Thursday, February 25, 2010


As my fellow ELA teachers surely know, nonfiction passages on state exams and test-prep materials can be...well, perhaps "random" is the right word. In a test-prep book I use from time to time, I've seen passages on (just to name a few things) the Freedom of Information Act, Grace Kelly, giant redwood trees, fire drills, and the Underground Railroad. What do these things have to do with each other? Well, you tell me.

Anyway, I was working with my student Jack--dear, sweet, distractible Jack--today with one of these books, and he was reading a passage that discussed (really) different breeds of cats. One breed of cat is, apparently, called the Munchkin.

"Miss Eyre," Jack said to me, doubtfully, "is this--a kind of kittycat?" Then, perhaps realizing that he'd said "kittycat" out loud, modified it to "cat."

I looked over the passage. "I guess it is," I said. "I learned something new today. I never knew that there was a breed of cat called the Munchkin."

"Yeah," he agreed. "I always thought it was, you know, just the little donut."

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