Elizabeth V Roach Blog

Hello and Welcome. My name is Elizabeth. I have served children in Bolivia, Peru, Panama and the United States. A graduate of Universidad Santa Maria in Arequipa, Peru, I taught on many levels: pre-school to adult Ed; ESL and Biology/Chemistry, but my favorite is still First Grade. Today, I write for children, and do author visits to schools by SKYPE. Thank you for visiting.
© 2013 Elizabeth V Roach All rights reserved. photos and stories

Friday, August 15, 2014

Running Friends

Running Friends

       Kamau wanted to be a long distance runner. He lived in the Kenyan Desert near the city of Bura and he practiced running every day.His friend, Abiria, often ran with him. 

      One day, as they were on their way to school, Kamau said, “I saw the new teacher. He looks mean, and he is missing one leg.”

Abiria’s eyes opened wide. His mouth was wide open too. “How will he teach us Physical Education without a leg,” he asked.

Kamau shrugged. “I don’t know, but we are scheduled for his first class.” The bell rang as the two boys stepped into the school yard. They hurried to get in line where the new teacher stood.

“Straighten your line,” the new teacher barked in a loud voice. “March,” he bellowed.

Kamau marched tall and confident. He was the best marcher in the school. Abiria trembled, but tried to keep in step with Kamau.

When they got to the field for exercise, the new teacher, said, “I am your new teacher. You will call me Mr.Johnson. Yes, I have a prosthesis for my right leg. I have learned to use it for many things.  So, don’t try anything.”

After class, Abiria said, “Wow, Kamau! How did he get us to do all those stunts with one leg!”

Kamau made a face. "He scowls at us. Why can’t he be jolly and laugh once in a while.”

“I don’t know,” Abiria said.  “Maybe the leg hurts.”

Next day, Kamau asked the teacher a question about the exercises? “Sir,” he asked. “Why are we doing this exercise first?  The other teacher did this one after we practiced running.”

“I am not the other teacher. We will do it this way,” Mr. Johnson said. Kamau saw the teacher was staring at him and waiting for something. Kamau stood still. The whole class was quiet. Mr Johnson stared at Kamau.

Then, Mr. Johnson barked, “Yes, Sir!”

Kamau mumbled, “Yes, Sir.”

“Speak up,”  Mr. Johnson barked at Kamau.

Kamau shouted, “Yes, Sir.” Mr. Johnson continued the class.

On the way home from school, Kamau complained to his friend. “Abiria, I don’t like that teacher.”

When he reached home, Kamau announced, “Papa, I am not going to Physical Education class.”

“Yes, you are, Kamau,” his father said.

“But I don’t want to go while that new teacher is here. He only has one leg and he’s mean.”  Kamau pouted.

His father said, “Kamau, that is not an intelligent decision. You need to learn the skills of Physical Education.  You don’t hurt the teacher by skipping class. You hurt yourself.”

Kamau said, “I don’t like him!”

“Kamau, everyone likes to be liked.  Like him and you will see he will like you.   Do you know how he lost his leg?”

‘No, and I don’t care,” Kamau said. But next day, Kamau decided to see if what his father said was true.

During recess Kamau walked over to Mr. Johnson who stood alone near the school door. Kamau swallowed and tried to keep his voice steady as he asked, “Sir, How did you lose your leg?”

“It is a long story, young man. I wanted to be a runner. I did not have a teacher and I ran on a highway.  I got hit by a car. Thank you for asking. You are brave to ask,” the teacher said. He smiled at Kamau.

Kamau got all flustered. He said, “Yes, Sir.” And ran back to where Abiria waited for him.

“What happened?” Abiria asked.

“He was nice. He didn’t yell,” Kamau said.

“But what did he SAY?” Abiria asked.

“He got it running. He was running like I do, on the highway,” Kamau said.

Next day, the teacher asked, “Who wants to be a runner?”

Kamau and four other boys raised their hands.  Mr. Johnson said, “Meet me after school.”

After school, Mr. Johnson gave the boys tips on what would help them to run faster. He taught them how to breathe effectively, when to stop, and how much water to drink.

Each day after school, Kamau and his friends ran. They practiced hard. Mr. Johnson selected Kamau and Abiria to run in the District Competition.

