was proud of herself. She was proud of the work she had done. While in other people’s eyes she had not done much, a menial job, she felt a strong sense of achievement knowing her role in beating the coronavirus. Her small actions were responsible for a safer environment for the country, maybe even the world. Knowing that gave her more pride and joy than any amount of money ever could. She prayed for a world that showed a greater appreciation for even low skilled workers, in valuing the work they did, and understanding their significance in the world. She was a hero. Just like every frontline worker, who despite their ill-treatment by the rest of the world, continue to work with a smile on their face and create a better world for the rest of us who take them for granted.

Mariam Kodhek, aged 14

S.C.S Swaminarayan Academy, Langata

The everyday hero I have chosen to write about is my next-door neighbor. Every day heroes like my next-door neighbor aren’t the people that you see on television, these heroes are people who do what they can to help but don’t get as much recognition. That is what makes them so special.

My next-door neighbor is undisputedly the most amazing person I have ever met. She is a general practitioner who leaves her house every day and works excruciatingly hard to help her patients during these uncertain times regardless of the threat to her own health. She only comes home during weekends because she is constantly being exposed and she wants to keep her family safe. Even when she is home, she is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone who may need it.

One day one of my neighbors was struggling to pay their rent because they had lost their job. It was a really difficult time for them. People were trying to help them as much as possible but there was not much we could really do. So she offered to pay their rent for the next two months just to help them get back on their feet. That was extraordinary act of kindness that was greatly appreciated.

So I decided to ask her why she goes out of her way to be so kind. She told me, “Kindness cost nothing.” This is something that she lives by. She went on to talk about how a simple act of kindness can have such a colossal impact on someone. When she was younger there weren’t many people who were willing to offer the help that she so desperately needed. This she decided that she was always going try to offer a helping hand. This also led her to pursue a career in medicine because it is based on the idea of helping others and helping people lead healthier and therefore better lives.

My neighbor that she payed rent for found an amazing job that was even better than her previous one. Since her rent had been covered, she was able to focus on getting a job and she owed it all to my next-door neighbor.

That is why I chose to write about my next-door neighbor. She is inspirational, motivational and she really has her heart in the right place.

Aiden Ashane Perera, KS2

Sri Lanka

I was in my balcony looking outside and I could see and hear birds singing, squirrels’ playing, petals and leaves falling out of trees and underneath the tree there was a brown hump. Wait! It was moving! I heard a whining, Was it an animal? I love animals.

I wanted to help however I was unable to climb down the stairs as I was on clutches. With tear filled eyes, dry throat and regret, the only thing I could do was to watch.

And I saw a man with dirty, ragged clothes trying to help the dog. I was impressed since the man himself needed help as he was limping. He tore a piece of his dirty t-shirt and wrapped it around the dogs injury. He looked everywhere for someone and suddenly he looked up. “Do you know if there is a vet nearby?” I told him that I will call a pet ambulance. The pet ambulance came and took the dog and the man.

On a clear evening I was walking slowly with my clutches for the first time. I saw the same man with the dog, he had the dog on a rope because he couldn’t afford a leash. The beggar smiled at me and the dog was wagging his tail. Both of them had found friends. I was happy too.

Nirshrya Gajan aged 10

Gateway College Dehiwala Sri Lanka

The world is facing the deadliest pandemic the world has ever faced over the years, Coronavirus. This virus is an invisible enemy. It is the greatest challenge we have faced like the World War II.

Many innocent lives are engulfed by the gruesome Coronavirus. Fortunately, many have recovered from this life threatening flight. Doctors, nurses, carers and paramedics worldwide are facing tremendous workload in health services and with no end to this pandemic. They work in stressful and also fearful surroundings. They are working day and night, risking their lives to save all of us. Health workers are facing immense mental stress. These life saviors too have families which they fear would contract the disease. The health of the people around the world lies on the shoulders of the healthcare experts. In some countries, there are no safety equipment such as masks, face shields, gloves and so on. Sometimes, doctors in these countries have to examine their patients without adequate protection.

The same problem is critical in developing countries like Kenya. They feel the sorrow of loss when their patients become victims of the disease. We need each other’s support in order to fight against Covid 19. Doctors are doing what is urgently required. They are finding a significant difficulty in detecting, recognizing and quarantining people to stop the Coronavirus transmission.

