I really wanted to call this…THE STERN & BOW of ANITA ARCHER’S WORD CELLO.
(Whew! Written for the woman in the orange sweater who likes to embarrass me for being needy in public, but who loves me for finding the secret undiscovered private bathrooms adjacent to the hotel weight (no wait) room.)
Words. How to learn them in childhood? How to experience them? How to feel them? A storyteller friend of mine told me “Words don’t feel.” Okay. I mis-spoke. Maybe it is we who feel words. But I am weird and like to personify inanimate objects and words.
The word LOVER in me finds words delicious toward almost erotic at times. I tongue my words. Words like elliptical. A word like this one just runs and rolls endlessly over my tongue, again, and again like sweet current syrup. Deep, rich, purple delight over french toast. This from a sometimes, not often, very well behaved, appropriate teacher (me). My intention is to teach all students numerous tier two functional, unknown words so they may be increasingly DAZED , and DORF DIBLED. Sounds like a condition worthy of pharmaceuticals, eh? I should write a commercial and sell it for a bunch of money. Then kids can take their ADD meds and DDD meds too.
JK. I know this means nothing to most non-elementary teacher types. Let’s just say…..I want my students to be “Word Smart” according to Howard Gardner and his Multiple Intelligence Model. This representation is likely “old school” and outdated. Some younger “first year” has probably remarketed this very thing with a new and improved euphemism. The euphemism may be even adopted and used in overly priced, State of Utah endorsed SIOP workshops meant for children like Kek in K. Applesgate’s Home of the Brave about an African refugee boy who moves to Minnesota, or Michigan to start a new non violent African life…..I forget.
Most simply, I am a teacher who emphasizes and empathizes VOCABULARY for all students not just second language learners. The best way to learn words is in authentic, high interest text, but sometimes all we have are anemic basals. I teach language occasionally when I can fit it in, and vocabulary every day to first language learners who use words like “brung” and “axt” in the sweetest red neck Coalvillian dialect possible. Mostly I lesson, listening and modeling best practices in correct usage. Let’s just say I try. And when I fail, I sometimes cry. 🙂
I myself am very visual. And audio. Audio visula. ha ha. I readily hear bad grammar, speech. Try not to judge. Difficult. Knowing this fact, and knowing the benefit of visual based instruction, I try to deliver my version of entertaining. I am enthusiastic anyway. The proof is in results, as well as research and the modeling of Anita Archer, very well know Explicit Instruction Instructor and Elicit er of Response Engagement. From this woman, A.A., and from my own trial and error, I have learned that I can buy much more from harvesting and baiting learning with images from GOOGLE unknown words, than in doling and scripting out STUPID unimaginative worksheets promoted by a Houghton Mifflin Series.
I pick these gaggles of google words late into the night like a weary migrant farm worker. I pile them up on my desk top like chillies in a pickup bed en route to market in Tucson, or in return to Coyote News Schools. I flash them red, hot, and delicious, one by one on the screen and call for “Everyone! Everyone!” to respond. I call for loud, chorally projected correct answers. For excitement to provide momentum. I flash the picture, they chant the correct marching word. It is a fun game. Play is the best way to learning. I try to identify my own strengths and then apply them to my instruction. Wow!
So I am writing my blog tonight, and pondering what I did today that was worthy of Jesus, besides design a new vocabulary lesson. Bah! Okay. I settled on make-up testing, while tensing (not sentencing….ha ha) three students who bailed after Dads and Doughnuts on Friday and played hookey. (One was legitimate and had Grandpa’s funeral.)Yes, when polled today, about 50% admitted to having this school year played hookey from me and my classroom at least once to get out of doing work. Damn bathroom trap!
Anyway, one of these frequent flying bathroom girls made my day in Amelia Earhart proportions. Even though she finished a make-up spelling test and basal reading test too quickly and fairly bombed it, she redemed herself later. Seeing the damage already done in a lower than normal computerized test score, I did NOT conveniently turn her loose to “free time” and computer games, just so I could give a spelling test to two other kids. Rather, I asked her to write a customized letter of gratitude to her mother and father, one week after the anniversary divorce. Separate personalized letters of intent.
While the handful of us were in the office computer lab engaged in the unfinished work, this child’s sad mother appeared in the office. She was as pathetically needy as the fruit of her loins, and asked to see her girl. I was in line of site and witnessed the two reviewing what my student had written to her mother in smiles and hugs. Upon return, my student continued composition and drafted a lovely appreciation note for me as well. This made my day. The power of suggestion, and the power of positive. Yes! Timing, timing, timing, couldn’t have been better in this mother and child reunion. Success in non-standardized testing ways! Booyaah!
Reunion is what I seek in teaching vocabulary so students remember and comprehend the same. The unknown word is the mother, and the child……..well, the child is the child. So I use movement, dramatic acting out, mnemonics, antimontipia, and google photos to eHarmony.com and spell the Scrabble words into life-long relationships. I sometimes think I succeed when a child approaches me and excitedly produces a recent vocab word in their library book, or hears me read the word in my Read Aloud selection and simply cannot contain themselves until they can make this known to me. This is a moment of matriarchal celebraton, really.
This week I am teaching among other words STERN and BOW. Yes, the teacher who was DENIED a Teacher at Sea experience, was teaching nautical vocabulary to landlocked Utahan nine year olds. I was searching “if any of you lack knowledge, let him ask a GLOSSARY GOD in the back of the book..” and designed another way to remember trick.
I drew a ship and labeled the front and back parts. Shhhhhh. Be approapriate. Aft- er, After that, I thought of how to explain. I thought briefly of the Student Creed we recite each morning directly after the Pledge of Allegiance.
…”Yesterday’s failures are behind me. Today’s successess are before me! I will make this day count!” I think, I want to make today’s vocabulary lesson count in terms of promising amazing returns on the Friday’s computerized Reading Street Weekly Selection test. Actually I just want to teach the words STERN and BOW so that they stick in their minds and so they can remember and use them time and time again. We’ll see. I come up with this diddy:
STERN= stern is the rear of the ship or boat. I remember the Student Creed
”Yesterday’s failures are BEHIND me.” I think STERN= back side or BEHIND! I imagine leaving disappointment, failure, and regret behid me. STERN. I look sternly behind me. Ha ha. Then I move on to BOW. “I bow to a future of hope in knowing I am surrounded by support. The Universe is conspiring in my behalf and for me. Sometimes I bow down in Thanksgiving. Even from the front of the boat, and especially because I’m in the front, I must bow down to miss low hanging vines and threatening taratanga trees with stinging ants.
Wow I bow at the bow. This I also do to My LORD at the front of a fising boat. Cast crowns and nets. Catches fish from the right side. If you teach a child to fish, he’ll fish for a life time.
Ha ha. I project a dozen of more photos of boats, and ships of every shape and size pointing out Bow and Stern. I look forward excitedly for tomorrow’s word meeting and breath happily knowing that I played matchmaker to chidren that I love and their word counterparts that I am also quite fond of. No need to be stern with my effots. Rather, a smile is payment enough.
I am sleepy now…..I will trail off for now dreaming lovely word dreams in endles fonts and formats of orphans and widows and tomorrows explicit VISUAL instruction. Fruit meet for Anita Archer. Hah! 🙂