My Diorama: A Proposal

By: Raleigh Drennon

Dear Mr. Hansen,

Hi! It’s me, Brandon Willheit, from your 4th grade class? I plan to sign this letter at the bottom, but I figure why not tell you right away who’s going to make this the best year of your life ever. (Start writing your Milkweed School District “Teacher of the Year” acceptance speech!) In fact, even though your 1989 Chevy Cavalier is totally sweet, maybe it’s time buy a new ride. And why stop there? You really should get a mailing address.

It’s me, Brandon Willheit. (5th row, 3rd seat, next to the window?)

About our assignment to make a diorama of “a major event from Kansas history” — can I run this proposal by you first? My diorama is going to be so “kick-A” and I’ll need to get so much stuff for it (glue, cotton balls, 750 gallons of water, etc.), I’d hate to get started without your go-ahead. So please spend some time with this – maybe during one of your frequent smoking breaks. Or when you’re not screaming.

Hold on to your hat! (Or, in your case, your lime-green beret.) My diorama will rule all other dioramas. It won’t be just 3-D, but 4-D! (Possibly 5-D!) It will mean the end of dioramas. So find something else for next year’s 4th graders to do. Collages, maybe. Finger painting. When is it due again?

Yes, I know that my report cards, standardized state testing and the school counselor all say the same thing about me. (Luckily, my diorama won’t require the use of improper fractions, long division, short division, math in general, science, social studies, music, physical education, or “life skills.”) But I’ve got something a report card can’t report on: INSPIRATION! I’d also appreciate it if “poor personal hygiene” would stop showing up on my report card, too.

Drum roll! Here it is: My diorama will show Kansas as it was 65 million years ago, when our state was covered by the Western Interior Sea of the late Cretaceous period. When giant mosasaurs and plesiosaurs prowled the waves. When sea turtles grew to the size of race cars (I’ll use actual toy race cars). And don’t forget the big megalodon. (Big shark!) All made of pipe cleaners, toothpicks, clay, “found objects” (from my sister’s room), that 750 gallons of water I mentioned, and 90 canisters of bathroom caulk. I can see it all in my head. And soon, we all will see it in our classroom — through a special viewing window that will have to be cut through the wall.

Sure, I’ll need a few things from the school. Especially a very long hose and a faucet. And we’ll need to move the desks into the hallway and re-tack all wall hangings to at least four feet from the floor, clear of the water line. Will the custodian be mad? I know you two “hang out” in the boiler room during recess. Maybe you can smooth it over with him then? Ask him if he’s got a power saw I can borrow.

Mr. Hansen, this is your chance to grab greatness. Think how great my diorama will be for the school! Maybe Milkweed Elementary will be on the Discovery Channel for a change instead of A&E’s Justice Files. (By the way, that actor didn’t look like you at all.) Mr. Hansen, they might even let you teach class without the assistant principal watching you on that video camera that moves whenever you do. The buzzing sound and the blinking light are kinda scary!

I could go on and on about my diorama, but the cafeteria is serving carrot coins today. So please, make this happen for me. You and I have a lot common, Mr. Hansen. We both cry in class. The court makes us take the same kind of “mood pills.” Well, at least take them. (Backslider!) Who else but you can understand my diorama? Like I said, it’s going to change your life. And, considering the way things have been going, not a moment too soon, am I right?

Yours truly,

Brandon Willheit, 4th grade. (5th row, 3rd seat, next to the window.)


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