They practiced everyday. They could not wait for the day to arrive. “Tomorrow we run,” Abiria said to Kamau on the eve of the District Competition.”

Kamau said, “Yes, and my father is going to take us there.”  Kamau could hardly sleep that night with excitement. In the morning, he jumped up, ready to go to the competition, but his father was very sick. He seemed to have some acute pain in his right side.

Kamau's mother said, "I am sorry, but you must stay here to care for your little brothers. I must take your father to the hospital. “

When Abiria arrived to travel to the District Competition, Kamau told him to go to the school. He could travel to the competition with Mr. Johnson and the other boys.  Abiria was very sad. He did not want to go without Kamau.

Kamau insisted and Abiria went off to school.

Kamau held back his tears until his parents had gone to the hospital. He sent his little brothers out to play. Then, he sat in the doorway watching them. Tears flowed down his cheeks. He did not weep about not going to the competition.  His fear was much deeper.  How could he go on without his father?

When his mother returned, she said his father would stay in the hospital for a while, but he was going to recover.  “Kamau,” his mother said. “Your father has pain, but he seems even sadder that you had to miss the competition because of him.”

Kamau swallowed hard. He said, “Mama,”, “There will be other competitions. Papa is more important that a race.”

Kamau’s mother patted him on the head. “Your father will be happy to hear that you said that.”

Next day, Kamau went to class. Mr. Johnson announced to the whole school that Abiria had done very well in the competition.  “We must practice now for the National Competition,” he said.

Abiria whispered to Kamau, “I would not have won, if you had been there. Practice, you can win the  National." 

Kamau slapped Abiria on the back. "You are a good runner, Abiria, and YOU won, but thank you for being such a good friend, too."

The boys continued to run after school. Mr. Johnson coached them. They won many competitions, and their friendship endured.  When they finished school, Kamau went on to join and win many races. Abiria became a doctor, specializing in Sports Medicine. When Kamau competed in a race, Abiria was always there to cheer for him. Abiria married first. He named his first child Kamau. When Kamau married he named his first child Abiria. Mr Johnson was godfather for both children.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Wonderful World of Writing

Another great day of fun!  Had a visit to a Fourth Grade in Tacoma, Washington.  I presented a Power Point on Writing.    It includes a bit about how writing got started even when there were no pencils or paper, let alone computes, tablets, and iPhones. Then, there are so many kinds of writing, ways to classify them, and so many exciting things to write about.
After the presentation on writing, I read part of a chapter from my book, SECRET MELODY.
The question period intrigued me. These Fourth Graders had many questions.  One that would not have been asked when I first began to write was, "Do you use a program for your writing, or do you use Microsoft Word?"
I do use Microsoft Word.  I didn't mention that I also use Palmer Method.
This Fourth Grade group impressed me with the number of questions they had. I think there may be some serious writers among them. They asked,  "How many times do you revise your writing?'
Now, that's a serious writer who knows that real writers revise, revise, and revise.   


"Combobbled SKYPEr gathers her wits!"


A visit to a First Grade in Tuckerton, NJ, proved a delightful surprise.  I thought I was about to plan the visit.  However, the computer manager answered the SKYPE call with, "Good Morning, First Grade is waiting."  There they were --  a great group of children with eager looks on them. Four adults were present, too. One was the grade teacher and I wasn't certain who the others were. 

 I was a bit combobbled, but quickly able to gather my wits and read the story of the Pharaoh and His Toothbrush.  Seems it was READ ALOUD week and the little ones were waiting for a story.

I was happy to visit them. Children are so great! And I do enjoy any teaching moment!


Thursday, January 23, 2014


     I was happy to be invited back to St. Francis de Sales Catholic School. There are two sections for kindergarten. I enjoyed doing an author visit with the children and teacher in this class as much as I did the first section. Kindergarteners are so full of joy and enthusiasm. It is delightful to be with them. I told them the story of THE PHAROAH AND HIS TOOTHBRUSH. Above you can see the Pharoah after he got his toothbrush, which in those days was a "chew stick."