In my point of view, these hard working life saviors are great heroes around the world. The heroism, dedication and selflessness of medical staff allow us to rest at home safe and sound. They have the encouragement to combat this virus without giving up. Not all heroes wear capes; some heroes wear gloves, masks, face shields and lab coats. As citizens, we have to extend our gratitude to all the healthcare workers who are real warriors during the Coronavirus outbreak.

We have to thank them with a whole heart for their great service in saving every individual around the world. They are true heroes. They stay at work for us. We have to stay home for our own safety. Let us dedicate our love to our healthcare workers who are working relentlessly to save our lives from the Coronavirus. “Every day, the first volunteers, healthcare workers, put their own lives on the front line to ensure that we are kept safe. The only thing we should do is protect ourselves as much as we can from the fatal Covid 19.”

Bianca Mehta, aged 18

Oshwal Academy Nairobi (Senior High)

We all live in a world, an era where every day is an obstacle we need to overcome, where every individual has to prove their worth to gain respect, acquire admiration, and still while some may fail there are those who arise and fulfil their dreams and desires. Those well-known dreams of being successful, famous and much more, that are known to many. She too had a dream. A dream to live her life to the fullest.

I was seated beside her, anxious, but definitely not as much as her. She seemed as though she was staring into the void, her mind most likely racing with millions of thoughts, her heart reputedly cold, her facial expressions as blank as a white canvas, but only she knew what was happening. We waited in the line, the clock ticking, a person exiting the room, her time closing in. The last person came out and the doctor called her name, his voice echoing throughout the room.

It was her eighth and last chemotherapy session, months after finding out she was diagnosed with breast cancer hence I wanted to tag along with her. My mother was broken, devastated, as though she had lost everything at first. She hadn’t said anything, but I could see it. She was diagnosed at the second stage, not that life threatening, but she had to still the essential treatment required in order to get better. She went through agony and pain each day, not being able to do what she wanted and loved the most, her hair falling off, making her feel like her womanhood was snatched away from her. Knowing how independent she is it was evident that she despised the fact that many pitied her, because she didn’t want to be seen as one that needed help, and definitely not weak. It was really the last thing she wanted.

We walked into the room, feeling so out of place despite being so welcomed by the environment, the doctor and the nurses. She was stronger now of course, knowing exactly what to anticipate and what was going to happen. As she put her belongings on the side table and sat comfortably, all she was hoping for was that it would be fine as it was the last session. She smiled at me as the nurses entered, laughing loudly, jolly as ever.

The needle prick through her skin, something she might have cried over a few years back, but was now something she felt was the norm, I suppose the agonizing pain took over immediately, with the IV solution dripping through. She tried her best to hide the pain just as she had done for long enough now you could say.

She sighed in relief, a wave of content and peace flowing through her. She was the happiest she had been in ages during that moment. She looked thrilled and beyond jovial and delighted as it was all over, that the pain would not continue.

During the initial months, she had felt as though she wanted to give up, she looked tired of it, in simple terms. Regardless, she pushed through it and overcame it. Instead of holding onto the fear that everyone around her would see her as weak or incapable of doing basic tasks anymore, she now saw herself as strong and resilient, someone who could take over the world in that moment. She knew she had pushed her limits to survive, something many would find hard to do, and she was beyond proud of it. She didn’t fight for anyone this time, she placed herself first and fought for herself, and that’s who my mother was.

My mother didn’t expect any of this. In all honesty no one did. The events during the whole year opened my eyes, and made me see everything in a different view. The pain and sickness I saw her go through, as she still pushed through and made sure everyone was alright, trying her best to show less weakness despite going through all that, it’s something that greatly inspires me.

She had lost weight, and sometimes wouldn’t eat much due to the atrocious medicines that were to be taken that made her feel awful, possibly throw up too. She also lost her hair due to the chemotherapy. It was scary. I remember coming back from school and doing tons of research, in an attempt to find a way to make her feel better. I was afraid because most of the stuff I read at times was tremendously scary, and I would stay up anxious at night sometimes, but it all worked out fine regardless.

She showed compassion during the toughest times, and made sure everyone at home was happy. She would sit with me after school and guide me through my homework, help me paint and draw, laugh loudly and joyfully whilst we watched movies, made the most mouthwatering delicacies, took care of my sister in a way that no one else could and made everyone at home feel at ease despite all she was going through.

