My 5th grade students have just completed a project where they each had to create their own imaginary world.  In addition to writing its history, designing a map and a flag, coming up with a national animal and plant, and completing a few other items of their choice, they all had to write a list of the laws that must be followed in their world.  This is always my favorite section to grade!  Most students had the usual basics, like “don’t murder,” “don’t steal,” etc.  But some of their laws were unusual and surprising.  Here are some of my favorites (edited in a few cases for grammar and clarity).  Which one is your favorite?

No broccoli is allowed.

Bounce on your bed before you go to sleep.

All who steal will be squished flat.

You must eat dessert for lunch.

Do not lie to others or else you will have to be the person’s servant for a month.

Every kid must have one sport that he or she is very good at.

No one should kill or whip anyone.

Only eat synthetic meat.

Everyone must have at least one dog or other pet.

You may not have more than three wives.

Do not eat more than three packs of chips in a day.

No hunting dragons without permission.

No driving out of your lane.

Everyone must know how to read English and Chinese.

Everyone must know how to play a musical instrument.

Do not make friends with the mean people.

Breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner all must be only junk food.  If you want to eat something other than junk food, like chicken, steak, sushi, etc. you must fry it so it will still be counted as junk food.  (Fried vegetables still don’t count.  Any form of vegetable is banned from this island.)

No hanging inappropriate billboards.

You must build three power plants in your yard.

Boys have to do the dishes and take out the trash, or else they’ll be required to clean up the whole state as long as they live.

You must eat at least ten pieces of candy (any size) per day.

Monsters are allowed to attack each other if they decide they need to.

Celebrate the birth of the nation on July 7th.  If you don’t, you’ll become a dish in the feast!

You must not eat the snow.

Citizens who are caught acting too happy will be put to death.

Drink coffee five times a day, or you’ll be drowned in Dark Coffee Lake.

Make money yourself, no begging for it.  Otherwise you’ll have to stay at the police station for 1-3 days.

Play soccer after school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, or you’ll be kicked by cleats in the legs five times.

No wars if the government didn’t say so.

Everyone should have mercy on someone.

I’ve had my classes do this project for several years in a row now.  Click on the links below to read some of the interesting laws created by my students in other years:

student laws from 2016

student laws from 2014

student laws from 2013

student laws from 2011

student laws from 2009

student laws from 2008

student laws from 2007

Recently I had my students do a project where they got to create and write about their own imaginary worlds.  In one section of the project (my favorite part to grade!) they had to make a list of the laws that must be followed in their world.  It’s always an interesting glimpse into their priorities, to see what they consider important enough to make a law.  And the consequences they set for those who break the laws give an interesting glimpse into their sense of justice!

Most of my students came up with the kinds of things you might expect (don’t murder, don’t steal, etc.) but there were a lot of unusual ones as well.  Here are some that I found the most interesting.  Enjoy!

No act of violence and/or aggression is allowed.  The violator will need to do public apology, attend 100 hours of Anger Management Course, and do 1,000 hours of public service.

No drinking wine after 10:00 p.m.  (Consequence: pay $400.)

All adult ghosts receive $500 every month without working.  (Consequence for adult ghosts not getting $500 every month: $500.)

No war.  (Consequence for having war: 30 years in jail.)

Every doctor needs to have a PhD and will have professional learning every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  (Consequence if they don’t: $1,000.)

There can only be 5 movies out in the theater each day.  (Consequence for having more than 5: $7,000)

No cutting down trees.  If you cut down 1 tree, you’ll have to plant 10 trees.

No pouring oil in the ocean.  (Consequence: 5-10 years in prison.)

All people shall have guns or will be executed.

No betraying your own species unless you are a qualified spy.  The bigger the betrayal, the longer you have to stay in prison.

Everyone must learn how to use a gun when they are 5 years old.  (Consequence for those who don’t: go to the army and serve for 5 years.)

Show kindness and respect to people that sell stuff to you or anyone else.  The consequence is working with that person that you were mean to for three weeks and they don’t have to pay you any money for your work.