A New Lesson Planned
     Now SKYPE IN THE CLASSROOM has given me Skype Premium. This enables me to share whatever I have on my desktop.  So, I have another presentation prepared for middle grades. It is 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

My First Skype in the Classroom Author Visit

Elizabeth V Roach
 My First SKYPE Visit
Yesterday, I did my first author visit by SKYPE to a kindergarten class at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School in Newark, OH. What a delight!
Beforehand I had done a test visit to check connections. Then, yesterday, I connected with the class. The teacher immediately advised me the children were very excited about this event.  And they truly were. I introduced myself and greeted the children and their teacher.
I did a little motivation for a story, then read from my book SEVEN STORIES. The book contains seven stories and I read one of them, The Pharaoh and His Toothbrush to the children.  They were so attentive. When I finished I asked a few questions and the teacher asked where I got my ideas for stories.
The children were so responsive. Every question I asked, they gave me a great, "YES!"
Now another class in the same school wants to hear the story, too.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Skype in the Classroom

                               Photo by Shirley King

To see a video of characters in my books, click on link below


This blog began as a collections of stories about how children make peace. I am still collecting such stories. However, from now on, I will be posting experiences with Skype in The Classroom.  This is a website that coordinates visits to classrooms all over the world by using SKYPE for video calls. 

I joined it recently because when I read about it in one of my writers groups. I didn't know anything about SKYPE except that it was a way of communicating over the internet.

I uploaded the program. Then, I learned my laptop needed a microphone/camera gadget.  For about the last five years, laptops have included that hardware, but my mine is older. Happily,  a friend had one I could attach. Set up for SKYPE, I canvassed Maryknoll Sisters to see who uses this program.   When I found a few users, the next step was to practice.

After the first fright of seeing myself online, I discovered settings that allow me to change the lighting and contrast. A light directly behind me gives the background a pink cast. A lamp at a distance makes it blue.

I thought I was all set until I noticed that the background needed a little decor. I am still rehearsing and discovering new details about SKYPE, but I am almost ready to publish my first lesson. After that I just wait until a teacher who wants an author visit contacts me.  

Of course, I am also open to invitations from others, The visit is geared to children 3 to 5, but also for older children in ESL (English as Second Language) groups. How about one in your area?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

How Children Teach us Peace

Children as Teachers of Peace

Children are such wonderful, innocent, loving, trusting members of the human familiy. Yes, I know they can be naughty, too, but a lot of my mission experience was with children. I want to call on those experiences, that I'm sure you have had, too.

Children taught me a lot about God's Love.
Watch them play sometime. They engage with other children. They can quarrel and make up and move on with much more facility than adults. Have you ever stopped a fight on the playground and been surprised to see the two protagonists arm in arm a few minutes later, as if nothing ever happened.

Children taught me a lot about myself, too.
Sometimes, I felt they were like the Holy Spirit. They are like a whisper. You won't hear a thing, if you don't listen carefully. Sometimes, I had to be so gentle, because even a look would inhibit the spontaneity of some children. Teachers need to be so gentle. A severe "school teacher" look can stop a child who was only exploring a new way of doing something.

I learned from children that everybody blossoms with praise. Maybe a First Grader has only managed to make a few letters without going off the line, but he will keep on trying, if you show him he has made even one letter beautiful.

They are trusting and expect fairness, too. Not long ago, I was sitting at a table with a child and her aunt. The child wanted to go and play, but she hadn't eaten very much. Auntie said, "Take two more bites. Then you can go."

Bravely, the little girl picked up the spoon, and took a bite, then another. She waited. When auntie didn't say anything, the child said. "I took two more bites."

Children seem to understand peacemaking. I wish adults could learn how children make peace. I'm sure many of you have seen a child make peace, with a sibling, with an adult who is impatient, or with a teacher who wants perfection.

Let's share our stories. Maybe we can gather some right here.

Monday, June 17, 2013

How Children Make Peace

Salvadoran Children Choose World's Seven Wonders
Excerpt from La Salvadoreña Newsletter, July 2007

In 2007, as the world was waiting for the new listing of "Seven Wonders of the World" to be revealed, a group of children at The Children`s Peace Library (Biblioteca de La Paz) in Soyapango, El Salvador. were asked what they would consider to be the Wonders of the world. After some quiet reflection and occasional laughter and giggles, the following are what they named as the world’s WONDERS.

to sing, to pardon, to smile,
to play, friendship, to laugh,
to make peace