I remember waking up to her almost being unable to get out of bed, but she never said a word. She’d go to work and come back exhausted and drained out, but during dinner, she would tell my sister and I stories about what happened, making everyone happy. It showed me that she’s one of the strongest people I know of.

It has certainly been a few years since then, but it’s something I’ll remember for a lifetime, mostly because it made me realise a lot, value the people in my life and realize that everything can turn upside down, in a good way too. It sounds cliché saying, as it’s a phrase we all use, but my mother truly is my hero and will always be.

Nadinthi Akithma Kurukulasooriya, aged 11

Sri Lanka

The Sacrifice

Do you have a hero? Who is a hero? What does a hero do? Yes! Yes! Yes! As in my humble opinion I assume that all living beings have their own heroes. Remember some heroes never wear a cape. A hero is an ordinary person facing extraordinary circumstances and acting with courage and fortitude.

First and foremost, I have to inform you about a person who saved my life from the tremendous danger I tumbled into. Drops of tears rushing down my pale cheeks, leg bandaged using the wheel chair I moved toward a soul which looked almost lifeless. It’s all my fault. It’s because of me she has to endure all this pain. I evoked…

It was an extremely gorgeous and exquisite summer morning. I woke up with a humongous smile. My mom and dad guaranteed to take me to the zoological garden, however it was on a condition. The annoying condition was that they’ll only take me after the examinations. I was worried but agreed. At last the day arrived. I immediately got ready and remembered to put on my lucky boots. After the forty-five minutes’ journey end and we arrived at the zoo. I was engulfed with happiness, that I was over the moon.

Surprisingly, as soon we entered the marvellous zoological garden, I caught eyes with a gigantic tank. It was over crowed so I wasn’t interested to go there at first. Ultimately, after visiting all the other places, we planned to go there. I was thrilled. We strolled towards the tank although it was crowded. My eyes opened wide, I was looking up in awe. I froze. I gasped! It was a carnivorous hammerhead shark. It was one of the rarest and highly threatening sharks. The body parts of the shark made me frightened: the triangular shaped pointy teeth, the extra-long dorsal fin, the wide and flatten skull. “Who would to feed the shark?” one zookeeper asked while bringing out chunks of meat dripping with blood. He further explained that the shark only attacked with smell of blood.

Meanwhile I wondered. Should I do this? Could I do this? Despite being frightened, I recklessly volunteered to feed the shark. My mom had the opposite point of view. With a huge yawn he handed me the meat with blood covering it. I was disgusted. He asked me move to the front, near to where there wasn’t any fence around. I moved closer to the edge of the water. Lub dub! Lub dub! Lub dub! My heart rate increased. My knees turned to jelly. With the courage of a lion, I took a deep breath and moved a step forward and threw the meat with a great force of energy. Aaaaaaaaah! Splosh! Splash! I tumbled! I tumbled into the shark’s tank, a piece of metal hanging in the tank grazed my skin on the hand. At first I didn’t realise where I was. But I raised my headed, splattering and coughing. I looked around. The shark was concentrating on the meat not and me. It was impossible to swim up due to the slippery slope. I lost all my hope. I hardy could float. A silent scream burst out of my mouth. Splash! All of a sudden an unknown lady jumped in to the tank. The splattering noise water, made the shark moved towards us. She tried pushing me up. Still I couldn’t reach. I was struggling to breath. All of a sudden the shark was by my side. The lady swam to the opposite side I was and cut her hand on purpose and made splashing sounds. The shark was distracted. It turned towards her hitting its piercing fin on my leg. I squalled. I could see the bone marrow. The troop of people threw a coir rope for me to catch. I could hardy hold on. My saviour was by my side tying the rope around my waist.

And suddenly freedom… A lot of hands untied the rope and while I was caught in a bare hug. Then the rope was thrown back to her, by the time she was half way up, the shark grabbed her leg with the pointy teeth. She shrieked… With renewed effort the crowd pulled her up. When the life guards came everything was over. Both of us were taken to the hospital. I heard a soft voice from the soul next to me. I wiped tears, smiled at her and we started gossiping. She use to be a diver, but know…! She took my hand looked deep into my eyes and said “even knowing result, I would do it again.” My hero!!!

