The following stories were written by my students in grades 2 to 4 in the after-school programs at DeAvila and Alvarado Elementary Schools in San Francisco.

One Fly Up

Today I played one fly up. I caught the most balls. There was a really big kicker who kicked the ball on the stairs, and I jumped and caught it twice. When it was time to go in, he kicked a high ball, and my friend jumped in front of me but he missed the ball, and I caught it. One of them almost got me but I shook all of them and made a touchdown. Then I ran downstairs in the caf and ate my snack.

To play the game, someone goes up to kick and someone pitches the ball, and the person who's up kicks the ball. You get three strikes like in baseball. If they do not catch it, the team who is up kicks again. When you kick it you run to first base, second base, third base and then home, and your team gets a point. But if someone catches the ball, they go up and they kick, and you know the rest.

They use a bouncy ball, and all the grades play -- 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. Sometimes 12 people play at one time. We play almost every day except Friday. For bases, we use squares that are painted on the floor. The game lasts about 30 minutes. It's funny when they try to kick the ball and they miss. People don't get hurt playing. Delvon is the best player.

I Like Baseball

I like baseball because I hit well. I play centerfield. I was on a baseball team in San Francisco, two school years ago. I was 8 years old then, and the other players were 8 to 10 years old. I was living in Oakland and was in third grade. My brother Charles was on a baseball team like me.

We started in March and in June we started to play real games. I had two good friends on the team. We wore gray uniforms. We played about five teams and beat them all. I got a trophy at a picnic with the name of our team on it, the Dodgers. I'm going to bring it in.

The ball didn't come to me very often. Once a fly ball came to me. I almost caught it but I didn't. My coach was a bad coach because when I didn't catch it he got mad at me. I had just started playing baseball and I wasn't very good at catching. Now I can catch almost every ball I'm supposed to.

My teacher Mr. Hertz helps me by catching and batting with me after school. This year I'm going to be in Little League. We will play in San Francisco, Angel Island and Treasure Island.

The way I got interested in baseball was watching other people play and watching it on TV. My favorite baseball player is Barry Bonds. His team is the Giants. When I grow up I want to be a baseball player on the Giants.

My Dog Jazzmen

My dog Jazzmen is white and brown. She is a German shepherd. She likes to eat wheat food and meat dogfood. I got her from another dog that I had. The mother dog gave birth to two puppies. The mother and one of the puppies died when she was in labor, so I was stuck with her daughter. We called her Jazzmen because she likes to bark when I put jazz tapes on.

We took her to the hospital so we could make sure she didn't have any diseases. When Jazzmen first came home she was very small. She could barely open her eyes. When she got a lot bigger she started playing outside in my backyard. We play fetch. Of course I don't fetch: she does. I throw the ball and she brings it back to me. And I throw it again and again and again. One place she loves to go is the park because she can see some of her friends there. The names of some of them are Stuffy, Toukey and Ruber. Her best friend is Toukey. Sometimes in the park I let her off the leash.

Jazzmen plays Barbie with us. She sleeps on top of my bed, on a separate blanket. She doesn't have fleas. I don't know what she does when I'm at school. She loves me and she doesn't like people who are mean to me. That's why I love her.

When Jazzmen got older she had two children of her own. They were white, brown and black, because her children's Dad was all black. His name was David. He was my friend's dog. Jazzmen and David and me agreed to name the girl Jazzmen and the boy Daven. I know the kids like their names too, because they respond to their names.

My Hamster

The subject I'm going to talk about is my hamster. Her name is Ham, because if you take away the "ster" it will be "Ham." We bought her at Pet Smart. She is four years old and medium size. Her birthday is in June. She is brown and white and has a black birthmark on her neck. She eats Cheerios and vitamins. She likes to exercise on her spinning wheel and her spinning ball. We play with her by taking her out of the cage. We put her on the bed and she starts crawling, and then she goes into our hands. If you eat food and don't wash your hands, she will bite. We put her cage in my sister's bunk bed because my sister doesn't sleep there anymore. My hamster is smart because she can escape by opening her cage. She went to my Grandma's and Grandma was scared because she didn't know Ham was there.

My New Cat

I have had four cats at different times. Their names were Pixi, Kitty, Rosey and Sneaky. The best one was Sneaky. He was very funny. He acted like a dog. He followed me wherever I went, and would not let me out of the house. He got so fat that he couldn't even walk when I went to Hong Kong. When I came back we didn't let him eat for two days and he lost weight. We let him go outside and he didn't from back. We called our neighbor and he told us that our cat had died in a car accident. He brought the dead cat, but he didn't want me to see it. I was very sad. My neighbor and my Mom buried it. My neighbor made a little cross, and I put a necklace on the cross. That happened last summer.

My new cat is Pixi. I got her from the SPCA. She is a black and brown Siamese cat. She is four years old. She got in a fight, and that's why one of her teeth is gone and two others are broken. But she is still pretty. She can open a door even if it's closed. When I go to do something, she will eat all my food. One thing she doesn't like is cat food. My Mom says she's a pain in the butt. But I think she's pretty funny doing all those bad things. She likes pasta so much she meows all night long if she doesn't have at least a piece. For Halloween I dressed her up as Supercat. She had an S on her, and I put her in my Halloween bag.

We had to take care of a dog. His name was Sugar. My Mom found him at her school. He barked at my cat but she was not scared. I was sure my cat was not happy when we got the dog. Then my Mom found a home for it with one of the students at her school.

Baseball: My Favorite Sport

My favorite sport is baseball. I like baseball because I get to hit the ball and catch it. I watch baseball on TV and play baseball with my brother and my 16-year-old sister. Sometimes I use a tennis ball and sometimes a baseball. You could play baseball too. Go to a baseball park and ask one of your family members to play with you. Get a bat and ball and some gloves. With a bat you can hit a home run and you could hit a small or a big one in the air or on the ground. Once I was playing a game with a boy and he almost made a home run but I jumped in the air and caught the ball. Then I was up at bat and I hit a home run. I went crazy. In video baseball games it is easy, but in real life it's hard to hit because it's too fast.

Why I Like Hawaii

I went to Hawaii last year and stayed in a hotel in Honolulu for one week. I went with my mom, my dad and my little sister Sabrina. I went swimming in the sea. It was very refreshing to go in the water. You can go to the beach every day. When you are at the beach the sunset is amazing. The colors are very beautiful: they are red, pink, orange, purple, and last but not least yellow. You get to take pictures with parrots on your shoulder. You really should try the ice cream cakes. They are very delicious. I heard a lot of Hawaiian music everywhere. I saw the hula and it was a very nice dance. The best part about Hawaii is that it is hot and sunny every day. I like it very very much. It is the most refreshing place I have ever been in.