Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Friday, April 20, 2012

Some Final Vocab Stories ...

I know: We're spending too much time on Vocab these days.  But I have just a few more classroom adventures to share with you about vocab quizzes over the years.

As I wrote earlier, I always asked students on quizzes to use the words in original sentences--ones that clearly revealed the meanings of the words.  Some students saw this as an opportunity ...

1. One girl a couple of years ago wrote five sentences, every week, about a boy named Johnny who had a disobedient, willful toaster.  Each week she wrote a little five-sentence self-contained story about Johnny.  Violence was often involved.

2. Two girls a few years--the best of friends who sat next to each other--wrote humorously vicious sentences about each other, week after week ... Vocab Wars I called it.  (Sample [with new names]: Suzie was such a libertine that her parents pulled her out of college.  That sort of thing.)

3. Some students--in middle and high school--took the chance to write sentences that went after me.  It sort of serves me right, though, because I put dotage on my list--and that invited all sorts of creative activity on vocab quiz day.

4. I had students who wrote continuing stories that lasted all year long, twenty installments, five sentences each.

5. I always enjoyed the students who tried to fool me--who weren't quite sure what the word meant and spent a lot of creative effort crafting a sentence that would sort of sound as if it were right.  Sometimes I admired these efforts so much that I just plain didn't have the heart to mark them wrong.

And all of this reminds me of something I did very early in my career, back in the late 1960s.  On grammar and usage quizzes, all year long, I wrote a story about the armadillo versus the aphid.  Example: The armadillo sent the aphid a bomb for a birthday present.  Or The aphid had a party and invited all of his uncles and ants.  Students had to find the subject, the direct object, and the like.  I told the kids that on the very last quiz of the year I would resolve the year-long feud between the two.

aphid giving birth ... TMI?
It culminated in a big party.  At one point, the aphid arranges to have the armadillo hauled up into the air and used as a pinata.  But when the "pinata" is broken, out flies a gorgeous (female) aphid trapped inside.  Love breaks out ...

Some of my students hated this ending--they were armadillo fans and did not like finding out, thirty-six weeks later, that their beloved armadillo was really only a home for another aphid.

And years later, now and then, I run into one of these armadillo fans (now in his/her mid-fifties) and hear that I am still not forgiven.  Maybe one day ... but not now!

No comments:

Post a Comment