No one can have slaves unless there is a proper explanation for one.  The consequence is cleaning up three houses each day for one week for someone.

Obey your commanding officers, or else you will go to prison or have to do a chore for the officer you opposed.

You can’t kill or even catch a glimpse of the king.

Citizens shall not steal.  If caught, the citizen can face scraping gum off the floor for an hour.

Citizens shall not poach endangered animals.  If caught, the citizen could face fines of up to $100,000 or having to go to high school again.

Citizens shall not smoke.  If caught, the citizen can face fines of up to $550,000 or having to dance in front of a crowd of one thousand people.

Citizens shall not commit adultery.  If caught, they can face drinking five glasses of mud and eating one serving of fire ants.

Citizens shall not abuse a child.  If caught, the parents can be taped to the wall and laughed at for one day.

No smoking anywhere except the smoking rooms, or else you will have to smoke ten smokes at a time in a small room.

No barging into other people’s conversations.  Punishment: you will have to live with no talking for a week.

No eating candy.  Punishment: 50 years of jail and a $50,000 fine.  (In this world, the citizens are teeth!)

No playing pranks.  (Consequence: 8 years in jail.)

All names of people and places have to start with the letter “P” or you’ll be imprisoned until you die.

Everyone has to get educated for at least 21 years until you become 30 years old, or you’ll be banished.

Don’t kill the king.  You will be in the jail forever.

Everyone has to prank six times a day or they will be banished.

Do not play with fire near the only Doughnut Tree.  You will be warned and fined $100.

Treat others kindly.  Punishment is being put in the stalks.

No littering.  Punishment is having your house turned into a dump.

No wasting water.  Punishment is having no water for a month.

Don’t tell lies.  Punishment is being the court note taker for one month.

Restaurants who use bad chemicals in their food shall be put in jail for fifteen years.

No cheating others.  You will spend your time with a poisonous snake in a small room.  The snake might decide to bite you.  Then you will die.

No destroying nature unless told to, or you’ll go to jail for one month.

No wearing clothes that aren’t decorated with a star, or you’ll be sent to jail for two years.

The population shall not be higher than one million people.  If it exceeds the limit, the youngest child dies first.

One household shall not have more than four people.  If it exceeds the limit, the youngest dies first.

Let the elderly eat first, then you.  The punishment for not doing so is 20 years in prison with two meals per day.

Everyone must pick a job after they are 12 years old, unless they get stuck with their parents or going to school.  The punishment is working until they’re 66 years old when everyone else gets to stop at 65.

Thou shalt not eat meat except on holidays.  If caught thou shalt be eaten by the pack of hungry wolves near the Dark Forest.

No one should lend money to someone else.  The punishment is paying $100 to the government.

I’ve had my classes do this project for several years in a row now.  Click on the links below to read some of the interesting laws created by my students in other years:

Student laws from 2016

student laws from 2015

student laws from 2013

student laws from 2011

student laws from 2009

student laws from 2008

student laws from 2007

Every year after my fifth grade class reads the novel Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, I have them do a project in which they create their own imaginary worlds.  They design a map and a flag, a national animal and plant, write up the history of their world, etc.  It’s always fun to see the unique ideas they each come up with, but one of my favorite sections to grade is the one where they must create a list of laws to be followed (and consequences for breaking them).  It gives some interesting insights into their priorities and how their minds work!  Here are some of my favorite laws from this year’s projects.   In a few cases I’ve edited them for grammar and clarity.  In some cases, the odd phrasing was part of what made them amusing, so I’ve left it in!

All citizens need to own a soccer ball (if they cannot afford one, it will be provided).  Consequence for breaking this law: must watch soccer on TV for 24 hours straight.

No tearing other people down.  Consequence: write “no tearing other people down” 5,003 times.

No cars, airplanes, buses, subways, motorcycles, scooters, trucks, or any transportation, except for boats.

No speeding.  (This was from a world inhabited by turtles.)