Hana Ahmed aged 10

Futures British School, Egypt

The History of a Black Heroine

Ruby Bridges was born in Tylertown Mississippi in 1954. When she was six, she was the first American child to go to a white children’s school in South America.

Up until 1954, the same year Ruby was born, black and white children could not go to the same school. They had to go to separate schools even though it became a law to let white and black children in the same school.

Ruby took a test to see if she could enter white children’s school or not. Ruby passed the test. Her father was a little worried about that, but her mother was sure this would give her better education. It was too hard to pass this test. However, there were only six Afro-American children who entered the white children’s school.

On the first day of school, there were a lot of troubles. When Ruby started at the White William Frantz School, so to keep her safe, she was driven and walked into by four US Marshals. There was a crowd of people shouting and throwing things because they did not want black children in a school of white children.

Time went on and during the first year, only one white teacher agreed to teach Ruby. The other parents kept their children away from Ruby. Ruby did not have friends for the whole year. Only the white teacher and Ruby were in one class. She found the first year very hard. She knew no one wanted to play with her because of her skin colour.

Ruby went on to graduate from high school and work as a travel agent. She had four sons and was a civil rights activist, which means she was doing everything to make life fair between white and black people.

In 2001, she was awarded a medal from President Bill Clinton. I love Ruby. She is a real super hero because she did not listen to people’s words and she was strong when she could not play or have fun with other white children. She completed her dreams and she never gave up.

Malak El Baramawy, aged 11

Green Valley School, Cairo, Egypt

My Grandma

My everyday hero is my grandma. I am not just her granddaughter but I am her daughter. Why, you ask? Well, she inspired me into becoming something. I never thought I would be a champion – that is in architecture. It might not be the best reason for her to be a superhero but it is more than enough for me!

It happened on that once-a-week day when the whole family was gathered and it was my grandma’s birthday. She told all of us how much she loved being an engineer and how it felt to help the world. Her words made me realize – I probably got it from her! I loved designing – it was my nature. Two months ago, I built an Eiffel Tower made from cardboard and it was as tall as my body. When I finished constructing it I added some LED lights and it looked exactly like the real tower. I was so proud of my achievement.

Her personality is on fire. She’s like a flame in the dark that cannot ever be put off by darkness. When she sees me in danger, she is so brave and ready to face anything just to save me. She brings light into my life. It makes my smile as big as the sun when I think of her.

However, my grandma has cancer now. She cannot take care of me when I am visiting her house. But I know she is strong enough to conquer anything. If I tell you she already battled cancer twice before, your mouth would be wide open, eyes popping out, you wouldn’t believe it. I am hopeful that she will pass this one too as she did the others – because she is my grandma.

I know her love for me is as strong as metal. My love for her is just as strong.

Vidita Chogle, aged 17

Overseas Family School, Singapore

The Mask

What is a hero? By definition, a hero is a real or fictional person who, in the face of danger, combats adversity through feats of ingenuity, courage and strength. As a high school student, I started to face a dilemma while thinking about heroes. As a superhero movie fan my feelings were in conflict between fiction and reality. The reality was that these fictional characters don’t actually exist – they represented qualities that the audience wanted to see, but really, they were not present while I was struggling on a math problem or felt like an imposter when taking the hardest IB subject combination. I had to resolve the conflict and strike a balance between reel and real life.

The heroes that we see on television are, in my point of view, a facade. Do we know the true lives behind these people? That was when I started to look deep in my heart to be open-minded and recognise that the people around me are actually my heroes. One hero in particular is my father, who has been my support system since day 1.

Most fictional heroes that we have seen or read about mostly wear a mask (a subtle reference to Batman and Spiderman). The mask is worn to conceal their true identity, a mask to protect the ones closest to them, or a mask as a symbol of power and hope. While it may mean a sign of protecting yourself and your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic, I believe that everyone has a mask. My father’s story revolves around a mask called responsibilities.

This story follows a young, reserved and confident man (my father) from a middle-class family who is a critical thinker from a young age, playing games that would require strategy and also has a passion for exercise and physical health. Growing up in the bustling and ambitious city of Mumbai, India, he was placed into the education system that would only produce doctors, lawyers and engineers. He was the latter. While enjoying his adventures of being an engineer, he decided to do classes preparing students for an entrance exam to one of the most prestigious management institutes in India. I remember him clearly telling me that he joined the class because his friends were doing so. Though he joined as a casual way to spend his evenings after work, he excelled in the exam. As he accepted admission into this university and roamed around the streets of Lucknow, it was when tragedy struck. While in Lucknow, his father passed away, and unfortunately, he was not by his side. This was when he imposed a mask of responsibilities upon himself. He now believed that he was the only guiding light for his mother and hearing-impaired brother. In the process, he did not realise how he suppressed his emotions from the world.

