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Sunday, December 06, 2015

Vocabulary Lessons


Earlier this year one of my students, who has been in the country less than a year, innocently asked, "What is A Deez Nuts?" Three things were clear: I need to teach the proper use of the articles A and An, subject-verb agreement and obviously he is paying attention and socializing- language acquisition is moving along! As the other students snickered, I calmly wiped the Caramel Brulee latte I projected onto my desk.

Students haven't always been so innocent when they ask about words. Like when they can barely ask you about a word because they are choking back the laughter. Nonetheless, I guess I should just assume they really don't know and stay calm.

Well that didn't happen recently. I went from zero to ten real quick!

It was the last period of the day. I just finished helping a student with an assignment for another class. Students began packing up.

"What's a hooker?"

Everything stopped. In my mind anyway.

How dare she attempt to be amusing in front of the others! They weren't laughing but still.

"Why did you ask me about that word? Where did you see that word?" I asked her.

Before she could answer I continued with the interrogation. "Why would you WANT to know about a hooker!"

She tried to play confused and innocent. But I knew better!

By this time, the other students were curious. Getting in a little closer to us.

"I don't understand why you would ask about that word! Just out of the blue?" I asked, not really expecting her to answer. "I mean it's not like you see a word like that around this classroom do you?" I scoffed.

She pointed to one of my blue pocket charts near the board.

There it was.

"I said HUNKER," she clearly and softly told me.

Hunker was one of the week's vocabulary words for eighth graders.

Students waited for me to respond.

"So what is a hooker?" one of the other students asked. Of course they wanted to know now after my conclusion jumping.

Too cool to be embarrassed I replied, "Oh my Gosh! Look! It's obvious what hunker means- I've got a perfect visual right beside it! Don't you all see the person squatting- hunkering!"

Announcements and bell never late but today it would be.

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