Do not steal other turtles’ shells or you will be branded with a “T” on your shell and sent to Turtle Prison.

You are not allowed to try to take over the world.

You are not allowed to try to kill someone or everyone on this planet.

You can’t eat machine.  Consequence: you will be burned.

Exercise 30 minutes a day.  Consequence: have to exercise 2 hours a day.

Eat 30% of meat, 30% of vegetable, 30% of water, and 20% of rice each day, stay healthy.  Consequence: will eat and drink 2 times more each day.  (In my defense as this student’s teacher, we don’t actually learn percentages in fifth grade!)

Adults must go to work 4 hours a day.  Consequence: must go to work 60 hours a day (with breaks for only 5 minutes).

Freedom of speech.  Consequence: will be stoned to death.

All people must obey (student’s name); if not they will be sent to execution with no trial.

Never eat vegetable.  Consequence: jail for 14 hours.

Read a book every day.  Consequence: jail for 12 hours.

Eat 3 pounds of sugar every day.  Consequence: pay $800.

Do not do inappropriate stuff.  Consequence: will be put behind bars.

No loud music.

Don’t pee on statues.

Do not murder extincted animal because they are rare and special.

Summer vacation should be a vacation.  No summer schools!  Parents will get punished.

No getting married until you’re at least 26.  Consequence: will be divorced by government.

Men cook.

If you kill a person without a reason, you will be thrown down a mountain that is 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles long.

If you steal anything, you will be thrown into the boiling volcano. 

I realized I never got around to blogging about this project last year, so I’ll go ahead and include some laws from my previous class as well:

No one should have more than 8 weapons.

You can’t park your pebirimal (flying creature) anywhere.

No citizen is allowed to be a doctor without permission.  If you do, you’d have to go back to college to study for the doctor degree.

No one is allowed to use electricity for bad things; if you do, you might die of electricity shock.

No adultery or else you’ll get thrown into prison for life and get executed.

No usury allowed.  If you build one you will have to go to jail for 5 months to 1 year and have to pay $8,000 to $12,000.

No collecting taxes.

Don’t spit gum on the ground, or you will have to go through all the trash cans at the park and take out people’s chewed gum.

Every man at the age of 16 must be in the army or else they will get sentenced to death.

Everyone has to go to school by the age of 5 or they will have to work as an apprentice till they are 15 years old.

No swearing, or you will be put in an Anger Management Center for two months not leaving that place.

No being unkind.  If you be unkind for no reason at all, you will not be able to do anything fun inside and outside your house.

Kids are not allowed to go outside when they are 0-7 years old because they are too young to go out and play.

You are not allowed to marry until you are 23.  If you marry younger than 23 you will have to give your husband or your wife away from you and marry another person when you get to 23.

You cannot kidnap anyone unless it is the government doing so with a warrant.

You can’t call a pickle a pickle if it does not bounce, or you will have 1 hour of community service.

Bears cannot be con artists.

Do not build over 2 factories in one family or per person, because the air would get polluted.

Never spy on your own country.  Whoever breaks this law will be execute it.

Do not pick flowers; they are dangerously poisonous unless self-bred.

Trust no one; no one is trustworthy.

Do not make loud noises, or else the animals will come and eat you.

Every boy must go out of the village and live in the wilderness for twenty moons after the boy’s fourteenth birthday, so that he can be called a grown man.  If broken, that boy will not have another chance till he is eighteen.

Do not cause trouble among the people.  Punishment: 5 year imprisonment or death.

Do not steal, do not lie, do not murder.  Penalty: no breakfast for the next day.

Do not harm lions.  Consequence: you’ll be hurt by lions.

You must marry before 26 years old.  Consequence: you will go to jail until you get somebody to marry you.

Students must go to the school after 13 years old; they can have free time till 13.  Consequence: parents will have to go to school if they let their children go to school before 13 years old.

Everyone must eat candy 2 times a week.  If you don’t, you will be whipped.

