This week, I bring you some dental advice, dance moves and a spot of jaundice.
I taught possessives to my primary students and explained that we use ‘of the’ instead of an apostrophe for non-living things or non-humans. I wrote some examples on the board, using the nouns ‘teacher’ and ‘door’ to test these differences, i.e. The teacher’s pen vs. The handle of the door. I asked the class, “Is a teacher alive?” One girl said, “No.” Oof.
I like to expand the vocabulary of my students by getting them to shout out synonyms, or giving the opposite antonyms. I write the new words on the board, we put them in sentences and then they record them down to fix them in their memory. I was acting out the word ‘crouch’ and the students were calling out suggestions. We had ‘sitting’, ‘falling’ and ‘bending’, but I am sorry to report that ‘twerking’ was also in their vocabulary.
Out of the mouths of babes
I always enjoy seeing the world through my students’ eyes. Often, their perspective makes a lot of sense, and it does make me think about the complex etymology of many English words. Take the word ‘plumber’ for example. When I asked my class of seven year old’s what a plumber does. They reasonably guessed, “Makes plums.” Perhaps Mario should consider it if his racing career doesn’t take off.
A new look
As I have been suffering from migraines recently, I have worn my reading glasses at work. One of the four year old’s noticed the aesthetic change, and pointed to my face. I asked her, “What am I wearing?” She answered, “Eyes!” It made me think of the nightmarish creature from Pan’s Labyrinth whose eyes are found in its palms.
I was in a bit of trouble this week. I gave one of my students one of my rainbow lollipops, which I call a ‘space stick.’ The idea is that they use this to create a space between words as they learn to write. I always let them choose their favourite colour. One of my students chose a yellow one and we proceeded to work through the comprehension questions and write our own mini personal recounts. At the end of the lesson, I noticed she had bright yellow stains on her hands and smudged across her book. I covered her mitts in my gel handwash and rubbed them with tissues to no avail. Her hands were straight out of The Simpsons. Explaining to her grandfather, who does not speak any English, was quite comical.
Hard knock life
Someone like you
Writing a narrative, one of my students was brainstorming ideas in his plan. I marked his work before he began writing it up into paragraphs. He had included the word ‘sometwo’ and when I asked him what this meant, he said it was like someone but for two people. I explained it is singular, like ‘anyone,’ but he took some convincing.
Overheard in the classroom
A pair of girls in my phonics class, who are five years old, were having a conversation during the independent work time.
Girl #1: I have makeup. Real makeup.
Girl #2: [In amazement] Do you put it on your face?
A pressing question indeed.
I read my class a story about a selfish character who ate a whole cake and didn’t share, but then suffered an immediate toothache through karmic payback. At the end, along with reciting the mantra ‘sharing is caring,’ we discussed sugary treats and dental care. One of the five year old girls said authoritatively, “If you eat candy and do not brush your teeth, the sugar bites your teeth and they drop.” I couldn’t put it better myself.
This week I accidentally made a boy cry. When we read the word ‘afraid’ I switched off the lights for a second to give the children a more exciting demonstration of the word. When the lights were back on, all the students were laughing except one boy, who was already sobbing. I apologised to him and gave him a tissue before detracting the attention away from him by telling the class that everyone is afraid of something, but it is important to be brave and face our fears. In fact, as a seven year old, I was also terrified of the dark, spiders, needles, and lightning, yet I slowly overcame each fear and they could too. I hope the overall impact of this stunt was positive and not scarring.
Finally, I leave you with a touching card one student made me. I missed some school last week as I had a big health scare, so this thoughtful girl made me a card. If you look closely, you can see the envelope which had a note concealed inside. It read, “Do you feeling good?” I couldn’t bring myself to correct her grammar, so I just told her that I was feeling much better.
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