Sunday, January 23, 2005

word of the week

The nearby English teacher and I were discussing our student's low vocab skills. She firmly believes that our students must have a larger, stronger vocab in order to improve their reading and writing skills. She has this great word wall that stretches across an entire wall of her classroom. I try to use large words with my kids and define them during our lectures or discussions, so I offered to use these crazy vocab words in my history class.
Last week I chose the word autonomous because it fit into our class discussion about the rise of modern European states as autonomous entities. "Today when you go to your English class," I said, "declare to your English teacher that you are an autonomous being!" (I have to admit, sometimes I worry that I'm using a word wrong.) Later that day one of my students popped her head in. "Ms. Madhatter, what was that word you told me to use? Annonnnnus?" "Autonomous," I corrected. "Great! I'm gonna use it on Ms. English!" I found out later that my little vocab whiz walked up to the English teacher and said, "I'm autonunn, wait, I'm au...ton...o..mous! Do you know what THAT means?" The English teacher looked at her quizically and said, "Yes, it's to be independent or self-sufficient." "Damn! I finally thought I'd know something you don't!" the student declared. Not the intent I had in teaching her that word, but at least I know 1 out of 150 students actually listens to me.

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