You are not allowed to harm the national animals and plants.  If you do, you will work with animals for 1 year.

Want to read more unusual laws?  Click on the links below to read my posts about students’ imaginary world projects from other years:








After reading The Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare, I assigned my fifth graders a project with several sections. In one, they had to imagine they were going to go and live alone in the wilderness like the main character. They could only choose ten items they would bring with them, and they had to explain why. Most of the items were what you would expect: tools, weapons, food; but some of them were amusingly impractical or unexpected. Here are a few of my favorites:
hunting dog
survival guide
bracelet-making kit with instructions
the Bible (actually, quite a few students wrote that)
hatchet (someone’s been reading Gary Paulsen!)
poisonous darts
soccer ball
towel (um… maybe he’d been reading Douglas Adams?)
Mom’s necklace
nice shoes
picture of family

A couple more pieces of humor from other parts of the project:

Here’s how one student (a non-native English speaker armed with a thesaurus) described how to make a fishing device: “First, I will have to go and take my saw to amputate the tree’s bottom.”

Another student’s journal entry about a trip through the forest: “Today I came one 6th way to my destination. Three more quarters to complete!” Yikes, I think it’s time for another fractions lesson!

Interested in hearing about other fun teaching projects?  Click here to check out a post listing funny laws my students came up with for the imaginary worlds they created.  Notice the links at the bottom of that one that will take you to others.

After reading the book Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson, my fifth graders recently completed a project where they created their own imaginary worlds. One section of the project involved writing a list of the rules that must be followed in their worlds. Here are a few of my favorites – as you can see, some of the rules give an interesting picture of what life in those worlds would be like!

Fasten your seatbelt when riding on a unicorn.
Don’t refit the car.
If you murder someone then you will be tortured and all your money will go to the victim’s family.
No road building in the mountain ranges.
You can only talk to the king on Fridays, Saturdays, Mondays, and Tuesdays.
Do not go slower than 200 miles per hour.
Parents are not allowed to tell kids what to do.
All assassins who do not work for the crown will be hanged.
Do not jump off a building. (It has its own consequences and the government will not pay hospital bills.)
Don’t fight or you need to be in a box full of ice for 1 minute.
Everyone will have to discover new species of living things each month; if they don’t, the time will change to each week.
Celebrate springtime.
The public library shall never be noisy.
Crimes are not allowed.
The area around your house must be clean, and your neighbor’s too.
Obey the elders of our country; they are so wise that they can scare your wits out!
Killing is prohibited unless you are being paid by an important person.
Every sugar glider must follow the traffic signs.
No homework.
Do not fire people without any good reasons. If you do, ask the princess and prince first.
Obey the rules.

Want to read more unusual laws?  Click on the links below to read my posts about students’ imaginary world projects from other years:








From what we hear from the States, it seems that swine flu is a big thing in the news there right now. It’s certainly a big thing here in Taiwan, and although it’s widespread, the Taiwanese are taking great precautions to try to keep it under control. 

For a couple of months now, Morrison has been requiring everyone (students, parents, teachers, janitors – everyone!) to get their temperature taken before entering campus in the morning (see picture below). Anyone with a fever is immediately sent home, and everyone without one is given a little colored sticker to wear on their shirt all day (a different color each day). If we see anyone at school without a sticker, we’re supposed to remind them to go to the nurse and get their temperature checked right away. Many public places (churches, the zoo, etc.) have been doing temperature checks as well, and requiring everyone to take a squirt of hand sanitizer before coming in. 

You’d think that with those precautions H1N1 would have been kept at bay, but a couple weeks ago we got word that three high schoolers on our campus had come down with it. They (and their families or roommates) were quarantined their homes or dorm rooms for five days, while the rest of the school prayed and hoped no one else would come down with it. All the elementary teachers breathed a sigh of relief that it hadn’t been elementary students who got sick, because the government regulations are stricter for elementary. If two or more students in the same class get swine flu, the whole class has to be closed and every student in it (and the teacher) must go through the five-day quarantine. Morrison has a system in place (and we’ve all been trained in it) whereby we would teach our lessons over the internet if that ever happened. 

