Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sample Scavenger Hunt Essay

One Text Draft: Best Times Bobber Project – Mr. Mauel Intro: (Three questions, Pivot Sentence, Thesis Statement)

Have you ever had a life-threatening experience? One that cast a tall thin shadow on the way you look at innocent things in the future? Like a river? When my best childhood friends came by my parents’ house and snuck me out of my room, I never expected it to be perhaps the last time I would see them alive. Sometimes life’s best lessons come to you in strange forms and places.

Body paragraph 1 (TS, CD, CM, CM2, CD2, CM, CM2)We walked a half mile from my parents’ house to the river. Along the way, I wondered what the river would like. Would it be as black as the night sky over our heads? We stood on the shore – five thirteen year olds at midnight. We got down to nothing but our swim trunks. We looked out. Anxiety knotted up my stomach. This stretch of the Spokane River’s surface was covered completely with large bundled logs. Under starlight, I saw that the logs were skinned. On the water, they looked like large white bones. Body Paragraph 2 It was a game of chicken. Five boys seeing how brave we could be... how far we could swim under water before turning and swimming back. We dove into the blackness. The view under the logs took my breath away – breath I knew I could not afford to give up. Louvers of silver light slanted down between the logs. Illuminated in sections the dark water, the fish that now looked strangely metallic, the sand at the bottom that now sparkled like something suddenly very valuable. The river water was warm, like oil. I intentionally swam to the bottom. I liked feeling how cool the river bottom was compared to the surface. I thought the feeling of sand along my stomach would make the seconds go by faster… help me calibrate how far I had traveled. I swam with my lips shut tight. I did not want to run out of air. Slanting sheets of light told me the logs were still bundled tight fifteen to twenty feet above my head. Body Paragraph 3 I looked to my left and right. Where I had seen my best friends before, I could not see them now. It was not for pain that I was scared now. It was because I was alone in the black. I never missed them more than I did now. Had I swum too far? Did I have enough air to swim back? I had to make a decision in the darkness. Swim on or turn back. I did not need my throbbing lungs to inform me that I did not have time. I swam forward. Along the river’s bottom as far as I could. My muscles tightened up. I suddenly felt light. I honestly wondered, ‘Is this where I am going to die?’ The water darkened even more. I was passing out. I closed my eyes. For the first time in my life, I kicked my legs as hard as I could. My arms were locked straight in front of my face but I could not see them. Suddenly, I felt my arms collapse. They were now flailing uselessly in front of my head and now my side. I told myself, ‘I don’t want to die. Not like this.’ I forced my body to float up. My eyes shut, my arms hanging like broken branches by my side. I lost sense of space and time. Blacking out… Thunk. The back of my head hit a log. I thought, that’s it. Body Paragraph 4 (Do I have to have four paragraphs? No. But I needed one to complete my thoughts). Suddenly, a painful shock hit my lungs. I realized after five or ten seconds of the needles that I had made it to the other side. I could hear sounds from the other side of the river. My friends yelling and running over the logs. I opened my eyes. I will never forget the look of my best friends sprinting over slick white bones. The sounds of their falling down and getting back up. Starlit images and sounds… Knees knocking on hard wood... I was alive. I wished I did not have to be this-close-to-drowning to remind me how much our group of friends meant to each other. Conclusion: (Thesis Restated, Topic Sentences Summarized, Memorable Statement) That night taught me that life lessons – more often than not – can occur in the strangest places. For me, that place was twenty feet below a warm Spokane River at midnight… looking left and right… wondering what to do. Alone… For as many sensory images that filled that memory, there was one that resonated inside my heart. I did not want to lose people I cared about and, to this day, am glad I didn’t.