With hard work and determination, he was able to land a job in a new country, a young city with opportunities that would actually turn into his second home. After a few years, he soon got married and that is when I entered his life. His mask became heavier as he knew he had to support his family back home, not only financially but also emotionally, along with his wife and daughter. Since he is not a particularly expressive person, I would say that we have an odd relationship. It took time for me to recognise the mask he imposed on himself. So, why is my father my hero? Well, he has always been my hero, however, it was when I reached my teenage years where I recognised the amount of love and support that he gave me in his own sweet way. Coming from a humble background, he has upheld his values and gives back to society. He has made me look beyond the labels we have in society and form my own identity. In short, he has made me a better person and taught me to love and cherish everything around me. Even though he is reserved and doesn’t speak much about his feelings, I can see beneath his mask. These responsibilities are his identity, however, his joy and laughter coming from his heart always brings happiness to those closest to him. His caring and humble attitude is his form of fulfilment and achievement. For instance, during this COVID-19 period, he calls his brother, every night to make sure that he is well and healthy. The qualities that he possesses inspired me to be a better person and be kind and understanding towards everyone, regardless of age, background and nationality. Although we do disagree from time to time, I am so happy that he is my father and my hero.

Heroes can be anyone, it can be a person, it can be a pet, or it can even be a character. All heroes have a mask, concealing a part of themselves or afraid to show their weaknesses. But this is what a hero is: an individual who inspires you to be your best self and help you to achieve your dreams. My hero has made me realise how I should respect and admire the people around me, and he also made me confident in subjects that I never thought I would pursue. I feel blessed that he will always be a part of me, especially through my name. So, what qualities does your hero possess? Look deep into your heart and the answer may very well be right in front of you.

Joshua Owusu Sekyere, Grade 6

Stepping Stones Education Centres

The name of my hero is Mr. Norma. He lives in my community. He works at the nutrition centre where they bring in malnourished children from the villages. These children are fed and given free health care to make them healthy. Some of these children have lost their parents so they are being cared for by their grandparents. Most often their grandparents are unable to take care of them. That is why they bring them to the centre. They even bring in children with skin diseases.

The nutrition centre is built like a family hut but it is not made of mud. It has about ten huts with one big hut in the middle.

Every year, about sixty children are brought to the nutrition centre. The women who work at the centre come from the nearby villages. They cook for the children. These women have become Christians so they go to church on Sundays. They work in the nutrition centre for weeks or months.

Mr. Norma my hero sometimes sleeps at the centre in the reception unit. This unit has a kitchen for cooking porridge for the children, a reception area and a bedroom. He buys toys, local scooters and mosquito nets for the children.

One day a three year old girl was brought to the centre. Her name was Amina. She had a hole in heart which made her unable to walk and also affected her growth. Amina has been living in the nutrition centre for the past four years now. Mr. Norma has been taking care of Amina for all these years like his own child.

One day a volunteer nurse from Holland offered to take Amina to Holland to undergo surgery. God did a miracle, when Amina was sent to the hospital the hole in a her heart had closed.

Now Amina is eight years but her size is that of a toddler. However the good news is that she can walk now. Mr. Norma helped Amina to move back to Kumbungu her hometown. She lives there with her younger brother.

This is why Mr. Norma is my community hero.

 

Thank you again to everyone who took the time to send their winners’ stories to us. We loved reading them. And if you’re looking for more ideas for writing lessons, take a look at the resources below.

Free resources to inspire your writers

Tips for writers: KS1-2 (PDF | 2.97 MB)
Tips for writers: KS3-5 (PDF | 282.19 KB)

And below is a selection of our Bug Club titles to help inspire your children to write.

Bug Club Guided: Bright Sparks (PDF | 25.29 MB)
Bug Club Independent Dixie’s Pocket Zoo: Fight the Flames (PDF | 58.92 MB)
Bug Club Independent Dixie’s Pocket Zoo: Robber Run-around (PDF | 55.36 MB)

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