Everyone keeps saying that it’s not a matter of if, it’s when, and yet somehow we’ve all managed to assume such a thing would only happen to other teachers’ classes. But – not any more. 

When I came to school this last Friday, I received the bad news that one of my students had been diagnosed with H1N1. Not a serious case, thankfully, but the first in the elementary school, and of course it was worrying. I had a total of three students absent that day, and I couldn’t help wondering what the chances were that either of the others had it and just didn’t know it yet. 

Well, the principal came by my classroom in the middle of the day, and sure enough, he had more bad news. The office had just received a call from the parent of one of my other absentees, and it was confirmed that she had H1N1 too. Now the office was about to call all my students’ parents to come and pick them up, and I had about forty minutes to prepare the kids to continue school from their homes for the next several days. Yikes! 

To make a long story short, I told my students the news, gave them a quick refresher course in how online education is supposed to work, explained the afternoon’s work which they’d have to complete at home, handed out several worksheets for the next few days and a hastily-written letter from the office explaining the situation, got them to pack up most of their textbooks, workbooks, and notebooks; made sure each student had an adequate supply of lined paper (not easily available in Taiwan except through the school), and answered about fifty frantic questions (everything from “Am I still allowed to fly to China next week with my family if I’m quarantined?” to “Will my hamster get H1N1 too?”) and finally let in the parents who were congregating outside the classroom door waiting to take their kids home. 

For most of the students, the worst part (once they heard that their sick classmates were doing all right) was that they would have to miss that evening’s concert. The Elementary Thanksgiving Concert had been in the works for months, and though it featured mainly the kindergarteners through second graders singing, all of my students are in either the band, orchestra, or choir, which were scheduled to perform afterwards. Several students went home in tears that their hard work and all those hours of practice would be for nothing; they were not even allowed to come back to watch. I couldn’t watch, either, being quarantined myself; but I heard that the concert was only half as long as usual. The band director was quarantined too, since his daughter (in my class) was one of the swine flu cases; and apparently the orchestra and choir directors decided they couldn’t perform with so many students missing. What a disappointment for the whole elementary school. 

So now my students and I are all stuck in our respective homes, though I’m supposed to go back to work tomorrow (shut in my classroom, staying away from everyone else) to teach from my computer there. I will be communicating with my kids and their parents through email and “Moodle” (Morrison’s online education system), which I’m sure will be an interesting challenge. I’ll have to post lessons and assignments, answer their questions, grade completed work, give students feedback, and even take attendance, all online. 

The good thing is, we’ll only really have to do that for two days. Monday and Tuesday are regular school days, but Wednesday is a half day with a special program in the morning, so I wouldn’t really have had to teach in any case. And we have Thursday and Friday off for American Thanksgiving, though the quarantine would have ended after Wednesday anyway. So, all things considered, if this had to happen, it’s about the best possible timing (except for the concert). 

Of course, I have to remind myself that just because this is happening to my class now doesn’t mean it will never happen again. An individual may be immune to swine flu after having had it once, but my class isn’t immune to being closed again just because we’ve done it once! I can only hope and pray that it won’t happen again (or to any other classes), but that if it does, we’ll all be prepared. 

A couple of days ago, after we had finished reading Katherine Paterson’s novel Bridge to Terabithia, my fifth graders turned in a project where they each had to create an imaginary world. My class this year was exceptionally creative: they came up with worlds populated by rabbits, robots, talking candles, stick figures, otters, ghosts, and only children under the age of 18. Their illustrations involved media ranging from colored pencils to computer graphics, cardboard models to cut-paper collages and stunning watercolor paintings. But as always, one of my favorite parts to grade was the list they each had to write of laws that must be followed while in their world. There were plenty of the usual ones I see every year: don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t litter, don’t smoke; but every year I get a good laugh at some of the more – shall we say – original ones. Here are some of my favorites from this year’s fifth grade class at Morrison:

Do not step in lava.
Always wear blue on Friday.

Do not stay out after 2 a.m. All stores are closed.

You have to tie your hair in a pony or have it down.
If anyone hurts you they have to take you to the doctor. You can’t just leave them there.

Never blow out a candle.
Build with all your might.

Plant a tree when a person dies or is born.

Do not murder, with the exception of ghosts.

You cannot tease robots if they are sad about something.

Always go outside to get fresh air. 

Only use up to ten tissues a day. Don’t waste.

If you have a harmful sickness tell the government and they will put you into custody until you get better.

Do not use powers or transform into a monster inside a house.

Everyone must have clothes/pants/dresses or any clothing on all the time.

You cannot exit at the entrance or go in the city at the exit place.

Be modest.

You have to follow all these rules.

Want to read more unusual laws?  Click on the links below to read my posts about students’ imaginary world projects from other years:








It’s that time of year again. My 5th graders handed in their “Terabithia Projects” a few days ago. We just finished reading Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia in class, and they each had to create their own imaginary world and write up a report about it. One section of the report calls for them to make a list of rules or laws that must be followed in their world. There were plenty of the usual ones that you’d expect (don’t steal, don’t kill, etc.), but like last year, there were some pretty unusual ones. Here are a few of my favorites:

No advertising.

Never take down other people’s houses.

Never have more than one house in each family.

Do not argue.

NEVER eat plants or other unhealthy things. Only eat ice cream and fish.

Make sure to throw anyone who litters or breaks a law in the garbage can.

No kidnapping.

Kid’s can’t go out of the castle themselves.

You have to take good care of your garden.

Do not go without clothes to other places.

At war times, every male 18 and 40 must report to the army.

Defend enemies.

Don’t drink wine while you drive.

No killing animals except for dairy products.

Kids can’t do work (like at a restaurant) until they’re 12 years old.

Look both ways before crossing the street.

Say hello to people you know.

If you are a dragon, no breathing fire for no reason.

Do not free the people in jail.

No going to the king’s palace for no good reason.

You can’t make too much noise.

Take discipline responsibly. e.g. If you get sent to jail that’s what discipline you get so don’t be whiney about it.

Want to read more unusual laws?  Click on the links below to read my posts about students’ imaginary world projects from other years:








Recently, after we’d finished reading Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia, I assigned my 5th graders a project where they each had to make up their own world. One assignment that was part of this activity involved writing a list of laws or rules for the inhabitants of their imaginary world. Most of these were what you might expect – no stealing, no killing, be kind to everyone – but some students came up with some truly creative (and even downright bizarre) ones. I just had to share some of my favorites! So here they are, edited for spelling and grammar:

Thou shalt eat pizza once a day.

Thou shalt not give any entertainment alongside the road that will cause traffic.

Do not kill flies. You may kill fleas, ants, mosquitoes, and other insects in the hunting season instead, or go in the market to get food.

You must not fight in battles. You must only defend yourselves, but you can fight in war.

Thou shalt not throw or leave vile garbage on the street, sidewalk, or anywhere else for whatsoever thy reason.

Thou shalt not give birth to babies before the age of 25.

Everyone in (the land) is equal; only important people are higher.

Thou shalt not throw dirt in people’s ears.

If you injure or kill an earthworm, you shall be put in jail forever.

Thou shalt not smoke, become drunk, or chew betel nut.

Thou shalt not eat vegetables that are poisoned. Such vegetables I speak of are okra and broccoli.

Thou shalt not play dodge ball.

Thou shalt salute thy flag at 3:14:43 a.m. each day.

Every family has to take a health test every year, or they will be reminded to do so.

Factories shall not produce air pollution.

Thou shalt never wear jeans, for it is a sign of bad luck to wear such uncomfortable things.

Thou shalt not aggravate thy older brother.

Want to read more unusual laws?  Click on the links below to read my posts about students’ imaginary world projects from other years: